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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
Mazda3 MPS There are plenty of options in the hot hatch segment, with the Mazda3 MPS right up there. When introduced around five years ago, it was a little anony mous, but not this model, thanks to an aggressive body kit with front and rear spoilers, 18 -inch alloy wheels and a bonnet scoop providing cool air for the turbo intercooler for good measure. Transferring 190kW and 380Nm from the 2.3L four-cylinder power-plant through just the front wheels proves the biggest challenge for the MPS. My week in the dr iver’s seat saw wet and greasy roads almost every day, so getting the MPS off the line at anything faster than walking pace proved a significant challenge, with the front wheels breaking traction and invoking significant torque steer in either direction. However, once up and moving, the sharp and precise steering inspired confidence. The ride was firm, almost to the point of being harsh, but the payback was a flat stance when cornering. Fuel consumption on the official combined cycle is 9.9l/100km although I managed to average almost 13l/100km. Inside, the front sport seats hug the ribs and hips, keeping you firmly planted and the shift for the six-speed manual falls easily to hand with a short and precise change action. Speedo and tacho are encased in large clear round dials with a turbo boost gauge right in the middle to keep you informed on the current rate of compressed air being forced into combustion. The interior plastics are a bit harder than some competitors are using at the moment but they’re not unpleasant on the eye. Dy namic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-force Distr ibution, Emergency Brake Assist, active head restraints, dual front, side and curtain airbags take care of safety for a five-star ANC AP crash-test result. You can stay connected with Bluetooth and USB, the steering wheel has more buttons and functionality than almost anything else I have driven and audio is provided by a high-end Bose system. Keyless entr y and push-button start add to driver convenience. The luxury version also gets navigation and bi-xenon headlights. Rear-seat passenger space isn’t the best in its class, although space in the luggage area is above some. Like standard Mazda3 models, the MPS tends to have more road noise from the tyres than others in this class. Pricing for the MPS luxury is $41,915 plus on roads, but there was a model upgrade due at the time of w riting, so consult your Mazda dealer for updates. Life on the move December 2011 / January 2012 39 PANEL BEATING SPRAY PAINTING Two pack spray and bake booth CHASSIS WORK Measure and alignment system from Finland 107 Mornington Road Mornington Telephone 6244 4732 Facsimile 6244 3845
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012