• Mazda3 Moves Up the Premium Ladder with Gorgeous Interior, New Materials

The future looks bright!

The new-generation Mazda3 just made its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show. It looks hotter than ever, boasting an evolution of the company’s KODO design language seen in the RX-Vision and Kai concept. It also features new engines, including a diesel and an innovative gas unit featuring innovative spark controlled compression ignition. More importantly, Mazda moved its compact into the premium market.

Sportier than ever up front and more elegant around back, the Mazda3 seems to borrow the strategy premium companies like Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been using for years. While the outgoing Mazda3 isn’t bad, the new compact look more upscale than ever before. The sedan feels bigger than it actually is, while the hatchback looks ready to give the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1 Series a run for their money in terms of fit-and-finish and attention to detail on the outside.

But things become even better inside the cabin.

Needless to say, the old Mazda3 struggled to remain fresh throughout the years. The new design not only fixes the problem, but also brings forward a new styling language that’s simple and clean, yet unique.

The dashboard is flatter than usual and features a three-layer design.

The top section appears appears to float above the middle trim that’s color-matched to the upholstery. Depending on what you pick, it can be red or light gray for a striking contrast with the rest of the dash, or it can remain black for a classy look.

Mazda3 Moves Up the Premium Ladder with Gorgeous Interior, New Materials Interior
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Although it has nothing to do with premium features, I like that Mazda abandoned the traditional way of placing A/C vents in the center stack. Instead, they’re all positioned on the passenger side of the dashboard for a somewhat vintage vibe. It might not be a big deal, but I like it when automakers think and operate out of the box.

Another cool feature is the way Mazda integrated the silver button into the side spokes of the steering wheel.

The arrangement lines up with the silver trim on the center stack and dashboard, offering continuity from one corner to the other. The gear shifter sits higher now, as does the entire center console, and it’s also closer to the dash. The new position makes it easier to reach when driving.

Mazda also used a new technique to create a "deep transparency" look for the center tunnel trim, which is now covered in a clear layer over a laser-engraved black layer. These finishes are usually found in premium German cars; the BMW X7 is the most recent I can think of.

Mazda3 Moves Up the Premium Ladder with Gorgeous Interior, New Materials Interior
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So what about the upholstery. Is Mazda offering new materials of the premium variety? Well, the base model still comes with fabric seats, but the covers look much better now and they even have contrast stitching. What’s more, the main fabric color hue is Greige, a light grey and provides a cool contrast with the rest of the interior, especially since it extends into the door panels and the dashboard. Nothing says premium better than a high contrast between black and a very light color.

Go with leather and you'll get the classic all-black cabin in the sedan and Burgundy seats, dash and door panel inserts in the hatchback.

Mazda started using a new type of leather in the Mazda3, featuring new grain with creases of different shapes and depths depending on the surface it’s placed on. I can see white contrast stitching for both the black and Burgundy options.

Display-wise, there’s a larger infotainment screen atop the center stack and a new digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. We don’t know much about the technology and apps behind them right now, but it’s safe to assume that everything is of the state-of-the-art variety.

Further Reading

2019 Mazda 3 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our speculative review on the 2019 Mazda3.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring- Driven
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda3.

2017 Mazda Kai Exterior
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Aggressive front end

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda Kai concept.

2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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