The current third-generation BN Mazda 3 is hands-down one of the most handsome hatchbacks on the market. It follows the Japanese automaker’s exterior design philosophy that’s become a hallmark feature of all Mazda vehicles in the last few years. The 5-door hatchback Mazda 3 is $1,300 more expensive than its 4-door sedan counterpart, but it provides almost double the cargo space with the rear seats folded. Other than that, there are no real differences between the two body styles. MY 2019 will, however, bring at least one important update to the powertrain department, and likely an entire body revision.
The Japanese manufacturer’s cars are efficient and fun to drive mostly thanks to their revolutionary SkyActiv-G engine technology. Mazda isn’t resting on its laurels, though, and is preparing a whole new generation of SkyActiv-X powerplants. These new engines will be able to use extremely lean fuel mixtures like the homogeneous-charge compression-ignition engines. The HCCI engine doesn’t use spark plugs for ignition since such lean fuel mixtures can’t be ignited by them, but the SkyActiv-X tech does. Mazda’s new engines manage that by using a second dollop of fuel that isn’t as lean as the primary air/fuel mixture. This secondary mixture gets ignited by a spark plug, raises the cylinder pressure and, in turn, combusts the primary mixture. The new engine tech is promising even better efficiency and more power, but it seems that engine noise may need some more fine-tuning.