Mazda took the opportunity to introduce the next generation of its compact sedan and hatchback at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The redesigned Mazda 3 will go on sale early next year as a 2019 model, and it will again be offered in both 4-door sedan and 4-door hatchback body styles. Aside from new styling, the biggest news is that the 3 will be offered with Mazda’s i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive system.
Although more engine choices are planned for later — including Mazda’s innovative SKYACTIV-X compression-ignition engine — the 3 will initially be powered by a traditional 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic.
New features offered on the Mazda 3 include a Driver Monitoring system intended to detect and warn of drowsiness or inattentive driving, Front Cross Traffic Alert that detects vehicles approaching in front blind spots, and a Cruising & Traffic Support system that assists with acceleration, braking, and steering functions in traffic jams.
Mazda’s newest offerings have leaned toward the “premium” side of the mainstream-brand classes, and the new Mazda 3 appears to continue that trend–in terms of both styling and interior trim. Notable is the addition of all-wheel-drive, a rare offering in the compact-car class, something that’s sure to add to the Mazda 3’s appeal. We have questions about how the hatchback’s thick rear roof pillars will affect visibility, but we’ll find out answers–as well as more information on pricing and trim levels–closer to the car’s launch date, which should be early in 2019.