Last week, TechnoBuffalo attended Mazda's unveiling of the 2017 Mazda 3 and 2017 Mazda 6 at its R&D labs in Irvine, Calif., where the company talked about why the vehicles are so important to its lineup.
"These cars represent the next evolution of Mazda Premium," said Robert T. Davis, Senior Vice President of U.S. operations at Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "They're built with a level of detail that are a little different than our mainstream competitors."
Some of the biggest new details include SkyActive Vehicle Dynamics and as G-Vectoring Control (GVC), which is now standard in both new models.
GVC provides drivers with more precise control, reducing the need for steering corrections. The result is a smoother ride, along with improved stability in poor conditions, according to Davis.
"Mazda cares about the details that make you confident and comfortable in all driving situations," Davis said. "We also care about the people who are in the car with you. These cars will allow passengers that are with you feel much more comfortable. They'll be able to predict the movements of these cars."
Davis went on to say the company's commitment to the driving experience is just a small part of its safety and environmental strategy. Mazda is one of the only automakers without a hybrid or EV, yet the company has topped EPA's fuel economy list three years in a row thanks to its SkyActive technology, which is in every car it builds.
Another cornerstone of Mazda's strategy is its KODO design. With the Mazda 3, the automaker has introduced a new grille it says is bolder, stronger, and recognizable from a hundred yards; it's wider, giving it an improved presence. It adds a more three-dimensional quality to the front, an approach that extends to both new models so they look and feel more stable.
"This is a refreshment," explained Julien Montousse, Director of Design, Mazda North American Operations. "We don't have to redesign the whole car but it's an opportunity to go back into the wish list and make sure that these cars have the level of craftsmanship that we've always targeted. The cars are much more horizontal, moving them into that premium territory."
On the inside, the leather-wrapped steering wheel has been redesigned for a more comfortable grip, complete with newly available heating elements, Montousse said. The Mazda 3 also comes equipped with an electronic parking brake as standard; door pockets are now three times larger, while the sliding covered center console has been brought over from the Mazda 6. Additionally, the Mazda 3's cabin is now quieter thanks to tighter body gaps.
The 2017 Mazda 6, meanwhile, has been updated for an even more premium feel. Nappa leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and rear-seat heaters are all available on Grand Touring models equipped with the Premium Package. The vehicle also sports improved body gaps for better sound insulation, and a thicker front glass to block wind noise.
Additionally, Mazda has also introduced a 4.6-inch, full-color TFT meter display in Grand Touring models, traffic sign recognition, lane-keep assist, and advanced blind spot metering. Similar to the CX-9 Grand Touring and Signature crossovers, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring models will have laminated front-side windows, too.
I didn't get the opportunity to drive either of these cars, but they were roomy, stylish, and incredibly comfortable. They're also very nice to look at, as you can see in the extensive gallery in the middle of this post.
Both new Mazda models will arrive at dealers in September. Pricing has yet to be announced.