Mazda Motor Corporation will unveil an all-new Mazda3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show at the end of this month. It will be the second time that Mazda is using Los Angeles for the world premiere of this model. This will be the fourth generation of the popular model line which began in 2003.

Although Mazda did not officially confirm it, the Kai concept car displayed at the 2017 Tokyo Motorshow is the basis of the all-new Mazda3 hatchback. It adopts a more mature interpretation of Kodo design language that embodies the essence of Japanese aesthetics. The official picture released shows a hatchback as well as a 4-door sedan.

Yasutake Tsuchida, who designed the KAI Concept (and presumably worked on the new Mazda3), explained that the styling shows ‘Stage 2’ of Mazda’s design language which is more mature. KODO Design replaced the Nagare design language in 2010 and made its first appearance in the Shinari concept. Where the Nagare language was inspired by nature’s movements in wind and water, KODO Design has the vitality of a living being. The design language brings art into vehicle design and creates forms which are distinct and provide the brand with a strong identity.

Fundamental performance attributes have been raised to a new level, it is claimed, and with the next-generation SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture, drivers will be able to make the most of their natural sense of balance and the latest SKYACTIV engines offer responsive control of vehicle speed in any driving situation.

Most likely, G-Vectoring Control Plus, the second new-generation vehicle dynamics control technology in the SKYACTIV-Vehicle Dynamics series, will be used in this new model. This is a series of new-generation vehicle motion control technologies that provide integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis and body to enhance the car’s Jinba-ittai feel, giving a sense of connectedness between car and driver that distinguishes Mazda vehicles.

It’s not been mentioned if the new SKYACTIV-X engine (shown on the right) will also be introduced with this model in production form although Mazda officials had said that it will be available in 2019. This is not a replacement for the current SKYACTIV-G engines and will be an additional variant in the powerplant series.

Featuring Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition, the SKYACTIV-X powerplant is a groundbreaking new engine and will complement the SKYACTIV-G petrol engine and SKYACTIV-D turbodiesel engine.

A world premiere of a model these days does not necessarily mean it will go on sale right after the event although it is likely that Mazda will start selling it in some markets during the first quarter of 2019. For the Malaysian market, introduction could be during the second half of 2019 and unless the potential numbers can match the popular CX-5, it is not likely to be assembled locally.

Three generations of the Mazda3 (also known as Axela in Japan).

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[Chips Yap]

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