This Is the Next Mazda 3… 's Silhouette

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
this is the next mazda 3 8230 8216 s silhouette

The 2019 Mazda 3 will be previewed by a concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show on October 24th. Realistic enough to represent an accurate vision of what the fourth-generation Mazda 3 will look like, but not so faithful to a production model that’s entirely realistic, the concept will potentially be more noteworthy due to the Skyactiv-X engine under the hood.

Skyactiv-X, long rumored, was announced more formally in August. A supercharged four-cylinder with sparkless compression ignition should result in substantially more torque and reductions in fuel consumption of more than 20 percent. That could make the next Mazda 3 a 43-mpg car on the EPA combined scale.

As far as the design, Mazda isn’t promising a revolution with the aptly titled Next-Generation Product Concept. In fact, what little Mazda is saying on the subject is tied largely to the high-tech powertrain.

It is, after all, difficult to imagine the current-generation of the Mazda 3 is struggling in the U.S. marketplace because of its exterior design. Like it or not, it’s surely not as divisive as the design of, say, the Honda Civic, currently America’s best-selling car. Cars that stir up great loathing in the minds of TTAC’s commentariat aren’t immune to popularity, as the general public doesn’t necessarily buy cars based purely on exterior styling. Otherwise we’d all be driving Jaguar XK-E coupes and Lancia Fulvias.

But could the Mazda 3, seemingly overnight, become a compact car that offers far superior power and fuel economy? With an attractive body? And “human-centered design philosophy for optimal functionality,” whatever that is? And if all of that did quickly become true, could the Mazda 3’s steady decline on America’s passenger car sales charts be quickly turned around?

Through the first three-quarters of 2017, the Mazda 3 has reported a 19-percent year-over-year U.S. sales decline in a compact category that’s down just 4 percent. That places the Mazda tenth in the category with fewer than 6,700 monthly sales. The 3’s share of the compact market now stands at 3.9 percent, a far cry from the 6.1 percent slice of the pie the Mazda 3 enjoyed in 2012. Sales of the Mazda 3 have fallen 37 percent since 2012. 3 sales are on track this year to fall to a 13-year low.

On a more design-led front, the Next-Generation Product Concept that previews the next Mazda 3 will be accompanied in Tokyo by the “Next-Generation Design Vision.” Mazda claims that car will result “in a more profound expression of the globally-acclaimed KODO design language Mazda debuted on the Mazda CX-5 in 2012.”

[Images: Mazda]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Oct 10, 2017

    I'm really beginning to wonder about this place. If Cain is an expert, I'm an iguana lizard. How many times does this place have to be told that the new SkyActiv-X engine DOES USE spark plugs? I mean, come on. Read Car and Driver's description of the engine, and their drive of a prototype. Been out for over a month online. But no, nobody here can get that news through their thick heads. It's called an SPCCI engine, SPARK PLUG CONTROLLED COMPRESSION IGNITION. The truth about cars written by people without much of a clue. Next we'll have Cain telling us the new Audi A8 reminds him of the Dodge Dart.

  • Rengaw Rengaw on Oct 10, 2017

    My experience has been that Mazda dealerships have been sub-par and few and far between. Mazda, from what I have read, plans to make an effort to improve their dealerships. Unless a consumer follows car reviews, such as TTAC, Car and Driver, Motorweek, Consumer Reports, and others, they are usually not exposed to Mazda’s virtues and go with other more prominent brands they see locally. I think Mazda has made tremendous strides in building quality attractive vehicles since their split from Ford, but can’t get the presentation to consumers right. Subaru has figured out how to create brand identity with a strong image of what a Subaru owner is. Mazda tried Zoom Zoom but dropped that. I am rooting for Mazda as their vehicles and innovation deserve a healthier more active spot in the market place.

  • Wjtinfwb Over the years I've owned 3, one LH (a Concorde) a Gen 1 300 and a Gen 2 300C "John Varvatos". The Concorde was a very nice car for the time with immense room inside and decent power from the DOHC 3.5L. But quality was awful, it spent more time in the shop than the driveway. It gave way to a Gen 1 300, OK but the V6 was underwhelming in this car compared to the Concorde but did it's job. The Gen 1's letdown was the awful interior with acres of plastic, leather that did it's best imitation of vinyl and a featureless dashboard that looked lifted from a cheaper car. My last one was a '14 300C John Varvatos with the Pentastar. Great car, sufficient power and exceptional highway mileage. The interior was much better than the original as well. It was felled by a defective instrument cluster that took over 90 days to fix and was ultimately lemon law' d back to FCA. I'd love one of the 392 powered final edition 300s but understand they're already sold out and if I had an extra 60k available, would likely choose a CPO BMW 540i for comparable money.
  • Dukeisduke Thanks Cary. Folks need to make sure they buy the correct antifreeze, since there are some many OEM-specific ones out there (Dex-Cool, Ford gold, Toyota red and pink, etc.).And sorry to hear about your family situation - my wife and I have been dealing with her 88-yo mom, moving her into independent senior living, selling her house, etc. It's a lot to deal with.
  • FreedMike Always lusted after that first-gen 300 - particularly the "Heritage Edition," which had special 300 badging and a translucent plastic steering wheel (ala the '50s and '60s "letter cars").
  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.