In a market where crossovers and pickups are king, there’s some risk to releasing a new compact car. While Ford has decided to jump out of the market segment, Mazda is taking a different route, debuting a sleeker, sexier, and far more advanced generation of the Mazda3.
First, the new Mazda3 doesn’t really look like any other car. Not everyone’s a fan of the design, but at least it’s not another copycat. Under those curvaceous metal panels is the available Skyactiv-X gasoline engine. The Skyactiv-G and Skyactiv-D engines are still in the lineup, but this new option is the real star. It works with a new M Hybrid system, showing Mazda is finally dabbling in electrification.
The interior design doesn’t take as many risks as the exterior. Overall it’s pretty clean, slimming down on physical controls so there’s really no jumbled mess of buttons and knobs in the center stack. Mazda claims the new controls are easier to use, which is supposed to make you feel less stressed and so forth.
Another new addition is the Cruising & Traffic Support (CTS) system. It takes over the accelerator, brakes, and steering on the highway, similar to Tesla’s Autopilot.
At the moment, Mazda executives are telling people to not expect another Mazdaspeed3. Instead, it looks like the company is focusing on keeping up with the rapidly evolving vehicle tech on the market. You might not think that’s as fun, but Mazda is probably thinking it’ll keep the lights on.