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The Mazda Kai concept looks absolutely ace

And you should be able to buy it when it's the next Mazda 3, too

Welcome to (another) exceptionally good-looking Mazda. The Kai Concept is a “compact hatchback that sets the stage for the future of the Mazda brand”, which means it’s probably not a million miles away from the next Mazda 3.

If Mazda can carry the super-wide stance and vacuum-wrapped bodywork that “represent Mazda’s ideal hatchback form in its simplicity and beauty” over to next year’s production car, we’ll be first in the queue. If there’s a hatch that’s good-looking enough to reverse the march towards crossovers and away from conventional hatches, this is surely it…

Refreshingly the Kai has an actual engine, not some conceptual unobtanium hybrid thing that doesn’t exist yet and won’t for the next decade. It’s fitted with Mazda’s new Spark Controlled Compression Ignition SkyActiv-X engine, which is set to be the world’s first commercially-available petrol engine with compression ignition. At least when it’s released in a couple of years’ time.

Mazda says it gives between 10 and 30 per cent more torque than its outgoing SkyActiv-G engines and is 20 to 30 per cent more efficient. Think diesel mpg without the persecution, and more than 4,000rpm. Power is sent frontwards – because family hatchback – even though the Kai’s silhouette suggests otherwise.

To give you some idea of scale, the concept measures is 4.4 metres long and nearly 1.9 metres wide, making it much longer, wider and lower than an (albeit production-spec) Volkswagen Golf. Assuming this is basically the next 3, be sure its wheels will shrink, its wing mirrors will grow and actual doorhandles will sprout from its sides before production begins.

The Kai is based on the SkyActiv Vehicle Architecture Mazda’s developed to underpin its next generation of cars. The company says it gives “highly refined driving dynamics in every respect, from the performance feel and comfort, to the quietness of the ride.”

Even the humblest, most prosaic Mazdas are great to drive, so we’ve good reason to think cars based on the new platform will be too. Excited?

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