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STYLING | 8 out of 10
new face has been described as happy-looking
new look is meant to echo some of the more popular Mazda concepts from the last few years
The faux futurism that pervades the interior design would make Sulu and Uhura feel right at home behind the wheel.
Car and Driver
the Mazda3's side view features distinctive character lines that tie together the high rear deck and the front fascia
Open-mouth grille, like a fish, makes the front look so heavy you expect the car to tip on its snout.
After a minor refresh last year, the Mazda3 returns for 2013 unchanged; and especially from the outside, it remains one of the more expressive vehicle designs in its compact-car class.
The 2013 Mazda3 remains offered as a five-door hatchback or a four-door sedan; we think the hatchback is the better-looking and more expressive of the two designs; while the sedan isn't frumpy, it's not a standout in the way the five-door is.
The Mazda3's expressive sheetmetal really strikes a good balance between elegant and racy--and that holds true whether in sedan or hatchback form. Last year the front end got resculpted into more of a relaxed smirk, easing the almost sinister grin; a resculpted front airdam and fascia also transitioned more smoothly into the flared front fenders. A new rear fascia and a couple of new wheel designs kept it fresh all around. Overall, what it means to most shoppers is that the look is cleaner, and you'll notice more body-color trim, with the dark-molded plastic now history.
Fuel-saving SkyActiv models are distinguished only by a small badge on the right side of the hatch (or trunk), a blue engine cover, and blue instrument lighting (instead of the base cars' gray lighting).
Both body styles have essentially the same interior styling. At best it's has a sporty cockpit flair, and you can see that it's been influenced by Mazda's MX-5 Miata roadster. At worst, it's somewhat drab, and the collection of hard surfaces and inconsistently grained, scratch-prone plastics altogether don't hold up to close scrutiny. But along with last year's refresh Mazda improved some of the detailing--for instance the same hue now applies to both interior screens (one for the trip computer (or nav system), the other for the climate control.
Especially in its distinctive five-door hatchback form, the 2013 Mazda3 is one of the sportiest, most stylish compact cars.