LOOK at that colour. It’s stunning. That red; adorning the 2019 Mazda3 Astina hatch, is like the perfect shade of lipstick on your favorite Hollywood actress. Now couple it with design lines that scream city chic with serious kerb appeal.
What you end up with is a sophisticated, styling, and quite frankly beautiful looking road car, that when paired with gloss black 18-inch rims and gloss black body ascents, delivers an aesthetic appeal that matches anything else in its class.
But if the incredible Soul Crystal Red is not your thing, there’s also Polymetal Grey Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica and Jet Black Mica. It’s also no good having all those banging exterior looks if you can’t replicate that soul in the cabin of the Mazda3.
With a choice of either black or burgundy leather, the Astina cabin feels luxurious and welcoming. It featured heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, handy during Sydney’s current winter cold snap.
Ergonomically the Mazda is functional and uncluttered too. There’s no mess of buttons to choose controls from, just a single dial control to drive the main infotainment system, and a separate audio control dial, that’s simple and easy to manipulate.
Overall, the infotainment system is excellent, and the 12-speaker sound system is a real enhancement to your Mazda3 experience. The Astina comes with SatNav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the steering wheel is loaded with controls too.
You can even adjust the radar cruise control from right there on the wheel. It’s a nice touch, and one that’s missing from some of its rivals. The climate control system is easy to use too.
The driving position is relaxed and the driver’s seat features electric adjustment with memory. The seats are comfortable and supportive and help promote the luxury sports feel of the 2019 Mazda3 Astina.
At the heart of this funky looking beast is a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine that offers 139kW of power and 252Nm of torque. Featuring i-stop technology and cylinder deactivation, the Skyactiv-G power plant delivers, especially in sport mode.
Now this is where it might get a little confusing. The Mazda3 Astina is a luxurious sports hatch, and a very good one at that, but it’s not a hot hatch (that’s not to say we don’t think Mazda should use it as a base for a fire-breathing performance variant).
It’s priced at $41,491 plus on-roads, which puts it just below the entry point for a range of sportier cars that includes the Subaru WRX and Volkswagen Golf GTI, but it’s actual main competition is the Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Highline and Toyota Corolla ZR.
From that perspective, the Mazda3 Astina carries a significant price premium over its rivals. That higher cost might make some buyers balk, and we’re really not sure whether it’s a bridge too far for most people.
The Astina is an exceptional offering though, with plenty of room upfront and enough space in the back for two adults, although the usual sloping roof issue in hatches might make you feel a little cramped.
There is plenty of boot space, and this can easily be increased by folding down the rear seats. The drive quality of the Mazda3 is good too. Road noise is minimal which is a big improvement over previous years and the suspension is nice and firm.
The engine is punchy and offers a satisfying amount of up and go for the pilot. Safety features, the Astina has those in spades, including blind spot and lane keep assist, driver fatigue alert, forward collision warning and crash avoidance braking.
As well as boasting a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, there’s also a user-friendly reversing camera that offers clear visibility when reversing or parking. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty as well.
But who is the 2019 Mazda3 Astina for? Well, in our opinion, the buyer for this particular variant is someone who appreciates quality and has a sense of style, they want to look good and have a practical car that’s easy to drive.
They’ve potentially thought about a BMW 1 Series or an Audi 3 Series, but realise that they might get better value for money here in the Japanese option.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Mazda Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Mazda3 Astina, contact your local Mazda dealer.