Motoring | Motoring News
Right at the end of last year I got to drive the Mazda3 100th Anniversary Special Edition hatch. It’s a good looking, all-round competent car, that you simply can’t buy in South Africa. Allow me to explain further.
The Mazda Motor Corporation celebrated their 100th Anniversary last year and produced a Special Edition series on the full Mazda range. But for what I can only guess are reasons of simple scales of economy and demand, these models were not made available for public purchase locally.
Now let me tell what you missed out on with this white and burgundy two-tone colour combination that is said to hark back to the company’s first passenger car, the R360 Coupe from 1960. On the outside you get one colour choice, and that is Snowflake White in Pearl Mica, with 100th Anniversary Special Badge on the fenders, rounded off by alloy wheels with 100 Years centre pieces with a red outer strip.
Inside you get a dashboard and side door panels are finished in white leather trim, Burgundy Red carpets, while the front floor carpets and front headrests come embossed with 100th Anniversary Special Logo, as does the key fob.
Under the skin it is business as usual, and by that, I mean the rest of the car is based off the exceptionally good and full house spec Astina that you can buy at any dealer country wide for R492 300. And this gets you the likes of an all-new 8.8-inch infotainment screen, a seven-inch TFT reconfigurable gauge cluster display, Bluetooth phone and audio pairing with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a Bose12-speaker sound system, remote keyless entry, push-button start, auto LED headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors & rear-view camera, cruise control and full auto air-conditioning and a ten-way power adjustable driver seat with lumbar support.
On the road, the handling and dynamics are as good and predictable as expected. The 3 offers a comfortable ride with just a hint of sportiness. Basically, perfect for everyday use. Urge is supplied by a peppy 121kW/213Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. And while this is more than enough for everyday use once again, the high altitude of the Reef sucks a bit of life out of the engine. I do feel this is where Mazda are missing a trick, and why many might opt for a similarly powered, smaller capacity, turbocharged alternative that is not affected by the lack of oxygen in the air.
Mazda makes great cars, that have an enviable reputation for reliability and durability, and not seen as mainstream as their German competition, which I think is cool, but they are a bit pricey, and I think this scares off more buyers than it should.
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