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The Mazda3 Sedan Looks Better Than the Hatchback for the First Time Ever

The Mazda3 compact hasn’t been around for a very long, but in its time so far on this earth, one thing has remained constant: the hatchback has always looked better than the sedan. This is often the case with compacts. That’s part of the reason why a sporty version of a compact car is often only available as a hatchback — it just looks cooler. This is the case with the ST variants of the Ford Focus and the Fiesta and yes, the MazdaSpeed3 back when that car still existed.

However, the freshly unveiled fourth generation of the Mazda3 breaks the car’s streak of the hatch looking better than the sedan, as Mazda somehow really goofed on the design of the rear quarters of this car. It has these massive blind spots in the D-pillars, which I can only imagine give it Chevrolet Camaro like rear visibility — and it just looks bad. There’s just a lot of sheet metal where there should be a window.

The sedan, however, looks lovely. The Mazda3 sedan has never been a bad looking car, just not as good looking as the hatch. That all changes with the new fourth-generation model. The sedan has a nicely styled caboose with good proportions. Its tiny deck lid is par for the course for sedans with a mild sportiness to their design — and, yes, the sedan has chunky rear pillars too, but they’re not distractingly ugly like they are on the hatchback.

That said, the front of this car looks fabulous. I think the Mazda CX-5 is one of the best looking crossovers in the crowded compact crossover segment, and I think it’s a good thing that the brand is taking that face and putting it on everything. Sometimes a corporate face looks good on cars, but not on crossovers, or vice versa. For example, I think the Lexus spindle grille looks pretty good on coupes and sedans, but very ugly on crossovers and SUVs. However, the 2019 Mazda3 proves that this mug can look good on anything with four wheels. Unfortunately, if you get the hatchback version, it just may not look so good from behind.

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  1. I had the ill fortune of coming up behind a 2021 hatch in traffic the other day. As a long time 3 fan and multiple model year owner, all I can say is I was so sad. I threw up a little in my mouth. I am about replace one of the 3’s in our household. It won’t be with this body style.

  2. I have to say, I thought the exact same thing when they released this latest generation; but, I recently saw it in a dealership lot, and I’m glad to say that it looks much, MUCH better in person. And of course I’m glad it still comes with a manual transmission. 

  3. Having not seen one up close, I’ll reserve final comment…but I’m seriously considering a 2018 Mazda3 HB versus the restyle.  To my eye, the outgoing model carries more grace and style than the bulbous newbie.  But I’ll agree with the comments on the sedan.  The new one looks gorgeous in pictures, but I prefer a hatchback (and it’ll only be considered with a proper manual transmission!).

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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