By Veeno Dewan
For 2019, the Mazda3 is revamped. Much loved for its sporty looks, and sprightly performance, the new 3 arrives as either a hatchback or a sedan with even sleeker sheet metal and a host of improvements. The new platform is both stiffer and lighter than before for better handling, and there is a new interior with improved technology. Powertrains offering include the latest version of Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter I-4 with cylinder deactivation making 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, or the 2.0 liter four cylinder Skyactiv offering 155hp and 150lb-ft torque. There is the option of either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Also of note is the availability of the Mazda3 Sport with the option of All Wheel Drive via an i-Activ AWD system for the first time. This is a significant development. Previously there has been little choice in this sector of sedans. Now you can order the All-Wheel Drive option on Sport GS and GT grades on both the sedan and the hatch.
And now to the meat! Mazda’s new i-ACTIV all-wheel drive system sends torque where it’s most needed and works with G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC+) to maintain traction. Advanced Computers and sensors ensure precise torque distribution for maximum grip in both dry and slippery wet/snow conditions. Overall GVC improves overall dynamics and car control. There are now significant changes to the 2.5-liter engine or the transmission for all-wheel drive model, although there is a weight penalty due to the extra driveline mechanicals.
Interior wise, the fabrics, textile and plastics are all premium quality. The dash instrumentation is well designed with a nice heft and feel to all the controls. The 12-speaker Bose surround sound system is excellent with near audiophile quality while the latest generation of the Mazda Connect interface is also a joy to use.
The Mazda3’s superbly engineered chassis soaks up bumps and pot holes All-wheel drive should make the 2019 Mazda3 more appealing to consumers living in in all of Canadas snow- prone provinces. The Four-wheel drive along with GVC+ also improves the Mazda3’s driving characteristics on road. When combined with its elegant interior, the Mazda3 is a compact entry-level luxury car that won’t disappoint.
2019 Mazda3 All-Wheel Drive Base price: $27,000 Price as tested with options, Freight and PDE: $33,295