Unveiled this week, the new model, named Axela Hybrid to match the Mazda3's Japan-market name, marks the first time Mazda has offered three different powertrain options with the small car.
Offered in sedan form only, the Axela Hybrid matches a specialised version of Mazda's 2.0 litre SkyActiv petrol engine with an electric motor and a CVT transmission, all understood to be based on Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
Energy for the petrol-electric system is drawn from a battery pack mounted beneath the boot floor, although it is not clear if Mazda has used nickel metal hydride or lithium-ion batteries.
Mazda claims the new model will return fuel consumption figures of around 3.2 l/100km on Japan's unique 'JC08' test cycle, although Australia's system would likely see a local rating in the vicinity of 4.0 l/100km.
It matters little however, as Mazda is not expected to offer this first hybrid offering outside of the Japanese market.
In Australia, the new Mazda3 will be offered with 2.0 and 2.5 litre petrol engines only. (Click here for more details.)
In Japan, the Axela Hybrid will go on sale next month - as part of the coming Tokyo Motor Show - priced at 2,499,000 yen (AU$27,000), sitting above the regular 2,205,000 yen ($24,500) 2.0 litre petrol model.
Watch for more details to be revealed in Tokyo next month.
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