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?