Retrospective

Mazda 323 to Mazda3: Tracing the history of the hatchback to today

The Mazda 323 evolved to the Protogé then to the modern Mazda3.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The Mazda Familia was introduced in time for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Japan. There were five different models of that first-ten Familia but it wouldn't be until the third generation of the model in 1977 that Mazda offered the car in a hatchback style. Ever since, Mazda has had a compact hatchback on its menu, culminating in the modern Mazda3.

Styled as the 1977 Mazda 323, the hatchback was a rear-wheel drive family car that gained popularity all over the world. Americans came to know the hatchback as the Mazda GLC (for Great Little Car). Buyers could get it in a three- or five-door hatchback body style. An estate version of the car was introduced 1978.

1977 Mazda GLC The Mazda GLC debuted in 1977.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda sold the '77 in the U.S. with a 52-horsepower 1,272cc gasoline-powered engine under its hood. In 1978, a 1,415cc gasoline engine replaced the smaller power plant and produced 65 horsepower.

1979 Mazda GLC Commercial www.youtube.com

For the 1980 model year, Mazda restyled the model giving it front-wheel drive. Its headlights went from round to square, integrating with the grille in a style that matched the Mazda 626/Capella, and a five-speed manual gearbox was introduced.

Mazda's U.S. marketing campaign for the next few years featured the tagline, "Just one look - that's all it took," and relied heavily on touting its fuel efficiency and low price tag.

Despite the advertising efforts, the GLC's time in the continental U.S. was very limited. Its new generation, which featured a twin-barrel 1.5-liter engine that produced 68 horsepower, was only sold through 1985. In that generation, the three-door body style was sold in the contiguous states while the five-door variant made its way only to Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

With the GLC now bearing 323 badging, the car was available only as a sedan or hatchback in its third-generation, starting in 1985. The next-gen model was sold as a 323 in the U.S. in hatchback format while the sedan version became the Mazda Protegé.

While Mazda continued to make a hatchback version of the car for other parts of the world, by 1994, they had called time on the model style in the U.S. Still, the Protogé sedan stuck around.

1978 Mazda GLC The model had design hallmarks of its time, shown here as a 1978 model.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

In 1998, a five-door version of the Protogé made its way to U.S. dealer lots as the Protegé5. It was the hatchback America had been missing. The model got a platform update in 1999 making it bigger than before, then, in 2001 a facelift. The Protegé5 was powered by a 130-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and had a fresh interior.

Enter: the Mazda3. In 2003, the first-generation Mazda3 made its debut as a compact car, replacing the Protegé as Mazda's compact offering. It was marketed as the Mazdaspeed3 in the U.S. The Mazdaspeed3 name had been used on the last version of the Protogé in Japan so the Mazda3 was called the Axela there.

The Mazdaspeed3 was sold in sedan and hatchback variants, and two engine options: a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter and 160-horsepower 2.3-liter. High-performance models worse Mazda3 MPS badging and used a turbocharged version of the 2.3-liter engine to generate 268 horsepower.

Between 2010 and 2015, the Mazda3 reached its sales peak in the U.S. Last year, only half as many models were sold in the U.S. just four years earlier.

2020 Mazda Mazda3 The Mazda3 has been redesigned from the top down for the 2020 model year. Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The Mazda3 was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It now is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 186 horsepower. It is one of the few cars that comes with an available manual transmission (a six-speed). It continues to be a front-wheel drive model with all-wheel drive available. Reviewers note that its back seat and trunk are smaller than what you'd traditionally expect from a vehicle of the Mazda3's size.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The vehicle is, for now, merely a concept.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Cruising, the art of driving slowly through cities so you could see and be seen, was popular in the 90s. So popular in fact that jurisdictions nationwide passed ordinances banning the practice, which could create traffic woes. In a new video, General Motors and its Cadillac brand look to bring back cruising, this time in what appears to be a gussied up version of the Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle.

The structure of the Cadillac Halo portfolio concept vehicle looks like the shape of the Cruise Origin. This people mover, however, wears fancier clothes complete with exterior chrome design treatments and Cadillac badging. Its body is white while glass that appears clear from the inside is tinted black to eliminate some outsider peeping. The whole rig rides on large black wheels and is lighted by thin LED strips at the corners that follow vertical body lines.

General Motors Cadillac Halo concept car interior The vehicle's cabin has luxe accommodations.Photo courtesy of General Motors

There's a front window, rear window, and expansive glass roof. On one side, instead of side windows there are wall spaces with ambient lighting and wraparound hard plastic.

The video makes the Cadillac personal autonomous vehicle look like a living room on wheels. Occupants face each other on what looks more like a wraparound sofa than a traditional car seat and share legroom. There is also one recliner-like captains chair at the back that sits alongside a chaise lounge-like seat whose bottom fades into the rest of the bench seating.

The entire cabin is finely appointed with what looks like real wood and metal accents, sculpted seating, and flattering ambient lighting. The five-seater has seat belts for every passenger.

At the front of the vehicle is a long, horizontal screen that is raised, but can be lowered to near-flush showing what appears to be vehicle drive information. A larger screen that appears to be in the same location (which may just be a computer-generated error o GM's part) shows destination, time, occupant, weather, and climate zone control information.

General Motors Cadillac Halo concept car interior A large screen shows a picture of the occupants along with vital information.Photo courtesy of General Motors

When the screens are nested in the cabin, a hologram-like fire graphic can (apparently) be displayed.

There's an infotainment touch screen screen that illuminates on an embedded piece of plastic next to a seat that allows occupants to control navigation.

Voice control and gesture control are both included.

Though unseen, the video alludes to the fact that the vehicle is capable of "aromatherapy and light therapy". Many luxury cars allow buyers to add a fragrance to their vehicle so the aromatherapy aspect isn't too far out in left field. The vehicle's biometric sensors monitor vital signs to adjust humidity, temperature, lighting, aromatics, and ambient noise, according to a presentation by GM.

Though just a concept, it would be very GM-like for the company to be looking for ways to rebrand and reuse current platforms and mobility solutions.

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The Ioniq 5 will be the first dedicated electric model designed on Hyundai's new battery electric vehicle platform.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Company, the parent of the Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis brands, has released a new series of photos and videos teasing the forthcoming Ioniq 5. The midsize crossover is slated to Abe the first model in the company's Ioniq dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV) lineup brand.

It will also be the first vehicle that is underpinned by Hyundai's new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The architecture is similar to what General Motors unveiled with its Ultium platform. The vehicle, Hyundai says, will showcase a "fundamental shift in design approach" for the company where vehicles are designed around the platform rather than modifying existing vehicles to put in BEV power systems like what is in the Kona EV.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 car teaser preview back Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

The fresh design elements in the Ioniq 5 include Parametric Pixels, the smallest unit of digital imaging, as well as the CUV's color, material, and finish (CMF) direction that works to connect digital functionality with its analog counterpart. The car's front end features pixel-inspired lights, u-shaped and squared off at the corners. Its clamshell hood spans the entire width of the car, which is a concerted effort to minimize panel gaps and increase aerodynamics.

The wheels feature aero-optimized design and come in 20-inch diameter, the first ever fitted to a Hyundai EV.

"Ioniq 5 presents an all-new customer experience through innovative EV design that is evocative of the icon that established Hyundai's design DNA," said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. "Beginning with Ioniq 5, our dedicated BEV lineup brand will redefine the relationship between people and their cars, establishing a new standard against which all BEV design experiences will be measured."

In addition to the photos, Hyundai released videos that preview the Ioniq 5's core technologies. Three feature "ultimate camping" scenarios where owners are able to use the Ioniq 5's general power supply (110/220V). In each video, the camper is seen using IONIQ 5's 3.5KW of V2L-supplied power, which they use to roast a turkey in a large oven, listen to music on high-end audio speakers, and exercise on a treadmill—all at a camping site.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 car teaser preview front wheel Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

The '5 Min Challenge' video highlights Ioinq 5's ultra-fast charging capability that enables it to drive more than 62 miles with only a 5-minute charge (WLTP).

You can watch all the videos below.

Ioniq 5: Ultimate Camping (teaser) - Scene 1. Cooking

Ioniq 5: Ultimate Camping (teaser) - Scene 2. Sound

Ioniq 5: Ultimate Camping (teaser) - Scene 3. Running

Ioniq 5: 5 Min Challenge (teaser) - Trailer

IONIQ 5 will debut in a virtual world premiere event in February 2021.

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