The $40,750 Mazda GTX is one of the most complete vehicles I’ve piloted this year. We reckon it’s also worth the extra $4200 over the 2.0-litre GSX if you want a ballsier drive and a bit more kit, not that the entry GSX exactly wants for a lot.
It too gets head-up display and adaptive cruise. So sedan or hatch is the next question. The former has 140L more luggage capacity, even if the opening isn’t as big. I reckon the sedan looks better too, more rakish.
As to performance, it’s similar to the mechanically alike hatch. SPLs for the most part are in the late 60s, but there’s still a bit of rumble from the tyres over our meanest road surfaces, with figures averaging 74db. Still, it’s the quietest the 3 has ever been, and road noise has always been its least endearing trait.
This features natural aspiration done exceedingly well. Mazda has coaxed maximum goodness out of this long stroke engine which is quiet but oh-so willing from almost any revs.
It performs as well as any small turbo, without the lag off the mark or the need for 95 octane. Expect fuel use figures in the sixes and sevens on a highway cruise, and nines in town.
When pushed, the average only briefly transitioned to double figures, and then dropped back into the nines after a run through the hills. It is almost effortlessly quick, which is not something you expect of an atmo mill. This feels willing from in the 2000rpm zone and onto it by 3000rpm. Operating between 3000 and 4000rpm keeps things humming on the highway, while 3500-5000rpm is good for overtaking.
We got a better TED time using the MS slot with the sedan. At 4.99sec it’s down just 0.2sec on its 50kg lighter forebear. We also managed a crash stop 2m improved on the hatch. The brake pedal may not have quite the sensitivity of some but a 34m stop from 100km/h is laudable.
Like the hatch this flows down the road beautifully. Helping is the G-Vectoring Plus system which now includes torque vectoring by brake. Also contributing is the well judged fixed damping that keeps the body level through corners.
It seems to despatch technical roads with a degree of disdain, all the while riding in accomplished fashion. Other noteworthy bits include an improved command controller interface – now you just push a favourites button to save a station – and a fully configurable sound system with graphic equaliser. Impressive sounds too.
Seats aren’t powered like the Limited’s and there’s no lumbar adjust which is disappointing. No seat heaters either, but all the safety widgets are present, with lane keeping easily disabled. For most we’d suggest the GTX is the sweet spot of the range.
Sedan or hatch is up to you as they both cost the same. Overall this is a well rounded package, and it’s one whose merits don’t bludgeon you like a turbo’s might, but they kind of sneakily impress with time.
|Engine||2488cc, IL4, DI, 139kW/252Nm||Drivetrain||6-speed auto, front-wheel drive|
|Fuel Use||6.6L/100km||C02 Output||154g/km|