All Mazda3 models were completely redesigned last year and got an amped-up personality—with more expressive sheetmetal, a new front-end appearance, and a smoother, more upgraded interior feel.
The flared fenders and character lines of the 2011 Mazda3 altogether bring a more aggressive, distinctive look to the car, up close, but it was the front-end design that caught some criticism for looking a little too much like a wide-mouthed grin. That's the new five-point grille that is the new "global face" of Mazda. Otherwise there's a lot to like in the rest of the design, which is neat and tidy—it's a handsome, upscale look with some sportscar wedge to its profile.
Inside, the cockpit is more sophisticated and plusher than before, with refined curves and expansive pieces of black and toned plastic, some of which looks less pleasing than other bits. It's a common refrain: carmakers have to balance out look and feel with the cost of the cabin, and the Mazda3 balances the two better than most, but some color choices accent the grainier plastics. The new interior look that was introduced last year in the Mazda3 is also a little smoother and classier in shape than the previous layout—incorporating a sloped center stack and, atop the middle of the dash, one screen for a trip computer (or nav system on upper trims) and one for the climate control.