Mazda is on the cusp of unveiling an all-new Mazda3, but the compact will mark an important milestone before that happens. The very first Mazda3 rolled off of the assembly line on June 25, 2003. A decade later, the little car has snagged some 136 awards. The first generation sold 2.2 million units over the span of six years, and the second has smiled its way into the hearts of 1.4 million buyers since 2009. Mazda notes the machine even took the honor of being the top-selling passenger car in Australia in 2011 and 2012.

So, what will the future bring? The Japanese automaker is keeping the details to itself for the moment. From the spy photos we've seen, it looks as if the new design will fall under the company's new Kodo design philosophy. That same language brought us the perilously sexy Mazda6, and the new Mazda3 should be no less attractive. You can check out those photos here.

You can also read the full press release on the compact's 10-year anniversary below.
Show full PR text
Mazda3 celebrates its 10th anniversary

Leverkusen, 21 June 2013. The future looks bright for the Mazda3 as the company prepares to celebrate next week the tenth birthday of its best-selling model of all time. One decade ago, on 25 June 2003, the very first Mazda3 rolled off the production line in Hofu, Japan. And it has been defying convention ever since, capturing the hearts of drivers the world over and winning 136 awards – so far.

With its fresh combination of design, performance and quality, the initial Mazda3 would revolutionise the C segment around the world. One of Mazda's original Zoom-Zoom generation, the dynamic sports compact was a categorical hit: A total of 2.2 million first-generation Mazda3s found homes.

The next model, which followed in 2009, was designed under the Sustainable Zoom-Zoom umbrella, Mazda's strategy to build increasingly lighter, more fuel efficient and safer vehicles with no compromises to Mazda's patented driving fun and reliability. And the second-generation Mazda3 was certainly exhilarating, with an inspirational sporty look and even further advanced performance and handling, but at the same time more eco-friendly than ever thanks to unique technology like i-stop, the idle-stop system still delivering the world's fastest restarts today.

It set a few safety benchmarks, too, with cutting-edge active safety technology like Rear Vehicle Monitoring*, which received a Euro NCAP Advanced Award and was the first such system whatsoever in the segment, and the Adaptive Front-lighting System*. Consequently, the Mazda3 was given top safety ratings around the globe, including the maximum five-stars from Euro NCAP.

Popularity-wise, the generation two model picked up where the original Mazda3 left off, with some 1.4 million units sold globally to date. It was even the top-selling passenger car overall in Australia in 2011 and 2012. And all along, the Mazda3 maintained the rock-solid dependability synonymous with the brand: It was, for example, the best model overall in J.D. Power's 2011 German customer satisfaction survey after being the number one compact in 2010.

"The Mazda3 has been a huge success for us and is clearly a cornerstone of our model range," says Jeff Guyton, president and CEO Mazda Motor Europe. "We've always aimed to exceed customer expectations with the Mazda3, and plan to continue raising the bar in the ultra-competitive C segment. Here's to another exciting decade."

* Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) warns of vehicles approaching from behind in adjacent lanes and the blind spots; Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) turns the headlamps to follow curves.


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  • 67 Comments
      jtav2002
      • 1 Year Ago
      Still prefer the 1st gen 3 to this current model.
      Tyson
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a 2008 Mazda3 S Touring hatchback. It is a great car. I have owned it from August 2009 when it had 12,200 miles. It sits with 58,000 miles right now and has never given me one problem. Ever. Even with me driving it like a madman through curvy roads on a regular basis and loading it down with everything I owned and moving away (twice). Hatchbacks are good at hauling stuff!
      cs0021
      • 1 Year Ago
      I own a Mazda 3 and I have to say it handles exceptionally well and is an overall fun to drive car. Though I wish the power and interior could be improved, I believe the new 3 will fix those problems.
      fx16gts
      • 1 Year Ago
      Happy birthday Mazda 3! The first generation was a well built car that handle extremely well. I would easily recommend this vehicle without hesitation. It drives a hundred times better than the Corolla. This is a good car.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hate that goofy smiley-face front end and could never buy one because of it, but nonetheless glad to see the success of an affordable driver-oriented car. I love the new Kodo design language and can't wait to see what the next generation looks like.
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      It really is a well engineered car. I rented one through Zipcar once and it was probably the most controllable car I did. A very natural feel to the steering and suspension reactions. Not heavy-handed or overtly sporty, just a sense that you had really great control of the machine you were in. The skyactive of course could have used a bit more torque, but the automatic was super tight gear shifts and only added to sense of control. I personally would have went with a manual, but this is probably the best all-around commuter car out there. The week before I drove a 2012 Civic and although the automatic was well programs for heavy traffic, everything else was a total letdown, couldn't wait to get it back to the garage. I know Honda addressed the driving dynamic, but they weren't able to correct that horrendous 2-tier dashboard.
      action3500
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pretty sure new 3 leaked without camo, looks very close to concept car. http://www.autoreview.ru/news/175/129790/
      Erik Tomlinson
      • 1 Year Ago
      Still the most entertaining-to-drive cheap practical car I've driven. The 2.5 L is surprisingly quick, too.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Rochester
        • 1 Year Ago
        A 3-series compare? It's nice that you like your Mazda, but that's over the top, boss. Also, you can buy today's MazdaSpeed3 with slushbox. Can't imagine why you would want to, but you can.
          superchan7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          Many journalists have described the Mazda3 as something like a FWD 3-series. They will never be cross-shopped due to their large price difference, but the sporty sense of chassis tossability and transient composure is there, and is unique to its segment. The 2.5L (along with its mediocre fuel economy) is also unique to the segment as most competitors only offer one engine choice in the mainstream lineup (i.e. nothing in between Focus and F-ST, Civic and C-Si). Mazda definitely marches to a different beat, and is a bright spot for enthusiasts who want affordable, practical fun.
          Adam
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          No, the Mazdaspeed3 is available with a 6-speed manual transmission only: http://www.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/musa2/pdf/specs/specs_MS3.pdf And all the better for it I might add.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          [blocked]
          Rochester
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          I stand corrected on the transmission. And happily so... good for Mazda only building the Speed3 with a proper 6MT. After driving manual transmission cars almost exclusively for over 30 years, I simply can't imagine how a car that's designed to be exciting can be anything but boring without it. Now that the kiddies are growing up, I've been trying to suggest Speed3 as a fun little car for the wife.
          luigi.tony
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          Lord NO, NO Automatic Transmission in a Speed 3, Autos are for *******.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          [blocked]
          chi-town-andy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          Unfortunately, the Mazdaspeed3 is not being produced anymore, after the dealerships sell what they currently have in inventory, they'll be gone.
          Gorgenapper
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rochester
          @andy Damn... is that so? Without a high performance variant, then I will be looking elsewhere for my next car years down the road after my 2010 MS3 is ready to go. Which, hopefully, won't be for a long while! It's still young at 50,000 km.
      yyz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't get rid of that big dopey smiley face soon enough. How many sales has it cost Mazda?
        bjzq8
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yyz
        I had an 07 Mazdaspeed 3, but I just couldn't stand the new "face"...I loved everything else about it, but that thing looked like a clown car. I switched to a Camaro instead.
        Gorgenapper
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yyz
        I'm in Canada. Not a heck of a lot of sales, apparently, as far as the Canadian market is concerned. I see the 2nd gen Mazda 3s everywhere, with an emphasis on the hatchback models. I own and daily drive a 2010 MS3, which I think has a much better smiley face than the regular models due to the unique grille on the speeds.
      Brent Schmidt
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's a shame that the outgoing model will look 10x better than the new one... And I'm with EJD on this one, still a 323 in my eyes.
      EJD1984
      • 1 Year Ago
      For me it's still a 323, much like Mazda shorten the 626 nameplate to just 6. So more like 36 years old. :-)
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