The hatchback features Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X vehicle architecture, especially developed to house the brand's new compression-ignition petrol engine, which, the firm says, offers the fuel efficiency of a diesel powerplant.
This new architecture also improves driving dynamics, refinement and comfort, Mazda claims.
Confirming that the all-new 3 will keep its hatchback bodystyle, the concept also hints 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.
The design of the car – something of a focus for Mazda, despite the Kai appearing at Tokyo alongside the Vision Coupé concept – is pared back and as simple as possible, the brand claims. The 20in wheels will almost certainly be scaled down for the production car, though.
At 4420mm long, 1855mm wide and 1375mm tall, it's slightly longer, wider and lower than the current Mazda 3. Its wheelbase is also 50mm longer. Pushing the wheels further towards the corners like this should increase interior space and improve handling.
It's a four-seater, but this will grow to five seats when the production car arrives in the next two years. What won't change, though, is the front-engine, front-wheel-drive set-up of the concept.
Mazda says the Kai, which translates as ‘the pioneer’, showcases the next generation of its Kodo design language and features its "ideal" hatchback proportions.