2021 Mazda 3 launched in Japan – more power from Skyactiv-X, improved safety, manual for Skyactiv-G 2.0 – paultan.org

First introduced in Japan in May, the fourth-generation Mazda 3 has received a slew of minor updates in its home market, bringing more power and improvements in driving dynamics and active safety.

Let’s start with upgrades to the engines, which include the clever 2.0 litre Skyactiv-X petrol four-cylinder that combines spark and compression ignition to deliver better fuel economy and reduced emissions. Tweaks to the Spark Plug Controlled Combustion Ignition (SPCCI) process have freed up an additional 10 PS and 16 Nm, bringing up outputs to 190 PS at 6,000 rpm and 240 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm.

The supercharger, which leans out the air-fuel mixture at higher revs, also responds more quickly to sharp throttle inputs to make the engine feel sprightlier. Models fitted with this engine are now called e-Skyactiv X and come with dedicated badging on the front fenders and tailgate.

Also updated is the 1.8 litre Skyactiv-D turbodiesel, now with a broader torque band and increased throttle response. There’s also a 14 PS increase in power to 130 PS at 4,000 rpm, although the actual torque figure holds station at 270 Nm from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm. Purists can also rejoice as the regular 2.0 litre Skyactiv-G petrol mill gets a new six-speed manual gearbox option, complementing the standard automatic.

Other changes include retuned springs and dampers to smoothen out suspension motion, reducing vibration and improving both ride and handling. As for safety, the Cruising & Traffic Support (CTS) Level 2 semi-autonomous driving function now works at highway speeds, up from the piffling 55 km/h limit of before. The adaptive cruise control also responds more smoothly to mimic a human driver better.

The update for the Mazda 3 also introduces a new limited edition model that celebrates two milestones at once. As such, it’s rather succinctly named the “100th Anniversary Special Commemorative Car 2020 World Car Design of the Year (WCDOTY) Award Commemorative Model” (no, we are not joking).

As the rather descriptive nomenclature suggests, it honours the styling gong awarded to the car and features all of the trimmings of the 100th Anniversary special introduced earlier this year. However, the WCDOTY version receives Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint instead of Snowflake White Pearl Mica, plus a commemorative ornament given to the owner upon delivery.

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