DRIVEN | The Mazda 3 Astina

I’ve enjoyed every Mazda that I have tested this past year. At first, it was a brand that I didn’t necessarily pay too much attention to, but I quickly realised that I’m missing out – DRIVEN | The Mazda 3 Astina

DRIVEN | The Mazda 3 Astina

DRIVEN | The Mazda 3 Astina

After isolating for two weeks because I had a visit from my dear friend the coronavirus, I was excited to get back behind the wheel! In my phone’s calendar, I saw a week-long blue line with the word Mazda3. I was excited and nervous.

Excited because it is a beautiful car and I’ve been wanting to test it for a while, and nervous because what if I didn’t like it?

The test unit I received was the 2.0-litre Astina. The best the Mazda3 has to offer.



I knew I loved the way the car looks before I saw it in the metal. It is beautifully curvaceous, sporty and, dare I say it, sexy? I hate using that word to describe a car, but it is! The Mazda3 is sexy!

According to Mazda’s website the Mazda3 is designed to make you feel you’re looking at a work of art – not just a car”.

 The Mazda3 sits wide and low on the road, the Soul Red colour of the body contrasts with the black 18-inch wheels and the curvy middle line creates bulgy wheel arches. These elements work together to make the car look powerful, sporty and seductive.

DRIVEN | The Mazda 3 Astina


The interior is always my favourite part of any car. I could tell that a lot of thought went into the interior of the Mazda3. In the Astina derivative, pretty much everything is covered in black leather. Mazda added some silver metal trims to create a simple, modern interior.

This is quite refreshing since most new hatchbacks rely on big touchscreens and moody lighting to wow drivers. The interior offers high-quality materials and surfaces that are soft to the touch.

Overall the interior feels comfortable, very well made and spacious for front and backseat passengers. I was especially impressed with the driver’s side. The seat, steering wheel, air vents and armrest is positioned to make the driver as comfortable as possible.

DRIVEN | The Mazda 3 Astina


Engine & Ride

The Mazda3 Astina has a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine that produces 121Kw of power and 213Nm of torque – not too shabby. The detail most car enthusiast will take from that sentence is naturally aspirated. This is a term drivers don’t want to hear anymore.

But I am happy to say that I don’t mind that the Mazda3 doesn’t have a turbocharged engine! The engine is mated to a super smooth 6-speed automatic gearbox. A drive in the Mazda3 feels refined, relaxing and just easy!

The only place where I missed a turbocharger was on the highway. The car easily reaches comfortable cruising speed, but the naturally aspirated engine is a little slow when overtaking other cars.


The Astina is decently equipped with standard comfort and safety features. Here are some of my favourites:

12 speaker Bose sound system – the speakers are adjusted specifically for the Mazda3’s cabin. AudioPilot, which monitors background noise in the car adjusts the sound as you drive.

G-Vectoring Control Plus – this system kicks in during cornering, emergency avoidance manoeuvres, changing lanes at high speeds etc. to make the driver feel in control, safe and comfortable.

Smart Advanced Keyless Entry – As long as you have the key in your pocket you can open any of the Mazda3’s five doors without having to press the unlock button. When getting out of the car and walking away the Mazda3 will automatically lock (as long as you have the key of course). No more stressing about if you remembered to lock the car or not.

DRIVEN | The Mazda 3 Astina


The Mazda3 Astina costs R485 000. One of its rivals – the VW Golf – is about R60 000 cheaper and has a turbocharged engine.

Although it is priced pretty high the Mazda3 offers superb build quality, a very refined drive and great comfort overall. The price is something that might scare off potential buyers, but to those buyers, I’d say – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Spending some time with the Mazda3 might change your mind.

Read more from our Car editor

1. What Do Millennials Look For In A Car?
2. No More Budget Car Blues!

Martin Gouws
Martin Gouws

Car Editor

Martin is a TV production person and has been working in the Afrikaans TV industry for 5 years on a number of different productions. He also has a love for cars and has recently started doing his own video car reviews under the name HeyGouwsie! He has a natural creative streak and an eye for details which makes for a great combination.

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