On the heels of the L.A. Auto Show intro for the four-door sedan version of Mazda's second-gen Mazda3, the European-market car offers all the benefits of a versatile hatch design and reaps the rewards of its fuel-sipping diesels that meet stringent European Stage5 emissions regs. Gasoline offerings start with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder (which we don't get) and rise to the 2.0-liter four shared with the U.S. base Mazda3. Europeans won't get the 2.5-liter gasoline four we get in the U.S., but they probably won't miss it as the 2.2-liter turbodiesel should kill it in torque production.
After yesterday's debut of Porsche's Panamera liftback with its heinous heinie, it's nice to see this perky, aggressive little Mazda3 restore our faith in the aesthetics of the hatch. It's just a pity we don't get the fuel-miser 1.6-liter gasoline and both turbodiesels for the U.S. market, as they would probably resonate with cash-strapped Americans at present.--Colin Mathews
2010 Mazda3Enlarge Photo