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12 Jul 2019

What We Dislike
Not very powerful
Heavy steering can be slightly tiring at low speeds

Pretty to look at, packed with equipment and refined to drive, the new Mazda3 is a high-quality compact family sedan that will easily delight.

This here, is the brand new seventh generation Mazda3, the Japanese manufacturer's highly popular compact family sedan offering. And it's definitely a car customers have been waiting on for some time already. First revealed at the 2019 Singapore Motor Show back in January, the car is finally on sale to customers now.

What should I be excited about?

If there's one term to describe the new Mazda3, it is 'high-quality'. Quite a lot about the new Mazda3 feels premium.

The new Mazda3 was first shown to potential buyers at this year's Singapore Motor Show

Let's start with how it looks - looks pretty good, no? Elegantly styled, with flowing lines and sculptural shapes, the Mazda3 Sedan is extremely pleasant on the eyes (the Hatchback is even prettier, we think). The front-end has been especially sharpened thanks to sleek adaptive LED head lights and a grille familiar from the facelifted Mazda6.

Move on inside the car, and you are immediately struck by a high sense of overall quality. The cabin is well appointed, packing ample equipment such as a digital 7.0-inch LCD central dial cluster, an 8.8-inch infotainment display controlled via a rotary knob-style commander control, as well as a head-up display (Mazda calls it an Active Driving Display).

With it's flowing lines and elegant styling, the Mazda3 is undoubtedly pleasing on the eye

This particular top-spec Astina trim also gets extra goodies such as a 12-speaker Bose sound system, gear shift pedals on the steering wheel, as well as factory-fitted full leather upholstery.

Build quality is also top-notch. Stitching and seams are crisp, and the overall design of the cabin certainly has an air of elevated quality. It feels like a much more premium car than its price point would suggest.

The dashboard features a 7.0-inch LCD screen that can be toggled between different settings

How does it feel on the road?

On the road, again there is an overall sense of maturity and premium quality to the new Mazda3. The well-sorted suspension definitely plays a big role. The car manages to soak up bumps in the road with no fuss at all, while still exhibiting a level of ride neutrality and quietness usually associated with more expensive cars. The Mazda3 also handles itself well around corners. The steering is accurate, the chassis tight and well-balanced.

Mazda has also packed the car with the full i-Activsense suite of safety and driver assistance systems (the most you can get in any Mazda right now). This Astina spec model gets everything - Front Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 360-degree View Camera, Lane-keep Assist System, Lane Departure Warning System, Driver Monitoring, the list actually goes on. All these can be activated via the push of one button.

This Astina variant comes with the full suite of Mazda's i-Activsense safety features

Of note is the Mazda Radar Cruise Control, a feature you won’t find on any other cars in this class. It allows you to set a maximum cruise speed and following distance, and the car will automatically keep that fixed distance with the car in front of you. This is especially useful for highway driving, though you still need to be alert because the system cuts off when you drop below 30km/h. 
All that sounds pretty good!

There is one notable shortcoming, and that's the engine. The Mazda3 is powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated unit producing just 118bhp and 153Nm of torque, which means 0-100km/h takes a leisurely 11.9 seconds. The car features a mild-hybrid system (courtesy of a 5.1kW battery), but the battery mostly helps to fill in torque on initial acceleration, as well as powering the electronics in the car. 

The new 8.8-inch infotainment display is controlled using a central rotary control

If you drive in an unhurried manner, the engine is refined and usable enough with a light throttle. However, put your foot right to the floor and you are greeted with… not very much. So if you need to hurry somewhere, best call ahead and let them know you will be a little late. The car feels rather hefty (it's close to 1.4 tonnes), and the lack of power from engine makes this even more apparent.

The steering is on the heavy side - great for high speed stability, but at low speeds it can be a little tiring, especially when you need to go from lock to lock when driving in a multi-story carpark.

The cabin's crisp design, ample equipment and high build quality makes it feel quite premium

The brakes lack bite in the initial travel, so you want to step a little more enthusiastically. And, we reckon the car could do with one extra gear. Equipped with a six-speed automatic, the Mazda3 sits at 2,000rpm when cruising at 90km/h.

As an overall package, does it succeed?

This particular Astina variant, the top-spec model you can buy right now, has an OMV of $25,500. Even the base model has an OMV of above $20,000. This speaks to the wealth of equipment that the car has been packed with. And, it certainly shows.

Driven lightly, the new Mazda3 demonstrates excellent on-road comfort and manners

The new Mazda3 definitely feels premium and high-quality - we reckon you could interchange this with some of the entry German models and not feel the difference. For a car that costs $103,688 (as of 11 July 2019), we reckon that's a hell of a deal.

Yes, the car has some issues, its lack of pace being the most obvious one, but the entirety of the package still delivers plenty to delight customers.

With its combination of stylish design, ample equipment, cabin quality and ride comfort, the Mazda3 delivers plenty of bang for your buck

With its pleasing aesthetic design, well-equipped and appointed cabin, and ample on-road refinement, the Mazda3 has tons going for it - for many customers, it has definitely been worth the six month wait.

Or why not watch a more light-hearted video review instead where we attempt to try all the safety systems that comes with the Astina spec?

Also read our comparison article on:
Hyundai Avante vs Mazda 3 Sedan vs Toyota Corolla Altis
Car Information
There's a promotion for Mazda 3 Sedan Mild Hybrid


: $156,888

Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC SKYACTIV-G

Engine Cap





88kW (118 bhp) / 6000 rpm



153 Nm / 4000 rpm



6-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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