Last year – 30 January 2020 – Japanese automaker Mazda celebrated its 100th anniversary and promptly marked the milestone with the launch of anniversary editions of its cars, including for the legendary Mazda 3.

Firstly, let it be clarified that the centenary does not necessarily mark the number of years the Mazda had been on the road but the years since the company was founded. The company was founded in 1920, under the name Toyo Kogyo. In 1960 it produced its first ever passenger car, the Mazda R360. The small but stylish coupe design model was an instant hit, prompting Toyo Kogyo to restyle itself into Mazda Motor Corporation!

Enough of history; it’s time to take a closer look at the Mazda 3 100th Anniversary Edition. First impressions last forever, and those words strike you immediately when you look at the new Mazda 3. The latest model is fierce looking and exciting at the same time. I think the kind of combination one would want in any car they can afford.

Beyond the sharp design lines, the edition100 scores big time with its bold, smooth colours. There are three body colors to choose from – the Snowflake White Pearl, Soul Red and black with Jet Black and Gloss Black options.

The new edition Mazda 3 is further enhanced at the front by the license plate holder which  been slightly moved to give the car  a better look at the front grille. The car further stands tall, in pride stakes, by riding on a set of high-gloss Midnight Black 18-inch wheels. To add more flavour and glam, the wheels’ brake calipers are painted for an even sportier look.

Under the bonnet, the hitech Skyactiv-X engine provides smart and powerful drive. The 2.0-litre petrol engine uses what Mazda describes as ‘Spark Controlled Compression Ignition’, which allows the engine to switch between spark and compression ignition methods. This alternation gives power, with outputs of 140 kW and 240 Nm, at a reduced cost of fuel.

Adding to the driving pleasure is the usual funky  Mazda manual gearbox, which is a joy to use with its short throw and precise action.

Even better is the fantastic interior. While the carpet is red, the dashboard and side door panels are white leather trim, the red-and-white colour combo harking back to the first Mazda edition in 1960!

To stay with the celebratory mood, the front floor carpets are imprinted with a 100th Anniversary Special Logo, which is also embossed on the front headrests. It is comfort and pleasure all round, with the 8.8-inch infotainment screen, with HD radio, dominating the dashboard.

More about the Mazda edition100 includes heated steering wheel, moonroof, dual zone climate, push button start, advanced blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, LED projector headlights, cruise control… just to mention a few of the long list of the specs.

With so much to offer, the Mazda 3 edition100 should be costing an arm and a leg for a hatch of its category, more so when factors in luxury features like aluminum and magnesium finishes to the alluring coupe design. However, the Mazda 3 remains competitively priced.

History also costs, and the the development philosophy of the R360 Coupe in 60s led to the way of thinking behind Skyactiv Technology and KODO Design. Those are the roots of Mazda’s vision to provide its clients with a car that is safe and joy to use – for life!

Pricing

1.5 ACTIVE 4-DOOR  R374,600

1.5 DYNAMIC 4-DOOR R389,400

1.5 DYNAMIC 4-DOOR Auto R402,500

1.5 INDIVIDUAL 4-DOOR R438,500

1.5 INDIVIDUAL 4-DOOR Auto R451,600

2.0 ASTINA 4-DOOR Auto R492,300

All with 3-year/unlimited warranty, 3-year/unlimited km service plan/ 5-year corrosion/ 3-year roadside assistance.

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