First spyshots of disguised prototype show Kai concept-inspired styling for hatch ahead of full unveil in Los Angeles
15 November 2018

Mazda will be pulling the covers off its new 3 hatchback and Fastback saloon at the upcoming Los Angeles motor show, but long-awaited spyshots have given us an early glimpse.

It's the first time we've seen prototypes of the Ford Focus rival testing in any form, so Mazda has been adept at keeping it away from prying eyes. The hatchback is disguised in the usual wrapping but the body shape can be clearly seen, showing a design inspired heavily by the Kai concept from the 2017 Tokyo motor show.

The gaping front grille shows a family resemblance between the 3 and the latest CX-5, while thin, stretched headlamps, a long bonnet and curvy profile stay loyal to the concept. At the rear the narrow glasshouse, sloping roofline and steeply raked windowline give it a coupe-like look, and the squat, purposeful stance again isn't dissimilar to the Kai. 

The 3 features Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X vehicle architecture, specially developed to house the brand's new compression-ignition petrol engine, which, the firm says, offers the fuel efficiency of a diesel without turbocharging. Mazda claims "fundamental performance attributes have been raised to a new level". 

Our Verdict

Mazda 3
The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

Mazda's SkyActiv revolution hits the family hatchback class with a desirable blend of brisk performance and energetic handling

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Honda CR-V hybrid 2019 first drive review - hero front
    16 November 2018
    First Drive
    Honda’s hybrid tech makes its debut in the grown-up CR-V family SUV, and...
  • Kia Ceed 2018 long-term review - hero front
    16 November 2018
    First Drive
    The latest Ceed is the best yet. But is it now good enough to be a real...
  • Honda CR-V 2018 road test review - hero front
    16 November 2018
    Car review
    For its fourth-generation, Honda moves its long-established CR-V into full-...

This new architecture is also intended to improve driving dynamics, refinement and comfort. 

Confirming that the all-new 3 will keep its hatchback bodystyle, the Kai concept also hinted that Mazda's next generation of vehicle design will adopt styling cues from past concepts – most notably, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso-like twin-circle tail-lights, sunken back into the bodywork and split horizontally by a chrome strip. 

At 4420mm long, 1855mm wide and 1375mm tall, the Kai concept is slightly longer, wider and lower than the current Mazda 3. Its wheelbase is also 50mm longer. Pushing the wheels further towards the corners like this should increase interior space and improve stability on the road. 

It's a four-seater, but this will grow to five seats when the production car arrives in the next two years. What won't change, though, is the front-engine, front-wheel-drive set-up. 

It's not clear yet if Mazda intends to offer a diesel engine alongside the compression ignition petrol units, but further details are imminent as the car's official unveiling is just a couple of weeks away. 

Read more: 

Mazda Vision Coupe previews Aston Martin-rivalling grand tourer

Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X 2019 prototype review: new compression ignition petrol engine driven

Mazda RX-Vision rotary-engined sports car concept revealed

Join the debate

Comments
23

25 October 2017

Mazda gives us the two best concepts of the show. Both look stunning.

25 October 2017
papagomp wrote:

Mazda gives us the two best concepts of the show. Both look stunning.

 

Ain't that the truth.  Mazda stylists are operating on a whole other level.

25 October 2017

Yeah, they sure are.

XXXX just went POP.

25 October 2017

If its 4.42m long it's actually 5cm shorter than the current car.

 

 

A34

25 October 2017
tuga wrote:

If its 4.42m long it's actually 5cm shorter than the current car.

... and still a fraction too long for the class

25 October 2017

I love it, but am worried about the feasibility of the C-pillar, which looks too chunky and renders the car more coupe than hatchback from a passenger and driver visability perspective.  If they can nail this without losing the overall concept and effect, then Mazda will have the most (only?) truly desirable looking hatch on the market.

The car-buying public gets what it deserves, unfortunately ...

FMS

8 November 2018
Bishop wrote:

I love it, but am worried about the feasibility of the C-pillar, which looks too chunky and renders the car more coupe than hatchback from a passenger and driver visability perspective.  If they can nail this without losing the overall concept and effect, then Mazda will have the most (only?) truly desirable looking hatch on the market.

 

...feasability of the C-pillar...LMAO...without losing the overall concept and effect...HILARIOUS...Now try if you can to explain these phrases, in terms of the context that is CLEARLY missing...how does one lose a concept?

12 November 2018

I knew exactly what you meant and I agree with you.  The C-pillar treatment is a key feature of the design. It would be a shame to have to lose it to improve rear visibility and/or headroom.  It appears from the photo that the saloon version will have a different and more conventional treatment.

As I'm sure you've noticed , FMS is a complete arse who appears to have nothing better to do with his time than trolling other contributors on this site, while rarely (never?) making a constructive contribution of his own.

FMS

15 November 2018
Daniel Joseph wrote:

I knew exactly what you meant and I agree with you.  The C-pillar treatment is a key feature of the design. It would be a shame to have to lose it to improve rear visibility and/or headroom.  It appears from the photo that the saloon version will have a different and more conventional treatment.

As I'm sure you've noticed , FMS is a complete arse who appears to have nothing better to do with his time than trolling other contributors on this site, while rarely (never?) making a constructive contribution of his own.

 

So by posting your comment and judging my comment, you are also "trolling"...you had an opportunity to as you might describe it, take the high ground...alas you failed. Not your first, and you will have to do more than guess(?), if you want to present your assumption about other content posted, being accurate. Oh, are you a gimp?.

15 November 2018
FMS wrote:

Daniel Joseph wrote:

I knew exactly what you meant and I agree with you.  The C-pillar treatment is a key feature of the design. It would be a shame to have to lose it to improve rear visibility and/or headroom.  It appears from the photo that the saloon version will have a different and more conventional treatment.

As I'm sure you've noticed , FMS is a complete arse who appears to have nothing better to do with his time than trolling other contributors on this site, while rarely (never?) making a constructive contribution of his own.

 

So by posting your comment and judging my comment, you are also "trolling"...you had an opportunity to as you might describe it, take the high ground...alas you failed. Not your first, and you will have to do more than guess(?), if you want to present your assumption about other content posted, being accurate. Oh, are you a gimp?.

Eh?  I tried to run this through Google Translate, but they don't offer an "Idiot to English" option.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Honda CR-V hybrid 2019 first drive review - hero front
    16 November 2018
    First Drive
    Honda’s hybrid tech makes its debut in the grown-up CR-V family SUV, and...
  • Kia Ceed 2018 long-term review - hero front
    16 November 2018
    First Drive
    The latest Ceed is the best yet. But is it now good enough to be a real...
  • Honda CR-V 2018 road test review - hero front
    16 November 2018
    Car review
    For its fourth-generation, Honda moves its long-established CR-V into full-...