2015 Mazda3 Neo

Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo
Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

Our Car of the Week is the 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo
Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

There seems to be two unquestionable trends in the Australian car market – the rise in popularity of SUVs and the continuing attraction of five-door hatchbacks.

Mazda Australia has both segments covered with an array of SUVs ranging from the Mazda CX-3 (which shares many of the same underpinnings with the Mazda2), right through to the seven-seat Mazda CX-9. While the Japanese brand’s hatchback offerings, Mazda2 and Mazda3, command huge sections of their relevant segments.

The Mazda3 though is the big-seller and has spent more than its fair share of time as the overall top-selling car in Australia.

Our Car of the Week is the 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

Priced from $20,490, the Mazda3 is offered in two body-shapes – five-door hatchback and four door sedan. You also have a choice of seven different model grades and prices round-out from a not insignificant $41,290 (Mazda3 XD Astina).

Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo
Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

The entry-point in the Mazda3 range, the Neo, is where most buyers head. Powered exclusively by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, the power plant in the Mazda3 Neo gives owners 114kW and 200Nm and offers claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.8L/100km.

Upper-spec models of the Mazda3 come with a choice of 138kW/250Nm 2.5 litre petrol engine, or 129kW/420Nm 2.2 litre turbo-diesel.

Around town you can expect the 2015 Mazda3 Neo to use a very reasonable 7.6L/100km and the model comes with an impressive four and a half star green rating.

There are two main competitors in the small car market – Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30. To compare, the entry-point in the Corolla range starts from $19,790 and the Hyundai i30 comes in hatch or wagon form and prices start at $20,990.

The Mazda3 Neo has a couple of advantages over the Corolla and i30 – both the Toyota and Hyundai come with smaller 1.8 litre engines, the Mazda3 boasting an 11kW and 27Nm advantage over the Toyota and 7kW and 25Nm head start on the Hyundai.

Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo
Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

The Mazda also uses less fuel – the Toyota has a claimed combined rate of 6.7L/100km, the Hyundai has a 7.0L/100km rating.

Both the Toyota and Mazda come with three-year warranties, though the Toyota warranty is limited to 100,000kms. The Hyundai boasts five-year’s peace of mind.

All three models come with five-star ANCAP safety ratings.

Standard features in the entry-level Mazda3 Neo include 16” alloy wheels, tilt and reach steering adjustment, key-less entry and push-button ignition, rear parking sensors, cruise control and an engine stop/start system.

While factory fitted extra features include a $1500 Safety Pack, which adds; Blind Spot Sensors, Forward Low Speed Collision Mitigation and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo
Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

If you like the popular ‘Soul Red Metallic’ paint (as in the photos) you will need to come up with an added $200.

An automatic transmission will cost you an additional $2,000 in the Mazda, only $1,000 extra in the Toyota and Hyundai offers an auto version for an extra $2,300.

The Mazda3 is fitted with just a four-speaker stereo system and this is trumped by six-speaker units in the Corolla and i30. The Hyundai and Toyota also come standard with a reverse camera, though neither models offer alloy wheels.

Summing it up; it’s no surprise that the Mazda3 continues to be one of the most popular cars in Australia.

With attractive styling, nice cabin feel and design and more power and torque over its nearest rivals, as well as a more efficient engine and great value pricing, the Mazda3 Neo is definitely a small car that you want to have on your test-drive list.

Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo
Car of the Week – 2015 Mazda3 Neo.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Mazda3 Neo

Engine: 2.0 litre petrol producing 114kW and 200Nm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Safety: Five stars

Warranty: Three years

Origin: Japan

Price: From $20,490