Los Angeles - Mazda says that the all-new Mazda3, revealed ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, embodies a "richer and more powerful" expression of its Kodo design language, but regardless of how one chooses to word it, the striking new design is almost certain to prove a hit.

The fourth-generation Mazda3 is, as before, available in both four-door sedan and five-door hatch formats and the latter remains surprisingly faithful to the Kai concept that was revealed just over a year ago.

Mazda aimed to give the hatch a more emotional design, while the sedan takes a more elegant direction.

Inside designers have taken a minimalist approach, with fewer buttons and knobs, while the central command system is a 22.3cm wide screen, operated as before through a console-mounted rotary dial.

Furthermore, Mazda is promising “dramatic improvements” in noise, vibration and harshness suppression and in the overall feeling of quality.

Revolutionary new engine

The big news on the technological front is that the new Mazda3 will offer Mazda’s innovative new Skyactiv-X petrol engine, which features diesel-like compression ignition, and it’s also mated to Mazda’s new M Hybrid system, but at this stage there are no further details on the new powertrain.

The Skyactiv-X will however be offered alongside carry-over Skyactiv-G normally aspirated petrol engines (in 1.5-, 2.0- and 2.5-litre guises) and the 1.8-litre Skyactiv-D turbodiesel. Select models will also offer a new all-wheel-drive system with four-wheel vertical load detection.

Driver assistance gizmos include Mazda’s ‘Driver Monitoring’ drowsiness detection system, Front Cross Traffic Alert, Smart Brake Support and the Cruising & Traffic Support traffic jam assistance system.

The new Mazda3 is scheduled to reach South Africa during the second half of 2019, with the line-up and pricing to be confirmed nearer to launch.

IOL Motoring