Hatchbacks aren't hot sellers in America, largely because they're viewed as small, cheap, and essentially not a crossover, which is what most folks are buying these days. And that's where they're wrong because hatchbacks are (generally) awesome. Okay, so not all of them get our blood flowing (ahem, Toyota Yaris), but there are exceptions. The one that stands out the most is the new 2019 Mazda3 hatchback. Last year's was already one of the best, but Mazda went back to the drawing board and came back with one of the best looking cars on earth. Just look at this thing.
We drove it last week and will provide details in our upcoming review, but for now, just know the new 3 is head and shoulders above every other hatchback in terms of styling and interior luxury. There isn't a single bad angle on this thing. The design was penned by Mazda Head Designer Yasutake Tsuchida, and the intention was to introduce the next phase of the Kodo ("soul of motion") design language by cleaning up the design and giving it a more artful body. We'd say they pulled it off and then some.
Unlike most cars these days, the Mazda3 has no body creases. Instead, there are deep, smooth contours that utilize the "deduction" concept where lines are absent and space is created with the curvature of the metal that plays with light and shadow wonderfully. It's especially evident on the hatchback with the very sculpted rear quarter panels that give an organic muscularity to the vehicle. There isn't a single car we can think of that does it this well. Not even the European-only Renault Megane R.S. hot hatch pulls it off like the Mazda3, and that's a damned good-looking car.
Mazda currently uses clay modeling in the design process, where most automakers have abandoned the old-school approach because it's time-consuming and messy. But clay modeling for car design provides an opportunity for artistic expression that a computer program can't replicate. The result is what you see here, more of a wheeled sculpture than a car design. From the sloping hood to the beautiful tail section, the Mazda3 reigns supreme when it comes to design. Even the Golf GTI/R can't hold a candle to it. Frankly, the Mazda3 hatchback makes its competitors look like afterthoughts. Cars more expensive than this don't look as good.
What you see in the Mazda3 will make its way to the rest of the lineup, and we expect to see the Mazda6 get the treatment next. It will definitely look like a larger version of the Mazda3 sedan, which is a very good thing since the sedan looks almost as dramatic as the 5-door. No automotive company has made such strides in terms of styling and design than Mazda. It's just too bad they don't sell better because they're not just stunning to behold but simply wonderful to drive.
The sedan differs from the hatchback starting at the A-pillar back, and while the hatchback is sportier in appearance, the sedan looks more refined and ready for urban business meeting duties. We think it's the best-looking compact sedan out there, ahead of the new and very handsome Toyota Corolla and the upcoming Nissan Sentra. It's just the kind of car that makes you believe in sedans again.
We're thrilled about the new Mazda3 hatchback and sedan, but we didn't expect them to look this good. Even before the new cars were released, we were easily convinced the brand had the best-looking mainstream automotive lineup in America and the best-driving, as well. Now, they've handily taken the top spot, head and shoulders above the rest seemingly without breaking a sweat. Now, if they could just ditch the "Feel Alive" marketing campaign and bring "Zoom Zoom" back.