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June 24, 2019

The 2019 Mazda3 is the Compact Segment's Overachiever

KODO. Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. Human-Centric Design. By now, these buzzwords have already ingrained themselves into everyone’s heads. Used to describe the all-new 2019 Mazda3, it’s the first vehicle in their next-generation of vehicles; a move which brings the Mazda brand slightly away from the mainstream and into a position they call, “Mazda Premium.”

Though the signs are there in the current generation of models, the fourth-generation Mazda3 nonetheless represents the largest leap in just about every department. Catchy as Mazda’s buzzwords are or tear-inducing as their Celebrate Driving video montage is, the Mazda3’s main mission is to turn everyone into believers. All those presentations and lectures mean nothing if it can’t perform on the road. Thankfully, Mazda has delivered on its promise.

Aesthetically, people are torn—some love it, some hate it. Regardless, it’s a job done because it gets people talking. If you think about it: when was the last time you heard people debate a compact car’s design. Personally, Chief Designer Yasutaka Tsuchida’s decision to go with flowing, organic lines as opposed to something that looks straight out of cheap sci-fi film is a well-executed one.

The same can be said about the all-new Mazda3’s interior. Conscious effort’s been made to reduce visual noise in here, or else it won’t be premium enough. This puts pressure on Mazda to level up the choice of materials, and with that, designers have obsessed over every single detail from how much pressure is perfect for the center console armrest, the feel of the switchgear, to even how the LED interior light is distributed.

Most important of all, the interior does fit a wider range of figures. Compared to the current-generation model, the all-new Mazda3’s steering wheel and driver’s seat has more range of motion. The seats themselves are vastly more supportive, especially at the lumbar and hip area. The bolsters are far more generous, perfect for drivers who love to do lateral g’s. The seating position is lower, sportier, but ultimately more natural than before. The lowered dash also improves forward visibility.

On this occasion, track time in the Mazda3 is short, but it’s enough to give credibility to everything that Mazda’s been working on.

Interestingly enough, to appreciate what’s at play here, it’s important to first understand how Mazda has changed its concept of what a fun-to-drive car is. Normally, that notion is reserved for a car with quick reflexes, like a go-kart. While this may be great on a racetrack, it’s also quite tiring to drive on the open road. Realizing this, Mazda has instead changed the notion to something that ultimately builds confidence on a wider range of driving scenarios. In other words, it’s now become more of making a car that behaves in consideration of its drivers and passengers.

With that, the differences between the 2019 Mazda3 over the current generation model is immediately apparent. The NVH isolation is way better now. Where things used to turn vocal, especially with tire and road noise, is now hushed and controlled. Subjectively, it doesn’t feel as fast as before, but a glance at the speedometer reveals the opposite. Now, it can carry more speed; it’s just that the inputs have been smoothened out. Even better, unwanted drivetrain noises have been filtered out, bringing out a raspy MX-5-ish exhaust note instead.

Good as the Mazda3 is on the straights, it’s even better through corners. The new, more rigid platform resists twisting, enabling it to remain beautifully balanced and neutral even through a series of left-right-left bends. The steering is much more linear and requires less correction even at higher speed. And with its migration to a rear torsion beam axle, it’s way more predictable—a result its engineers say, is down to the directness of the setup in relation to the front MacPherson Struts. Furthermore, there’s far less of a pendulum effect affecting the driver or occupants making the driving (or riding) experience more comfortable.

In this brief time with the Mazda3, it gives off the impression of being the segment’s overachiever. Yet, it must be remembered that this is simply all of Mazda’s fruits for relying less on competitive benchmarking, and instead focusing on the most important aspect: the people. It’s very clear that the all-new Mazda3 is designed to be an emotional, personal choice; and by appealing to the senses first, it successfully achieves what it sought out to do.


  1. Any news regarding the local release date?

  2. I heard (last month) that they are still testing the local gasoline here if it is good enough for the sky active X. Sana lang kahit yung G, ilabas na.

    1. Oh dear, another patronizing comment about fuel quality issues in the Philippines... if a Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin, Rolls Royce can gallop on local gas, its sure as hell that any Mazda engine can... :D


  3. Oh dear, another patronizing comment about fuel quality issues in the Philippines... if a Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin, Rolls Royce can gallop on local gas, its sure as hell that any Mazda engine can... :D


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