The Mazda3 is still one of Australia’s best-selling small cars, consistently sitting at the top of the table just behind the Toyota Corolla.
There’s a good reason for both their successes.
All the popular passenger cars have same traits – they don’t really have any stand out characteristics or flashy inclusions, but they equally don’t have any outstanding flaws, are liveable and have a reassuring drive, with all the basic functions you require in one package, and are value for money.
We have a Mazda3 sedan in the family that has served us well since it was driven out of the showroom.
But the 2018 Mazda3 SP25 Astina hatch is a far cry from the Mazda3 Neo of six years ago.
The Mazda open-mouth grille, rounded rear, chrome trims, and elongated, sleek look give the body an air of elegance.
The interior is just as schmick, with black leather seats and leather trims on the steering wheel, doors and centre console.
An uncomplicated dashboard plus floating touchscreen and dial control on the floor console add to the sophistication.
The dashboard itself slopes downwards and doesn’t impose on your space as in some other vehicles.
Though the rear passengers may have less headroom due to the tapering roofline and beltline as is the design of the day.
But legroom is adequate and boot space average for a hatch if this size.
The driver info display is quite basic and plain (LCD) by today’s standards especially for the upper spec model.
However, the speedo and other info (speed limit, line markings, cruise control) is displayed on the projected HUD.
- Auto start/stop (iStop)
- Push button start
- Sport mode
- Paddle shifters
- Digital radio
- Dual climate control
The Mazda3 SP25 Astina gains a sunroof and 18” alloys on top of the SP25 GT inclusions as well as some safety features covered later.
Drive and Engine
The Mazda3 SP25 range does have some power from the naturally aspirate 2.5L engine but it isn’t delivered all that slickly and does require some effort.
Sports mode injects a little more immediacy but is geared rather high and over-revs especially in fourth gear.
Basically, there is some performance there however unrefined, and the engine is quite loud for this variety of vehicle.
The rest of the drive though is satisfactory with decent handling, suspension and balance.
Fuel consumption over a week was reasonable at 8.2L/100km.
The majority of unique inclusions in the top of the range SP25 Astina are its safety features which include:
- Adaptive LED headlamps
- Forward Obstruction Warning
- Lane-keep Assist System
- Lane Departure Warning
- Radar Cruise Control
- Smart Brake Support
Mazda has quite a ‘diligent’ safety system which constantly beeps warnings that may annoy the driver to no end.
- Exterior design
- Ride and balance
- Interior layout
- Additional safety tech
Not So Good Bits
- Noisy engine
- Simple instrument display
The 2018 Mazda3 SP25 Astina is another well-packaged Mazda offering earning its place as one of Australia’s most popular vehicles.
An all-rounder, it possesses nice styling both inside and out, a competent drive with extra power, all the features, comfort and storage you could ask for and the Astina comes with advanced safety tech.
While the engine can be noisy, you do get a great drive and some added spirit from the four-cylinder unaided by a turbocharger.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mazda3 SP25 Astina
- Engine: 2.5L four-cylinder petrol producing 138kW/250Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed sports automatic
- Warranty: 3 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $34,490