Mazda unveiled the redesigned Mazda3 compact car at the 2018 LA Auto Show, telling the assembled media that the car is designed to provide both performance and fuel economy in sleek hatchback and sedan body styles.

The Mazda3 has historically stood out in its budget-focused segment by emphasizing sporty driving dynamics and good fuel economy. 

Here is what we know so far:

Redesigned 2019 Mazda3 front three-quarter

Starting price: Not announced

What it competes with: Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf and Jetta

What it looks like: The hatchback is the only version shown at this point, and it appears to be a very aerodynamic evolution of the current Mazda3. The front end is dominated by the new Mazda grille, with sleek headlights and a low hood. The rear three-quarters follows the trend in coupe-ish looks, with a pinched roofline and small side windows.

Powertrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions; front- or all-wheel drive

On-sale date: Spring 2019

2019 Mazda3 sedan

Outside

The 2019 Mazda3 has a very sleek body, with a low hood and roofline. The windshield is steeply raked, much like the Mazda6 sedan, which gives it a coupe-like appearance. The front of the car has Mazda’s large heptagonal grille, which blends into a low hood. At the rear, the bodywork quickly drops away into the hatchback’s rear window and tailgate. 

New Mazda3 interior

Inside the Cabin

The interior is an evolution of the current Mazda3, with a streamlined dash; a high, center-mounted infotainment screen; and a rotary controller in the console between the seats.

Mazda says it worked to improve how the driver interacts with the car. To that end, the steering wheel has greater travel, to help shorter and taller drivers find a better seating position. All 3s come with standard seat cushion tilt adjustment, to better support the front-seat occupant’s legs. Finally, the center control knob was moved forward and the center armrest was lengthened. An 8.8-inch wide center display is standard, and is controlled only by the central knob. The current Mazda infotainment systems can be controlled by touch when the vehicle is stationary and by the control knob when in motion.

Mazda improved visibility by reducing the thickness of the front roof pillars and widening the sweep of the windshield wipers. 

What Drives It

There are five distinct engines available on the new Mazda3 worldwide, however the U.S. is said to get just the 2.5-liter four-cylinder. No diesel or hybrid option for this market. Mazda did not release horsepower or fuel-economy figures.

Finally, Mazda has added all-wheel drive to the 3, which makes it one of just two mainstream compact cars to offer this feature. (The Subaru Impreza is the other.)  

Safety & Driver-Assist Systems

Mazda hasn’t specified which systems are standard and which are optional. We expect that forward collision warning and low-speed automatic emergency braking (AEB) will be standard. Most current Mazda models have high-speed AEB available only on higher trim levels, and it should be the same with the new 3. Front cross traffic warning is optional; this uses radar to look for vehicles approaching from blind spots on the right and left sides, such as at intersections. There is an available Driver Monitoring System that uses an infrared camera and LEDs to monitor the driver’s eyes, mouth, and face to look for fatigue, and sounds an alert to warn the driver. Finally, Mazda has introduced a traffic-jam assistance feature, which uses the accelerator, brakes, and steering to help reduce driver fatigue. 

CR’s Take

We’ve always enjoyed the Mazda3, which has had a good combination of fuel economy, driving enjoyment, and mostly straightforward controls. As a result, it’s long been one of the top-performing compact cars in CR’s ratings. If Mazda can keep or improve on those attributes, they should have another winner in our tests and Overall Score. 

New Mazda3 rear