Could 3 really be the magic number for Mazda? If these latest spy shots are anything to go by, the answer is almost certain to be yes.
Behind the disguise of the cars in our pictures is the next instalment of the company’s product renaissance: its Ford Focus-rivalling 3.
The newcomer is far more distinctive than the current car, and follows the precedent set by the recently launched 2 supermini and 6 family model. Good looks are put at the top of the agenda, with large headlamps, angled tail-lights and a sporty profile. Our spy photographers snapped a saloon, but the hatchback version will account for the majority of sales in the UK.
Inside, the 3 is again inspired by its 6 bigger brother with a cabin that’s expected to have a much higher-quality finish. There will be steering wheel-mounted controls for the stereo and sat-nav, and possibly a hard drive for storing mp3 music tracks. However, the car will weigh less than it does at the moment for better economy, emissions and handling. As it shares underpinnings with the latest Focus, the 3 should be agile, with 2.0 and 2.5-litre engines and a six-speed box giving plenty of pace. In addition, the current 1.6 diesel will also be carried over to the new model, which is due on sale towards the end of 2009.
Mazda has also revealed an all-new sketch previewing the design direction for a forthcoming SUV, which will be unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show in August. The sleek crossover will debut in concept form before providing the basis for an SUV. It’s set to be called the CX-5, and is on sale in Eastern Europe in 2009.
But the stylish newcomer is also heading west, arriving in showrooms here in 2010, when it will take on the Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai.
The CX-5 is the latest model to follow Mazda’s current styling direction. This is called Nagare – Japanese for flow – and is said to capture the firm’s philosophy of expressing movement in car design.