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2010 Mazda 3 Preview

2010 Mazda 3 Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009

Critical Knowledge:
  • Redesigned for 2010
  • Sedan and hatchback models return
  • Standard 148-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine on sedan
  • Standard 167-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine on hatchback(optional on sedan)
  • Mazda speed 3 hatchback features a turbocharged, 2.3-liter4-cylinder engine
  • Bose Center point sound, Bluetooth connectivity, rain-sensing wipers, bi-Xenon adaptive front lighting system, and keyless entry with push-button starting available
  • New colors: Velocity Red Mica, Celestial Blue Mica, Gunmetal BlueMica, Liquid Silver Metallic, Graphite Mica
Introduction
First launched for the 2004 model year as are placement for the Protege, the original Mazda 3 has sold close to 1.8million units in more than 100 countries, representing one-third of all Mazda vehicles purchased worldwide and making it the company's best-selling model.

For the 2010 model year, Mazda has redesigned its popular compact.Billed as completely new for 2010, the Mazda 3 sedan was introduced at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 5-door hatchback debuted at the2008 Bologna Motor Show in Italy, and the high-performance Mazda speed 3hatchback debuted at the 2009 New York Auto Show. Mazda calls the new 3"the most engaging car in its class," and promises higher levels of standard and optional equipment packaged within evolutionary styling modifications. Sedan and hatchback models go on sale in the first quarter of 2009 with the Mazda speed 3 following thereafter.

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Design
The 2010 Mazda 3's design is evolutionary, with similar general themes as the outgoing 2004-2009 model. The biggest change is in front, where Mazda's new Nag are styling theme makes a bold statement. Inside, Mazda claims the 3 is equipped with "a high-quality interior" and "is available with key features typically not seen in the class."

Model Lineup
The 2010 Mazda 3 sedan is offered with a choice between three engines in six trim levels. Models equipped with the standard 2.0-liter4-cylinder engine are called the Mazda 3i, while versions powered by the available 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine are called the Mazda 3s. The high-performance model is known simply as the Mazda speed 3. The six trim levels are: 3i SV, 3i Sport, 3i Touring, 3s Sport, 3s GrandTouring, and Mazda speed 3.

The 2010 Mazda 3 hatchback is available with the larger 2.5-liter4-cylinder engine in two levels of trim: the 3s Sport and the 3s GrandTouring. The performance-oriented Mazda speed version features a turbocharged engine, upgraded brakes, a sport suspension, and special chassis tuning.

The Mazda 3i SV sedan is basic in equipment levels, and offered only with a manual transmission. Most people will choose the Sport orTouring models, the latter of which can be outfitted with stability control, alloy wheels, a power sunroof, and a 242-watt Bose Centerpoint surround sound system. Selecting the Mazda 3s model in Sport or GrandTouring trim paves the way to more equipment like a Tech package with a navigation system, Sirius satellite radio, and keyless entry and ignition. Grand Touring models also come standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, 8-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors with integrated signal indicators, and bi-Xenon headlights with an adaptive front lighting system that helps the driver see around dark corners.


Hardware
The 2010 Mazda 3i sedan is equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 148 hp at 6500 rpm and 135 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm(slightly less power and torque ratings in California and New England,where the engine meets Partial Zero Emission Vehicle standards).Available on the sedan and standard on the hatchback is a 2.5-liter4-cylinder engine making 167 hp at 6000 rpm and 168 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm (a little less in PZEV states). The range-topping Mazda speed 3 features a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.Ratings for the U.S.-spec model were not available when this preview was published, but the European version makes 260 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque.

A new 5-speed manual transmission is standard with the smaller engine,driving the Mazda 3's front wheels. The bigger engine, and the turbocharged engine in the Mazda speed 3, are equipped with a new6-speed manual transmission. Most models may be paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission that features manual shifting, though the base Mazda 3i SV sedan and the Mazda speed 3 are available only in row-�em-yerself format.

According to Mazda, the 2.0-liter engine will deliver a minimum of 24mpg in the city and a maximum of 33 mpg on the highway. The 2.5-liter engine is expected to produce at least 21 mpg in the city and as much as 29 mpg on the highway. Fuel economy estimates for the Mazda speed 3are pending.

Equipped with a 4-wheel independent suspension, electro-hydraulic power steering, and 16- or 17-inch wheel choices wearing 55- or 50-series tires, the 2010 Mazda 3 is "aimed at the young at heart, who love to drive," according to Mazda. Mazda also says the new 3 will offer"evolved sporty driving performance." Four-wheel disc ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, traction control,and stability control are standard on every 2010 Mazda 3.

Enthusiasts will prefer the Mazda speed 3 model. In addition to increased horsepower and torque, it features a sport-tuned suspension,larger brakes, bigger wheels and tires, and special interior and exterior treatments.


Technology
As an entry-level compact car, the 2010 Mazda 3 is not equipped with the latest in high-tech gadgets. Nevertheless, it can be equipped with some useful technologies that were not offered on the previous-generation model.

For example, the Mazda 3i Touring sedan is equipped with standardBluetooth wireless connectivity for hands-free cell phone use. A Tech package available on Mazda 3i Touring and higher trim levels features a navigation system, Sirius satellite radio with a free 6-month subscription, and an advanced keyless entry and push-button ignition system. Optional on the Mazda 3s models is a Bose Center point surround system with 242 watts of power and 10 speakers. Finally, Grand Touring models come with bi-Xenon headlights with an adaptive front lighting system, which swivels the lights in turns to help the driver see better at night.

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