Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X | 100th Anniversary
Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.
This week we have been spending some time with the new Mazda3 and it’s not just the Mazda3 as you know it but actually the 100th Anniversary special edition. This is a blend of both the current Mazda3 and the Mazda R360 from which it took inspiration as a celebration of the companies historic rise. Mazda has preformed admirably from their humble beginnings as cork manufacturers to now making some of the most desirable cars on the road. I mean just look at the Mazda3, is there are bad angle to this car at all? It’s not hard to see why it claimed the 2020 World Car Design of the Year prize along with many other prestigious design awards. So what exactly is this and can anyone buy one? Well yes and no. The Mazda3 is readily available and can be ordered from your local dealer in a desired spec at any time. Just 100 examples of the 100th Anniversary Edition 3 made their way to the UK with approximately 20 destined for Ireland. At the time of writing 12 have been sold and the order books will soon end for this celebratory version.
The differences up close are pretty simple but combined they make a big impact. The pearl white with back 18-inch wheels looks fantastic. Subtle badging on the wheels and on the body denotes the anniversary specification. Inside the burgundy red leather seats and carpets again embossed with the celebratory badge look absolutely sublime. Sitting into the drivers seat and you are cocooned in premium materials with all essentials within easy reach. The central infotainment system is controlled by Mazda’s tried and tested click-wheel system, which we prefer to the more complicated touchscreen setups. Bose speakers provide an audible treat when you select your favourite tunes and you are left under no illusion that you are in something very premium. Even the leather key casing proudly displays the 100th Anniversary logo!
Powering this Mazda3 is the latest 2.0-litre e-Skyactiv-X engine, which produces 186ps at 6,000rpm. Early versions of this engine were a little lackluster but recent tweaks, which we will go into a little later, make this a much-improved powerplant most noticeable from 2000rpm onwards. Even better, efficiency has also been improved, with CO2 emissions dropping by 5 to 11 g/km depending on model, transmission and trim level. Both this engine and the Skyactiv-G offer a mild hybrid solution to help with the running of the infotainment and climate control etc. As we often say, at the very least you should be considering a mild hybrid when considering your next car and thankfully Mazda offer just that, throughout the range.
More good news here as the Mazda3 claimed the maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP. It performed admirably in all four Euro NCAP test categories, Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Vulnerable Road User (pedestrian safety) and Safety Assist. Mazda put this down to three key factors: the adoption of the very latest Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which features a high-rigidity, impact-absorbing yet lightweight bodyshell; an even wider range of advanced i-Activsense safety technologies to help drivers identify potential risks and reduce the likelihood of damage or injury; and enhanced pedestrian protection performance. As expected Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane-keep Assist System (LAS), Active Driving Display, Radar Cruise control and much more will leave you with real peace of mind.
Entry into Mazda3 ownership kicks off at around €28,500 rising with each specification increase to €35,500. Our 100th Anniversary Special Edition test vehicle is available exclusively by order only and you can expect to pay €37,220 for this very rare version. If you are interested you will have to contact your local Mazda dealer to register your interest in the hope there will be one left.
Ok, so to drive the Mazda3 is typical Mazda in the sense that corners exceptionally well and eats motorway miles for breakfast. As mentioned above the early versions of the Skyactiv-X engine needed a little refining but the updates to Mazda’s 2.0-litre Spark Controlled Compression Ignition engine have been noticeable to say the least. By adjusting the compression ratio from 16.3:1 to 15.0:1, modifying the pistons and updating the Mazda M Hybrid mild-hybrid system’s software you get a broader operating band of combustion efficiency, which allows the engine produce more torque and improve everyday fuel economy. The intake valve timing has also been adapted through modifying the intake camshaft, resulting in fewer trips to the fuel station. Living with the Mazda3 for the week was easy. Yes there are cars with more boot space, rear leg and headroom in this class but few look, and feel this good. The price tag for many on this Anniversary edition will not make sense but the good news is that you can spec another to look almost as good whilst saving you some cash! To see more be sure to check out our full video review on YouTube.
A little bumpy on back roads thanks to the low profile tyres.
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