Exactly what enthusiasts have been asking for.
Mazda is going all in with its all-new 3. The updated hatch (and its sedan counterpart) made their debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, touting an updated Kodo design language, a sleek, tech-focused cabin, and for the first time, all-wheel drive. But here’s one thing Mazda didn’t divulge during its presentation: You might be able to spec the new Mazda3 with all-wheel drive and a manual.
At the Mazda stand in L.A., we discovered that the handsome red hatchback on stage (a pre-production prototype, for what it's worth), has both an all-wheel-drive badge on its backside, and a six-speed manual transmission in its cabin. When pressed for comment, a Mazda spokesperson said: "Currently, we don’t have information on the AWD transmission or engine combinations."
Take a closer look at our video, which reveals the identity of the car in question:
We’ll have to wait for confirmation from Mazda as to the setup, but what we do know for sure is that this is the first Mazda3 to offer all-wheel drive, at least. The new Mazda3 rides on a next-gen version of Mazda’s Skyactiv-vehicle architecture, and touts a range of engine options, depending on the market. The U.S. will make do with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder initially but will get Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X engine down the line. Other markets will get 1.5- and 2.0-liter gas options, as well as a 1.8-liter diesel. Mazda hasn’t released power figures yet, though.
The new Mazda3 should go on sale early in 2019. No word on price just yet.