The design of the fourth-generation Mazda3 is more elegant than its predecessor. It's a long way from the smiley face front ends of the past. 

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The overall exterior design is void of hard character lines and creases. In particular, it a looker from the front three-quarters view with the big grille, skinny headlights and subtle body lines,

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The back end, however, is on the plain end of the visual spectrum.

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Inside, the simple and clean theme continues. Soft-touch leather surfaces are everywhere on the flowing dash, door panels and center console with a tasteful slathering of metallic trim.     

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From a cabin comfort standpoint, the only major thing that may turn off some people is that it's clearly one of smaller compact cars out there.

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Tech-wise, the new 3 is much improved. All models get a new 8.8-inch infotainment system that in this Premium trim features navigation, Bose audio and satellite radio.     

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At launch, all 2019 3s will be powered by a massaged 2.5-liter four-cylinder putting out 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque.

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While a six-speed manual transmission will be available on hatchback Premium trims, the rest of the 3s use a six-speed automatic.     

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The Mazda3 sedan returns an EPA estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

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The 2019 Mazda3 sedan starts at $21,920, including destination. This Premium Package model pictured here punches in at $27,720.     

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