We’re just hours away from the official unveiling of the new-generation Mazda3, a car that has sold over 6 million copies worldwide since arriving in 2004.
Entirely redesigned, this new generation receives several visual elements of the RX-Vision concept presented at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2015 and the Vision Coupe prototype unveiled at the same spot two years later.
Already known for its sporty, stylish and even slightly European design that stands in stark contrast to other bland models in the compact segment, the Mazda3 will be even more distinctive with its new body.
Check out our other LA Auto Show 2018 Coverage.
All-Wheel Drive in the new Mazda3
Of course, everything about the design of a car is very subjective. That the all-new Mazda3 is dramatically evolved mechanically, however, is undeniable. A brand-new engine adds to an already comprehensive lineup, but it’s the addition of the i-Activ AWD system that’s most surprising.
This information comes from a statement issued under embargo by Mazda a few hours before the unveiling. We will have to wait a little longer just to be sure, but it seems that the new Mazda3 will indeed get to all-wheel drive.
It becomes only the second car in the segment to offer it after the Subaru Impreza. The advantage provided by an all-wheel-drive system should allow the Mazda3 to become even more popular in areas it has already conquered, namely the northern States and Eastern Canada.
Less surprising, but equally interesting is the addition of the SKYACTIV-X engine, which will join a group that already includes three SKYACTIV-G engines with the 2.0-liter (155 horsepower) and 2.5-liter (187 horsepower) versions already being offered in North America.
Although Mazda is talking about a diesel and has talked about a diesel for a long time, it is expected that the first new Mazda3 in Canada will be available only with gasoline engines. The top of the line engine will be the new SKYACTIV-X engine believed to develop 180 horsepower and 164 pound-feet of torque.
The latter is quite unique and quite complex. What you need to know is that under high power demand or at startup, a traditional spark is used to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder. In most cases, however, compression ignition is used just like in a diesel engine.
The advantage of this kind of ignition is that it needs a lot less gasoline in the air-fuel mixture present in the cylinder. So, less fuel is used to create the explosion that moves the piston. To ensure that enough air is present in the cylinder, a supercharger is used. Unlike a traditional supercharged engine, however, it’s only used to add air to the mix.
In simple terms, SKYACTIV-X offers more torque and better fuel efficiency like a diesel engine, but without the inconvenience of diesel technology (knocking, difficult cold starts) as it also uses a spark plug.
The SKYACTIV-X engine should equip the high-end versions of the new Mazda3.
In addition to its new engine and new styling, the 2019 Mazda3 also promises more comfort and a quieter interior. The new generation Mazda3 will enter the market in mid-2019.