History of the Mazda Compact Car | Bedford, OH
Mazda has demonstrated mastery when it comes to everything from sporty roadsters to crossovers and SUVs, but the segment in which it’s perhaps shined the brightest is the compact car. For decades, Mazda has offered some of the industry’s most iconic and popular compact cars. From the Mazda GLC to the all-new 2019 Mazda3 Sedan and Mazda3 Hatchback, Mazda has a rich history of delivering small cars that deliver big on style, performance, and premium sensibilities.
During the 1970s, Mazda was determined to deliver a “Great Little Car,” which is precisely what it introduced to the market in 1977 via the Mazda GLC. The GLC arrived just in time to counteract the ongoing oil embargo, providing drivers with great fuel economy balanced with spirited performance.
In 1985, Mazda introduced the successor to the GLC with the Mazda 323. With a more modern aesthetic for the time, the 323 helped Mazda develop a more cohesive brand design moving forward. It also capitalized in full on the growing reputation of Mazda as a performance dynamo, with the 1988 Mazda 323 GTX hot hatch offering a 132-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo, a five-speed manual transmission, and standard all-wheel drive.
The Mazda Protégé joined the lineup in the 1990s, quickly becoming a favorite among drivers who wanted a balance of performance and practicality. The Mazda Protégé LX was one of the best-equipped in its class for the time with standard power windows and doors, an available sunroof, and optional AWD. The Mazda Protégé ES would form the basis for the high-powered MAZDASPEED Protégé, which leaned even further into the brand’s performance reputation with a 170-horsepower engine and Racing Beat suspension.
The Mazda3 was introduced in 2004 as the replacement for the Mazda Protégé, and it has the distinct honor of finding a spot on Kelley Blue Book’s list of the 10 Coolest Cars Under $20,000 every year since — including five straight years in the No. 1 spot. Following in the footsteps of the MAZDASPEED Protégé, the MAZDASPEED3 hot hatch quickly became a favorite among performance enthusiasts, many of whom still hope for a return to this day. Over the generations, the Mazda3 has continued to develop a cool, yet refined aesthetic, culminating most recently in the all-new 2019 Mazda3 Sedan and Mazda3 Hatchback, which represent the latest evolution of the KODO: Soul of Motion design philosophy.
At Mazda of Bedford, we’ve got the new 2019 Mazda3 Sedan and Mazda3 Hatchback in stock as well as several used and Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. Stop in and see for yourself why Mazda is the first name when it comes to fun, desirable small cars.