With the ever-increasing competitiveness in the family hatchback space, Mazda realised that it needed to come out with something special to entice customers away from competitors like Kia and VW. With the showcase of the new Mazda 3 at the Los Angeles Motor Show, that looks like a real possibility.
2019’s Mazda 3 builds on the success of previous iterations of the car but adds extra features that set it apart from the competition. The new, elongated wheelbase, for instance, gives it an extra 10 cm interior space compared to the Golf, allowing backseat passengers substantially more leg room. The company also says that it wants to introduce a 4-wheel-drive version of the car, but are not sure yet whether this version will make it to the UK.
The Engine Line-Up
Mazda says that the new car will come in four different engine flavours: three petrol and one diesel. The petrol engines will comprise a 1.5- and a 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine which has been updated since the company last released a version of the 3, and a SkyActiv-X supercharged petrol motor, which has special spark plugs that instantly ignite fuel for better responsiveness to driver input. Finally, the diesel version features a 1.8-litre SkyActiv-D engine with special pistons that help to reduce noise.
What else did we learn about the car from the Los Angeles Motor Show?
It appears that Mazda has taken the trouble to do some cosmetic upgrades to the interior of the 3. There’s now a strip of bright material that runs down the centre of the facia, giving the car a sportier feel. And the dashboard is moved down slightly, providing better viewing angles, especially helpful for parking.
As has been the trend recently, the size of the infotainment screen has grown - to 8.8 inches in the case of the 3, providing more of a widescreen feel. It wasn’t clear from the Los Angeles Motor Show whether the car included the same touchscreen technology from elsewhere in the Mazda range, although this looks like the most likely scenario.
Mazda also includes a variety of autonomous technologies designed to make the driving experience a little less gruelling. The company says that its new traffic jam assist technology will do both breaking and accelerating during heavy, slow-speed traffic conditions, allowing the driver to sit back and relax. And a new monitoring system for 2019 will flash warnings if it detects that the driver is getting drowsy.
And One Final Thing …
Finally, the DNA of the Mazda 3 will change significantly in 2019. The current 3 Fastback will be replaced by a “five-door” saloon car that should arrive in the UK by the middle of the year.
So, in summary, the new Mazda 3 offers a range of improvements over the existing model in an attempt to woo buyers in a highly competitive market. Whether going down the four- or five-door path will help the model remains to be seen, but if there’s anything that families want, it’s practicality.
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