Mazda Kai Concept Teases Next Mazda3, But Don’t Get Your Hopes Too High

The first photos of the Mazda Kai concept were released today, just ahead of its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Designed to preview the next-generation Mazda3, the Kai concept is a stylish five-door hatchback which features a dynamic kodo design. Still, as so many concepts have proven time and time again, the production car will undoubtedly be less aggressively styled and stanced – no need to explain.

On the study, the front of the car is dominated by massive grille that is flanked by recessed headlights and a prominent splitter. Moving further back, we can see flowing bodywork and muscular fenders.

The unique styling continues up top as designers created a distinctive roof which has two large glass panels above the passenger seats. Other notable styling features include flush door handles, a dual exhaust system, and a small tailgate-mounted spoiler.

While the exterior has a lot of eye-catching details, the interior is an act in simplicity. Drivers sit behind a three-spoke steering wheel and find themselves facing a traditional instrument cluster. The car is equipped with a high-tech infotainment system but its panel has been integrated into the dashboard so it effectively fades out of view when not needed.

Elsewhere, we can see black leather upholstery which is contrasted by red accents. Other highlights include piano black trim and tasteful touches of chrome.

Mazda is expected to release details about the car tomorrow, so stay tuned for more information..

H/T to Josh!

Article has been updated with new official photos

Photo Gallery

  • matrem

    I like it.

    • MultiKdizzle

      Only Mazda – and the French – can do small cars right.

      Love this.

  • mccarluvr123

    Mazda never fails to impress. Even more so as their production models so closely resembles the concepts.

  • Antonio

    It’s the true successor of the Honda Civic FN. Looks amazing

  • Kyle Newberry

    If Mazda does 1/2 of this styling on the production model, my goodness!

  • Archknight77

    It’s mine, I must have it!!!

  • Enter Ranting

    Mazda is doing some of the best design work in the industry right now.

    • alexxx

      100%…. They are killing it lately

      • Jorge Acosta

        Define lately.. almost all their cars have been the best looking cars in their segments for at least 10 yrs now…

        • alexxx

          Agree…time flies…😀

  • Chad Gordon

    I love my 3, but if the next one looks this good, I’ll be trading her in without a second thought.

  • Carmelo Van Cabboi

    I need to cum. This concept looks stunning!!!

  • SgtBeavis

    That is damn nice. Mazda’s cars might not be fast, but they sure as hell look the part.

  • Nordschleife

    I think its sexy.

  • Mark S

    Wow! even toned down for production this should be a beautiful Car. Take notes Lexus and others on just how to do a big grille. I love the tail light I hope they make the production cut. Interior looks great as well. I’ll take mine in MS3 guise thanks.

    • Carmaker1

      How will it be toned down for production? You mean Mazda toned up the design of the next Mazda 3 into this concept? As an engineer I find your sentiment disingenuous, considering that they developed the production car’s design before this concept’s.

      Automakers on average do NOT develop concepts like this, then the production model afterwards. Only in exceptional cases like the Lexus LF-LC or BMW Z9 GT. This Kai is NOT the exception.

      • M Mark Stippich

        With all your hubris you still can not manage some simple reading comprehension or show knowledge of the automobile industry. Elements such as the door-handles, wheels, rv-mirrors, lighting ECT. simply will not find its way to production. This is also why they call them concepts.The Mazda 3 is a mainstream compact BTW. So if your going to be a net vulture get your ducks in a row first buddy.

        • Carmaker1

          I never mentioned door handles you idiot, as that was not the point. You are entirely going off in a direction and need to see a shrink. Sounds like someone has multple accounts lol.

          • M Mark Stippich

            Sad little boy! Grow up!

      • Mind Synthetic

        what are you talking about, there is no production before concept. generally it starts with a concept with an primitive engineering package to support it. Which is developed further down the road and concept styling is skinned over a complete engineering package. obviously this is a very toned down step by step process.

        • Carmaker1

          That is what I am essentially stating. I waw trying to it in simpler terms, in which the final production design is often frozen, before the time a show car is revealed. Hoping that Mazda can make any design changes or near future, isn’t realistic.

        • Carmaker1

          Again, try remembering in this context, that “concept” refers to the Kai show vehicle as it is. I agree with that you’re saying, but you are referring something else.

          What I mean is, that Mazda didn’t just start developing the BN replacement and then trot the Kai Concept car, before finalizing the production design.

          The Kai has some connection to the full-scale concept mock-up (proposal), chosen by Mazda management last year, but it wasn’t designed before it.

          I am trying to point out, that the Kai doesn’t play the same role.

  • MonkeyRider

    Mazda is like Alfa Romeo of japan. Love their sports spirit and design direction!

    • O123

      And yet no fast models. A mps3 would be amazing.

      • Eythan Aldrich

        well mx-5 is there……but still not enough tbh…..we need more than just the mx-5

    • dj_aris

      Exactly. And now that Alfa will probably cease production of affordable cars Mazda will thrive. Too bad they are not sold in Greece anymore…

  • ErnieB

    Holy hell thats stunning!

    • Kenneth

      Yes, that’s the perfect word for it: stunning. This should thoroughly shame the Civic Hatch’s designer(s). Mazda deserves an award for this beauty.

  • Dennis Scipio

    Yeah it looks good, i will admit.

  • Kyle Newberry

    Now what will be interesting is the new Spark-Plug compression ignition engine! I guess now I really will be torn about buying a FRS lol.

  • Craig

    I first read that as, Mazda KIA concept. That said… other than the front – it does look a bit like a KIA. Which isn’t a bad thing.

  • Honda NSX-R


  • ctk4949


  • I’mCallingYouOut

    …and Mazda does it again! That stunning roof, the bonkers elegant shape (bye character lines!), and holy shart that interior!

  • U8INIT

    It looks nice but it’s giving me Dodge Dart vibzzzz….

  • gordono

    So sleek. Do it , do it. Thank you designers for removing conspicuous hood cut line on many of your current cars and suvs.

  • Both the interior and exterior design teams deserve a standing ovation! The integration of the infotainment screen is especially impressive given Mazda’s propensity of late to simply tack an iPad on to the dash. The C-pillar must be hell on visibility, but I hope it is left intact on the production model.

    • Carmaker1

      Let me fix that for you : “I hope it *was* left intact on the production model.” Past tense matters, when everything on the next generation model design wise has been a done deal for a year now. Even if you haven’t seen it yet, they have already designed it and it was well before this Concept Kai.

      • M Mark Stippich

        OG shut up!

        • Carmaker1

          Hurt, bitch? Get over it with you and your multiple accounts. Not fooling anyone with that one bit.

  • fgclolz

    Wouldn’t mind having this as my next DD.

  • pcurve

    omg that interior

  • eb110americana

    It’s not very concept-y (save for a few trimmings, like mirrors), and it owes more than a little to Alfa Romeos (but better)–and I don’t even care. It looks amazing! So clean in an era when Lexuses, Infinitis, Hondas, and so much else out of Japan is overdone, yet it is never boring. The surface sculpting is so good that it doesn’t need to rely on those parlor tricks. I truly hope the next 3 looks just like this.

    • Nori

      Japanese govt has already approved the use of camera as side mirrors and we are expecting to have some models to future this quite soon

  • Aporto

    Mazda really is on Fire ! KODO Design !

  • Big Black Duck

    wow…just love it…they almost got everything right .. best Japanese car company in terms of styling..


    I hope they make a new Mazdaspeed 3.

  • Six_Tymes

    dream car.

  • AstonMartin

    Best styling and proportions of any concept or production in a 4 door hatchback I’ve ever seen. I only wish Mazda would make this exact concept available as a production model. Then again. I wish the RX concept becomes a reality too. Give me one green light for the holidays.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Pretty sexy for a family hatch concept.

  • klowik

    I suppose the production model wont have that round fold on the side. Isn’t the headlight a bit small ? should there be some LED in the headlight cluster as well ? it’s nice to see Mazda revive the old school round tail lights.

  • renesis 16x

    I wasn’t expecting this, but i’ll take it 😉

    Ikuo Maeda is way too talented for this miserable World…

  • renesis 16x

    That rear three quarters view is perfect. It reminds me of the Alfa 147, but it’s even better. When they say Mazda is doing better Alfas than Alfa Romeo, they’re not lying…

  • Jorge Acosta

    OK… I have had enough!! What is wrong with people!?? Why isn’t this brand selling more cars when they have been constantly producing reliable, good looking cars!!??? People runs in hordes to buy the next civic or corolla or accord or whatever… makes me sad…

    • alexxx

      Exactly…I also wonder that myself…beautiful cars, reliable…where is the catch?

    • c3vzn

      You’ll be happy to know that Mazda dominates in Australia and is consistently in the top best selling brands. I don’t why it isn’t the same worldwide.

    • Eric

      If there was any justice in this world, Mazda would be top three in individual brand sales. Their vehicles are consistently ranked at the very top in every category they contest. I suspect it’s mostly about interior volume – people deluding themselves still with this 1950’s mentality that bigger is better, yet 90% of the time, there is one lone occupant and nothing in the trunk.

  • Ary Wisesa

    Wow… As usual, Mazda concept car is so beautiful. Good job Mazda!

  • Lyonel Baratheon


    • Eythan Aldrich

      like yourself……get lost DX

      • Lyonel Baratheon

        if this one like me – so this concept ugliest car model in the history!
        This is a fail as for Mazda’s design school (MDS). I like MDS, but not in this case.

  • salamOOn

    too bad it wont look exactly like this concept….

  • Braddo

    Stunning. If only it looked liked this when released. Still overall shape is awesome.

  • Janar Siniväli

    Could there finally be a station wagon of Mazda3? I know it has not happened yet but IMO it has been a sort of a waste of great design.
    And also – I hope this one will have a bit softer suspension.

  • ediotsavant

    Reminds me of the second generation Ford Taurus. Rounded design looks like it is melting.

  • SteersUright

    Mazda is turning into a Japanese Alfa Romeo with their gorgeous Italian-esque designs of late. Love the simple interior too. The only area Mazda has been very weak on has to be their uninspiring powertrains that have let down otherwise excellent vehicles.

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

    Mazda becoming more Italian than the Italian themselves

  • Eric

    Dear Honda,
    Re: Civic 5-door
    Everyone whose eyes you’ve seared with your atrocity.

  • The interior.

  • fabri99

    Reminds me of the Alfa 147 at the rear – absolutely fantastic!

  • Infinite1

    Bring back the MazdaSpeed models, the performance would flow nicely with this design concept

  • Tumbi Mtika

    “Still, as so many concepts have proven time and time again, the production car will undoubtedly be less aggressively styled and stanced – no need to explain.”

    You probably should put this in the Subaru article. Mazda is EASILY the most faithful automaker, in terms of concept-to-production design. Hands down.

    That’s a bit amateur of you guys to put this in here.

    • Carmaker1

      You do realize that concept to production doesn’t even work like that? At least in most cases? I have gotten tired of how people invoke Subaru, yet don’t quite hit the target of what they did wrong with their concepts and production cars.

      To take a concept car and literally turn it into a production car, takes an additional 3-6 years. For a concept like this, use a pre-existing platform and ongoing model dev. programme, it may be just 2 to 2.5 years from initial showing.

      Subaru overpromised terribly, when they set out to create the WRX concept shown at NYIAS 2013. When they started working on that concept in 2012, they knew that the production WRX design had just been frozen and did not look like it at all. Yet they willingly decided to move forward with the project and deceive people the next year.

      Subaru didn’t just make the concept in 2013 and then decide to make it look more bland for production in 2014. They made a conscious choice to overdo teasing people with a showy design and not delay the inferior production model by 12 months to fix it and match the concept closely.

      It is nothing but a game of hyping lacklustre or not as dramatic production cars, to garner media attention or get people into their showrooms.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    This is drop dead sexy. Another comprehensive, revolutionary redesign to an already stunning existing product, that, itself, is absolutely stunning. I am so excited for when it comes on sale, knowing how faithful Mazda is to their designs. The smooth lines, the beautiful lights, the simplistic center console. This is shaping up to once again retain its spot at the top of the class. Just…remember to add an MPS version this time. We love those things.

    • Carmaker1

      More evolutionary considering how similar it will still be in design to the current generation and still use the same platform, which was new in 2013.

  • Beautiful concept – as someone said here “Mazda is doing better Alfas than Alfa Romeo”… hahaha
    I see Alfa’s influence and a bit of 147, Giulietta and Mito in those curves, thick C-pillars, and rounded tail-lights.
    BTW, Fiat should let Mazda design the next MX5-based 124 Spider – the current one is a mess.

    • Mark S

      The Spider is ok, just needs an engine.

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