Mazda has used the Tokyo motor show to unveil a preview of what will become the next-generation Mazda 3.

The brand has further evolved its 'Kodo' design language in the creation of the compact hatchback concept, which it says will herald a new generation of Mazda.

The next-generation Mazda 3 will be the first to feature the next-generation Skyactiv-X petrol engine, as well as the new Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture.

We believe the new Mazda 3 on the updated platform won't be available until early or mid-2019. It’s likely the brand will maintain its current 2.0 and 2.5-litre powertrains and keep Skyactiv-X engines for range-topping models.

The 2.0-litre Skyactiv-X engines use a combustion system designed to deliver diesel fuel economy with the environmental impact of a low capacity petrol.

As we found out when we drove a prototype in Frankfurt earlier this year, it uses a small supercharger to feed its high compression requirements, but it’s not designed to be a performance engine.

The arrival of the next generation of Skyactiv technologies with the 3 makes sense, as it’s the brand’s best-seller globally. It also suggests the current 6, which has been around since 2012, will continue in its current guise for the coming years.

Following the hatch will likely be a sedan. GIven the look of the Mazda 3 hatch concept, it’s possible the sedan and hatch will be visually differentiated far more than before, to better compete in their very crowded segments.

The Mazda 3 hatch concept joins the Mazda Vision Coupe concept as the two major unveils for the Japanese brand in Tokyo this year. There is still no sign of a promised rotary powertrain, but evidence points to a sports car being unveiled for the company’s 100 year anniversary in 2020.


Podcast

Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the Mazda concepts and the Tokyo Motor Show below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.