Mazda has unveiled the 2019 Mazda 3 ahead of the LA Auto Show in Hollywood, California. The design remains extremely faithful to the Kai concept that blew us away at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, and is an absolutely stunning interpretation of the compact hatchback and sedan.
At a time when the Big Three are abandoning sedans and compact cars left and right, Mazda is striking at the heart of the segment with brilliant style. There are no unnecessary lines, scoops, or vents. Ikuo Maeda, the Mazda chief of design, said the shape uses natural curves to reflect light, a process that can only be created by hand and clay in an age when car designs are often plugged through a computer program.
Both the hatchback and sedan are a second evolution of Mazda’s Kodo design theme. The sedan adopts the look of its big brother Mazda 6 and instantly becomes the most attractive vehicle of its class. Buyers will have their choice of front- and all-wheel-drive configurations in both body styles.
Typically, the sedan is considered the higher-end version, but in this case the flagship of the 3 lineup appears to be the hatchback. It’s available in an exclusive Polymetal Gray and burgundy (it looks flat in low light but sparkles in the sun) exterior colors, and a sumptuous red-and-black 2-tone interior. Unfortunately, the minders at the event didn’t open the doors on these pre-production prototypes for us to photograph.
Mazda is offering no less than five engine options for the Mazda 3 — SkyActiv-G gasoline engines in 1.5-, 2.0-, and 2.5-liter displacements, as wll as a 1.8-liter SkyActiv-D diesel and the revolutionary new spark-controlled compression-ignition SkyActiv-X engine. Power figures have not been announced, but for reference the 2.5-liter makes 187 horsepower in the CX-5.
Six-speed manual and automatics will be available; none of that silly CVT business. Mazda’s innovative G-Vectoring system that uses engine torque to shift weight for better handling, is available on the 3 for the first time as well.
One surprising choice was that of a torsion-beam rear suspension. It’s almost shocking that Mazda, a company which prides itself on superior handling, would take such a step backwards, but we will reserve judgement until we drive the car. Perhaps there is a greater master plan at work.
Torsion beam isn’t necessarily such a big deal – the French brands have been making it work for ride and handling for decades. The Mazda 2 already uses such a setup, and that rides and handles well too – in fact, most (if not all) B-segment cars currently use a torsion beam.
Part of the reason is cost and space-efficiency obviously (they *are* sensible family cars, first and foremost, so enthusiasts need to realise that) but weight is also a factor. Torsion beams seem to work much more effectively on lighter, simpler cars (and indeed contribute to weight reduction themselves). We know Mazda can do the lightweight thing, so perhaps that’s been factored in.
It’ll hardly be detracting from some mythical high bar, anyway. The outgoing 3 rides and handles *decently*, but it’s hardly an all-time FWD great. I doubt it’ll make much difference in reality – and could easily be masked entirely by say, better damping or improvements to the steering.
Styling looks good though – I actually prefer the sedan; the hatchback looks a little rear-heavy thanks to that enormous C-pillar.
Well said Ant! Nothing at all wrong with a torsion beam as the French exemplify. It is only ‘on paper’ that it is inferior.
I do love the look of the hatch better, however! To me it just looks so ‘bang-on’ Japanese it is almost perfect!
Can the torsion beam be light enough? I remember the 1984 Civic had too much unsprung weight in the rear suspension. It would hop a little bit to the side when driving over a cross-pavement seam in the curve where Gaffey Street feeds into the Harbor Freeway in San Pedro.
I can’t think of another brand that excites me more than Mazda in terms of real-life offerings. This is a good looking car that I can actually buy.
I’m just me or the red in Mazda is fabulous ??? in the photos it seems that they smoothed the curve on the surface of the doors, perhaps in person and with natural light you can better appreciate the difference (or not) between the concept and the production car. very good for mazda for making a great design for a car for the masses.
Nope! Red is a difficult color, particularly in metallic. Most metallic reds look rasberry to me. They also don’t fare well from UV damage. No one, with the possible exception of Alfa Romeo has got it right. Mazda really nailed this red. When I first saw it at an autoshow, it was spectacular.
As a current mazda6 owner (and my wife owns the current 3), i have to say i’m very happy. the quality is great, the interieur is compareable to the german cars and above most other cars in the class. everything is simple and makes sense and the design and infotainment system is just plan simple and great.
I don’t know why all the other brands seem to fail to just make “cars” and rather prefer to make gimmick-overloaded design-overboarded crossover-cars that seem to cover a bit of every car-niche, but none of them real. Mazda seems the only brand that cater to fans of real cars: Hatchbacks, compacts, roadsters, sedans, station wagons, etc…
I wanted to buy a station wagon and mazda was almost the only brand that had a good looking, reasonable and good quality car to offer!
I dig it, but omg when can we see some real-sized windows on modern cars!
If I were them I’d have made the lower side-window edge on the hatchback a straight line from the rearview mirror all the way to the upper tip of the taillight, and the D-pillar of the resulting 6-window car as thin as the A-pillar.
As it is, it needs to have a very light-colored (just-barely-off white) headliner and C-pillar inner trim across all trim levels and interior colors just to keep it from being too cavelike in there.
The next of generation aircraft will probably have no windows including the cockpit. Mirrors are starting to disappear to cameras already. I have an old windowless utility van & the cameras I installed make mirrors a joke. I agree though, can’t they go in a different direction with crashworthy windows? I don’t want to drive around in a virtual GTA. Fresh air please…
The hatchback plays with a 1970s theme found in the Ford Pinto and Datsun Cherry 120A Coupe. It gives the car a interesting shape in the back.
The new 2019 Corolla hatchback looks good, especially in person. I think its the one to beat. When might I see one of these in person?
Give us a Mazdaspeed!
I’m sorry but that chunky c-pillar on the hatch ruins the look of that car for me.
Loving both the sedan and hatch! How about a 2 door mini hatch? Haha. Damn wishful thinking.
honda fit uses torsion beam rear and they handle excellently with a little drop. its not too much of a drawback in reality.