Most improved awards are always a little backhanded, implying that while things are swell now, you’ve come from a low base.
Hiroshima’s all-new Mazda 3 would well be deserving of such an award, but we don’t mean that as an insult.
The Mazda 3 was already a good car, worthy of its admirable sales success, but this latest model moves the game forward significantly, bringing new levels of luxury, and depth of engineering, into a highly competitive segment.
A comparison test at the start of 2019 proved that the Mazda 3 had vaulted itself to best-in-class, but that’s no guarantee of success at COTY.
Mazda needn’t have been worried though, with judges clearly impressed by the small hatch and sedan.
Read next: 2019 Mazda 3 Range Review
Praise was heaped upon the design inside an out, with particular attention paid to the quality of materials used.
Our independent testing of interior decibel levels proved, with hard data, that talk of improved cabin quality and refinement was genuine, with the Mazda 3 rivalling several premium offerings.
Mazda’s engineers were also given kudos by our judges for the 3’s dynamic ability.
For a full run down of how the Mazda 3 fared, make sure to pick up a copy of our COTY magazine, on sale February 3.
Click through our gallery above to see how the 3 went during testing.
Standing in the way of Mazda claiming Wheels Car of the Year 2020 are four other strong contenders. The winner will be announced January 30 at the Australian Motoring Awards.
Read next: Wheels car of the Year finalists for 2020