Quiet start for G-whizz Mazdas

The new Mazda3 has arrived, but is not going to be discussed by the distributor just yet.


THE first Mazda to uplift an intriguing dynamic update, G-Vectoring Control, has reached New Zealand, and the second isn’t too far behind.

Having previously suggested the updated Mazda3 would not be here prior to Spring, which starts on September 1, Mazda New Zealand has now conceded the first shipment of this model has landed and been sent out to dealerships.

However, even though customer drives have started, the Auckland distributor does not want to discuss the car with media for another week.

Marketing services manager Maria Tsao told MotoringNetwork the update range’s details are intended as a “surprise announcement” during a CX-9 media event on September 1-2, even though – she agrees – customers might be brought well up to speed ahead of that moment.

She had no issue with this being revealed by media, but preferred to hold back the technical detail. She had no comment when MotoringNetwork revealed it has learned pricing has not changed – a major coupe given the massive uplift in specification.

“We have a full presentation ... I’d rather we did it that way than with some ad hoc comment. There’s a lot of technology that we’d like to provide in a professional manner.

“Yes, there are cars out there … the way stocks are, dealers have started receiving cars.

“We cannot stop dealers selling it before you’ve (the press) has seen them. But we haven’t started advertising so it is not officially launched.”

The enhanced Mazda3 and the new CX-9 sports utility will have barely settled into showroom life when the brand prepares for another introduction, this time for the updated Mazda6.

It also adopts the big technical changes meted the Three. Meaning the G-Vectoring, that provides the differential with the ability to vary the power to each wheel, plus a new Active Driving Display in full colour read-out across the range and new standard features such as Traffic Sign Recognition plus wider availability of Lane Keep and Blind Spot assists.

Also coming to both lines are retuned suspension and steering, along with some interior changes and improved sound insulation. 

However, whereas the smaller model line adopts a new grille, the updated Mazda6 does not appear to adopt any significant body styling cues to differentiate it from what we have now. Like the Three, though, it will very likely take fresh wheel designs.

The updated Mazda6 (below) was only recently unveiled in the United States and Tsao says it will be with us around November.

Overseas reports suggest extensive changes to address noise, vibration and harshness. Better door seals, tighter tolerance between the exterior panels, and additional sound insulation material for the underbody, rear console, headliner and doors have implemented. A thicker windscreen and laminated front side windows also introduce.

Even though passenger model sales are being hit by the consumer swing toward sports utilities and crossovers, Mazda NZ has enjoyed some spectacular sales growth over the past two years, last month being particularly beneficial.

Hiroshima has described GVC as being the first feature in a series of new Skyactiv Vehicle Dynamics technologies under development with the common aim of providing “drivers with greater feel and a more enjoyable experience.”

With torque vectoring, a differential transfers torque – the engine’s ‘muscle’ if you will - to the wheels. Mazda says its system varies engine torque in relation to the driver’s steering input to tailor the vertical load on each wheel, which Mazda claims results in “smooth and efficient vehicle motion”, improved traction and a reduction in the need for minor steering corrections.

Conjecture that it will spread throughout the brand’s passenger line is strengthened by brand assertion that it is a highly versatile system adaptable to vehicles of any class and drive type.

The only requirement, it says, is a SkyActiv engine and chassis, the former allowing precise control over torque output.

In addition to the revised head-up display. Mazda3 has a traffic sign recognition system that uses a camera to assess speed limit and other road signs, relaying the limit to the active driving display as well as alerting the driver if the limit is breached.

Among other highlights are an electric park brake, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beam and the ability to dim individual LEDs, and a pedestrian detection function within the auto emergency braking system that now uses a camera and operates at speeds up to 80kmh.