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The C-segment sedan, once a staple, is now losing ground. Unsurprising, since Civic/Corolla money can now buy one a trendier-looking SUV, or a B-segment sedan that’s almost as spacious (roomier even) with enough change for a decent family holiday. But why, when such a well-equipped sporty sedan is now available, some might ask. And there’s even a hatchback!

The locally-assembled Mazda 3 was launched last month in three variants – GL Sedan, high-spec Sedan and mid-spec Hatchback, all with the same 2.0 litre SkyActiv engine and six-speed auto combo. The high-spec Sedan, seen here, has all the kit the previous CBU car had (215/45 R18 alloys, auto bi-xenon headlamps with AFS, LED DRLs, LED tail lamps, auto single-zone air-con, navigation, shift paddles, keyless entry and start), except for only two things: i-Eloop regenerative braking and a sunroof.

High-spec meter panel (left) has the rev counter in the middle, with a digital cutout and HUD in support

Two things lost, so much gained, including a power-adjustable driver’s seat, auto wipers, cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, head-up display, “high-spec” instrument panel (central rev counter with digital speedo), aluminium trim and leather seats, which were added to the CBU at a later point.

That’s not all – the high-spec Sedan now boasts features under the i-ActivSense active safety umbrella. You get High Beam Control, Smart City Brake System (autonomous braking, 4-30 km/h), Rear Vehicle Monitoring and Lane Departure Warning. Sounds amazing for a RM121,105 (OTR with GST before insurance) car, no?

The mid-spec Hatchback gets some of the goodies from the high-spec Sedan – 18-inch alloys, auto air-con, navigation, shift paddles, auto bi-xenons, LED DRLs and tail lamps, AFS and keyless entry/start are all given.

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What’s shared with the base GL Sedan are manual fabric seats, manual wipers, no i-Activsense, normal rear-view mirror (no auto-dim) and no HUD. The instrument panel is also of a different design – the central dial is a speedo instead of a rev counter with digital speedo cutout. You pay a premium for the five-door body – the mid-spec Hatchback goes for the same RM121,105 as the high-spec Sedan.

This comparo gallery we put together here shows all the above in detail, side-by-side. Kit aside, you’ll also see that both bodystyles are identical from the nose up to the C-pillar and rear doors, which have the same shape; ditto the glass area. The hatchback loses the sedan’s stubby boot, of course, but it features prominent twin pipes as opposed to the sedan’s no visible pipes.

Like what you see? Will it be the sedan or hatchback for you?


2016 Mazda 3 CKD Sedan

2016 Mazda 3 CKD Hatch