It's the first time we've seen prototypes of the Ford Focus rival testing in any form, so Mazda has been adept at keeping it away from prying eyes. The hatchback is disguised in the usual wrapping but the body shape can be clearly seen, showing a design inspired heavily by the Kai concept from the 2017 Tokyo motor show.
The gaping front grille shows a family resemblance between the 3 and the latest CX-5, while thin, stretched headlamps, a long bonnet and curvy profile stay loyal to the concept. At the rear the narrow glasshouse, sloping roofline and steeply raked windowline give it a coupe-like look, and the squat, purposeful stance again isn't dissimilar to the Kai.
The 3 features Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X vehicle architecture, specially developed to house the brand's new compression-ignition petrol engine, which, the firm says, offers the fuel efficiency of a diesel without turbocharging. Mazda claims "fundamental performance attributes have been raised to a new level".
This new architecture is also intended to improve driving dynamics, refinement and comfort.
Confirming that the all-new 3 will keep its hatchback bodystyle, the Kai concept also hinted that Mazda's next generation of vehicle design will adopt styling cues from past concepts – most notably, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso-like twin-circle tail-lights, sunken back into the bodywork and split horizontally by a chrome strip.