SINCE its inception, the Mazda3 has been one of the staples of the Australian car market. It’s seen amazing success, been one of this country’s most popular cars, and the new Mazda3 G25 Astina might just be the best version yet.
Think of this review as a meal though, and before you have your dessert, you need to eat your veggies. So let’s start with the negatives, to get them out of the way.
The first one is the massive blind spot caused by that sweeping hatch line, which looks great on the outside but is a visual nightmare in the cabin. Luckily, this is aided by blind spot monitoring, which scans up to 50m behind the vehicle, and trust us, you need it.
Slowing to a stop by decelerating gently gives us the second one, as you can feel the car changing down gears with a jerk through each gear. It’s frustrating because this engine and gearbox combination is so close to greatness, but is let down by a few small areas.
That unpleasant jerking really detracts from the driving experience. The last one is a small niggle, the peas if you will, in your veggie mix. There’s a slight hesitation found cruising at part throttle, its nothing huge, but we noticed it, and we shouldn’t have.
Dessert time. Apart from those small issues this is the best Mazda3 to date. Beautiful styling, a fantastic list of features and a package that is all you could ever want in a Mazda3, except for an MPS version (are you listening Mazda?!).
Instantly the G25 Astina stands out as a stunning car. For a mainstream model that sells at the volume the Mazda3 does, that’s quite an achievement.
The hatch is the pick over the sedan for looks, not that the sedan is ugly, but the lines and rear end of the hatch are sporty and more appealing over the elegant and practical design of the sedan.
Our test car was presented in Soul Red Crystal Metallic, which is our favourite from the colour palette and looks great at any angle and any light.
Combined with the Astina’s black 18-inch wheels, the G25 Astina will have you turning your head back for one last look every time you walk away in the car park.
The interior design continues to impress. Modern and ergonomic in its layout, all the essential controls are where you want them to be and labelled clearly and elegantly. The LED instrument panel is clear and presents all relevant information in a beautiful layout.
Working in conjunction with the active driver display, your eyes will never be far from where they should be, the road. And out on the road is where the G25 Astina again shows why the Mazda3 has been so popular through the years.
Place your hands on the rather large heated steering wheel and it won’t take long to discover the charms of Mazda3 motoring.
From the streamlined instrument panel and centre console, to the full leather interior, you can feel how much emphasis has been placed on harmonising the connection between car and driver.
Powered by a 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine producing 139kW and 252Nm, you aren’t going to set the world on fire at the traffic light drag strip, but it’s more than enough power to get you out of trouble.
You’ll also enjoy the dynamic potential of the chassis which is perfectly agile on the right piece of road. Impressively, the engine returns a combined fuel consumption of 6.3-litres/100km, aided by Mazda’s i-stop technology and cylinder deactivation.
The combination delivers a potential 944km from it’s relatively small 51-litre fuel tank.
The 2020 Mazda3 is stacked with safety features and being the top of the line, the G25 Astina scores all of them, including a 360-degree view monitor, cruising and traffic support, driver monitoring, front cross traffic alert and front parking sensors.
Priced from $42,117 plus on-roads, the 2020 Mazda3 G25 Astina isn’t exactly cheap. That price tag also pits it against some pretty stiff competition, including Toyota’s Corolla ZR and Ford’s Focus Titanium, as well as Audi’s A3 30 TFSI.
So, you can see the conundrum that creates. If the G25 Astina is on your shopping list, you are going to have some tough decisions to make against its competitors for it to come out on top.
It does deserve consideration though, because what Mazda has created here is a great all round package. Similar to Volkswagen’s Golf GTI in the hot hatch market, which doesn’t excel in just one area in particular, but is a very good, if not the best, all-round hot hatch.
The 2020 Mazda3 G25 Astina abides by the same philosophy, the right balance of ingredients mixed together to create a car that drives well, is packed with safety features, looks great inside and out, and focuses on the connection between car and driver.
And isn’t that how a great dessert is made.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mazda Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Mazda3 G25 Astina, contact your local Mazda dealer.