Why the Mazda 3 was such a big hit from the very beginning

Why the Mazda 3 was such a big hit from the very beginning

11 November 2022 BY Jean-Sébastien Poudrier
Mazda 3 2023

Why the Mazda 3 was such a big hit from the very beginning


You can have the best car in the world, but if you don’t have a story, a reputation, and a solid marketing plan behind it, chances are this new model will go into production and exit the market in only a couple of years. There is another ingredient that explains the success of a new vehicle, and it is audacity. This is precisely what the Mazda 3 brought to the table when it first came out in 2003, which made it stand out from its competitors from the very beginning. 


  • The Mazda 3 succeeded the Mazda Protégé in 2003
  • The fourth Generation came out in 2019 and still going strong.
  • The Mazda 3 is also called the Axela in other markets.


A good timing


At the beginning of 2000, the car industry went through a revolution with newer technology, such as hybrid powertrains gaining popularity and retro styling being a definite trend. Today that this time period was significant for car manufacturers because they could try to change things, and Mazda took its chance with the Mazda 3 as a replacement for the Protege. The Mazda 3 was more prominent, more elegant, and a lot of fun to drive. The silhouette and proportions the Mazda 3 adopted in 2003 were such a great combination that many other manufacturers tried to copy it later in the 2000s. The first Generation was so popular it almost outsold the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic, its biggest competitors that had a multidecade reputation for supporting them at the arrival of the Mazda 3 on the market already.  


2nd Generation


The second Generation brought something new to the Mazda 3 formula with the biggest smile the car industry has ever seen. This Generation was offered with a bunch of flamboyant colors and quite a fast Mazdaspeed 3 version. Even though the rust problem started to affect the 2nd Generation from the very beginning, the Mazda 3 still was very popular in the 2010s.


3rd Generation


The 3rd Generation Mazda 3 presented itself with a more serious face and a lot of technological upgrades. It was with the 3rd Generation that Mazda started to apply its new Sky-Activ ideology, which was as simple as improving basic concepts such as fuel-burning efficiency and aerodynamics. As a result, the 3rd Generation Mazda 3 was a lot of fun to drive while offering a fuel consumption as low as some hybrid vehicles.


4th Generation


In 2019, Mazda decided to transition to the 4th Generation Mazda 3, which proves how strong the name has become over the years. The 4th Generation also came back, a turbocharged performance version which isn’t called Mazdaspeed this time, but just GT Turbo. The latest Mazda 3 also benefits from an all-wheel-drive system which helps it to compete against the SUVs, the new trendy category.


The Compact Car Who Raised the Bar


The Mazda 3 was more prominent, more elegant, and offered a bold and sophisticated interior with a dynamic driving experience from the very beginning. If Mazda has a luxury brand like Lexus with Toyota or Acura with Honda, it could have been part of it. Anyways it wasn’t the case, but this is why the Mazda 3 has always been a good choice since 2003 and even more today.


Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

Tags: Acura, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Toyota, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla

Author: Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

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