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Mazda previews next design language with Kai concept

by Ronan Glon

The next-gen Mazda3 will borrow styling cues from the Kai.

Mazda is giving us a preview of its next design language with a brand-new concept named Kai. The design study was presented today during the biennial Tokyo Auto Show.

The Kai's front end wears a more refined evolution of Mazda's Kodo design language, which characterizes the brand's current cars. The shield-shaped grille remains, but it's sharper than before. When viewed from the side, the concept's most striking aspect is its belt line, which sweeps up to give the car a sporty design.

The wide, slanted C-pillar adds substance to the muscular design, though we bet it's a lot less appealing when attempting to reverse into a tight spot. Out back, the lights are loosely inspired by the ones found on the Miata. All told, Mazda's most recent concept is a real looker.

The sexy sheet metal hides a new modular platform that will underpin most additions to the Mazda lineup in the coming years. The Kai also receives the innovative Skyactiv-X engine that's set to make its debut under next 3's hood, though additional technical details haven't been made public yet.

The next-generation Mazda3 will arrive next year, meaning it likely won't reach showrooms until the 2019 model year. It will be worth the wait; if the Kai concept is any indication, the new 3 will be a game-changer in terms of styling and tech.