The new Mazda 3 Sedan has been unveiled at the 2008 LA Auto Show and if this is how Mazda’s new corporate nose is going to look like, it looks like giant smiley grilles like the Peugeot 308’s grille is the new “in thing”, replacing the trapezoidal shield grille of Audi fame. In fact, the new Mazda 3 is so smiley that forumer Mizzoustud from the Mustangworld forums created a new smiley for it.
Anyway jokes aside, the new Mazda 3 is based on the old Mazda 3 chassis and even they admit this but Mazda claims it has made “subtle yet comprehensive” refinements to it.
For one, the electric power steering now has a 3-point mounting instead of a 2-point mounting to allow reduction in stiffness of the steering gear bushes. This can reduce vibrations transferred through rough pavements. The unibody joints on the chassis have been improved to reduce the transmission of road and powertrain noise into the passenger cabin.
The chassis also has improved suspension anchor points, welding and adhesive techniques and a better door design. The rear monotube shocks have also been recalibrated, and the front and rear antiroll bars have a new more substantial mounting arrangement. The lower control arm bushes, subframe bushes and mounting bushes have been stiffened to improve steering feel and response as well as cornering grip.
On the rear, a redesigned crossmember is lighter and stiffer, also contributing to better handling. The braking system also gets an improvment – a new vacuum booster for better pedal response.
The car has a drag coefficient of 0.29 cD and despite the huge smiley front grille, Mazda claims its actually 20% smaller to minimize the mount of airflow into the engine bay to only the amount needed for intake and cooling purposes – this improves aerodynamics.
Two engines are available for the American market – both are inline-4 units. One is a 2.0 litre unit producing 148hp at 6,500rpm and 183Nm of torque at 4,500rpm, while the larger one is a 2.5 litre unit producing 167hp at 6,000rpm and 228Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. The power figures are slightly lower for models sold in states like California where emissions rulings are stiffer. Both manual and auto trannys are 5-speed units.
Look after the jump for a whole load of photos and a video of the new Mazda 3.
PHOTO GALLERY: 2010 Mazda 3 Sedan
Click thumbnails to view high resolution photo
VIDEO: 2010 Mazda 3 Sedan