If the all-new 2019 Mazda3 sedan is a sign of things to come for Mazda, then the automaker is destined for a very new, very bright era. This Japanese brand, once an afterthought under the Ford Motor Company umbrella, has found a more relevant life as an independent brand working toward near-luxury status.
What sets a luxury car brand apart from the rabble are the little things that customers notice, things for which they are willing to pay a premium. You notice those little luxury touches immediately in the new Mazda3, from the elegant design of the key fob to the bright headlights that seemingly vanish in the front fascia in the daylight, and to the rearview mirror that appears to float in the air. Even something as insignificant as the windshield wiper fluid spray gets your attention when it seems to materialize out of nowhere.
Mazda employs a new design philosophy in the Mazda3 that they call the “latest evolution of Kodo design.” As a result, the exterior design is devoid of sharp angles and is reminiscent of a stealth fighter jet. Sharp angles are also absent from the interior, where the driver-oriented cockpit features an optional Heads-Up Display (HUD), something typically available only in true luxury vehicles. And the 3’s fit and finish are superb.
The Mazda3 sedan has a starting MSRP of $21,000, and tops out at $27,900. The only engine offered is a 186 hp, 2.5 liter four-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine. Happily, Mazda does offer a 6-speed manual transmission for the few of us that still know how to use one. Fuel economy numbers are a respectable 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Both FWD and AWD models are offered.
The Mazda3 is the best-selling model in the Mazda lineup; this newest generation is an out-of-the-park home run. Innovative design and attention to small details have transformed a car that once shared parts with the Ford Focus to a car that could easily see Lexus customers migrating over. I can’t wait to see what Mazda comes up with next.