Mazda has unveiled the all-new Mazda3 sedan and hatchback at the LA Auto Show, showcasing a sleeker look, fresh interior, and better engine choices alongside safety improvements.
The all-new Mazda3 brings the company's next-generation Kodo vision, as shown in the Vision Coupe concept in Tokyo last year, into the production line. In short, this translates to cleaner exterior lines that take what was already a good-looking design and improve upon it.
Inside, the interior of the new Mazda3 features the same less-is-more language, centering on the driver's seat. Simplicity makes for a less busy cockpit and that, in turn, makes for a more intuitive design.
These design elements are coupled with the Mazda3's more adaptable steering column, which now adjusts at 70 mm (2.75 in) up and down and 10 mm (0.4 in) laterally. The shift lever has been pushed forward and up on both automatic and manual transmissions, making it easier to operate with less reach from the steering wheel.
As part of the cabin changes Mazda has also moved the gauge cluster and driver head-up display (when equipped), while the infotainment display is now 8.8 inches wide and touchscreen capability has been removed.
Powering the new Mazda3 are any of four engines, depending on market. A 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will be the engine upgrade option for most and the base engine will be either a 1.5-liter four or a 2.0-liter non-turbo four. A 1.8-liter diesel option is also listed, though Mazda has not yet announced which powertrain will be used in which markets, so it's unclear whether that will be offered in the United States.
Another new addition is i-Activ AWD. This system is combined with electronic torque vectoring, which Mazda says reduces mechanical losses by 60 percent and improves handling and fuel economy. Part of this is G-Vectoring Control Plus, which adds yaw movement by applying braking in avoidance and spirited maneuvers.
The new AWD system is combined with with chassis changes, such as a newly-developed torsion beam at the rear and spherical bushings to reduce forced movements in the sprung mass and linear action lag. Additional framework for the body, creating a ring structure, helps to move force through the body framing to stiffen the car, aiding those chassis changes.
Mazda also worked to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) in the new Mazda3 by adding a "two-wall" structure that adds space between the body and the floor's carpeting. This dampens noise coming up through the bodywork into the cabin and improves interior noise levels.
There's also a full suite of safety systems including a newly-developed Driver Monitoring system that uses infrared LED lighting to observe the driver's condition for drowsiness or inattentive driving. This system both activates an alarm to alert the driver to stop and get some rest, and activates the Smart Brake Support system for faster braking responses to help mitigate longer response time.
Also optioned for the Mazda3 are a front cross-traffic alert system, a new Cruising and Traffic Support (CTS) system to assist with long-distance driving, and the usual array of blind-spot management and forward crash mitigation systems.
The all-new Mazda3 will enter the market as a 2019 model. More specifications will be released ahead of the market launch, Mazda has said.
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