Leaked renderings of the 2013 Mazda3 have provided the first clues to the look of the Japanese brand's important next-generation small car.
The images are believed to be official Mazda renderings, though the car maker has stressed to CarAdvice that this is not the styling of the all-new Mazda3 expected in the latter stages of 2013.
The hatchback featured in the pictures certainly adopts the company's Kodo design language that would make this Mazda3 look a natural fit with the other two new models from the brand - the CX-5 and Mazda6. The front end, especially, features the same enlarged five-point grille and headlights that are linked by a shaped chrome bar.
Mazda hasn't denied the images have leaked somehow from the company.
"We have not communicated any images or details regarding the new Mazda3," said Mazda Australia spokesman Steve Maciver. "Yes we do internal renderings [of future products] for [research] clinics, and this is an execution of what Kodo [design] might look like on the 3. But these images are not the new Mazda3."
A Mazda source revealed at the recent motor show that the new Mazda3 will debut in 2013, just four years after the current model launched.
The 2013 Mazda3 will share its basic 'Skyactiv' architecture with the CX-5 SUV released earlier this year and the Mazda6 medium car that arrives locally in December.
Expect a range of engines seen from the CX-5 and Mazda6 to be offered with the Mazda3, including a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and 2.2-litre turbo diesel - mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto.
The 2013 Mazda3 is also expected to be the first Mazda to feature a hybrid drivetrain borrowed from Toyota as part of a technology tie-up.
Mazda's small car could also be the candidate the company chooses to debut its new rotary-powered range-extender technology, which is also due in 2013.
We're hoping the final design of the 2013 Mazda3 does look something like the company's test renderings, but what do you think? Head to our comment forum below to share your opinions.