Huge amounts of complex design and ground-breaking materials have gone into making the all-new Mazda3 a model of simplicity
20 November 2014

Perennially attributed to modernist architect Mies van der Rohe (rather than the lesser-known abstract expressionist artist from whom he actually nicked it), the phrase ‘Less is More’ neatly encapsulates the former’s minimalist design philosophy. Quite simply, he proved time and again that the more you take away, the better the end result.

Today, it doesn’t take more than a cursory rummage around almost every aspect of the all-new Mazda3’s striking Kodo design and painstaking SKYACTIV engineering to recognise that Mies’ famous tenet is still alive and well in a machine that goes out of its way to prove that giving you less is, in fact, the perfect way to give you so much more.

From an exterior design perspective, for instance, the rear-leaning less cab-forward stance, lower roofline and carefully minimised panel gaps lower aerodynamic drag to give you better fuel economy, greater high-speed stability and a quieter cabin.

On board, a lower driver’s seat hip point and steering wheel position offer better driving ergonomics for greater involvement and driving pleasure. A clean, clutter-free dashboard design promotes less driver strain and distraction through simple, intuitive controls and the ready assimilation of important information, with minimal distraction from the road ahead.

Safety first

In an era when we’re in danger of on-board-information-overload, every system has been designed to keep the driver’s mind on the job, eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

A new rotary Mmultimedia Commander dial offers quick, intuitive control of the all-new Mazda3’s infotainment systems, free of the protracted, bewildered gazing that so often hallmarks such systems. The attendant 7-inch, full-colour centre console touch-screen has been positioned higher for at-a-glance reading. 

And the new Active Driving Display head-up system* positions all key driving information on a clear panel raised above the instrument clusterin mid-air near above the bonnet, where the driver can read it with minimal eye movement or focal adjustment. Even the new integrated navigation system~ has been designed to help drivers reach their destination in less of a lost-in-the-inner-city lather.

Oh, and, occupants may even relish the ultra-low sound distortion of the all-new Mazda3’s peerless Bose 9-speaker audio system*, for greater enjoyment of music on the move.

This comprehensive array of less-is-more cockpit technology is contained within a new SKYACTIV bodyshell comprising 60% high-tensile steel, which pulls off the neat trick of being far more rigid than its predecessor yet considerably lighter.

In fact, all chassis components have endured a strict weight loss regime in the interest of greater agility and more driving enjoyment. The suspension systems shed weight through the increased use of both aluminium and high tensile steel. A new, lighter, smaller, electronic power-steering system has a lower 14:1 gear ratio – which means less wheel movement for lower driver fatigue. And even the brake system features smaller, lighter cylinders and less pedal play for greater control and shorter stopping distances. 

Meanwhile, the lightweight, low-friction engine design at the heart of Mazda’s award-winning SKYACTIV powertrain technology represents the very apogee of the less-is-more engineering philosophy. 

Mazda’s 150ps SKYACTIV-D Diesel engine 2.2 litre turbodiesel is a case in point: combining dynamic performance with low fuel consumption and significantly reduced emissions, it boasts the world’s lowest compression ratio. Low compression equates to less friction, less strain and, hence, a longer life.

Mazda’s i-Stop engine idle and i-ELOOP regenerative braking systems† further contribute to improvedless fuel economyconsumption. Indeed, storing recovered electrical energy to spare the engine the chore of powering the alternator can lower fuel consumption by up to 10% under urban driving conditions.

Last, but by no means least, a comprehensive raft of anti-NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) intrusion measures ensures that the car’s occupants spend a calmer more comfortable time inside one of the quietest cabins in the class.

So there you have it. The all-new Mazda3; less of every automotive annoyance to give us more of everything we enjoy about life behind the wheel. Mies would be pleased.

*Available on all-new Mazda3 Sport Nav models

~ Available on all-new Mazda3 SE Nav, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav models 

† Available on all-new Mazda3 165ps Sport Nav

For more information on the all-new Mazda3, visit http://www.mazda.co.uk/cars/mazda3-hatchback/

See our latest offers here: http://www.mazda.co.uk/offers/mazda3/ 

Retail sales only. Subject to availability at participating dealers only on vehicles registered between 01.10.2014 and 31.12.2014. T&C apply.

0% APR Mazda Personal Contract Purchase available on all all-new Mazda3 models over 24, 30, 36 or 42 months. You will not own the vehicle until all payments are made.  Finance subject to status, 18s or over. Guarantee/indemnity may be required. Mazda Financial Services RH1 1SR. Channel islands excluded. Not available in conjunction with any other offer unless specified.

Our Verdict

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Mazda's SkyActiv revolution hits the family hatchback class

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Comments
2

21 November 2014
A sensible place for the Main Sat. Nav. Although I'd prefer an electronic handbrake these days. Maybe they afraid of the sort of abuse that Vauxhall got when they put one in the Astra

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

7 December 2014
If Mazda's KODO design philosophy is epitomised by the new 3 then I for one am unimpressed. I have seen several on the road at close quarters and from a style viewpoint it has several problems. First the car looks saggy in the middle owing to the criss-crossing accent lines and plunging window line. This is not helped by the A pillars being too far back (for medium hatchback) and the bonnet being too high with too much front overhang. The car just does not have the length to carry-off a Mazda 6 look. From the rear three quarter view the whole look is a mess of conflicting angles and unresolved lines. Some commentators have likened the 3's look to the Alfa Giulietta. None of the problems with the 3 are shared by the Alfa which remains an object lesson in how to style a hatch with premium aspirations.

I suspect that Mazda have fallen into the trap of trying to reflect some of the 6's style in a cheaper car. They should dump KODO and recruit some Italian designers.

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