To prove just how good its new model is, Mazda is sending eight of its new compact hatchbacks on an unconventional test drive – travelling more than 9,300 miles from the factory in Hiroshima to the 2013 International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.

The ‘Mazda Route3 – Hiroshima to Frankfurt Challenger Tour 2013’ crosses nine time zones, five countries and two continents, traversing Russia (the world’s largest country), before crossing Belarus and Poland.  Driven by journalists, bloggers and Mazda dealers, the convoy of new Mazda3 cars will arrive in Frankfurt on Saturday 7 September, three days before the motor show opens its doors.  Mazda fans can follow the convoy’s progress on a dedicated website available at which will feature a trip diary with images and videos.

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After taking a ferry across the Sea of Japan, the main overland portion of the Mazda Route3 endurance test drive begins in Vladivostok, Russia’s main Pacific port, on 3 August.   British media and Mazda dealers from the UK will be among the first crews to pilot the Mazda3 test fleet when they participate in the three legs from Vladivostok to Krasnoyars, via Blagoveshensk and Ulan-Ude.

All the Mazda3 hatchback test cars will be powered by a 120ps SKYACTIV-G petrol engine mated to a six-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission. 

This will be the third time that Mazda models have taken part in such an extreme test drive.  In 1977, German reporters drove two predecessors of the Mazda3 – Mazda 323 hatchbacks – from Japan to Frankfurt.  The expedition was followed up successfully in 1990, when four Mazda 626s crossed the former Soviet Union.