The next-generation Mazda3 small car has been spied for the first time this week, captured testing in its final production body.
Gone are the large headlights and big smile of the current model, replaced with Mazda's slim new grille design and slender lights reaching back into the front quarter guards.
The profile of the new model reveals a flowing bonnet and roofline, terminating at a tailgate that slopes further foward for a more sporting look.
The new Mazda3 rides on a shortened version of the platform underpinning the new Mazda6 midsizer and the CX-5 SUV, and the carmaker's new Skyactiv construction formula should make it lighter than the current model.
While the lightweight body will improve handling and fuel economy, the next 3 will also benefit from Mazda's new Skyactiv 2.0 litre four-cylinder engines, available in petrol and diesel form.
A new Mazdaspeed-tuned MPS model should also feature as a headline act in the new range, although it remains to be seen what Mazda is planning on that front.
Watch for a concept version of the new 3 to appear in the coming months, with the final production model to debut toward the end of the year or early in 2014.
The current second-generation Mazda3 was introduced in 2009 and continues to be a top seller for Mazda. It is also Australia's best-selling passenger car.