[singlepic id=474 w=320 h=240 float=left]By Cor Steenstra, Photography Christopher Jones
The new Mazda3 shows the new design DNA that Mazda adopted under direction of Laurens van de Acker.. who left a few months ago to take up Patrick LeQuement’s position at Renault in France later this year. A good design DNA should not go to waste, and what we were shown here on a relatively small car lets us hope that Mazda sticks with this direction for a while and manages to massage it to perfection.
Clearly Ford Focus based, even the fuel tank is on the wrong side for the Japanese market, the Mazda3Â has a very sporty and dynamic feel to it, with a front end treatment similar to Peugeot in Europe. Bold in your face graphics suggest a lot of available power, not really there, and it is enhanced by carefully sculpted creases throughout the rest of the car, all with dynamic direction so that an aggressive stance is managed.
Treatment of front and rear lights was in line with Mazdas we recently had, although the clear plastic on the rear lights is getting a little long in the teeth already.
The interior was well executed, with an IP that had a hint of what Honda was attempting in its European Civic variations, but this was much more successful. The choice of colors and materials, the fit and finish, and the design and placement of instruments and switch gear all placed this Mazda3 in a very competitive place amongst its peers.