2012 Mazda3 SkyActiv priced from $18,450

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 6, 2011

The Mazda6’s fuel economy will be much better with the use of the Skyactiv technology for both its engines and transmissions, according to the North American division of Mazda. In the U.S., the refreshed Mazda3 is offered as a four-door sedan and a five-door hatch. It has a base price of $15,200 (excluding the $795 destination charge).

Paying this amount will get you a 2012 Mazda3 i SV sedan with a 148 hp MZR 2.0-liter engine and a manual gearbox. For $15,200, you would get a higher-trim i Sport sedan that is offered with a five-speed automatic transmission as an option.

The Mazda3 i Touring or Grand Touring models feature the new SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine, which delivers 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.

These two models are offered with either the all-new SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual gearbox or the all-new SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission for just $850 more. The Mazda3 i Touring sedan has a price tag of $18,450. Meanwhile, the Mazda3 i Touring hatchback that offers 39 mpg on the highway is priced higher by $500. The Grand Touring sedan is priced from $22,300 with a five-door model that costs $22,800.

The 2012 version of the Mazda 3 builds on it strong reputation for its sporty handling that allows drivers to feel that their expectations are consistently, linearly and immediately met by the car. This feeling of oneness results to comfortable drive in any driving situation. This linear and consistent feel – defined as Toitsukan –particularly refers to having a seamless transition between acceleration, lateral and deceleration G forces as a response to turning and stopping.

Toitsukan is not about simply experiencing a sharp response from the car as soon as the accelerator is pressed and the wheel is steered. Toitsukan is about delivering a consistent linear feeling of the vehicle’s response to inputs made by the driver, thereby resulting to a more pleasurable drive and a heightened sensation of excitement and control. In addition, Toitsukan, with its smooth and stable car movement, allows passengers to experience a comfortable ride.

The benefits of Toitsukan are what prompted Mazda to make sure that this feel is achieved throughout the Mazda 3’s features. Toitsukan was particularly achieved in the Mazda 3 by creating a stronger body, tuning the front and rear dampers and adopting the Electro-Hydraulic Power Assist Steering (EHPAS) system. This system makes use of a new pump flow characteristics setting that makes handling much easier when the car is moving at slow speeds.

Likewise, this new setting provides a more positive feedback and a better road feeling when the car is moving at mid-range to high speeds. Thanks to EHPAS, the steering feel for the new Mazda 3 is lighter and nimbler than its predecessor. In fact, EHPAS is designed to be so intuitive that a little turn of the steering wheel results to a small change in direction, while a huge turn of the wheel leads to a significant change in direction. To achieve Toitsukan, the body of the new Mazda 3 has been reinforced – partly by increasing the number of spot welds joining the suspension crossmembers to the reinforced body areas -- to make it more rigid.

At the same time, this further improves the car’s already remarkable agility and handling stability. Moreover, Mazda employed stronger reinforcement materials that have made it possible to effectively diffuse input from the suspension crossmember mounts to the body. Furthermore, a stronger and more effective single brace has now replaced the two reinforcement bars under the center of the floor panel – resulting to suppressed fore-aft body deformation. However, this applies only to Mazda 3 models powered by the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter or MZR 2.5-liter engines.

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