Mazda 3 saloon (2009): first photos | CAR Magazine

Mazda 3 saloon (2009): first photos

Published: 09 October 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

Mazda is replacing its 3 family of hatchbacks and saloons and we’ll see this US-market sedan at next month’s Los Angeles motor show. It’s a four-door for the notchback-obsessed Americans, but we’ll see the five-door Euro-style Mazda 3 hatch a few weeks later at the 2008 Bologna motor show.

The new Mazda 3 is believed to be based on the engineering skeleton of a Ford Focus, so expect a front-wheel drive layout and a wide spread of diesel and petrol engines. However, Mazda is promising to repeat the Weight Watchers programme of the 2 supermini to pick out unnecessary heft – to the benefit of economy and performance.

The new Mazda 3: full details

Details remain scarce on the new 3. Only this clutch of artily styled photographs has been released so far, and no other specification has been announced.

They give a flavour of the latest Mazda design direction, although this isn’t the sole work of styling chief Laurens van den Acker, as work on the 3 project had already started when he was appointed. We’ll have to wait a while longer to see the fruits of his ‘Nagare’ inspiration – which will lead to cars designed with reference to natural waves, winds and flowing shapes.

Mazda 3: the business story

The 3 is a crucial car for Mazda, making up a third of its entire sales. Since launch in 2003, the company has flogged 1.8 million in more than 100 markets. But it remains a bit-part player in the UK, where it sells just 13,000 a year.

UK sales will start in spring 2009, with no more than two bodystyles expected: the saloon pictured and the five-door hatchback.

Come back to CAR Online for our live reports from the Los Angeles motor show on 19 November 2008

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words