At long last, the facelifted Mazda 3 has been launched in Malaysia, available in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Three locally-assembled (CKD) variants are on offer here – Sedan GL, Sedan High and Hatchback – with four exterior paint colours to choose from – Artic White, Blue Reflex, Meteor Grey and Aluminium Metallic.

The changes from the pre-facelift model are pretty subtle to say the least, starting with a bolder front grille that blends into the headlights. There’s also a redesigned bumper with a wider lower intake, sleeker-looking LED-type fog lamps to match, and the Mazda logo has been shifted slightly downwards as well.

Along the sides, the 3’s profile remains as before, with the only modification being the side mirrors, whereby the indicators are now a thin LED strip rather than the corner-mounted ones previously. Similarly, the alterations at the back are limited to a new design for the reflector and rear fog lamp units on the hatchback, while the sedan gains a low-mounted fog lamp.

As for the inside, the new 3 now comes with an electronic parking brake that frees up space in the centre console for a covered stowage space (with two cupholders within). Elsewhere, there is a new steering wheel lifted from the CX-9; new graphics and font type for the instrument cluster; and the improved Active Driving Display (heads-up display) now displays information in full colour. The latter is only available for the Sedan High and Hatchback.

Under the hood, the all variants of the 3 continue to employ the familiar 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine with 162 hp at 6,000 rpm and 210 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The high-compression mill sends drive to the front wheels via a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. Mazda’s idling stop (i-Stop) and drive select (Sport mode) systems are also present here.

A big upgrade here is the addition of Mazda’s SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics suite that includes the new G-Vectoring Control system. The system, which is already available on the latest CX-3 and 6, varies engine torque in response to steering inputs, subtly controlling lateral and longitudinal acceleration forces to ensure a more direct and responsive drive. We sampled the system back in September 2016, and you can find out more about how it works, here.

In terms of equipment, all three variants receive the MZD Connect infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen display, Commander Control and six speakers; reverse camera; six airbags; Dynamic Stability Control; traction control; ABS with EBD; Isofix child seat anchors and brake assist.

Individually, the base-spec Sedan GL comes with halogen headlights, bulb-type rear taillights, 16-inch alloy wheels (with 205/60 tyres), fabric seats, a manual air-conditioning system, manually adjustable front seats and 60:40 split-folding rear seats.

Moving up the ranks, the Sedan High and Hatchback gain four-diode, adaptive LED automatic headlights (with DRLs), LED-type rear taillights, 18-inch alloys (with 215/45 tyres), leather seats, a single-zone automatic air-conditioning system, paddle shifters, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, automatic wipers, cruise control and keyless entry.

The Sedan High and Hatchback also receive a bump in the safety department with the i-Activsense suite, which includes a Lane Departure Warning System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Smart City Brake Support and blind spot monitoring system.

Pricing wise, the Sedan GL retails at RM110,804, the Sedan High at RM125,804, and the Hatchback at RM128,804. The prices listed are on-the-road without insurance and for models paired with a solid exterior paint colour. Those who prefer a metallic paint finish will need to top up an additional RM400 (all variants).

Among the optional extras include a Sports Kit for RM2,645, which tags on a front lip and side skirts finished in black gloss, a body-coloured rear lip and a rear spoiler (sedan only). Other items include illuminated door sill plates (RM300), boot tray (RM200), SkyTint film (RM1,900) and navigation system (RM1,270). The latter is standard on the Sedan High and Hatchback.

Each purchase includes a five-year/100,000 km manufacturer’s warranty as well as a three-year/60,000 km free maintenance package (inclusive of labour, parts and lubricants). For more information and a detailed list of specifications, head on over to CarBase.my (hatchback here).