It’s pretty common for automakers to talk a big game when it comes to building cars that provide pleasure during everyday driving situations. Generally speaking, Mazda has backed it up.
The Mazda 3 compact sedan and hatch have long been considered among the best of the small-car segment for those who enjoy driving. Mazda knows this and is looking to live up to that reputation with the new global 3, while also boosting fuel economy.
That means that there are five powertrains utilizing Skyactiv technology now available. They displace 1.5-, 2.0-, or 2.5-liters in the case of gas engines, or 1.8-liters for the diesel. A hybrid powertrain will also be available. It’s unclear as of yet which engines and drivetrain layouts are set for sale in the U.S. and Canada, or if the 3 will be listed as a 2019 or 2020 model year vehicle.
(Ed. note: As usual, auto show lighting is terrible for pics. If we get better ones later, we’ll replace them. See below for a glossy press shot.)
You’ll be able to choose between a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive will be available (again, it’s unclear if AWD will be sold in North America).
Let’s take a break here: I need to note that Mazda’s press materials don’t differentiate what is global and what is U.S.-spec. I’ve heard that this might get cleared up at the press conference, but given that the presser is scheduled for late in the day, I’d rather report what we know now and update later.
The specs above are what we know now. I did get to see the car in person last night and my initial take is that the car is sleek-looking, but the sedan is far more handsome than the hatchback (which has the kind of booty we usually hear about in bad rap songs).
The hatch also looks a bit like the current car, while the sedan is a clear departure.
It’s a certain bet that the Skyactiv-X engine will be available in U.S.-spec cars in 2.0-liter guise. A prototype I drove in January proved to be pretty torquey around town. While some harshness issues cropped up, I bet they’ll be cleaned up for production.
This post will be updated if and when we get more spec details.
[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC, Mazda]