Tested: 2012 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G
by Jeff Naeyaert
The 2012 Mazda3 is the first for the manufacturer to get a taste of SKYACTIV technology–Mazda's philosophy of optimizing engine and drivetrain efficiency, body rigidity and overall vehicle weight reduction to achieve 40mpg on regular ole unleaded gasoline and at the same time be a fun car to drive.
The mid-cycle refresh of Mazda's best-selling vehicle features a slightly less “happy” looking front fascia, lower rear bumper and aerodynamic aids that result in an impressive .27 drag coefficient for the sedan and .29 drag coefficient for the hatchback.
|The previous 3's silly grin yields to a more apt “smug” look for 2012|
New wheel designs, exterior colors, interior gauge illumination and an available blind spot monitoring system built into the sideview mirrors are some of the notable changes for 2012.
|Here's a key to ID'ing a SKYACTIV equipped Mazda3, they all get the snazzy blue ring around the standard projector beam headlights.|
On the inside the first thing we noticed was the new all black center console with common control areas outlined with silver bevels. Mazda claims this high contrast reduces the amount of time the driver has their eyes off the road but we thought the untextured flat black plastic finish came across cheap looking and likely to show every speck of dust and schmeeze that gets on it.