Meet the 2019 Mazda3: Upscale Looks and All-Wheel Drive! [Video]

The beginning of a bold new era for Mazda?

When Mazda said the 2019 Mazda3 marked “a whole new era”, they weren’t kidding.

Where to start with the all-new 2019 Mazda3? When the company teased its all-new model last month, we were told it would be the beginning of “a new era.” It seems this car has taken that to heart, since virtually everything is new. New body, new interior, new engine, and all-wheel drive. Wait, all-wheel drive? Yes, for the first time in its life (in the US), front-wheel drive isn’t your only option.


Let’s start with what we can see – the looks. We knew from the Kai concept that debuted two years ago that the Mazda3 would be a looker. I’d say that’s still the case, with one distinct caveat. The front looks great. It does look like its predecessor, but it’s different enough to stand out. The front three-quarter view also looks striking. As you move to the side profile, the sharp details soften up, particularly on the hatchback.

Gone is the shoulder line that helped define the hatchback’s proportions. The lack of definition there makes the Mazda3 look, to my mind, more wagon-like. According the Mazda, the hatchback’s design “focused on creating a solid mass with a seductive appeal that conveys a fresh expression.” The sedan, on the other hand, does retain a bit of that definition. That’s more in the spirit of the previous model.Both the 2019 Mazda3 hatchback and sedan have a totally new rear light cluster. It’s a cleaner look and a far cry from the busy taillights of older Mazdas. Overall, the 2019 Mazda3 carries a similar side profile to the old one, while the strip of chrome trim adds a more elegant touch.


Then there’s the interior, which is simply stunning. Mind you, the last-generation model had a pretty nice interior for under $30,000. This one takes that concept and appears to improve it in almost every possible way. The general layout is roughly the same, but all the elements look more cohesive than before.

Mazda moved the cupholders ahead of the shifter and extended the armrest for better comfort. That’s a nice touch, and a fix for the constant gripe I had with the old one. The HVAC controls and vents are all in a straight line, and most of the controls are where you’d expect them. Mazda did change up the rotary dial for the infotainment system a bit, but the chunkier dial ought to make it a bit more satisfying to use when you’re controlling the infotainment system.

Technology and Comfort

Speaking of the infotainment system, the 2019 Mazda3 has a newer version of the Mazda Connect system. It’s a welcome change, as the old system wasn’t the most intuitive or easy to use. There’s an 8.8-inch display this time around, which is a welcome improvement over the old 7.0-inch unit. An 8-speaker audio system comes standard, while a 12-speaker Bose system will be available on higher trims.

The 2019 Mazda3 sedan is 183.5 inches long, 70.8 inches wide and 56.7 inches tall. It’s no wider than the previous model, but it is 3.2 inches longer and 0.6 inches shorter in height. The wheelbase on the new model is 107.3 inches, which is an inch longer than the old Mazda3. The hatchback’s dimensions are nearly identical to the outgoing model, except it’s also 0.6 inches shorter in height.


Mazda also attended to safety with the 2019 Mazda3. On top of the standard frontal collision avoidance braking, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning, there are a few new systems as well. Front Cross Traffic Alert uses front side radars to help warn the driver of approaching obstacles when pulling out of a parking space or up to a T intersection. There is also a Driver Monitoring system, which uses an infrared camera and LED to watch the driver and sound a warning if it detects you’re falling asleep at the wheel. Cruising & Traffic Support also works to reduce fatigue by assisting with accelerator, brake and steering movements while stuck in traffic jams.

On the passive safety front, Mazda used much more high-tensile steel in the 2019 Mazda3, as well as fitted a driver’s knee airbag. Energy-absorbing structures in the hood and bumper help protect pedestrians in an impact.

2019 Mazda3
Mazda’s Skyactiv-X engine debuts with the 2019 Mazda3. [Photo: Mazda]


Mazda’s SkyActiv-X engine is the big headline under the hood of the 2019 Mazda3. It’s a 2.0-liter engine that combines the traits of a gasoline and diesel engine for better power, responsiveness and fuel economy. The engine also uses Mazda’s new M Hybrid system, a mild hybrid setup that promises better fuel economy. Mazda hasn’t announced horsepower or torque figures for the new SkyActiv-X engine, but we’ll provide updates as soon as we have that information.

While SkyActiv-X is here, the SkyActiv-G engines powering the current generation aren’t going away. Mazda is still planning to use the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter units we know now. Mazda hasn’t announced power figures there either, but it’s likely they’ll stick around the 155 horsepower figure in the 2.0-liter unit, and 184 horsepower in the larger 2.5-liter engine. Also on offer are a 1.5-liter SkyActiv unit and a 1.8-liter diesel engine (although it’s not clear if those engines will be sold in the U.S.). As before, all powertrains in the 2019 Mazda3 mate to a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.

2019 Mazda3
The 2019 Mazda3 will incorporate G Vectoring Control Plus and i-Activ all-wheel drive. [Photo: Mazda]
Then there’s the all-wheel drive system. Yes, Mazda did include shots of its i-Activ all-wheel drive system beneath the 2019 Mazda3. According to Mazda, the system adds “four-wheel vertical load” detection to control torque distribution between the front and rear wheels. That works in harmony with Mazda’s G Vectoring Control Plus system, as seen in other recent Mazdas, to improve grip in the corners.

More updates coming soon

Check back soon to for more updates! We’ll have more information on power, pricing and availability as it becomes available. Subscribe to TFLcar and TFLnow for more coverage from the 2018 LA Auto Show.

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