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.
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.