Perhaps asking for a new Mazdaspeed3 was taking a mile.
At least we get an inch with an all-wheel drive variant in the 2019 Mazda3 hatchback. Nevertheless, the moment I saw the new model, my mind was racing. “What if they offer a turbocharged version? Will I finally be able to buy a new Mazdaspeed3?” As of today, the answer is a resounding no, according to an interview published by Australia’s Drive website.
According to Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto, “Mazda is a small player and if [you are asking whether] that segment has a high particular priority for Mazda my answer is no. Therefore, we are not planning for MPS in the future.” MPS is to other markets what we would call the Mazdaspeed3. Instead of chasing hot hatch sales and competing against the likes of Volkswagen and Hyundai, say, Mazda wants to build on its progress as a more upscale, premium brand.
Up sides of the 2019 Mazda3
Mazda enthusiasts out there – including me – are used to having our hopes of new performance models doused. The rotary engine likely won’t return, at least not as we knew it. We won’t get any new Mazdaspeed models in the near future. Marumoto and Mazda chairman Masamichi Kogai have made that emphatically clear by now. However, despite that, I still find plenty to like about the 2019 Mazda3.
In our coverage at the LA Auto Show, we found that the new car indeed feels much more of a high-quality offering than its predecessors. Mind you, the previous generation wasn’t bad, by any means. SkyActiv-X offers a new breed of internal combustion engine for the company, offering more power and using less fuel than even the current SkyActiv-G powerplants. And on the hatchback, at least, you can finally get all-wheel drive. It’s not clear which engines will have that option yet, but it’s a nice addition to the range.
Yes, it’s upsetting news that Mazda won’t revive its hot hatch history anytime soon. Even so, I’m curious to see how this car handles – and, as an enthusiast, what tuners can do with it – once it reaches dealer lots in the near future.