The new Mazda3 100th Anniversary on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mazda3 100th Anniversary on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition

The Mazda3 is one of our favourite cars here at Changing Lanes. The latest generation of the Japanese hatchback launched in Ireland in 2019 with a sensuous new look and sophisticated interior. It heralded the start of exciting new technology from the brand including mild hybrid technology and the world’s first compression-ignition engine. Doesn’t that sound exciting?

What’s so special about the Mazda3 100th Anniversary?

Now to celebrate 100 years of the company, Mazda has launched a series of 100th Anniversary models. And in this review we will take a closer look at the Mazda3 100th Anniversary to see if it’s any good!

Inspiration for the special edition’s striking colour scheme came from the Mazda R360 Coupe from 1960, which was the brand’s first ever passenger car.

Finished in white pearl with special anniversary badges throughout and black alloy wheels, the Mazda3 100th Anniversary stands out for all the right reasons. This model is a design triumph regardless with beautiful curvature to the model around the C pillar that is just not what you expect from the family hatchback class. The Mazda3 is a true trendsetter.

Special edition Mazda3 takes inspiration from the Mazda R360 Coupe from 1960
Special edition Mazda3 takes inspiration from the Mazda R360 Coupe from 1960

Inside the 2021 Mazda3 100th Anniversary

Open the door and you are welcomed by a bespoke interior of red leather and matching red carpets. I was dazzled and it wasn’t just the red carpet effect! There is a soft cream panel to accentuate the width of the dashboard. The Mazda3 cabin wraps around you perfectly. It’s a true driver’s car. Infotainment is provided via a slick looking 8.8″ screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, with a multimedia controller on the centre console.

This hatchback will seat five and space inside the vehicle is competitive for the class, well should we say premium compact class? Because that’s how this car feels. And with a list price of €37,220 for this car with the 2.0-litre e-Skyactiv-X M Hybrid petrol engine, this model in particular will certainly sit among high end hatchbacks.

But deservedly so. The e-Skyactiv-X also offers considerable power, poise and play in the Mazda3 100th Anniversary. Mazda’s revolutionary Spark Controlled Compression Ignition engine has been improved for this model year with a bit more power (186 hp) and torque (240 Nm), while overall efficiency has been improved. Being a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol affair, it does deliver power differently to the road than say one of those small capacity engines with a turbo.

The interior of the Mazda3 100th Anniversary
The interior of the Mazda3 100th Anniversary

On the road in the Mazda3 e-Skyactiv-X!

Spend some time with this car though and you will find Mazda’s own little brand of fun and wizardy going on. It’s a super sweet car to drive, nicely balanced on the road, a lightness to the controls, yet the ability to be wrangled in and out of corners with a distinct and precise feel. It never feels hugely fast, but you learn to work with the neat distribution of power through the gears and it becomes a satisfying and interesting hatchback to drive. Mazda afficionados will love it!

Mazda has improved the fuel efficiency of this engine and over a week of driving we averaged 6.2 litres per 100 km, which is marginally better than the figure we returned when testing the Mazda3 Skyactiv-X in 2020. CO2 emissions are down 7 g to 120 g.

This is a unique and fun hatchback with some very clever engine technology. Improvements to efficiency are welcome; power and torque improvements are less obvious but this car performs well on the road regardless, with a distinct driving character from its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine.

So that’s a wrap on the new Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition. A stunning car, albeit at a price.

But the Mazda3 has been knocking at the door of premium for a while now.

The Mazda3 is refined and fun to drive!
The Mazda3 is refined and fun to drive!

Model tested: Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition e-Skyactiv X
Price: €37,220
2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine
Power: 186 hp
Torque: 240 Nm
Top speed: 216 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
120 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€190 per year

Caroline Kidd