It might not come as a complete surprise considering the number of recent leaks emerging from inside Mazda, but the first official images of the new Mazda3 nonetheless live up to expectations as the maker rolls out its latest Skyacti model.
The 2014 Mazda3 also becomes the latest in the Japanese maker’s line-up to adopt the new Kodo, or Soul of Motion, design language, following such recent entries as the Mazda6 sedan and CX-5 crossover. That includes the oversized grille – which conceals wind-cheating grille shutters — headlamps that flow back over the front fenders, and subtle sculpting of the side panels. The profile gives the hatchback an almost coupe-like curvaceousness.
The 2014 Mazda3 adopts a 2.4-inch longer wheelbase than the outgoing model but it’s actually two inches shorter, nose-to-tail. Meanwhile, those active grille shutters help deliver a claimed best-in-class drag coefficient of just 0.255.
The new hatchback reportedly weighs in about 200 pounds lighter than the old model, in part due to a focus on so-called lightweighting – one of the key elements in the maker’s Skyactiv strategy. Nonetheless, by switching to high- and ultra-high-strength steel in key locations the new model also is 30% stiffer, Mazda notes.