Unveil slated at PIMS 2016
Car enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to with the new Mazda 3, which is soon to be released in the Philippine market. Having received a number of stimulating upgrades both inside and out, the new Mazda 3’s most remarkable enhancement, however, is something that cannot be seen, but could definitely be felt.
Admittedly, the Mazda 3 has made its mark in the automotive world for its handsome looks and sporty dynamics. Add to this the innovative SKYACTIV features, which increase fuel efficiency and engine output through groundbreaking technologies used in its engines, transmissions, body and chassis. For the upcoming Mazda 3, the Japanese manufacturer is headlining the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) as the car’s most notable feature.
We got to try how GVC works during testing sessions held at Mine Circuit, which is Mazda’s proving grounds located in Nagao, Japan. But before the actual test drive sessions, we were given a briefing on Mazda’s Jinba Ittai philosophy, which describes the unity between a horse and its rider. The briefing also talked about the importance of the correct seating position of the driver, and how drivers react and compensate in both sweeping and tight turns as well as the unsettling change in the rate of acceleration.
During the driving exercises, we took turns in being the driver and passenger onboard the previous and new Mazda 3 models for comparison.
The first exercise had us accelerate from zero to 20 kilometers per hour driving through a long winding course. The next part of the course had us speed up to 60 kph and drive through an uphill zig-zag course and back. In both courses (while driving the previous Mazda 3 model) it was noticeable how much foot and steering control a driver needs just to accelerate and maintain a constant speed while going through the winding road. As a backseat passenger, the jerk during acceleration was also more evident and the G-forces during the sweeping turns much more apparent. Taking the course again but now using the new Mazda 3 with GVC, accelerating and maintaining from zero to 20 kph was considerably smoother with less pedal and steering-wheel inputs. The driving and riding experience was also smoother even in the much faster winding course.
In another driving exercise, an oval track was laid out with tight chicanes, quick lane changes and big sweeping turns. We were to drive the new Mazda 3 around the course several times with the cruise control engaged and set to run at 30 kph – with the GVC both on and off. And as expected, driving around the course with the GVC on made the driving and riding experience a lot better as the system assured surefootedness through out the drive.
Mazda engineers explained GVC intuitively improves traction on the new Mazda 3 by adjusting the level of engine torque based on the driver’s steering inputs in order to control the vertical load on each axle. Cutting engine torque shifts the weight of the car to the front. With the additional load up front, tire grip also increases which results in better steering response, handling and stability.
At the same time, the engineers disclosed that the new technology only required a new computer software upgrade to make it work (without the need for additional components) and can be easily loaded across Mazda’s vehicle line-up (except the MX5, for now).
The new Mazda 3 will be launched in the country next month during the Philippine International Motorshow.