Mazda 3 unveiled at 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show (c) Newspress

Mazda 3 and Mazda 3 Fastback unveiled at Frankfurt 2013

Both the Mazda 3 hatchback and Mazda 3 Fastback have been unveiled at 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, making three a magic number for Mazda here in Germany.

That’s because the new Mazda 3 is the third car from the Japanese manufacturer’s ‘Skyactiv’ line-up, joining the CX5 crossover and the 6 saloon and estate.

And this time around, the regular Mazda 3 hatchback is joined by a larger ‘Fastback’ saloon model, offering even more practicality should you need it. What’s not to like there?

The bigger Fastback’s drag coefficient is actually lower than the normal Mazda 3 hatchback – weighing only 10kg more (1,200kg), efficiency and performance should be on a par with the regular car. Then there’s the strong safety from Mazda’s Skyactiv philosophy, too.

The Mazda 3 Fastback can swallow 420 litres of luggage, while the regular Mazda 3 hatchback can accommodate 350 litres, meaning both iterations of the car are extremely flexible and versatile.

Mazda 3 interior (c) Newspress

Inside, the new Mazda 3’s cabin is crisp, modern and uncluttered. There’s a tablet style information display controlled by a rotary wheel, helping keep the button count down. Mazda also uses a Japanese phrase to describe the cabin ambience – ‘jinbai-ittai’ – which roughly translated means ‘togetherness’. It is a cohesive design.

The new Mazda 3 is 4cm wider and the wheelbase 6cm longer than its predecessor. This means plenty of room inside for passengers, accommodating tall adults with ease in the rear of the cabin. It’s certainly spacious.

Both cars team this brilliant real-world practicality with stunning styling – Mazda has transferred its ‘Kodo – soul of motion’ design language from the rest of the range to the new 3 line-up with aplomb. It really is a head-turning car that breaks the mould in the family hatchback sector.

As you’d expect from a Skyactiv Mazda, the range of engines on offer are superbly efficient.

Both Mazda 3 variants will be available with a pair of petrol engines – including a 100hp 1.5-litre unit and two 2.0-litre engines available in 120hp or 165hp guise – while there’ll also be 150hp 2.2-litre turbodiesel available. This will be the fastest variant, accelerating from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds.

Mazda 3 hatchback rear Frankfurt 2013 (c) Newspress

Rather than downsizing and turbocharging, Mazda’s Skyactiv approach concentrates on stripping weight out to improve efficiency, leaving you with decent fuel economy and even better performance.

The Fastback diesel will return a claimed 72.4mpg with 104g/km CO2 emissions, helped by Mazda’s i-Stop stop-start system.

With these efficiency figures, Mazda’s Skyactiv technology approach will pay dividends.

Both the Mazda 3 hatch and Mazda 3 Fastback will go on sale in the UK in January 2014. Prices for the hatchback start at £16,695 for the 100hp petrol, while the Fastback variant costs £300 more and comes fitted with the 120hp petrol unit.

The cheapest diesel is the 150hp 2.2-litre unit, priced from £19,245 for both the hatchback and the Fastback.

Let us know what you think of the two new Mazda 3 variants on our Twitter feed or our Facebook page. Do you like the option of a slightly larger, more practical Mazda 3? What do you think of the styling? We want to hear your thoughts.