• Nov 26, 2008
Click above for high-res image gallery of unused Mazda3 designs

It takes a lot of time and effort to redesign any vehicle, but the problem is magnified when the model in question is an automaker's best-seller. So it's not surprising that Mazda would have a number of unused concepts left over from the team tasked with updating the popular Mazda3 compact. What's more intriguing, however, is just how good some of these unused sketches are. For instance, while we like the overall design of the new '3, take a look at this alternate front face – meaner and more aggressive than the propitious look of the final car.

Not only is a critical eye necessary to be a designer, it also requires a desire to get your hands dirty at times. Full-size clay models need to be shaped and refined in wind tunnels before getting final approval, and the new car needs to at least share a passing resemblance to its predecessor. See the whole process through which Mazda designers trudged in our gallery below.


[Source: Carscoop]


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  • 21 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like 1of24 better. The design looks more agressive than the outgoing 3 yet is not overdone.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And as a designer, you need to realize the most masculine, badass, aggressive looking design is not always the best solution. Cheers to mazda for making a 'friendly' looking car... it's getting pretty cliche to have every vehicle pissed off looking.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would have liked to see the front of the production model less "smiley". While overall I like the design, it makes me wonder why out of all things they went with that huge grin. I do like the more aggressive looking version.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sketches always appear more aggressive and powerful and sexier and sleeker than real cars... sigh...
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's easy to make a hot sketch. It's harder to make a car that has to deal with real world road conditions, acceptable ride quality, cost cutting, manufacturability, non polarizing "focus group" style dillution, marketing douchebags, and engineering compromises.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Looks better in person"? I doubt it. It's not as though the huge gaping grin would change.

      Image 3 looks like what the production version is based off of, and looks a lot better, but still is overboard.

      Imo the second one would've been the best, but oh well. I hope the Mazda3 fails so that they do a refresh quick.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes they toned it down for release just like ANY OTHER COMPANY including AMERICAN companies.

      But some of those designs really do look viable and while I think the released version is mostly quite nice, I would have loved that one I see in the pic up above.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've always had a problem with the stylized marker renderings that start off the whole design process. While they look very cool and are very artistic they sometimes make a very bad overall design look good.

      Designing a good product takes a lot more talent than just being able to make a good marker rendering. The real basic is a good sense of form and composition. The problem is that those with a really good sense of form and composition, but merely adequate marker rendering skills really don't have a chance at getting very far in the industry.

      It is almost like if you can't draw in this exact certain way don't bother even trying. I always wonder if the reason why mainstream cars turn out looking bad is because designers and engineeers have to figure out how to get metal to look like some crazy marker rendering that was greenlit as the final design direction. Once greenlit it is too late to move to a better design once they find out that many of the details are impossible to replicate.





        • 6 Years Ago
        I've always wonder how the auto industry could have the most talented and skilled designers churning out hundreds of beautiful designs yearly and yet most production cars look like crap.

        I don't think engineering limitations are the reason for ugly cars. We have the greatest and most capable engineers the world has ever known (and we had fabulously beautiful cars 30-40 decades ago). The reason is irresponsible and inept management, politically-correct boardroom committees and thoughtless marketing salesmanship.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Shot 18 is when they should have started having second thoughts
      • 6 Years Ago
      pic 15 of 24 is the best
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with Gomi. I think the new Mazda3 will look a lot better in person that in photos, particularly the photos from the LA Auto Show. Those photos of the exterior were taken from ground level while the car was raised on a platform. That really puts a focus on the grille, making it drastically more prominent. Taking a look at Mazda's press photos and the video, the car looks very attractive. I believe this is because they were taken from more natural angles that one would see that car from... looking down at it rather than looking up at it. The grille becomes far less prominent.

      We here in the U.S. generally prefer angrier looking cars. But we have to remember that the Mazda3 is a global design, and tastes vary widely across the globe (the Japanese, in particular, dislike angry designs).

      As for the interior, the first time I saw the photos I swore they were from a different car and was mistakenly posted with the Mazda3 exterior shots. That interior looks like it belongs in a much more expensive car. I hope the materials somewhat live up to that image.
      • 6 Years Ago
      3/24 looks alot like the one that DID make it. Small children at play beware, Mazda3 wants nom nom on kids.
        • 6 Years Ago
        agreed #3 is my favorite, very aggresive
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's surprising about these pictures is that they really do prove that the production Mazda3 is the most attractive thing they could come up with.

      1st car in photo gallery: X-Men, Reloaded.

      2nd car: Creepy.

      3rd car: Whoa, big mouth.

      The production version looks much better than any of these. Which is obviously why it's production.
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