The 2017 Mazda3 Astina 2.0, More than just looks?

We spend a few days with the stylish Mazda3 Astina Plus

Featuring minor cosmetic changes, the face-lifted Mazda3 Astina is as attractive as it’s always been. Stylish and understated, the proportions of the Mazda made more and more sense as I parked and glanced back at the 4-door hatchback. Riding on new 18 inch wheels, Mazda3 also has other cosmetic enhancements such as revised bumpers, side skirts and some small changes to the front bumper and light locations. All these changes lend themselves to admiring glances as Mazda 3 cruises by. It really is a stunning car in the flesh.

How does it drive?
Making 121kW from the normally aspirated engine, the Mazda likes to be revved. The torque curve is a little flat and reminiscent of the characteristics of the Mazda RX8 rotary, but not in a good way. Pushing out 210Nm at 4000rpm, the 2.0 engine delivers torque quite high up in the rev range. 0-100 comes up in 9 seconds so straight line speed is adequate, however the out-of-corner acceleration is lacking, as one needs to keep the engine on the boil for any noticeable results. Fuel consumption is claimed at 5.9l/100.

Mazda3 comes with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, with responsive and ergonomic paddles behind the wheel. Buyers shouldn’t, however, expect a performance car when purchasing the Mazda3 Astina. It’s more boulevard than Bathurst.
The ride and handling is good, with the suspension being pliant over bumps, and the low profile tyres don’t seem to hamper the ride at all. A little chassis flex is noticeable when pushing through bumpy corners.

Mazda3 comes with G-Vectoring Control (GVC) which shifts torque based on steering inputs. I noticed that, when on the power pulling through corners, the car tucks the nose in quite nicely, eliminating understeer in slower, tighter corners. G-Vectoring is hardly noticeable otherwise, but the overall effect of it is.

The interior is largely unchanged bar some small enhancements such as the heads up display now showing the navigation options. The Bose sound system delivers clear sound and I particularly liked the placement of the additional volume knob which sits right next to the rotary control knob in the centre console. Perfect for when taking a leisurely cruise.
Other than that the ergonomics are great, the leather seats supportive, and once relaxed into position, many miles can be dispatched in complete comfort.
Standard features in the Mazda3 Astina include ABS with EBD, stability control, lane departure warning, brake assist, lane keep assist, driver attention alert and blind spot monitoring. Mazda 3 also comes with rear facing camera which worked well, day or night.

Mazda3 Astina is comfortable to drive, has a great interior and has head-turning looks. The chassis is good, if not great, and turn in is crisp, but not invigorating. If judged by its looks alone the car scores a ten, but is let down by the engine which delivers power quite high up the rev range. With its competition, the Astra, in an uncertain period for the next few months due to GM pulling out of South Africa, the head turning Astina could be a viable option at the price point.

The Mazda3 Astina Plus comes standard with Mazda’s 3-year / unlimited km warranty, 3 years of roadside assistance, a 3-year service plan and a 5-year corrosion warranty.

Mazda Mazda3 Astina Plus        R410 400

Road Tests

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