Dynamic 1.6

They say first impressions are lasting... Well my first impressions of the Mazda3 Dynamic 1.6 Sedan that I got to test (which incidentally is also one of the eight finalists nominated for the 2005 Car-Of-The-Year award), was that it was aptly named the Dynamic, because it far exceeded all my expectations from a Mazda. From the moment I slid behind the wheel I was impressed with the finish and trim of the 3. I didn't expect discs on all four wheels, never mind ventilated in front. I never expected the excellent 6-CD shuttle and radio combination as standard, and the automatically controlled, water-sensitive windscreen wipers, the automatic headlight on/off system, a button to turn-side-mirrors-flat when going through a car wash, and I really never expected a 1600 motor to deliver such a nice powerful 'zoom-zoom' drive. All the 1600s I ever driven have been mundane sort of get-from-point A to point B type of cars. Not the Mazda3. Hey it was great fun... zippy, economical, excellent brakes, great power (Zoom-Zoom) and most importantly traveling in great safety. With six air-bags, seat belts for every seat, crumple zones and just excellent build quality all round, giving me a great sense of style and comfort, all wrapped in the protective shell of the good-looking Mazda3.

They say a picture says a thousand words...

There's a storm brewing.  The top-of-the-range Mazda3 Dynamic is just that... Dynamic! 

with all the safety features, the only un-necessary chances you take is parking it across a train line,

"The essential elements of Mazda’s 83-year heritage are a passion for innovation and excellence in engineering, a flair for design and a pursuit of spirited driving dynamics. It is when all these elements come together that Mazda products most distinguish themselves"...  That's the Mazda brief, and it sounds spot-on.

The new Mazda3 range assembles all the best qualities of its predecessors, refined with the insights gained by Mazda’s designers and engineers through the evolution of the new-generation Mazda product line-up. Mazda3 introduces a fresh, confident vision to a segment that has left the customers of other brands wanting more.

With the Mazda3 range, Mazda responds to all those who seek a better driving experience, in a car that redefines the style, build-quality and performance in a segment that has traditionally been focused on functionality.

The Mazda3 is another example of Mazda’s fresh approach to designing and building cars that combine excellent manufacturing quality with an innovative, global perspective to create cars that epitomize the company’s Zoom-Zoom philosophy. High standards of craftsmanship, refined during the development of Mazda6 and Mazda RX-8, were applied to Mazda3 range to deliver a vehicle with levels of quality that rival most of the world’s top C-segment models.

The 3 sedan can be aptly described as sophisticated, prestigious and sleek. Combined with the Mazda’s dynamic exterior design, the intrinsic quality enhances the sense of satisfaction and pride every time the car is taken to the road.

The 1.6 Dynamic includes innovative new features not seen before in a Mazda in this segment, such as an Auto Light System (which automatically switches on the lights when entering a tunnel - or when night approaches - but will not switch on the lights when Mazda3 momentarily enters shady areas) and a Rain Sensor Wiper feature (which offers complete control of wiper on/off and wiper speed, promoting visibility and giving a better view of the road in wet weather).

The features of the sports appearance packages include: Body-coloured aero-type front grille, sports-type front and rear bumpers, side-skirts,  trunk spoiler, front fog lamps and gorgeous rear combination lights.

Functional is achieved by a combination of form and high usability – such as switches are located lower and closer to the driver’s hands for easier operation. Designers created a comfortable and a pleasingly stimulating interior with the goal of making it one of the most enjoyable cars in its segment. From its excellent modular entertainment system, to seats with firm yet comfortable support.

Dynamically, the Mazda3 exhibits the same Zoom-Zoom handling and control that characterises all new-generation Mazda vehicles by delivering a reassuring steering feel and superior braking performance. Innovative front and rear suspension systems have been designed and tuned to ensure an excellent balance between handling stability and ride comfort.

A stiff body structure is one of the main factors ensuring that Mazda3, whether sedan or Sport, is a fun car to drive and embodies the same character common to all new-generation Mazdas. Mazda3’s all-new body structure provides high levels of torsional and flexural rigidity for great handling stability for a relaxing, quality driving experience.

Where driver and passenger safety is concerned. Mazda’s Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption System (MAIDAS) technology has been applied to the Mazda3.  The body structure incorporates a triple-H structure, which forms a protective cage for safety in a side-on or offset collision, and front and rear crushable zones. Impact-absorbing structure channels energy from a frontal impact into the front side-members, while large-section centre pillars, cross-members and side-sills disperse impact energy throughout the entire body structure to minimise cabin deformation.

Dual-stage front airbags are fitted to all models and deploy according to impact severity to maximize passenger protection and minimise the risk of airbag-inflicted injuries. Front and rear curtain airbags and driver and passenger side airbags are fitted as standard to the 1.6-litre Dynamic, providing excellent protection from all directions. The driver and passenger front seatbelts feature pre-tensioners for instant hold and load-limiters, which loosen the seatbelt in a controlled manner to help reduce excessive pressure on the chest.

Four-wheel ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and built-in mechanical brake assistance, air conditioner, power steering and an in-car entertainment system is fitted as standard equipment in the 3.

Also featured is a transponder immobiliser system with alarm and a keyless entry system with remote central locking and power door locking.

The Mazda3 is a sedan with a personality all its own. It takes the traditional three-box design a step further by evoking dynamic proportions and taut contours for a strikingly refined and sporty look, without sacrificing space on the inside. A long wheelbase, short overhangs, a short but high rear deck, and a compact-looking cabin combine to deliver an elegant
coupé-like design targeted at customers looking for an aggressive but sophisticated sedan.

The Mazda3 range is one of the longest, widest and tallest vehicles in its segment. It is also relatively upright, despite its aggressive design. As a result, the Mazda3 has ample front and rear shoulder-room and is one of the best-in-class for knee-clearance, with a truly roomy interior with lots of space for four adults to travel in comfort. Add to this a host of intelligent storage compartments and a large, flexible boot. Despite the wide body (1755mm), the distance between the outermost points of the door mirrors is just 1935mm. A long wheelbase (2640mm) and wide tread (1530mm front / 1515mm rear) and good overall height (1465mm) allow for a spacious cabin with generous knee clearance for rear passengers. Hip point is higher (approximately 30mm higher than the Mazda Etude) for a better view of the road and easy entry and exit. Steering column offers tilt (up to 40mm) and telescope (up to 50mm) adjustment. Driver seat provides up to 55mm of vertical and up to 250mm of horizontal adjustment to allow drivers of practically all sizes to find their optimum driving position. Ratchet-type lever gives easy seat adjustment, while both cushion and seatback move up and down together to ensure better comfort.

Prominent three-meter cluster, steering layout and sports-style seats give a refined yet sporty feel for driver and front passenger.

Instrument panel has clear separation of meters for safe and easy observation while driving.

Eight-litre, 260mm-deep glove-box offers plenty of space... you can fit up to 16 CD cases inside.

Double-bottomed centre console box features an upper tray with space for a mobile phone or other similar-sized items, and a lower box with 3.6-litre capacity, sufficient for 13 CDs.

Front section of the console box has two cupholders (for one large-size and one medium-size cup) with a flip-back lid.

Rear seatbacks and cushions are optimally shaped to give a flat floor when folded forward (60/40). The four door’s high deck design and location of rear coil springs under the floor result in greater trunk width and capacity (419 litres VDA). Double-link trunk hinges neither intrude into the trunk when the lid is closed nor obstruct the trunk when the lid is open.

Chassis systems deliver an overall high performance feel that balances the smooth handling and ride comfort characteristics. The steering is precise, linear and predictable in all situations, while larger brakes and linear booster give safe, effective stopping that supports driver confidence. A highly-rigid body structure delivers good torsional and flexural stiffness, essential to ensuring great handling and steering.

Mazda3’s MZR 1598cc petrol engine line-up was developed to meet the diverse demands of a global market. A product of Mazda’s innovative approach to engineering, they deliver linear, lively driving enjoyment, and a minimum on environmental impact with good fuel economy and low emissions.

The engine delivers 77kW @ 6000rpm and torque of 146Nm @ 4000rpm. A five-speed manual transmission offers smooth, sporty shifting to enhance the pleasure of driving Mazda3’s spirited engines. Low flow-resistance air cleaner, intake manifold with long (600mm) equal-length runners and high-flow ports for robust torque across the speed range. Sequential Valve Timing (S-VT) in the 1.6-litre model optimises valve open/close timing according to engine speed and air intake for more efficient engine operation throughout the rev range, while maintaining optimal driveability and power delivery. Variable Induction System (VIS) controls intake manifold length by opening a valve at higher engine speeds to optimise intake efficiency and boost torque. Stainless steel exhaust manifold with long, equal-length runners 1.6-litre: 4-into-1 configuration, optimises exhaust gas flow for enhanced power and torque, and for a sporty engine note.

Rigid aluminium-alloy engine block, and deep-skirt construction to give superior transmission coupling stiffness, combined with lightweight pistons and con-rods for lower overall engine noise. Cams and shimless tappets have a low-friction finish which, combined with lower valve-train inertia and valve-spring weight, minimise valvetrain noise for a clearer engine note.

Lightweight pistons, low-tension piston rings and shimless tappets contribute to minimal friction loss and improved fuel economy. Tumble Swirl Control Valve (TSCV) in the intake manifold ensures more stable combustion during cold/low-load conditions, allowing for a relatively large valve overlap. This delivers increased internal exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), for high output with minimal emissions.

Cable-controlled, five-speed manual transmission suppresses engine vibration to the shift lever for smoother, quieter operation. Cable-bend angles and tolerances are minimised for a sporty, direct shift feel. Linked double-cone synchronizers for first and second gears (where synchronizer load is greatest) lighten shift operation for sportier smooth-action, short-throw shifting, while special surface treatment applied to the shift rod, crank lever and control rod, plus Teflon coating on bushes, combined with a double-construction detent ball, reduces overall friction by up to 50 percent.

ABS with electronic brake distribution and brake assist system is available as standard.

Stopping is enhanced by exceptional robustness and controllability, for some of the shortest stopping distances in the C-segment. Robust 278mm front discs and 265mm rear discs are larger and thicker (25mm front/11mm rear) than the previous-generation model yielding greater braking effectiveness, consistency, rigidity and response.

A 10-inch single vacuum booster enhances brake effectiveness and response by ensuring linear increase in deceleration as pedal travel increases. A booster is tuned to shorten pedal travel for more instantaneous response to braking inputs.

Newly-developed low-expansion brake hoses, reduced master cylinder travel loss, optimised brake pad friction characteristics plus high-grip tires further optimise braking performance.

The stiff body structure is one of the main factors ensuring that Mazda3 is a fun car to drive.

The rigid body structure is also safety optimised, the result of Advance Impact Distribution and Absorption System, which delivers a safe and robust passenger cell that resists impact deformation and disperses impact energy in all possible crash scenarios.

Four-wheel ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and built-in mechanical brake assistance provide superior vehicle stability and braking performance on slippery roads and in emergency situations, whether the car is fully loaded or nearly empty.

The Dynamic is fitted with Radio / In-dash 6CD changer. Easy-to-use piano style buttons and knobs can be operated without looking away from the road. A “light bar” of LEDs mounted either side of the volume control knob ,which can be disabled responds to operations giving a visual impression that the car is interacting with the operator. Steering wheel mounted audio switches, featured in the 1.6-litre Dynamic  provide easy, safe operation while driving. All Mazda3 models are fitted with four speakers which deliver a great sound quality throughout the vehicle. The Dynamic's audio system also includes two tweeters.

The 3 comes has 15 000 km service intervals, three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as the Mazda Motion five-year, 60 000 km maintenance plan and roadside assistance.

We covered 1561 km during our test and enjoyed every minute in the Mazda3 Dynamic.

Thanks to Jacques Wilkin for organising the test car and Mazda South Africa for the drive.   Kenn Slater.

Check out those smooth, wind-cheating, flowing lines. Not a flat surface in sight... Beautiful!




1.6 Dynamic





Bore & Stroke

78 x 83.6 mm

Capacity (cc)

1598 cc

Compression ratio


Fuel Injection


Sequential Valve Timing system


Max Power (kW @ rpm)

77kW @ 6000 rpm

Max Torque (Nm @ rpm)

146Nm @ 4000 rpm

Engine management





Manual, 5 Forward

Gear ratio     1st












Final drive ratio




Engine speed sensitive power steering


Turning circle

5.2 m (Radius)

Tilt/Telescopic Steering




Front high-mount double-wishbone

MacPherson struts

Rear multi-links




Front (Discs)

278 mm Ventilated

Rear (Discs)

265 mm Solid

ABS, with electronic brake distribution and brake assist system


Wheel Size

16" Alloy

Space saver spare wheel


Tyre size

205/55 R16

Exterior dimensions



4490 mm


1755 mm


1465 mm


2640 mm

Weight & Capacities


Tare vehicle mass

1191 kg

Gross vehicle mass

1698 kg

Fuel tank size

55 liters



colour-coded bumpers, side protection mouldings, door handles and side mirror housings


Mud flaps [Front & Rear, Black]


Alloy wheels


Sport Appearance Package


Electric outer mirrors, with power fold


Water repelling winscreen and mirrors


Front fog lamps


Variable intermittent wiper with rain sensor




Backlit instrument cluster with electronic speedometer,  odometer, tachometer,  fuel gauge and water temperature gauge


Twin electronic trip meters


Low fuel warning light


Information display panel - with clock and audio displays


Ambient temperature display


Driver Information System


Interior Comfort and Convenience


Manual air conditioner


Power assisted steering


Panel light control


Electric windows  with switch  illumination


One-touch up/down on drivers electric window


Ignition key illumination and sound


Illuminated entry system


Front and rear room lamps


Map-reading lamps, with switches


Lights ON warning sound


Remote fuel filler release


Remote boot release


Dual cupholders, with lid, in centre console


Multi-storage in center console (double-bottomed)


Bottle holder on each door panel


ICE- In Car Entertainment


Radio/6 CD in-dash CD changer


Audio control on steering wheel


Audio system with 4 speakers and 2 tweeters




Rear window defroster




Driver seat-manual lift mechanism


Driver lumbar support


Front centre armrest


60:40 split folding rear seat


Rear seats centre armrest


Safety and Security


ABS brakes with EBD and EBA


Front dual air bags


Curtain airbag front and rear


Side airbag-driver and passenger


Auto Headlamps on/off


Alarm/Transponder immobilizer system


Remote central locking


Keyless entry system


Rear 3-point seat belts x3


Seat belt warning light


Mazda Motion


Maintenance plan

5 years/60 000 km

Roadside Assistance

3 years


3 years/100 000km

Service intervals

15 000km


Enough said.