mazda 3

After months of ads, spyshots, an international press drive, a public preview, plus estimated pricing and spec reveals (as well as our walk-around video and showroom gallery), you’d think that was it, right?

Well, not quite yet, for this morning’s launch at 1 Utama makes it official at long last. The third-gen Mazda 3 enters the Malaysian scene, initially in fully-imported (CBU Japan) 2.0 Sedan form.

Its 2.0 SkyActiv-G four-cylinder produces 162 hp at 6,000 rpm and 210 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm – it’s the ‘high-tune’ 2.0 litre offered in Japan and Europe. The motor features a 14:1 compression ratio, dual variable valves and direct injection, and is connected to a six-speed auto.

Our car comes in Mid Spec trim. The striking exterior features self-levelling bi-xenon headlamps with LED DRLs and adaptive front lighting, front fog lamps and 18-inch ten-spoke alloys wrapped in 215/45 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres.

mazda 3

Round the back, you won’t see a boot spoiler, nor will you see its twin tailpipes, which are hidden behind the bumper and its four-cell reverse sensors. You will, however, see LED tail lamps with cool wing-shaped signatures that matches those of the LED headlamps.

Inside, you’ll find piano black trim, single-zone auto air-con, fabric seats, keyless entry and start, a sunroof and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with buttons and shift paddles. Electric power steering, by the way.

In the instrument panel, the speedometer sits in the middle, flanked by a digital bar-type rev counter on the left and a multi-info display on the right (see an alternative layout here). No head-up display, cruise control or auto lamps, though.

There are also six speakers and MZD Connect – this new infotainment system can be navigated via the seven-inch touch-screen or the commander control knob on the centre console. CD, Bluetooth, AUX, USB, SD and navigation are offered.

Click to enlarge spec sheet
The boot holds 408 litres of luggage; you can fold the 60:40-split back seats for more. There’s the i-Stop start-stop system and i-Eloop regenerative braking. Safety is taken care of by six airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, DSC, TCS and Isofix – no lane departure, blind spot nor city brake systems.

RM138,935 is asked for the initial CBU batch, OTR with insurance. This includes a three-year/100,000 km warranty and three years/60,000 km of free service. Soul Red Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Titanium Flash Mica and Meteor Grey Mica body colours are available.

A recent research report indicated that the locally-assembled (CKD) Mazda 3 would surface in the third quarter of 2014 – that would obviously be cheaper, but by how much is anyone’s guess at present.

The model to be CKD’d would be the 2.0 Sedan, once CX-5 output at the new assembly line is stable. The 2.5 is being considered for CKD; the probability of the 1.5 and Hybrid arriving here is low at the moment.

See the Malaysian-spec car inside and out in our showroom gallery, or learn more about the third-gen Mazda 3 in our Australian drive report.

Mazda 3 showroom pictures