Mazda3 hatchback

Mazda is set to prove that its third-gen Mazda3 is one pretty robust car – the automaker will be sending eight of its new hatchbacks on a 15,000 km drive direct from its factory in Hiroshima to the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The cars will be part of the Mazda Route3 – Hiroshima to Frankfurt Challenger Tour 2013 adventure; driven by bloggers, journalists and Mazda dealers, the eight vehicles will cross nine time zones, five countries and two continents

After taking a ferry across the Sea of Japan, the endurance test drive will begin in the Russian port city of Vladivostok on August 3. Ten legs are scheduled, with the cars making their way through Russia, Belarus and Poland before arriving in Frankfurt on September 7, three days before the IAA opens its doors.

All eight Mazda3 hatchbacks will be 120 PS and 210 Nm 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G versions, paired with a six-speed SkyActive-MT manual transmission.

It’s not the first long distance adventure the company has undertaken. In 1977, German reporters drove two Mazda 323 hatchbacks from Japan to Frankfurt, while in 1990, four Mazda 626s crossed the former Soviet Union. Third time continues the charm, then.