2015 Mazda 3 Spotted Inside and Out

The 2015 Mazda 3 isn't too far out from its formal introduction – rumored to happen this fall – and has been caught testing again. This time, however, we finally have a good look at the compact hatch's cabin.

While we can't discern much more about the third-generation 3's exterior, we finally have our first look at the car's interior. Unsurprisingly, the 3 will carry on the same monochromatic and minimalistic theme from the larger 6 sedan and CX-5 crossover. However, in comparison to the other two models, the 3 looks to have more of an evolution of Mazda's dashboard design – there is more brightwork, a floating infotainment screen, and different gauges. There are also new designs for the automatic transmission shifter and the screen's rotary control knob. Chances are that the car our spy photographer caught wasn't a finished prototype, either, as there don't appear to any audio controls, although, there is a small knob on the center console that could be a smaller volume knob.

Also coming from a new parts bin are the climate controls and the new gauge cluster. The HVAC knobs and display look much more upscale than anything else in Mazda's stable, and revive the chrome-ring trim from the RX-8. The gauges look like they've come straight from the new Volvo V40, with a large circular dial in the middle flanked by two squared off binnacles.

Despite infusing the 3 with the brand's new Kodo design language, the hatch's exterior styling appears to be quite evolutionary. The 2015 Mazda 3 will keep the current car's long-nose/short-rump proportions and oversized headlights and grille. Expect that grille to get a softer treatment, with brightwork and black plastic similar to the 6 and CX-5. Around back, the taillight assemblies continue to wrap around the rear corners and protrude from the body, but look more simplified. Our guess is that the taillight graphics will be pretty similar to the other Kodo-shaped Mazdas.

Expect to see a choice of four-cylinder powerplants under the hood of the 2015 Mazda 3. The base engine is most likely to be the 2.0-liter unit that makes 155 hp in the current car; the automaker will probably offer the 168-hp 2.5-liter I-4 from the 6 as an upgrade option for the 3. Whether the 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder will join the option sheet is anyone's guess. Six-speed automatic and manual transmissions will probably carry over as well.

I can't figure out what's up with the stereo. I don't like the screen at all, but if it isn't its form, where would they put the stereo? I hope that lip over the instrument cluster is just the result of a funny angle. The armrest seems weird; it's probably functional, but it doesn't look good. The belt line slopes up too agressively. It looks like a bad Hyundai feature. The tail lights are too pointy above the lisence plate. The size/shape of grille looks a lot better with a lisence plate. The wheels look good for a compact car. I wouldn't expect the same 2.2L diesel as the US-version 6 to end up in the 3. Perhaps it will get the less powerful (but more efficient) 143 hp 2.2L seen in Europe, or a new 1.6L diesel. But regardless, it probable won't get a diesel at all unless it is first successful in the 6.

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