What is it?
Mazda’s first-ever hybrid, a version of the all-new 3 saloon just launched at the Tokyo motor show.
Built around a 2.0-litre petrol engine, the main electrical componentry has been bought in from Toyota and integrated with Mazda’s four-cylinder petrol.
These aren’t Toyota’s latest hybrid parts, however, they were developed for the first-generation Prius in the late 1990s.
Nevertheless, this is a sophisticated hybrid with a complex epicyclic transfer box and CVT to juggle power between the petrol engine, electric motor and front-wheels.
It also benefits from the latest knowledge in tuning and setting-up hybrid systems, so Mazda says it has extracted the maximum from the hardware.
The battery pack is nickel metal hydride, fairly compact and packaged next to the rear bulkhead, where it makes a limited impact on luggage space – which numbers 312 litres, a reduction of 107 litres.