Mazda has released new photos of the revised Mazda 3 compact sedan /hatchback for the 2017 model year. The 2017 Mazda 3 is sold as the Axela in native Japan. Many enthusiasts had hoped the automaker would bring back the Mazdaspeed3 but it seems that the automaker has no immediate intentions to revive the nameplate.
The changes on the new models are subtle since the model underwent a more extensive redesign last year. The automaker is also set to release the next-gen Mazda 3 next year as a 2018 model. The only significant addition is the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) device which combines with the SKYACTIV engineering to improve the vehicle’s control and driving dynamics.
2017 Mazda 3 Exterior
The only exterior difference between the sedan and the hatchback is their rear ends; the hatch features a trunk door while the sedan features a trunk-lid, otherwise they are identical. Compared to the 2016 models, the exterior of the Mazda 3 models look almost unchanged.
At the front, the new subtle changes include a new grille that features the Mazda emblem inside the grille unlike on the 2016 models where it overlaps the top part of the grille. The new grille also overlaps the air-dam. Mazda has also revised chrome inserts of the grille which now terminate at the inner edge of the headlamps. The grille also features larger horizontal louvers. The grille is flanked by revised headlights which feature a new LED strip design and LED DRLs that stretch towards the air dam. In addition, the new fog lamps look smaller.
The rear of both the sedan and hatchback is carried over unchanged except for the larger reflectors and a new character line that connects each of the reflectors on the corners.
2017 Mazda 3 Interior
Unlike the exterior, the interior features significant changes. The new changes start with new inserts on the door panels and the dashboard. There is also a new bottom spoke steering wheel with a shiny finish. The side spokes of the steering wheel feature a sleeker button layout which is finished off by a chrome insert on each button panel.
The instrument cluster is largely unchanged except for its cleaner appearance. The center console has however received a significant upgrade. There is a retractable lid over the storage area and cup holders and a larger cubby head of the gear shifter which was possible since the pop-out tray in the previous model has been deleted.
HVAC controls feature smaller knobs with a chrome finish. Enthusiasts will also love the new infotainment screen which has been revised to look more modern by the elimination of openings on the sides. The result is a screen that looks as if it is hovering above the dashboard.
Overall, the cabin of the 2017 Mazda 3 looks very stylish with features that are well laid out.
Engine specs and performance
There are no changes under the hood. The Mazda3 will still derive power from two Skyactiv engines. The base engine is a 2.0 L 4-cylinder unit which powers the ‘i’ trim models. The engine produces 155 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. This engine returns a combined fuel economy of 33 mpg and can achieve 41 mpg on highway drives.
The second engine which powers the ‘s’ models is a 2.5 L, 4-cylinder mill rated at 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. This engine is EPA rated at 29 mpg on combined drives. Power will be channeled to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox with an option for a 6-speed automatic transmission system in both the sedans and hatchbacks.
In Japan, the model which is sold as Axela will be offered with an additional 1.5 L, 4-cylinder petrol engine, a 2.2 L, turbo-diesel as well as a new 1.5 L, turbo-diesel mill. There are also reports of a hybrid drive-train.
The most exciting change on the drive-train setup is the addition of the new G-Vectoring Control device which will help improve control and driving dynamics of the car.
Price and release date
Mazda is yet to release official prices of the Mazda 3. However, don’t expect the prices to increase significantly from the 2016 prices. The current base sedan starts at $18,680 inclusive of destination charges while the hatchback starts at $19,380 a difference of $700.
The top Mazda 3 Touring hatchback has a price tag of $26,330. The models will first go on sale in Japan before being delivered to European and other markets later on.