By on September 27, 2011

Japanese customers can now buy the facelifted Mazda3 with its fuel-efficient SkyActiv technology. Except that it’s called Axela in Japan and has the steering wheel on the wrong side. Pretty much everything that needs to be said about the car already has been. If you missed it, here is the English version of the Japanese press kit. (Now how is that for service?) Mother of all Mazda3 picture collections follows.

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22 Comments on “Japan Gets New Mazda3 Mazda Axela. You Get The Pictures...”

  • avatar

    Always been a Mazda 3 fan, but they really have to get rid of that idiot grin in the front. They toned it down a bit, but it’s still there. As much as this car checks all the right boxes for me in terms of engineering and performance, I can’t bring myself drive one with that front end on it.

    • 0 avatar

      You realize of course that it is unlikely you will see the front of the car from behind the wheel…

      The MS3 is on the short list of cars to replace my Jetta TDI when I finally get around to replacing it. It just turned 200k miles and I’m not quite ready to let it go yet.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    The red hatch looks like what the Pontiac Vibe could have become. (At least the rear view does.)

  • avatar

    Looks like it still have the smiling grille. A very minor change it seems, styling wise. Where’s the facelift?

  • avatar

    The facelift is very minor. The fogs are different, and the shape of the facia is a bit different between the fog pockets and the gaping smile.

    The US Mazda website still doesn’t have the SkyActiv option up & running. (In fact, the website graphics are still of the ’11 model.) Supposedly the SkyActiv won’t be on sale here till next month.

    • 0 avatar

      That soon? That’s great – I’d thought the SkyActiv wasn’t coming to the US Mazda3 until next year. Have they released power specs, pricing, or EPA mileage estimates yet?

      • 0 avatar

        Power specs & EPA were released at the NY Auto Show in Apr.
        155 hp / 148 ft-lb
        sedan+manual EPA: 27/39
        sedan+auto EPA: 28/40
        hatch+manual EPA: 27/38
        hatch+auto EPA: 28/38

        I haven’t found pricing info yet.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting. Sounds pretty good on paper. I wonder if they can get the pricing near the Focus hatch? Since they’re (suppsedly) already selling 2012 model-year Mazda 3’s, does that mean the SkyActiv will be a 2013 model-year thing, or will they do an (unforuntate) mid-year introduction?

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve only seen speculation about pricing, but they’ve guessed that the skyactiv trim will be between the 2.0 i & 2.5 s. This seems to make sense–there’s no reason to buy the 2.0 with less power and efficiency if it costs more, and the higher power of the 2.5 could be a premium.

        I would expect the skyactivs to be competive with the Focus SEL (MSRP around $21k). It might be as low as $20k, but it definitely won’t be as cheap as a Focus SE.

        I doubt it will be too long before they introduce them–they’ve said “fall 2012” a lot. But since they have published spec sheets without it, it could be a 2012.5 model year. My guess is the former since they are already on sale in Japan, and since their website isn’t even done yet, I won’t trust that their spec sheets are finished, either.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the old rectangular fogs better, but I see how it wouldn’t “fit” the revised look. Round fog lights look better in the recessed pockets, which I suppose can pass for dimples.

  • avatar

    Mazda’s cheap interiors and mediocre fuel economy is what turned them off to me when I last shopped for a small sedan (ended up with a Civic instead)…so good to see they addressed one of those issues…

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, Cheap interior, check. Don’t know about the low milage, I get just under 32MPG on my ’06 3i (Sedan) & I ‘m just about to hit 160,000. Now the real reason that one buys a Mazda (assuming that one is a driving enthusiast) is that I defy you to find better driving/handling automobile for the USD $16,600 that I paid for it new.

      As others above , it looks too much like the current car or is this just the mid-cycle refresh. I am interested in the milagge numbers. As much as I love my 3, I think it is a young persons car. My next car will be a CTS.

    • 0 avatar

      Can’t say I agree on the interior. I don’t know when you last shopped, but when I bought a 3 in 2008, in my opinion the interior was better than everything else available in the class, other than the Golf, which was by far the best.

  • avatar

    I’m confused by the first sentence. Was the SkyActiv 3 available in the US 2 weeks ago? Or is the Japanese SkyActiv Axela going to be available 2 weeks after the US SkyActiv 3 becomes available?

    I thought I would have heard something about the SkyActiv 3 being available if it was…

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe he meant two weeks after it arrives in the US, Japan buyers will see theirs.

      I do not think it is here yet and I thought arrives in the CX5 first.
      Or maybe the CX5 and 3 arrive at the sames time….

  • avatar

    I heard it’s already here, but maybe I was wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      As far as I can tell from the Mazda USA site, the 2012 3 is selling now, but they do not list the SkyActiv engines, only the 2.0 and 2.5 they had previously.

      I’m anxiously awaiting SkyActiv news because I’m looking to replace my current car with a 3 pretty soon…

    • 0 avatar

      The ’12 is on sale–I’ve seen dealerships with them. However, I have not seen a SkyActiv yet, so I don’t think it has made it here yet. Most reports say it will debut in Oct, but that may be optimistic. It seems reasonable that Mazda is keeping most in Japan at first, and then they will start trickling in over here–so give it a couple months and they should become more available.

      The SkyActiv in the ’12 Mazda3 will be a watered-down version. It doesn’t have the room for the 4-2-1 exaust, so it will only have a 12:1 compression ratio instead of 13:1 (rest of the world will have 14:1). I don’t think the frame/chasis changes will be in this Mazda3, either. The first FULL SkyActiv will be the CX-5 scheduled to be released “early 2012” (probably Mar/Apr). The CX-5 specs will be revealed at the LA Auto Show in Nov.
      This is a video of various styles for a Mazda3 using the Kodo design language. There’s no telling when it will be done, but I’m hoping for ’14 model year.

  • avatar

    Official Canadian info is already out for the 2.0 SkyActiv. Here:

    I see this as more of a gradual intro of SkyActiv tech, with everything becoming available in the next model year when the Kodo design language is used. I really want to see the 3rd gen MS3 though.

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