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A series of leaked patent images have prematurely revealed Mazda's next-generation compact car, a vehicle developed entirely under the automaker's new Kodo design language and Skyactiv efficiency philosophy.
The company's so-called Kodo design language that first entered production with the Mazda CX-5 is clearly visible in this car's front fascia and rear end, but the swoopy side profile and certain details are almost Alfa Romeo-esque to our eyes.
Though the current Mazda3 was the automaker's first model to receive its much-ballyhooed high-mpg Skyactiv engine and transmission in the United States, the 2012 model year introduction of that powertrain was essentially a stopgap measure. Under the automaker's Skyactiv philosophy, issues such as vehicle weight and aerodynamics are factored into creating an altogether more efficient, yet still performance-oriented package. The CX-5 was the first full-scale application of Skyactiv and the company's all-new 2014 Mazda6 unveiled earlier this year should also preview the higher-volume Mazda3.
We should learn more about the next-generation Mazda3 over the next few months as the current car's production cycle begins to come to a close. As the 3 is Mazda's highest-volume model in many of its largest markets - including North America - it is undeniably a crucial product for the Japanese automaker.