The Mazda3 gets a new face for 2010

Mazda presented its new 2010 Mazda3 sedan at the 2008 LA Auto Show, and I have to admit that I don't really know what to make of it.

Mazda3 Sedan 2010
The 2010 Mazda3's face is either aggressive and goofy looking, depending on how you look at it. Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

Mazda presented its new 2010 Mazda3 sedan at the 2008 LA Auto Show, and I have to admit that I don't really know what to make of it.

The revised front end has more overtones of Mazda's Nagare concept than any Mazda vehicle to date. From certain angles it's decidedly sinister, with its sharply raked bi-xenon headlamps, enlarged lower grille opening that eliminates the need for an upper grille, and organically styled side grille openings with integrated foglights. But from other angles, that huge grille opening looks like a big goofy grin.

Moving back across the body, we see that the Mazda3 sedan features the same coupe-like silhouette of the current model. The new 3 uses a chassis that's similar to the current model, but with tweaks that increase rigidity. The 3's sides feature new sheet metal characterized by a crease that starts at the front wheel wells and terminates in a well-defined shoulder at the rear of the vehicle.

Under the hood breathes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder powerplant that produces 148 horsepower. For the better-performing Mazda3, displacement has been bumped up to 2.5 liters and power increased to 167 horsepower. That's only an adequate amount of power in my book; thankfully the engines are fairly thrifty, delivering 25 city and 33 highway mpg from the 2.0 liter engine and 22 city and 29 highway mpg from the more powerful 2.5 liter mill.

2010 Mazda3 interior
Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

Cabin options for the 2010 Mazda3 include a Bose 10-speaker premium surround sound system, connectivity for cell phones and portable media players, a dock for iPods, and Sirius satellite radio. A multi-information display is positioned high on the center portion of the instrument panel to further minimize eye movement while driving. Navigation, audio, and trip computer information is provided in this handy and easy-to-view location.

Pricing and availability have not yet been revealed.

See all coverage of the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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