Mazda 3 Sedan: the design

Production Cars 27 Nov 2008
Mazda 3 Sedan: the design

A set of design sketches and the official information on the Mazda 3 Sedan, the 2010 global model unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.

From the official Press Release:

Describing what it takes to develop a true ‘world car’, Mazda 3 Programme Manager Yoshiyuki Maeda says: "The development process began with careful study and identification of what features and performance qualities would be needed. That initial phase ended with my conclusion that every driving characteristic was eligible for improvement to reach our Zoom-Zoom goals.

"Mazda engineering and R&D departments in Japan, Europe, and the US all contributed to the Mazda 3’s renewal effort and the development of the company’s new world car."

Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch

Exterior Design

Chief designer Kunihiko Kurisu‘s mission was to remain faithful to the Mazda 3’s existing visual identity while evolving its appearance with richer, bolder design strokes. Infusing each subsequent new model with more emotional aesthetics is a longstanding Mazda tradition.

Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch

The key Mazda 3 exterior design highlights are:

  • A move toward a more unified Mazda global ‘family face’
  • A reinforced frontal identity which integrates the lower air intake with a more emphatic and instantly recognizable five-point grille
  • Major design elements focus on, or flow toward, the vehicle’s central axis, to stress power and dynamism. At the front, fascia lines converge on the centrepoint at the bottom of the grille. At the rear, the boot lid’s surface has a distinctive centre crease
  • A compact cabin, high deck surfaces, and flowing C-pillar features, which were inspired by the classic coupe profile, as seen on the 2009 Mazda 6
  • Hood and side surfaces which are shaped to reflect light and physical surroundings
  • A subtle wedge-shape and curving side character lines which are shared with other Mazda models, giving the Mazda 3 Sedan a strong sense of impending motion – like a predator poised to strike
  • A new Adaptive Front Lighting System with self-levelling bi-xenon headlamps – added as standard on Grand Touring models.
Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch

Exterior design elements which contribute to the car’s function by minimizing aerodynamic drag and lift while providing the powertrain, chassis, and interior with adequate air flow for cooling and climate control.

To supplement the four-door sedan introduced at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, a five-door hatchback Mazda 3 will arrive later.

Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch
2010 Mazda 3 Sedan 2010 Mazda 3 Sedan 2010 Mazda 3 Sedan

Interior Design

Inside, the new Mazda 3 Sedan offers a sporty yet highly refined cabin – the dash sweeping dramatically from its centre to the sides of the cabin. The large gauge instrument cluster and centre stack are positioned to tightly link the driver’s limbs and senses to the car’s instruments and controls.

Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch

Studies into the range of motion helped position all controls at an ideal reach, while the slant of the instrument panel optimises operating efficiency and provides an attractive focal point. Key knobs and switches are positioned at the same level as the steering wheel and the gear level as part of an interior design which is based on Mazda’s Human Machine Interface concept.

Mazda 3 Design Sketch Mazda 3 Design Sketch

All the information a driver needs is readily available in one concentrated area – thereby minimising distractions from the road ahead.

A Multi-Information Display is positioned high on the centre portion of the instrument panel to further reduce distraction.

The front seat cushions have been extended by nearly an inch (compared to the outgoing car), in order to provide improved thigh support. Backrests are 1.4-inches taller and re-contoured for improved driving posture.

For the higher grade models, the upper side bolsters have been canted inward for heightened torso support during aggressive cornering. A three-position memory function has been added to cars equipped with power seats – another first for the segment, and not offered at any price on any competitor’s compact car. Upon approach to the car, the driver’s seat automatically adjusts to the settings chosen by up to three different drivers by recognising the code of the key fob.

To provide a top-quality interior appearance, the number of parting lines is minimized and soft-touch surfaces show an elegant grained texture. An interactive lighting system enhances the cabin’s ambience and sense of tranquillity. Upon entry, illumination rises in intensity in a programmed manner. Occupants are welcomed by foot-well and door-handle lamps. Next, instrument cluster, centre stack, audio and climate controls brighten. When a driver or front seat occupant touches an audio or AC switch, a change in illumination acknowledges that the command has been received.

Mazda 3 Interior Mazda 3 Interior Mazda 3 Interior

Other special features that distinguish this car include: a BOSE 10-speaker premium surround sound system, connectivity for cell phones and portable media players, a dock for iPods, and Sirius satellite radio. An advanced keyless entry system includes push-button engine starting. Other options include rain-sensing wipers, heated door mirrors, leather upholstery, and heated seats.

(Source: Mazda)

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