The Sleuth has it on good authority that the next generation of the automaker’s compact sedan and hatchback will be a game-changer. Physically, the Mazda3 will resemble the Kai concept car, with an elongated nose that runs counter to the severely truncated rear end that appears both odd and attractive at the same time. Whatever the final shape, the 3’s high-compression 2.0-liter gasoline engine will have what Mazda calls “Spark-Controlled Combustion Ignition” that works somewhat like a diesel engine. The result, says Mazda, is a cleaner and more efficient burn, resulting in much improved fuel economy compared to a similar-displacement conventional gasoline engine. The powerplant will be part of Mazda’s new SkyActive-X system that should also see improvements in transmission and suspension tuning. The launch of the new Mazda3 is expected next spring.

The upcoming redesign of the Mazda3 will take inspiration from the Kai concept car and feature a new gasoline engine that operates with compression ignition. It’s claimed to dramatically improve fuel economy. PHOTO: MAZDA

The Mazda3 goes radical in looks, powertrain: