Mazda has been quite busy lately because not only have they revealed the Kuro Special Edition for the MX-5 2012, they also debuted the new 2013 MX-5 model in Japan known as the Roadster RS. The story does not stop here because the Mazda 3 (a.k.a. Axela in Japan) received a brand new performance package dubbed the Mazda Axela Sport 20S-Skyactiv. Let's take a look at some of the notable changes it will bring to the 2012 model.
Under its hood the Axela received a new engine version. The 2.0 liter DOHC direct-injection turbo unit has been mated with a Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed EC-AT Activematic gearbox which sends the power to the front wheels, the new package increasing the top speed of the hatchback to 240 km/h.
Fuel economy for the model with 15-inch wheels is rated at 17.4km per liter, but if the 16 or 17-inch wheels are selected fuel efficiency drops by one km per liter.
On the exterior some of the most notable traits of the Axela are the new set of 17-inch reflective aluminum wheels and the large rear roof spoiler. Inside, the Sport 20S received a few noticeable upgrades when compared to the other versions, including leather seats, leather-covered parking brake lever and shifter knob, plus cruise control.
Furthermore, the cabin has been made quieter with the use of sound-proof glass, thicker sound and vibration padding underneath the seats, plus the addition of accosting insulation below the A-pillar.
Other enhancements and safety features include the Adaptive Front lighting System, the Rear Vehicle monitoring system, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat and bi-Xenon headlights.
The price tag in Japan starts at 2,380,000 Yens (roughly $30,000). Availability outside of Japan has not been revealed so far, but overall the Mazda 3 2013 would be a much more interesting hatchback if it came with the Skyactiv package, and it would at least give it a fighting chance against the 2013 Ford Focus ST which interestingly enough also packs a 2.0 liter engine. In case neither one of these hatchbacks are your cup of tea, you might also be interested in taking a look at the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback or the Subaru Impreza Hatchback.