This is the all-new Mazda 3, which uses the company’s new Skyactiv-Vehicle architecture. [credit:
LOS ANGELES—I’ll admit it, I always look forward to the launch of a new Mazda. Other brands might give you ten minutes of Cliff’s Notes on the car before throwing you the keys and pointing you at the nearest twisty ribbon of tarmac; by contrast, the Hiroshima-based OEM’s events always feel more like a grad school seminar. (I think that’s a good thing, but that’s probably why I have this job.)
In this regard, the launch of the brand-new Mazda 3 did not disappoint. The car is a clean-sheet design, the first to use the all-new Skyactiv-Vehicle architecture. And before we got to try it out in a mix of LA traffic and the Angeles Crest Highway, the engineers and designers responsible gave us plenty of insight into how they went about updating Mazda’s best-selling car. The result is a refreshingly human-centered vehicle from an OEM that continues to live up to Jinba Ittai—its internal philosophy of making a car and its driver feel as one.
As with previous generations, the new Mazda 3—which goes on sale in March—will be available as a sedan (starting at $21,000) or a five-door hatchback (starting at $23,600). Eventually, you’ll be able to option one with Mazda’s clever new Skyactiv-X spark-controlled compression ignition engine, but at launch all US cars will come equipped with the same 2.5L four-cylinder Skyactiv-G power unit. There is a choice between front- and all-wheel drive, though, and at least some cars will even be available with a manual transmission.