The 3's front end gains an updated version of the corporate Mazda face to bring its look closer in line with that of the CX-3 and other models in the range. The headlights have a more squared-off design and are more smoothly incorporated into the chrome grille surround, as well as now being available as adaptive LED units. Revised bumper details have also been added.
Minor changes to the rear bumper have been made on the hatchback and the door mirrors have been tweaked to include wrap-around indicators. There are also two new colours, including the first production use of the grey paint featured on the MX-5 RF at its debut, and new 18in alloy wheels on Sport Nav spec.
Under its revised skin, the facelifted 3 features Mazda's G-Vectoring Control (GVC), which aims to improve stability and comfort over long distances.
GVC uses torque changes from the engine to put extra weight over the front tyres when turning in to a corner. Mazda claims this reduces the need for the driver to make steering corrections, as well as improving comfort for passengers by reducing the lateral forces acting upon them.
The new system is part of Mazda’s ‘Jinba Ittai’ or ‘rider and horse as one body’ mantra, under which Mazda aims to improve the comfort of its models – something the 3 and 6 have been criticised for in previous Autocar reviews. Tweaks to the suspension are also claimed to improve comfort and Mazda's Natural Sound Smoother (NSS) system aims to reduce the knock noise of louder diesel engines.
The handbrake has been replaced by an electric parking brake, in line with many other cars across the industry. Elsewhere inside, there's redesigned dashboard trim, switch panels and door handle bezels, as well as more thorough soundproofing throughout. The head-up display now has a full colour display, too.
The current-generation 3 was introduced in the UK in 2014, and the all-new 3 isn't due until 2018, so the current model's mid-life refresh paves the way for the next-generation car. The facelifted 3 goes on sale on 1 October and will be priced from £17,595.