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A three with extras

MAZDA have started 2018 firmly on the front foot with the release this month of a special edition SP 20 hatch.

Based on the Mazda 3 GSX, this excitement machine adds extra features that will make it even more attractive, on top of an existing long list of goodies in a vehicle that is noted for its punch off the mark and excellent handling qualities.

Those extras include 18-inch alloy wheels instead of the standard 16-inch ones, a snazzy black leather trim, privacy glass on the rear side and back windows and SP20 badging.

While the extras are welcome, they come on top of an existing pedigree that encapsulates Mazda’s Kodo Soul of Motion ethos.

The SP 20 uses Mazda’s 2-litre petrol engine with 114 kW of power at 6000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

Despite the power available, the presence of features like I-stop actually give the SP 20 a fuel usage figure of a measly 5.8 litres/100km, getting down to hybrid levels.

For a bit of revision, it is worth repeating the standard features of the GSX, starting with a cabin that is designed around the driver.

That is based around the multi-function commander on the console with an easily-reached rotary control knob that lets the driver work through the menu functions while importantly being able to keep eyes on the road.

All the basics like intelligent keyless entry, a reversing camera, variable wipers, leather-wrapped steering wheel and climate control air- conditioning are there, not forgetting a six-speaker audio system and hands-free Bluetooth.

Mazda has not stinted on safety by any measure, with a strong body, dynamic stability control and integrated traction control, with the stopping power of four big disc brakes that have the back-up of ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution, while emergency brake assist recognises urgent braking and maximises brake force right when you most need it.

That is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.

This is reported to be the first of a series of special edition models Mazda is planning for 2018.

These special editions come in two striking colours — soul red crystal metallic and machine grey metallic. You won’t miss these little beauties out on the road.

Only 100 special edition SP20s are available nationally. You will have to be quick to score one.