Tis’ the season… for the LA Auto Show, a time and place where automakers flex their marketing budgets, roll out on the red carpet their 2019-2020 vehicle models, and hire celebrities to dance around them for a pay check. Meanwhile, auto journalists crowd the stages with cameras and keyboards ready to write our own version of “Who wore it best”. But enough about that; let’s get down to the business at hand, and tell you about the 2019 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback.
DESIGN: There is a split amongst auto journalists who say that the 2019 Mazda3 hatchback is either stunning…or a compact car with a little too much booty. They say that the 2019 Mazda3 sedan is dull and lost its shape. With that, I think both models look outstanding! I was not a fan of the current Mazda3 with its not-quite Coke bottle profile, which made the front end overhang look longer than the rest of the car.
This refreshed design looks like Mazda took a knife and smoothed out those curves, leaving much crisper lines. Seeing the details on the 2019 Mazda3 sedan will depend on the position of the sun, which means it will photograph well and never look that same twice. I love that Mazda went in this direction over the more dramatic sharp-edged designs that look to have been shaped with a carving knife.
The 2019 Mazda3 hatch is a charismatic-looking car with a curved hatch that may create a very noticeable blind spot with its large C-pillar. Admittedly, we won’t know how bad the blind spot is until we get to drive it. Nevertheless, the symmetry of the design is gorgeous! The front end is in sync with the rest of the car, and in red it could fool someone into thinking it was an Alfa Romeo.
In recent years Mazda has perfected the art of minimalist chic. It reminds me of the first time you enter a hotel room. Everything is neatly made, organized, nothing out of place and makes anyone with OCD feel at ease. That’s what Mazda does with their vehicles. They give you that feeling of clean, tightly sprung, and in order. And this makes more sense when you look at the 2019 Mazda3’s interior.
The steering wheel looks thinner and sportier, as if it was taken from the MX-5. The dashboard is uncluttered, with just two dials and an 8.9 inch infotainment screen positioned at the top. Below is the gear shift, reportedly moved forward to give the driver a closer reach to and from the wheel, and there’s a large dial used to control the infotainment screen. The steering wheel has buttons you would expect in 2019; audio, phone, cruise control, etc.
The seats, according to Mazda, are designed to support the spine, pelvis, thighs and rib cage. This is to allow both driver and passengers to use the same natural, subconscious head-balancing movements while riding in the car. The ergonomics of the 2019 Mazda3 was designed to take advantage of the human body’s natural musculoskeletal function. All that means to me is that I’ll be able to take the new Mazda3 across the country and not worry about back pain.
One new safety feature will be a driver-attention monitoring system that will use infrared to babysit a driver, and give sound warnings if it detects eyes wandering away from the road. I don’t know if I like the sound of that. I don’t want a car watching me all the time. It gives off a weird Orwellian vibe to it. One safety improvement I do like is that the 2019 Mazda3 will have knee airbags, giving the compact car a total of seven airbags!
ENGINES: The 2019 Mazda 3 will be sold globally, and Mazda still has not announced which engines will be available for the U.S. market. The 2.0 (155 horsepower) and 2.5 (184 horsepower) four=cylinders from 2018 are expected to transfer over at the start of 2019, when the Mazda3 is set to hit the showrooms. Both 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual (YES!) are set to be available in 2019.
Will the new 2019 Mazda3 be available in the U.S market with i-Activ All Wheel-Drive? Mazda did not give an answer, nor if you can option AWD with a manual transmission. We don’t know yet which engines will be available in the U.S, but Mazda did announce that it has five global engine options planned for the 2019 Mazda 3. These engines include SkyActiv-G four cylinder engines with 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 liter displacements, a 1.8 liter SkyActiv-D turbodiesel. Of those offered, the most notable option will be Mazda’s all-new SkyActiv-X engine.
The SkyActiv-X is the latest tech in combustion from Mazda, and the Mazda3 will be the first production vehicle to showcase this new engine. What’s innovated about this: it’s a gasoline engine that burns fuel like a diesel engine to improve fuel economy, and will be paired with a M-Hybrid electric assist system. America might see this engine, but not until later in 2019.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I cannot wait to test drive the new Mazda3. The entire package of the vehicle looks exactly what the new Toyota Corolla needs to keep the competitive spirit in the hatchback market.