For 2012, the successful Mazda3 lineup of compact sedans and hatchbacks is bringing with it two significant changes that could lead to equally significant sales gains: A lower MSRP and (much) higher available fuel-efficiency ratings. The price of admission to the Mazda3 family falls by $600 as compared to 2011, while the addition of Mazda’s breakthrough SkyActiv powertrain technologies lifts the highway fuel-economy mark of the Mazda3 i Touring sedan to 40 mpg.
“The Mazda3 is the core of the Mazda line-up and continues to be the standard by which all other compact cars are measured,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North America. “Because of the importance of this critical vehicle to Mazda sales success, we chose to debut our revolutionary SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY in Mazda3, as well as bring the i SV model to market at a lower starting MSRP than the previous year.”
In addition, a number of styling upgrades have been applied to Mazda’s popular compact, including a revised front fascia and front grille opening on the outside, as well as new cloth seats in the cabin. Complete pricing information and other changes for the best-selling vehicle on the Mazda roster are as follows.
Mazda3 i SV/Sport/Touring/Grand Touring
The Mazda3 lineup starts with the sedan and hatchback “i" configurations, available in four different trims. The entry-level Mazda3 i SV and i Sport are available only in sedan body styles, with Mazda’s 2.0-liter, 148-hp MZR four-cylinder engine, and will start at $15,200 and $16,845, respectively, with the i Sport sedan including standard air conditioning and adding remote keyless entry as a standard feature for the new model year. Notably, it’s also available with a five-speed electronically controlled and sport-tuned automatic transmission with the automaker’s Adaptive Shift Logic system and manual-shift mode.
Fuel-economy ratings for the SV and Sport models remain at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway/28 mpg combined for vehicles equipped with a five-speed manual transmission and 24/33/27 for those with an automatic.
The Mazda i Touring models boast the new SkyActiv engine and transmission choices, capable of delivering 155 hp (a 5 percent increase over the MZR engine) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (representing a 10 percent jump in peak torque and 15 percent improvement in low- to mid-range torque). But even with that power enhancement, the Mazda3 i Touring sedan is expected to reach 40 mpg highway and the five-door hatchback is slated to hit 39 mpg highway.
Leveraging the SkyActiv six-speed manual transmission, the MSRP for the i Touring sedan is $18,450; that of the five-door hatch is $18,950. Customers will add $850 to the price of both for the SkyActiv six-speed autobox. However, because this is the first year in which the Mazda3 hatch is available in the U.S. with a 2.0-liter engine—in addition to the 2.5-liter I4 in the “s” range models—the cost of the least-expensive five-door Mazda3 in America is $1,095 lower than in 2010.
Key standard equipment on the Touring models includes a new 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth functionality, a rear-seat center armrest with cupholders, an uplevel six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, and a chrome exhaust tip.
The new model year also marks the debut of the Mazda3 i Grand Touring models, which build on the amenities offered by the Touring line with standard features like:
• Power moonroof
• Power driver’s seat
• Heated front seats
• Leather-trimmed seats front and back
• The Bose Centerpoint 10-speaker audio setup with Surround Sound
• Full-color navigation
The Grand Touring models also offers a blind-sport alert system—a segment-exclusive for Mazda that’s also available on the hi-po MAZDASPEED3.
The base price of the Mazda3 i Grand Touring is $22,300 in the sedan body style and $22,800 for the five-door.
Mazda3 s Touring/Grand Touring
Providing a notable upgrade in terms of power are the Mazda3 s models, which pack the automaker’s MZR 2.5-liter I4 engine, tuned for 167 hp and 168 lb.-ft. of torque and mated to either the five-speed sport-shifting automatic or a six-speed DIY gearbox. MSRPs start at $21,300 for the Mazda3 s Touring sedan and $21,800 for the hatch, and include 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, Mazda’s Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System (with pushbutton start), a moonroof, a dual-zone climate system, and the Bose Centerpoint sound system—navigation is standard on the s Grand Touring models.
Fuel economy ratings for the Mazda3 s lineup are 22/29/25 when equipped with an automatic transmission and 20/28/23 with a manual gearbox.
For the ultimate zoom-zoom experience in a compact hatchback package, Mazda offers the 2012 MAZDASPEED3 with a base price that’s unchanged from 2011—$24,000. Also unchanged: The car’s uniquely powerful 2.3-liter Direct Injection Spark Ignition engine, which showcases 263 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, along with the ability to reach EPA ratings of 25 mpg highway (and 18 city/21 combined).
All that power is then routed through the Mazda Advanced Torque Management System—and a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission—to ensure drivers can make the most of it. Also helping matters is a wide range of other performance enhancers, such as specially tuned front and rear independent suspensions, larger front brakes, a sport tuned exhaust, a limited-slip differential, larger stabilizers bars both front and back, and competition-style seats.
The full lineup of 2012 Mazda3 vehicles is on its way to U.S. dealerships now