All-new 2013 Mazda 3 revealed
The small family hatchback will come with a choice of one diesel or three petrol engines, with a new 99bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine joining the range. This model does 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 113mph. A 2.0-litre petrol engine with either 118bhp or 163bhp will also be offered. The 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel is carried over from the outgoing car. No fuel economy figures have yet been released.
A less powerful diesel will also be available in the future. Mazda's chief operating officer in Europe, Phil Waring, told What Car?: 'A smaller capacity diesel is coming - but it will be longer than a year away'.
The new 3 offers more interior space than that of the previous car, both for passengers and luggage.
Its 350-litre boot is 10 litres bigger than the outgoing model's. This puts the 3's boot on a par with the Vauxhall Astra's, although it's smaller than those in the Seat Leon and VW Golf.
The new Mazda 3 has been completely redesigned in line with the rest of the company's recently launched models, gaining the same large five-sided grille as the CX-5 SUV and the 6 saloon and estate.
It's unlikely that the new car range will be extended into any larger or smaller variants. Mr Waring told What Car? that while they have 4- and 5-door versions, they 'don't see the need to have an estate version, or a sportier three door'.
Mazda says the new styling brings more than a new look, because it improves aerodynamics to help boost fuel economy and cut emissions. An active grille that closes when the engine does not need cooling also helps, as do underbody covers and deflectors that send airflow beneath the car.
The windscreen pillars are also 10cm further back than the old car's, to improve forward visibility.
Despite being lighter and stiffer than the previous car, Mazda says the new 3 is also much quieter, thanks to new lightweight sound-absorbing materials and softer shock absorbers.
The new Mazda 3 comes with a host of new technology not normally seen in small family cars. It will offer a head-up display, touch-screen satellite-navigation and mobile internet connectivity.
Such mobile connectivity will allow the car to pair with a smartphone and read out Facebook and Twitter updates. A nine-speaker Bose audio system will also be available.
The new Mazda 3 will make its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, when more information will be announced regarding prices and specification. Prices are expected to rise slightly compared with the outgoing car. It will go on sale later in the year, with the first deliveries expected in December.
By Tom Webster