The well-rounded Mazda 3 compact is being freshened for 2017. The relatively mild updates to the Uk model, which were previously announced for the global version of the car, include tweaked exterior styling, some new interior bits, updated active-safety features, and the addition of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system for improved steering response
That doesn’t sound like much, but the 3 didn’t need much improvement. Nonetheless, the changes for 2017 are welcome, especially the revised exterior that nicely sharpens the 3’s look. The reshaped grille and headlights present a slightly more aggressive face to the world, and LED headlights are newly available on higher-trim models. A new rear bumper appears a bit cleaner and crisper than before, at least on the pictured hatchback model.
The 18-inch wheels available on the 3’s s trim also are slightly different, although the 16-inch wheels lower-spec SE version remains the same. Two new colours are available: Machine Grey Metallic joins the palette, while Eternal Blue Mica replaces the previous Blue Reflex Mica.
Interior revisions are a bit more noteworthy, with the 3 adopting a steering wheel, an electric parking brake that frees up centre-console storage space, and some nicer trim for the door panels. The optional head-up display is now full colour rather than monochromatic, and the door pockets are said to be much larger than before. A heated steering wheel is a new option, while upholstery upgrades include nicer fabric for the standard cloth interior, new espresso-coloured accents for the optional black leather interior, and parchment-coloured leather replacing the previous almond shade.
As for the 3’s mechanicals, the most significant addition is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control, a new steering system that reduces torque when entering a corner to increase the responsiveness of the steering rack. To combat relatively high levels of road noise—one of our few complaints about the 3—Mazda said it has revised the dampers and sound insulation for a quieter overall ride.
There are no engine changes. As before, either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission is available regardless of engine choice, something that can’t be said about many of the 3’s competitors, which limit manual-transmission availability to the basement models.
A suite of active-safety features remains on the options list: forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring. A new camera is now part of the package, which Mazda says expands the speed range at which pedestrians can be detected for the automated emergency-braking system. Cars equipped with the i-Activsense package can now also recognize road signs.
More nitty-gritty information on the 2017 Mazda 3, including pricing and official EPA mileage numbers, should be released soon. The 2017 model is scheduled to go on sale in September.