2016 Mazda 3 facelift Axela 19

The new Mazda 3 facelift has been officially revealed today after being spied, leaked in a brochure and spotted out in the open in Japan previously. Featuring updated looks, along with new tech and equipment, the C-segment model, which is offered as both a hatchback and sedan, goes on sale in Japan today (known as the Axela there).

As you can tell, the changes to the exterior styling are pretty subtle, beginning with a reshaped grille and repositioned Mazda logo. Look closely, and you’ll notice that the grille’s chrome surround has been made thicker and now extends less into the new adaptive LED headlamps as well. Other changes at the front include a larger lower intake, as well as a new pair of sleeker-looking fog lamps as well.

At the rear, the 3 sedan is virtually unchanged from before, unless you count that newly-added bootlid lip spoiler. On the other hand, the shape of the hatchback’s reflector and fog lamp enclosures have been redesigned. Elsewhere, the 3 retains its familiar side profile, with the door mirrors now incorporating LED turn indicator strips, replacing the previous lighting units located at the corner of the mirrors.

Moving inside, the 3 retains its familiar layout, with the carmaker’s MZD Connect infotainment touchscreen unit taking centre stage on the dashboard. Other things that remain unchanged include the instrument cluster setup, dual-zone climate control and the design of air-con vents.

New items that are introduced as part of the facelift include a new steering wheel and more notably, an electronic parking brake (for diesel variants), which is also used in the facelifted CX-5 and 6. The e-parking brake sees a redesign of the centre console, which now features a sliding cover over what should be the cupholders, as well as the armrest. Fans of the traditional handbrake can rest easy, as lower variants will continue to be fitted with the “more engaging” way of holding a car stationary.

According to Mazda, the Active Driving Display (heads-up display) has been enhanced to now display in full colour with higher brightness, definition and contrast for better readibility. The angle, brightness and content setting of the display can also be saved to the 10-way power seat’s memory function as well.

For power, the Japanese-spec 3 will be offered with two SkyActiv-D diesel engines in 1.5 litre and 2.2 litre capacities, with the former being a new addition. Mazda says that its diesel engines have also received a few tweaks to improve refinement further. This includes optimising the boost control, and incorporating a damper into the piston pin to reduce diesel knock.

Moving away from the oil burners, petrol options include a 1.5 litre SkyActiv-G engine and a SkyActiv-Hybrid powertrain, where the latter consist of a 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G engine and hybrid tech from the Toyota Prius. Depending on the car’s powertrain, transmission choices include a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic or SkyActiv-MT manual, while an E-CVT is exclusive only to the hybrid 3.

Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive is also available as an option, with the SkyActiv-D 2.2 engine being the latest to be offered with the system. Other drive-related technology include Mazda’s regenerative braking system (i-ELOOP), idling stop (i-Stop), driver support system (i-DM) and drive selection (Sport mode).

2016 Mazda 3 facelift Axela 6

As for safety, Mazda’s comprehensive i-Activsense suite is available for the 3 – Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH), Smart City Brake Support/Reverse (SCBS/R), Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Keep Assist System (LAS), Driver Attention Alert (DAA), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). The latter is a new introduction, utilising a forward-sensing camera to pick up speed limit signs, informing the driver via the HUD.

Finally, the refreshed 3 also features Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control, a new technology which Mazda claims varies engine torque in response to steering inputs in order to provide integrated control of lateral and longitudinal acceleration forces. This not only provides more effective control during everyday driving and collision avoidance manoeuvers, but also allows for a more comfortable ride with less torso sway.

In terms of pricing, the Japanese-spec Mazda 3 facelift starts at the 1,760,400 yen (RM66,706) mark and goes all the way up to 3,310,200 yen (RM125,373). So, what do you think of the new Mazda 3? Do you like its new looks, and what features would you expect to be offered when the model makes its way here?