The Mazda 3 hatchback or liftback as Mazda calls it is no longer ‘just another Japanese car’. In fact, Mazda is now considered an entry-level premium brand and it shows in its design, handling, and overall quality. That may be why it has one of the highest brand loyalties in the industry.
The fourth-generation car, also called the Mazda 3 BP according to Mazda’s internal naming code presents a good balance of affordable luxury and driving enjoyment. The Mazda 3’s price is no doubt high for a Japanese car but is still comparable to a Honda Civic. If you’re in the market for a new car and looking for a Mazda 3 liftback review, here are all the things that make it stand out from other cars in its class.
Liftback vs Hatchback
The terms “liftback” and “hatchback” are often used interchangeably, but they do have subtle distinctions. While both body styles share similarities, a liftback typically features a more sloping rear roofline like on the Mazda 3, often resulting in a sleeker and sportier appearance.
With the sloping back, you can imagine that the hatch ‘lifts’ up instead of opening outwards and then upwards like on a conventional hatchback. Other ‘proper’ liftback cars with a more pronounced sloping rear roof include the Porsche Panamera and Kia Stinger.
On the other hand, a traditional hatchback tends to have a more vertical rear end, with a roofline that stops more abruptly before dropping down like the Perodua Myvi and Honda Jazz. The Honda Civic hatchback and Type R are both called hatchbacks, though they’re technically liftbacks. This goes to show that there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to car body styles and it mostly comes down to the manufacturer’s preferences and marketing strategies.
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Does the Mazda 3 Perform on the Road?
The Mazda 3 liftback in Malaysia comes in three variants which are the base Mazda 3 1.5L priced at RM143,000, the 2.0L High+ at RM160,000, and the 2.0L Ignite Edition at RM169,00. Here are the important performance figures to help you decide on the right variant.
Mazda 3 Performance Specifications
The Mazda 3 liftback comes with two naturally aspirated engine options as detailed below:
- Mazda 3 1.5L: 1.5-liter four-cylinder 118 PS and 153 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is estimated at 16.9 km/ L.
- Mazda 3 2.0L High+ and 2.0L Ignite Edition: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 162 PS and 213 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is estimated at 15.8 km/ L.
All variants have a six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive. The specs might not be impressive, but with the Mazda 3 liftback, it’s all about the drive.
Mazda 3 Liftback: The Handling Is Where It’s At
Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology encompasses the engine, platform, and suspension. With Mazda’s Jinba Ittai (man and horse as one) philosophy, it managed to make the Mazda 3 agile and well-composed. The high-speed stability is excellent, and the steering feedback is accurate and controllable.
The car’s suspension system comprises MacPherson Struts on the front and torsion beams on the rear. And while torsion beams are considered the most basic setup in cars, the Mazda 3 still has a stable and silky ride no matter the driving conditions.
Some other handling features introduced in this Mazda 3 BP generation are G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) which helps in changing the direction of the car to provide a seamless drive experience, besides helping you control the car in emergency situations.
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Kodo Design & Premium Finish All-Around
The Mazda 3 liftback has an aerodynamic profile sculpted with expertly placed curves that create flowing lines and shadows no matter where the light hits the body. Plus, it has a low-proﬁle liftgate for better aerodynamics besides giving it a sportier stance. Also, LED headlights and tail lights are standard across the range.
Stepping inside the car reveals the Mazda 3 BP’s upscale interior that rivals premium Continental brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It features a sleek and smart dashboard designed with premium materials, perfectly bolstered seats, and an overall comfortable cabin. Here are some noteworthy interior features that make the Mazda 3 liftback such a nice place to be in.
- 7-inch TFT LCD multi-info display
- Color windshield-projection display (or heads-up display/HUD)
- Leather steering wheel with paddle shifters
- Cruise control
- Manual or power-adjustable driver seat with two-position memory function
- Burgundy leather seats on the Mazda 3 2.0L Ignite Edition
- 8.8-inch infotainment display with voice recognition and a rotary multi-function commander control
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity
- Two USB ports
What About Space?
Admittedly, the Mazda 3 has less passenger space than other C-segment cars such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla but it’s roomier than the Volkswagen Golf GTI. That makes it still practical and comfortable enough despite being a premium sporty hatchback. However, the boot space is only 334 L, compared to the Golf’s 380 L. Of course, you can fold down the rear seats for a total of 1,022 L of cargo space. As a comparison, a Perodua Myvi has 277 L of boot space, so the Mazda 3’s capacity is not bad, all things considered.
No Sacrifice in Safety
The Mazda 3 is packed with the latest safety features including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) so you don’t need to worry about safety whether you’re traveling alone or with family. Here are the top safety features in the Mazda 3 liftback.
- Six SRS airbags
- Dynamic stability control (DSC)
- Traction control system (TCS)
- Hill launch assist (HLA) with auto hold function
- Auto door lock with walk-away lock
- ISOFIX with top tethers
- Advanced safety technologies
- Adaptive Front-Lighting System (AFS)
- High Beam Control (HBC)
- Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
- Rear and Front Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA And FCTA)
- Lane Keep Assist System (LAS)
- Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC)
With a stunning design, advanced SKYACTIV technology, and plenty of premium touches, the Mazda 3 is a hatchback that’s truly worth considering. It holds its own against luxury cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz without costing as much, while still being as reliable as its Japanese counterparts.