At a time when automakers such as General Motors and Ford are rescuing small cars and replacing them with crossovers, Mazda is betting strongly that an advanced technology version of the compact Mazda3 can challenge the odds.
US sales of the Mazda3 and all compact cars have fallen by 14 percent this year
The 2019 Mazda3, rebuilt from the wheels and presented on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, offers a wide variety of engines, possibly the most in its class, with five, a new version of the company's Kodo design language. which features more fluid curves and fewer sharp folds and angles, and a renewed interior that emphasizes refinement and simplicity.
First, the technical. The Mazda3 delves into premium territory with an optional 1.8-liter diesel engine and a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-X engine. This is the first production engine for the North American market that uses spark-controlled compression ignition, which means that it combines the combustion characteristics of gasoline and diesel.
The diesel is Mazda's first, and it will be a segment of exclusive compact cars once Chevrolet gradually eliminates the Cruze diesel in March. The other three engines are a 1.5-liter, a 2.0-liter and a 2.5-liter, all marketed under the name of Skyactiv-G. Mazda plans to offer the car with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Mazda3 bases include a redesigned chassis that contains more high-strength steel with frame rails that absorb shock energy. The car comes with four-wheel electric disc brakes and McPherson front shock absorber and rear torsion bar suspension.
Mazda engineers have prioritized the safety of occupants and pedestrians. The hood has an internal structure of energy absorption designed to reduce injuries to the heads of pedestrians. In the list of options there is a new driver monitoring system called i-Activesense that includes an infrared camera and an infrared LED that observes the driver's condition, says Mazda. The system controls the driver's eyelids, counts the number of blinks and observes the angle of the mouth and face to detect drowsiness or fatigue. The driver will hear an alert if the system detects drowsiness.
Mazda3 will face tough competition from Toyota's redesigned Corolla, which injects that old compact with a sporty style, more power and more premium materials for the interior.
Mazda plans to offer the redesigned car in early 2019 in two styles of body, sedan and hatchback.