Three new trim levels-"i Touring," "s Touring," and "s Grand Touring"-join the existing "i" and "s" models. The base 2.0L engine gets variable valve timing and both 2.0L and 2.3L engines come in a PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, which refers to vehicles with partial zero evaporative emissions) version for states that require the same emissions standards as California. A new 5-speed automatic transmission replaces the 4-speed on 2.3L models, which also get anti-lock brakes and variable-delay wipers as standard equipment. The air conditioning system now includes a pollen filter and an outside temperature display. Copper Red Mica and Whitewater Pearl Mica replace Lava Orange and Rally White in the Mazda 3's color palette.
While car names like Civic, Corolla and Sentra have been part of the American automotive lexicon for decades, Mazda 3 is a relative newcomer, having made its debut in 2003. The Mazda 3 is the latest iteration of Mazda's compact car, a product line that has, in past years, gone by several names: Protg, 323, and GLC. As the names have changed, so have the personalities, and the sporty Mazda 3 stands in sharp contrast to its predecessors. The Mazda 3i is available as a four-door sedan, while the 3s is available as both a sedan and a five-door hatchback.
The 2.0L engine that powers the 3i gets a variable valve-timing system, which gives it a broader and flatter torque curve. Output is 150 hp at 6,500 RPM and 135 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 RPM, and EPA fuel economy estimates are 28 mpg city/35 highway with the 5-speed manual transmission and 26 mpg city/34 highway with the optional 4-speed automatic. The 3s is powered by a 2.3L engine, also with variable valve timing, that puts out 160 hp at 6,500 RPM and 150 lb.-ft. at 4,500 RPM. EPA fuel estimates are 26 mpg city/32 highway with the 5-speed manual and 25/31 with the new 5-speed automatic, which replaces last year's 4-speed. Both engines are available in a PZEV version, with slightly reduced power output, for states that have stricter emissions standards (CA, NH, MA, NY and VT). Both engines also use timing chains in place of timing belts, which do not require periodic replacements as belts do.
Mazda plans to offer a MAZDASPEED version of the 3 in late 2006; it will be sold as a 2007 model. The MAZDASPEED 3 will be powered by a 250-hp turbocharged version of the 2.3L engine, backed by a 6-speed manual transmission, and will have enhancements to styling, body rigidity and suspension.
The Mazda 3 squares off against 18 other models in the Compact Conventional segment. Though fuel efficiency is almost always on the minds of small-car buyers, many are also seeking good performance and a high fun-to-drive factor.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Honda Civic was the leader in this segment with 308,415 sales during calendar year 2005. It was followed by the Toyota Corolla (244,032) and Chevrolet Cobalt (212,667). The Mazda 3's 97,388 sales in calendar 2005 ranked 10th on the sales chart. Other models in the segment recording more than 100,000 sales in 2005 include the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Jetta, and Saturn ION.
|s (M5)||5 speed manual||$17,370||160-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||26/32|
|s Touring (M5)||5 speed manual||$17,615||160-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||26/32|
|s Grand Touring (M5)||5 speed manual||$19,165||160-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||26/32|