October 9, 2008

2010 Mazda3 pictures leaked ahead of Los Angeles Auto Show debut

The launch of the new Mazda3 has become the worst kept secret in the industry. As NMM reported earlier, the new Mazda3 will make its official debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show on November 19.

In a surprise move coinciding with the Sydney Motor Show, Mazda released three pictures and a few tantalizing details on the all-new sporty compact sedan.

The new four-door sedan be the first to come to the US market, sometime in the first quarter of 2009. The five-door hatchback will follow some time later in the spring; Mazda will announce on-sale dates at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The pictures confirm much of what the rumor mill predicted earlier this year. The new trapezoidal grille that debuted on the refreshed RX-8 and MX-5 Miata dominates the front end, flanked by fender flares that recall the design of the newly redesigned Mazda6.

At the rear, new taillights fill out the flared fenders while the trunklid features Mazda's own take on the oft-critized "Bangle Butt."

While the changes sound radical on paper, the overall impression is an evolutionary design with a lot of Mazda design DNA. The changes build on the athletic character that has made the current model a sales success.

Since its launch in 2003, the Mazda3 has sold nearly 1.8 million vehicles worldwide; accounting for almost one third of Mazda's annual sales each year.

As far as engines go, we now know the 2010 Mazda3 will be sold in the US with a 2.0-liter and a 2.5-liter engine.

Horsepower and torque numbers weren't released. The safest bet is that the current MZR 2.0-liter 153 horsepower inline-four will be the standard engine, possibly with a minor bump in horsepower.

What the 2.5-liter engine will be is anyone's guess. It could mean a small bump in displacement for the 2.3-liter turbo direct-injection inline-four used in the current MazdaSpeed3. It could also mean that the next MazdaSpeed3 will inherit a version of the 2.5-liter turbo inline-five used in the Volvo S40 T5 and C30. Volvo is a corporate cousin of Mazda through their mutual ownership by Ford.

We'll know more as the Los Angeles Auto Show draws near. Stay tuned.


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