The new 2019 Mazda 3 doesn’t look as good as the concept, but it still looks better than anything else in the C-segment
Last year’s Mazda Kai concept almost stole it at the Tokyo motor show, if only the Honda Urban EV and Sport EV hadn’t showed up.
Amongst the tacky, bewinged hatchbacks of today riddled with intakes and vents, the Mazda appeared completely at ease with itself and its smooth bodywork. And we’ll take no arguments – that Kai concept is the best hatchback we’ve seen this decade.
Mazda is now ready to put the thing into much-anticipated production, but the road-ready car just unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show doesn’t quite pull it off – evidently it’s directly evolved from the Kai concept though the one that’s actually coming to the showrooms next year isn’t as taut with that slight humpback at the rear.
Not that we’re complaining too much, because this 2019 Mazda 3 is still the best looking hatchback on the market, and going by the little information we have from the reveal it’ll cater to the enthusiast drivers too.
The big deal here is Mazda’s introduction of a compression-ignition petrol engine (but you still have spark plugs), although the Hiroshima manufacturer isn’t revealing ay power figures yet. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine makes no use of a turbocharge but it’ll rev keenly knowing Mazda’s Skyactiv engines, plus there will be a six-speed manual transmission in the offering for the truly devoted.
The next highlight has to be the interior, which looks like it came from a much more premium car and features an 8.8-inch display up top on the dash with everything else minimalistically executed.
Mazda’s new hatchback will go up against rivals like the VW Golf and Honda Civic, and the 3 range will also include a 1.5-iltre entry-entry-level model plus a 2.4-litre four-cylinder without the Skyactiv-X compression-ignition tech. For our market you’re also looking at a six-speed automatic transmission.
As usual there will also be a Mazda 3 saloon body style going on sale at the same time as the hatchback, but we all know where intentions lie with these things, and a saloon never ends up looking as coherent as the hatch.
Except then you look twice, and you notice the pleasing dash-to-axle ration in the 3 saloon, almost like that of a rear-wheel drive car (compare the amount of room between the front wheel arch and the door shut line to any other FWD saloon in the segment), and that seems to just right everything with its design from front to back, where the tail doesn’t look at all tacked on to a hatch body. Nice, Mazda, very nice.