Future Cars: 2015 Mazda3 Hatchback Goes Kodo


In 2004, the Mazda3's arrival on the compact car scene was a huge breath of fresh air; equipped with competent handling, performance and standout styling, it made a striking point of difference compared to its competitors and the mundane Protegé/323 that it replaced. Even in comparison to the European Ford Focus that shares its platform, the Mazda3 in my eyes set a design benchmark that still looks fresh today.

Now fast forward to 2013, and the Hiroshima based manufacturer is applying final touches to the yet-to-be officially revealed 3rd-generation Mazda3. While expected to break cover later this year, we feel that waiting is not going to satisfy our curiosity. So here it is; the all-new Mazda3, painstakingly rendered using visual clues from the many Zebra-coated prototypes spotted driving out and about. Stunning isn't it?

Immediately one will notice that it looks more mature yet dynamically aggressive than the out-going car. This is due to Mazda's continued application of its 'Kodo' design language - a styling genre previewed by the CX-5 crossover and well-received Mazda6 sedan.

Arguably the next Mazda3 looks to be the best interpretation of Kodo design to date, and anyone with a dislike for clowns will be suitably relieved as the car does away with its controversial smiling grill - instead opting for a psychologically friendly alternative.

The chrome-framed grill and headlights share most of their DNA with the bigger Mazda6, yet where this improves is with better proportioning (I've felt the high hood profile and shoulder/window line on the latest '6' does not gel the best).

Another area of enhancement is with the prominent rear haunches; helping to increase visual stance, they are now even more exaggerated with the sheet-metal flowing up into the wider C-pillars. Speaking of the latter, those rear quarter windows behind the rear doors of the 1st and 2nd generation versions have now disappeared, making the greenhouse appear a fraction more unique.

Around the back, the view is more CX-5 than Mazda6 - though it translates well with shaper surfacing and taillight detailing compared to the compact crossover.

Peering through the more rakish rear window is expected to show a higher quality interior. Whilst the cabin styling of the current car carries a certain flair, it suffers in furnishing with hard plastics and questionable material choices - the 2014 (or 2015MY) version is expected to rectify these issues. Also under the skin, a vast suite of safety technologies will likely appear; like blind spot assist, smart break support, lane departure warning and radar-based active cruise control.

At the business end, the formula is SkyActiv-G driven with a 2.0L four cylinder aided by either six-speed auto or manual transmissions driving the front wheels. However, SkyActiv is much more than a power train - it's a philosophy of fuel saving technologies like i-stop (engine stop-start), high compression ratios and structural weight savings to create a nimbler, more potent package.

In terms of other packaging, expect cabin space to be better utilized (anyone that has sat in the back of the current Mazda3 sedan will know how tight things are), so cue increased legroom front and rear. At this stage, just sedan and hatch configurations will be offered, with the latter being potentially offered in MPS (Mazdaspeed) guise later down the track.

So, will all of this make it the new compact segment leader? Arguably so in an aesthetic sense - compared to the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf it is a sculptural delight. What do you think - should the other compact main players be worried or look away unfazed? Let us know in the comments below.

By Josh Byrnes

Photo Renderings Copyright: Josh Byrnes / Carscoops




klowik said... »March 18, 2013

If Mazda is gonna compete with VW golf and other, the final product has to stick close to the concept.

Shuruppak said... »March 18, 2013

This is a fantastic looking car.I hope the final product looks and more importantly,rides and handles like it looks.

Docrbob said... »March 18, 2013

Finally...they are going to fix that hideous front end. Watch sales rise again.

Justin said... »March 19, 2013

I have a 2010 3 Sport GT-E and it's an amazing car. I will however only consider this redesigned model only if quality is there 'cause so far I spent more time at the repair shop with this car than i spent it flossing...!!!

steve said... »March 19, 2013

If its for real, should name it the best design among other hatchback, move away bmw 1 series, a class, mini, vw golf mk7..

Ugly said... »March 19, 2013

Fine looking car... hope the actual vehicle is at least as good looking as this!!

As for "Kodo" - that's a Japanese drum isn't it? Fortunately looks nothing like a drum..

Injun said... »March 19, 2013

"Kodo" means heartbeat in Japanese, not drum.

Daniel Platschek said... »March 19, 2013

Now that we got rid of the grin, could you please render what the Mazdaspeed version might look like so we can all fantasize...Thanks!

emjayay said... »March 19, 2013

It's the new less smiley Mazda face on an unnecessarily overstyled and convoluted Infiniti type body on a car that is too small for all that stuff.

Yoyo said... »March 19, 2013

I'm excited to see the new Mazda 2 now.

Michael said... »March 20, 2013

I saw this car in Irvine, CA. about two weeks ago. At the time, I knew it was a Mazda 3 but it looked a bit different under the disguise tape. Then I thought it might be the new Mazda 6 hatchback version, but it seemed too small. After seeing this picture, I know that it was this car that I saw. It definitely has the Mazda 6 front end. The back end looked like the current Mazda 3 shape but with the tail lights and horizontal trunk design integrated into the hatch door and corner panels. Overall, very similar to this picture. Seemed about the same size as the current Mazda 3, just slightly wider stance. Should be very nice.

SeraniTafari said... »March 25, 2013

WOW! Finally! At long last! A sexy Mazda! I guess someone finally hit some designers in the studio, across the head with a heavy oak branch, and knocked some sense into them! LOL. We look forward to writing a superhot design analysis on this car very soon at! So stay tuned for what we have to say!

navin said... »March 28, 2013

kodo soul of motion

Abram McCalment said... »April 02, 2013

Make the torque steer in my 2010 go away and I'm game!

dEviLz said... »April 10, 2013

Love my first and second generation Mazda 3... Looking so forward to this one... Simply gorgeous...

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