2012 Mazda3 Sport
2012 Mazda3 Sport. Click image to enlarge

More Mazda Skyactiv artices on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Mazda Canada

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Photo Gallery:
2012 Mazda3

Hollywood, California – Right outside the front door of the storied Roosevelt hotel in Los Angeles is where you find the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Stars of screen and sound have their own stars embedded in the sidewalk; a lasting celebration of their status as glitterati of popular culture.

There you’ll see K.C. and the Sunshine Band rub shoulders with Cole Porter, Canadians Donald and Kiefer Sutherland appropriately located side-by-side, and Mike Myers is there, too (shagadelic, man!).

I don’t think there’s an actual car in the Walk of Fame, but Mazda had enough pull to situate a 2012 Mazda3 poolside at the Roosevelt’s Tropicana Bar, and for a while, at least, a car was the star in that part of Hollywood.

2012 Mazda3 Sport
2012 Mazda3 Sport. Click image to enlarge

It’s not an all-new Mazda3, however, although this “mid-cycle refresh” does feature exterior, interior, functional and safety upgrades, along with new lower pricing. The base price for the 2.0-litre, 148-horsepower Mazda3 GX sedan is now $15,595 (plus $1,395 freight), and that includes standard remote keyless entry and power door locks. You’ll pay an extra $1,000 for the Sport (hatchback) version.

All Mazda3 vehicles (GX, GS, and GT sedans and hatchbacks) receive a new front fascia (the smiley face grille remains, but is softened and appears slightly smaller), better aerodynamics and a new fog light design. There’s a new rear lower bumper, new alloy wheel designs and new exterior colours (Sky Blue, Newport Slate, Indigo Lights).

Inside you’ll find new cloth upholstery, some aluminum-look accents, and an updated information display with white lettering. Each model receives it own gauge display colour: grey for the GX, blue for Skyactiv and red for the GT and Mazdaspeed3.

The safety upgrade takes the form of a Blind Spot Monitoring System, but it’s only available as part of a package for the GT models, which retain their 167-hp, 2.5-litre engine, and come standard with leather upholstery and Bose surround sound system. Still, Mazda pointed out that the Mazda3 is the only vehicle in its segment with blind spot monitoring available.

2012 Mazda3 Sport
2012 Mazda3 Sport. Click image to enlarge

The low-volume Mazdaspeed3 also retains its current engine — the turbocharged 2.3-litre four making 280 hp — and it, too, receives the Bose surround sound system as standard equipment.

Most importantly, though, the mid-range GS models now feature Mazda’s new Skyactiv drivetrain. This model is the first to receive the Skyactiv technology that will transform the company’s vehicle line-up over the next few years, and it was the GS that took centre stage at the Roosevelt.

Starting at $18,995 (plus $1,395 freight), all GS trim levels feature the new 2.0-litre Skyactiv four-cylinder engine that makes 155 horsepower and delivers five per cent more power and 10 per cent more torque than the 2.0-litre engine that is retained in the GX. It also returns better fuel economy at 7.1/4.9 L/100 km, city/highway, versus 8.1/5.9 city/highway for the GX. So, a lower price, more power and less fuel… consumers should be pleased.

Connect with Autos.ca