How do we know Mazda loves us? Consider the 2019 Mazda 3. It's available as a sedan or a swoopy hatchback with a bunch of different engines, including Mazda's innovative new Skyactiv-X engine that burns gasoline using diesel-style compression ignition. And you can get it with a six-speed manual transmission.
Yeah, Mazda loves us.
Unveiled ahead of the 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show, the 2019 Mazda 3 is a complete redesign of the automaker's economy car. The sedan and hatchback both feature the latest refinement of Mazda's "Kodo" design language, which the automaker describes as exploring "the essence of Japanese aesthetics."
Take a close look. The new 3 completely eliminates character lines, the folds and creases typical of today's automotive designs. Instead, Mazda used complex curving forms that, particularly in the automaker's signature red hue, make the car seem to change shape in different angles of light. The sedan has a remarkably low hood and trunk line, making the car look long and low. A new paint color, Polymetal Gray, is exclusive to the hatchback.
Mazda put particular focus on the interior of the new 3, shaping the car's ergonomics to take advantage of natural human musculoskeletal functions. As Mazda puts it, "when walking or running, people make subtle adjustments in the legs, pelvis and spine so that head sway can be controlled using only the slightest muscular effort." The seats are designed to support the spine, pelvis, thighs and rib cage to allow driver and passengers to use the same natural, subconscious head-balancing movements while riding in the car. Previous Mazda ergonomic experiments involved designing an entire seating layout around the ideal foot/ankle angle when operating the accelerator pedal, so this amount of obsession is not abnormal for the automaker.
The new Mazda 3 will be available with five engine options in total. Three Skyactiv-G four-cylinder gasoline engines are offered—1.5, 2.0 or 2.5 liters—or a 1.8-liter Skyactiv-D turbodiesel four-cylinder. The final option is Mazda's new Skyactiv-X engine, an innovative design that can burn gasoline using diesel-style compression-ignition to achieve extremely lean air-fuel ratios and thus, improved fuel economy. The new 3 is the first Mazda production vehicle to offer this engine, which will be paired with Mazda's new M-Hybrid electric-assist system.
Mazda says the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine will be the first available in early 2019 in North America, with the Skyactiv-X engine arriving later that year. We suspect the 1.5-liter gasoline engine, and the Skyactiv-D diesel, will be for the European market only. Mazda did not specify which engines will be available with the six-speed manual.
And for the first time, the Mazda 3 will offer all-wheel drive. The i-Activ AWD system will have front-rear torque vectoring and brake-based yaw control, and Mazda says the new AWD setup reduces mechanical losses by up to 60 percent compared to previous designs, improving fuel economy. We suspect that, for the North American market, all-wheel drive will be paired with the 2.5-liter engine. At this time, it's unclear whether all-wheel drive will be available with the manual transmission.
The new 3 is cram-packed with high-tech safety features, including i-Activsense, which monitors driver attentiveness and fatigue, front traffic monitoring, and cruise control that can drive semi-autonomously in stop-and-go traffic. It goes on sale in 2019; pricing has not yet been revealed.