Last year, Mazda offered us an exaggerated preview of their next-generation 3 compact model with the Kai Concept in Tokyo, but now, we can give you a first look, or, to be exact, an outline of the production version.
We can confirm that these are official drawings of the 2019 Mazda3 – keep in mind that at this time, we don’t know if it will be sold as a 2019MY or 2020MY in the U.S.A. and Canada. Back to the images, they outline the front- and rear-end three-quarters of the sedan together with the interior.
While the Kai concept previewed the five-door hatchback, comparing the two, we get a rough idea on how its lines will translate on the production model(s) in a more digestible for the masses manner.
It’s an evolution of Mazda’s Kodo design language that we’ve seen manifesting on the latest CX-5 and CX-9 crossovers with smoother sides that do away with the current car’s creases and pinched panels. Other exterior elements found on the drawings of the 2019 Mazda3 are the angrier-looking and slimmer lights on both ends of the car, along with a wider, U-shaped grille that cuts into the headlamps.
The design familiarities between the study and production car continue inside with a simple and clean layout. As with the concept, the instrument panel is encompassed by oval air vents that in some ways, remind us of a (modern) interpretation of the Honda S2000’s upper dash. However, unlike the study that incorporated a massive digital screen spanning from the passenger side to the upper corner of the instrument cowl, the production Mazda3 reverts back to the fixed (?) tablet-style screen.
What else do we have on the new Mazda3?
That’s all we can deduct from these drawings, but from prior announcements and reports, we know that the new “3” will employ Mazda’s latest Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. The platform is said to be stronger while providing a much better ride quality.
New Skyactiv-X gasoline engine promises diesel economy
But the big news for the fourth-generation “3” is the debut of Mazda’s new SkyActiv-X gasoline engine featuring Spark Controlled Compression Ignition. This innovative four-cylinder unit combines characteristics of diesel and regular gasoline engines, using spark plug ignition to “control compression ignition”. In short, it ignites the fuel-air mixture similar to a diesel engine promising to combine the fuel efficiency of the former with all the benefits of a gasoline unit, without the emissions penalty.
Mazda forecasts an output of around 190 horsepower with 170 lb-ft (230Nm) of peak torque from the 2.0-liter version. That puts it well above today’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G that delivers 155hp and 150 lb-ft (203Nm) and on par with the bigger 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G with 184hp and 185 lb-ft (250Nm). The difference here is that Mazda is targeting at least a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy and up to 25 percent less carbon dioxide emissions over the current Skyactive G engines.
The Mazda3 will drop in one of the most competitive segments in the world, with rivals including – depending on the market – the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, Opel / Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf and Jetta sedan.
When will we see it?
The new “3” in both hatchback and sedan body styles is slated to go on sale globally in the first half of 2019, but we’ll likely have our first official look at the compact model(s) at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show at the end of November.
A big thanks to Nabe for the tip!