2019 Mazda3 First Drive: Movin’ On Up

Crossovers might be all the rage these days, but Mazda hasn’t abandoned the notion that passenger cars are still relevant to a large swath of buyers in 2019. The company has sold over six million examples of the Mazda3 since 2003, a model that traditionally heralds the latest interpretation of Mazda’s design language and technology.

That still holds true today with the all-new, fourth-generation machine. Along with requisite improvements in tech, safety, and efficiency, the new Mazda3 showcases the brand’s new “human-centric” development philosophy. As Managing Executive Officer Ichiro Hirose tells it, an injury that one of Mazda’s engineers sustained in a soccer match spawned a new focus on ergonomics during development. “[A car] should not be like a roller coaster ride,” Hirose says. “It should feel like a tool you’ve been using for years – familiar, comfortable, and usable.”

At the same time, the latest Mazda3 also shows a clear effort to enhance the model’s sense of luxury inside and out, and to deliver a more compelling value proposition over the outgoing vehicle; a multi-pronged approach which sees significant revisions in everything from the audio system design to the bonding methods in body structure.

To find out if Mazda has been successful in these endeavors, we headed to Hollywood, California to get a closer look at the new compact and pu...