DRIVEN: Mazda 3 2.0 Astina Plus 5DR

Quite possibly the car that really shows off MAZDA’s KODO design concept, the Mazda 3 is a beautiful hatchback that looks like no other in its segment. In this particular trim level being the 2.0 Astina Plus, the car is loaded with a lot of kit. We’re talking autonomous city braking, driver attention alert, LED headlamps, lane departure warning and lane keep assist to mention a few.

Mazda has some tough competition with the likes of the VW Golf and Ford Focus, but in the looks department, it does hold its own. With its long bonnet and quite rounded rear, it isn’t boxy like its competitors. The Soul Red Metallic paintwork really makes this car stand out. Fitted with 18-inch wheels it gives the car a more sporty stance.

The Mazda 3’s interior is very well put together, very spacious and comfortable. Standard with a 7-inch touchscreen with MZDA Connect, its controlled via a clicky wheel by the driver’s thigh which after a while Found myself using without having to stare down at when accessing certain functionalities. Also as standard is a sunroof and BOSE sound system which sounds pretty phenomenal. The boot in the Mazda 3 comes in at 308 litres, it’s not class leading but its a usable size, with the rear seats folded down in a 60/40 split you can fit more than you can expect. The Mazda 3 disappoints with the lack of an auto-locking doors feature which is something you would expect from such a modern and premium car.

In a world of downsizing and turbocharging, Mazda has stuck to their guns with naturally aspirated engines. Powering the Mazda 3 2.0 ASTINA PLUS is a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder petrol engine. It develops 121 kW’s and 210 Nm of torque. It’s more of a cruiser than a boy racer engine. The six-speed automatic transmission is good, not great, but good. It tends to kick down too many gears under hard acceleration, worse when you decide to engage cruise control.

The ride quality in the Mazda 3 is quite competent and offers a premium ride. Mazda claims fuel consumption of 5.9 l/100kms but I only managed 8.4 l/100kms. Featuring G-VECTORING (GVC) the system is meant to make a driver feel more comfortable behind the wheel in making less steering adjustments rather than turning a driver into a boy racer!

Though offering cheaper derivatives, this 2.0 ASTINA PLUS is priced at R420, 100.00. It’s a premium price for a premium hatchback taking into consideration how many options it comes with standard. Compared to its rivals, you’d be paying way more for options whilst options on this car are standard. It ticks all the major boxes, though far from dethroning the Golf, it’s ever so coming close to doing so.

Specs

  • Engine: 2.0 litre 4 cyl petrol
  • Power: 121kW @ 6000rpm
  • Torque: 204 N.m @ 4000rpm
  • rpmTransmission: 6 Speed Automatic
  • Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h 9.0 sec
  • Top Speed: 195 km/h
  • Fuel Consumption: 5.8l per 100km (claimed)
  • Price: R 428, 500.00

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