Let’s Compare The New 2019 Mazda3 To Its Predecessor

Have you noticed how automakers don’t really over-commit to building 5-door compact hatchback models that look predominantly sporty? It’s because this is such an important segment, you really can’t afford to take any major design risks and push conventional buyers away.

In fact, we would argue that aside from the Honda Civic, there really isn’t another car in this class that might be described as aggressive-looking, whether it’s in the U.S., Europe or elsewhere.

Of course, it just so happens that the vast majority of compact hatchback models are sold in Europe, where there’s about a dozen of them to choose from, excluding those that hail from premium automakers, such as the BMW 1-Series, Mercedes A-Class, Audi A3 and Volvo V40.

Spoiled for choice

Out of the non-premium ones, you have the likes of the VW Golf, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Seat Leon, Kia Ceed or the Hyundai i30 – all of which fall on the more stylish or practical side. Even the Leon, which in its second-generation looked pretty distinguished, is now a run-of-the-mill model in terms of styling.

This means that if you want something more “special”, you’re basically left with the Civic and its overly-angular appearance, and maybe the 2019 Corolla.

Either way, if you’re in the market for a new and sporty C-segment hatchback, it’s probably best you wait until you can test drive the all-new 2019 Mazda3, because, well, just look at it! It was drawn using a new interpretation of the automaker’s Kodo design language. In fact, it’s a pretty faithful representation of last year’s Kai Concept, which at the time we described as “sexy”.

Compared to its predecessor, the new Mazda3 almost looks as though it was designed with more emotion. In fact, swipe its badge for an Alfa Romeo one and its design might actually make even more sense – especially with that rear 3/4 angle aesthetic and how they designed the C-pillar.

The front end on the new model actually doesn’t differ all that much from before, but all the lines and creases have been tightened and sharpened and the result is quite fresh.

As for the interior, there’s probably not much we can say in favor of the 2018 Mazda3 over the all-new 2019 one. The automaker adopted a “less is more” approach, while utilizing better materials in order to make the cabin look (and hopefully feel) more premium. Features include the freestanding 8.8-inch infotainment display, new steering wheel, lengthened armrest, re-positioned cup holders and a gearbox surround which “incorporates a laser-engraved black layer covered by a second clear layer”, resulting in a glossy black finish with “deep transparency”. It’s basically a more stylish version of gloss black.

Then of course you have the driver assistance systems, such as Front Cross Traffic Alert or the Cruising & Traffic Support system, where the former detects approaching vehicles at intersections and the latter can automatically accelerate, brake and steer the car in various situations.

What about the sedan?

Well hold on now. Yes, there are two version of the all-new Mazda3, but only one of them comes with a unique rear end design, and it’s definitely not the four-door model.

The new Mazda3 sedan, while technically superior to its predecessor, doesn’t actually look remarkably different. Even in a crowd of other similar models like the VW Jetta, Ford Focus Sedan, Renault Megane Sedan or Skoda Octavia, would you say the Mazda actually stands out? If it does, then we’d argue that it does so less than the new Corolla Sedan and certainly a lot less than the four-door Renault Megane.

But what do you think; does the all-new 2019 Mazda3 represent a considerable improvement over its predecessor, or would you rather stick with the old model for now and maybe look elsewhere for a new C-segment ride?

  • donald seymour

    I been to the LA Auto Show and saw it in person. And I must say that it’s stunning in the flesh. It’s basically the concept.

    • alexxx

      Glad to hear… everybody bitcxing about c pillar

      • donald seymour

        Hey, in person it’s pure sexy.

        • alexxx

          Mazdas have some of the best designs…

    • eb110americana

      Same. The C-pillar does not look disproportionate in person at all. It’s an attractive design.

  • Dennis James

    Basically the predecessor looks much better.

  • kachuks

    Is it me or the hatchback front end looks better?

  • Zippy49

    Looks like the hatch has limited rear visibility, just like the current one. We bought a 2014 sedan for that reason, plus it had a couple more inches rear legroom.

    • AG

      Yeah, my 2012 3 hatch has the same problem. I believe it’s because the rear roof line slopes down and really gives you a small rear window to peak out of.. I know how to use my left and right rear windows so not a problem for me but i can see others viewpoint.

  • SD Cooper

    I prefer the design of my 2018 sedan. Glad I didn’t wait for the boring 2019!

    • AG

      The 2019 sedan IMO looks better especially the rear end. 2018 rear looked very dated and slightly Toyotaish.. To each his own 🙂

  • Rani

    Ok so I was worried about the hatch at first when I saw pictures, but then I went to the LA Auto Show yesterday and gotta say the hatch is a beauty. Proportions are on point and the design while more simple is also very elegant.

    The sedan is a looker as well even if it wasn’t such a dramatic change. It will definitely have more presence on the road with it’s more prominent grille. I was impressed with both designs and can’t wait to hear how they perform.

  • charlotteharry57

    The current hatch is preferable to the new one. The current interior is preferable to the new one. It’s a tossup for me on the sedan; I like them both.

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  • Glenn Ray

    I prefer the exterior styling of the 2016-2018 hatchback; the loss of the fender lines and expansion of the C-pillar are turnoffs for me. The new interior, however, is very nice and more ergonomic (notably, air controls).

  • cooper

    Theme song on Mazda 3 commercials will be “Baby got Back”.

  • erly5

    The previous hatch was always one of the best looking cars in this segment but the new hatch looks absolutely stunning. There’s not such a dramatic change in the saloon but again a good looking car becomes even better looking. Mazda’s styling is on point!

  • zeeper

    I think the hatch looks much better than the sedan, I have zero concerns about the visibility because I will spec a top trim with all the safety features, and, in my current car (Legacy with Eyesight) that has amazing visibility, I trust those same systems daily, and have no problem using blindspot monitoring or rear cross traffic alerts or the back up camera (I don’t turn my head around, my car beeps if anything is behind me that I don’t see in the camera, or can’t see because it is coming from the side).

    in fact, I will state that anyone who hasn’t used rear cross traffic alert is losing something great, because that system sees what is impossible for a driver to see in any car, no matter how good the visibility… gone are the days of slowly creeping backwards until you can see if it is safe to back out of a parking space.

    I also love Adaptive cruise, etc.

    As for those that prefer the current generation, it is really a good time for you. Dealers will be trying to ditch them when the 2019’s are ready to arrive, so you can expect a bargain. I’ll be buying next summer, cross-shopping this hatch with an Elantra GT Sport hatch (most likely) or Elantra Sport.

    • Baba1

      its the same thickness and the outgoing car. compare the two very careful.

  • Rocket

    I won’t lie … I’m disappointed in the new hatch and sedan designs. They oversold the concept, as tends to happen. The interior, on the other hand, is an improvement over an already excellent design.

  • Althea Later

    I’ll still take the original 2004-2008 Mazda 3. Still the best styling out of all of these.
    And they came in lot’s of actual color choices!!! Like the super rare “Golden Sand” and many others.
    Not the same 5-7 colors (most of which are dreary) since 2010.


    • True, the first-gen hatch is still the best-looking of the lot

      • AntBee

        Yeah, I miss my ’06 Silver Bullet. That car could move! I loved the tail lights, and just the overall beauty and sportiness of the first gen. GT Hatch.

  • Ermal Morina

    the concept was like, a million times better

    • Six_Tymes

      yep, aren’t they always…

  • Current Mazda 3 still is on of the best looking hatchback. Not sure I prefer the new one’s exterior.

  • DJ

    Makes it look short and stubby or like it has a big fat rear end.

    • AG

      Its sloped down so how can it have a big fat rear end?


    • assassingtr

      It actually goes into a surface that uses the entire shoulder for one clean reflection. It’s actually more elegant but, maybe stop yelling at your keyboard in caps and you’ll see it.

  • AG

    I like them both and I find them both stunning. what everyone needs to realize is that Mazda had to come up with a new design. The Auto press and bloggers kept harping that newer cars in the segment (Civic, Corolla) upped their game while Mazda was pushing a dated car and design. They had to come up with something new while at the same time keep some of the design features (front end/grill) and try to change up everything else. I think the biggest worry for me right now is how the new rear suspension (torsion bar) will handle vs the multilink of the previous generations that handled so wonderfully. I think if they really turned the suspension well then they got a hit.

    • Baba1

      you have to ask yourself why did Mazda make these design choices? ie, c-pillar thickness, horizontal tail light In reality the 2019 and 2018 hatch has the exact same silhouette. Its just a carry over design.
      the c pillar looking thicker is an illusion.
      the c-pillar is the same thickness from the inside

      the 2019 looks the way it does because the stylist was inherited hard points which they could not change.
      Having said that, the hatch looks ok. the sedan does not.

  • Craig

    The new one – given the ‘right’ shadowing – has the unfortunate consequence of looking like someone backed into the sides.

  • S3XY

    Lol what the heck. New one looks like its balding in the rear. Not very appealing

  • ThatGuy

    Mazda interiors are really good, the feel and quality is up there with the best. Not for everyone, but it looks more modern than most

    • Paul Davis

      Not top quality.

      • ThatGuy

        Correct not the best but very good still for the price point. It is not as good as a Golf, but a close second.

  • Kagan

    Just a sligthly evolution.

  • I just upgraded my 2015 Mazda3 2.0L Touring automatic to the 2018 2.5L Touring manual. Price was right, car looks good to me, and it’s fun to drive. In 2-3 years when the new compression ignition engine is readily available and proven, I’ll check it out.

    • AntBee

      The manual is the key!

  • Joe Boadle

    I think that the 3Hatch looked awkward in the blah grey color, but in the scarlet red color it looks amazing.

  • Enter Ranting

    I sat in this at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and it’s very impressive inside. Quality materials in a gimmick-free design. Mazda is producing better-looking Alfas than Alfa, and they’re more reliable. Is it a coincidence they were directly across the aisle from each other at the show?

    • Bonni Gari Leksmana

      Coz Mazda is a Japanese BMW…

      • Eric

        I’m on my fourth Mazda and I’ve always considered them a poor man’s BMW. Mazda makes affordable driver’s cars, and no one can touch them on that.

      • Rick Shaw

        Only a fool would think Mazda is BMW. BMW reliability is atrocious. Only a fool would think BMW is better

        • Bonni Gari Leksmana

          Bwahahaha, I assume you don’t even purchase nor drive Mazda yet…

  • Paul Davis

    As an owner of the current model I hope the quality has been severely upped inside as mine looks terrible due to a peeling steering wheel. As for customer care? Well that’s something Mazda UK didn’t invest in.

  • Eric

    I have the 2018 hatch GT, which I love. The new one, I don’t know what to make of it. It has all of the edges smoothed out, inside and out. The effect is a bit like smudging all over everything. It looks more Euro-luxury, and less sporty.

    I prefer the more aggressive lines of the last generation. Also, I really like the rims on my 2018, I don’t like the new rims at all. I really like the new steering wheel though, mine is disappointing.

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  • Duke Woolworth

    Blind rear quarters on the hatchback, even smaller glass area: No thanks.

    • Baba1

      its the same thickness as the outgoing model

      • Duke Woolworth

        Much smaller effective area to see other traffic. A big NO.

  • AntBee

    I love the hatch! I will probably pick one up, after the SkyActive-X engine is available, and its reliability has been proven. The current gen. and this next gen. are really making up for the 2nd gen. design language. Although I have a 2nd gen., the SkyActive engine makes up for it, plus it is still a lot of fun to drive!

  • Baba1

    the 2019 and 2018 hatch has the exact same silhouette. Its just a carry over design.
    the c pillar looking thicker is an illusion.
    the c-pillar is the same thickness from the inside.

  • AntBee

    I am sorry to hear that. I hope something positive has happened since you first mentioned this four months ago. It is my fault for not paying attention.

    • Paul Davis

      Yes it did. I bought a new Honda Civic Sport….. Would never have another Mazda.

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