With a name derived from the Persian god of wisdom, intelligence, and harmony, it’s no surprise that Mazda has continuously been creating fun, smart, and practical vehicles that are loved by many. For years, the Japanese automaker has been manufacturing small cars that are prized by owners for their quality and sophistication. One good example of these cars is the Mazda 3, which first came into production in 2003. Today, the Mazda 3 model remains at the top of its game and it continues to be well-loved by millions of people all over the globe.
First generation: 2003-2008
When it first came out in 2003, the Mazda 3 was generally well-received by the public. In fact, reviews praised it for its excellent performance, handling, and style. The design of the Mazda 3 was lauded by many as it featured the look and feel of an expensive sport sedan for a smaller cost. This doesn’t come as a surprise, though, since the car is based on the C1 platform of Ford, and it shares the spot with the Ford Focus and the Volvo S40. The car was initially offered in two body styles—the coupe or the four-door sedan and the Sport or five-door hatchback version.
Upon arriving in the United States, it was only offered in two trim levels until it expanded and new models were eventually added. On 2007, the model underwent slight changes in its looks with some exterior, interior, and mechanical modifications done. Base models were equipped with colored plastic grille tops, a floating foglight design was also added to the front bumper, and the air intake opening was reshaped. Meanwhile, Axela clear lens taillights were added to sedans and five-door versions and LED brake lights were also added to ride the wave of what was then a growing trend.
Second generation: 2008-2013
The development of the second generation of Mazda 3s began as early as 2004. However, an image of how it looked like was only released at the latter part of 2008. The new design was a reflection of the automaker’s new design language and dual exhaust while maintaining the C1 architecture that it shared with Ford. The new model, which was featured in the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, had a noticeably wider and longer look, and its 2.3 L engine was replaced with a more powerful 2.5 L option. Four years after in 2012, an update was done again to the model and this was first shown to the public at an auto show in Toronto. The model featured SkyActiv-G engines with minor modifications done on the exteriors.
Third generation: 2013-present
The current generation of Mazda 3s was first unveiled in Australia and it is now based on the new Skyactiv chassis, leaving its Ford C1 platform after 10 years. It also adapts Mazda’s new design language, “KODO: Soul of Motion,” just like the Mazda CX-5 and 6.