The Next Mazda 3: Zooming Right Along

the next mazda 3 zooming right along

It’s pretty common for automakers to talk a big game when it comes to building cars that provide pleasure during everyday driving situations. Generally speaking, Mazda has backed it up.

The Mazda 3 compact sedan and hatch have long been considered among the best of the small-car segment for those who enjoy driving. Mazda knows this and is looking to live up to that reputation with the new global 3, while also boosting fuel economy.

That means that there are five powertrains utilizing Skyactiv technology now available. They displace 1.5-, 2.0-, or 2.5-liters in the case of gas engines, or 1.8-liters for the diesel. A hybrid powertrain will also be available. It’s unclear as of yet which engines and drivetrain layouts are set for sale in the U.S. and Canada, or if the 3 will be listed as a 2019 or 2020 model year vehicle.

(Ed. note: As usual, auto show lighting is terrible for pics. If we get better ones later, we’ll replace them. See below for a glossy press shot.)

You’ll be able to choose between a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive will be available (again, it’s unclear if AWD will be sold in North America).

Let’s take a break here: I need to note that Mazda’s press materials don’t differentiate what is global and what is U.S.-spec. I’ve heard that this might get cleared up at the press conference, but given that the presser is scheduled for late in the day, I’d rather report what we know now and update later.

The specs above are what we know now. I did get to see the car in person last night and my initial take is that the car is sleek-looking, but the sedan is far more handsome than the hatchback (which has the kind of booty we usually hear about in bad rap songs).

The hatch also looks a bit like the current car, while the sedan is a clear departure.

It’s a certain bet that the Skyactiv-X engine will be available in U.S.-spec cars in 2.0-liter guise. A prototype I drove in January proved to be pretty torquey around town. While some harshness issues cropped up, I bet they’ll be cleaned up for production.

This post will be updated if and when we get more spec details.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC, Mazda]

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2 of 64 comments
  • Scott_314 Scott_314 on Nov 29, 2018

    This car will be just sad for kids - they'll have no choice but to stare at their phones and build a slowly growing hatred for all things automotive, because they won't be able to see a thing. Terrible car for enthusiasts with kids.

  • RedRocket RedRocket on Dec 01, 2018

    Having seen more pictures of it elsewhere than those shown here, the hatchback has a design that can only be described as "what were they thinking?". It is absolutely hideous. Adding an engine with "harshness issues" to a car that has struggled over its entire life to find refinement and been saddled with excess NVH issues hardly seems like a winning move. The sedan may do OK but this could lead to even further drops in Mazda's US sales volume once the early-adopter fanbois buy their allotments, something they can ill-afford.

  • 2ACL What tickles me is that the Bronco looks the business with virtually none of the black plastic cladding many less capable crossovers use.
  • IBx1 For all this time with the hellcat engine, everything they made was pathetic automatic scum save for the Challenger. A manual Durango, Grand Cherokee, Charger, 300C, et al would have been the real last gasp for driving enthusiasts. As it is, the party is long over.
  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.