The Mazda Vision Coupe is one of two concepts that are making their debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. The other is this – the Kai Concept – a hatchback that integrates Mazda’s next-generation technologies and design, which reportedly previews the upcoming, fourth-generation Mazda 3.

Measuring 4,420 mm long, 1,855 mm wide and 1,375 mm tall, the Kai Concept also features a wheelbase of 2,750 mm. These figures, when compared to the current Mazda 3 (4,580 mm long, 1,795 mm wide, 1,450 mm tall and 2,700 mm wheelbase), certainly makes for a convincing case.

In terms of its design, the concept draws upon many of the ideas put forth by the Vision Coupe. Unnecessary elements are omitted in this instance, while new cues make their appearance here.

The bold front end gets the new grille design with protruding “wings” that lead into small, rounded headlights. Meanwhile, the sculpted lower apron manipulates light and shadow to simulate a layered look, accentuated by a pseudo-carbon-fibre lip.

Progressing towards the rear, simple lines create a point of separation between the bonnet and muscular front fenders. Just like the Vision Coupe, they end at the A-pillars in close proximity to the side cameras.

The body panels along the sides are also shaped to finely control transitions between light and shadow, without the need for a distinctive character line. Other highlights include flushed door handles, a set of sizeable five twin-spoke wheels, and thin chrome trim in the lower section.

As for the dynamic rear end, there are taillights that appear to be inspired by the RX-Vision, with a LED light strip running through the two rounded elements on each cluster. High-rising C-pillars further accentuate the hatchback look, which are accompanied by a black-painted boot spoiler and a two-section panoramic roof.

Between the two rounded exhaust outlets, you’ll find a cavity that is covered by a mesh with a slim lighting strip in the middle. This, together with the one on the spoiler, function as additional brake lights.

Moving inside, the Kai Concept certainly appears to feature more items when compared to the Vision Coupe. For starters, there’s an actual air vent, albeit just one, beside the instrument cluster.

Furthermore, there’s switchgear to control the car’s climate control system both on the dashboard as well as the raised centre console. The latter also hosts a pretty normal-looking gear lever and an all-new iteration of Mazda’s Commander Control, likely for a next generation of the MZD Connect infotainment system.

Much like the other Mazda concept debuting in Tokyo today, the Kai Concept features a wide touchscreen display on the dashboard that displays a variety of information.

The concept is built on the new SkyActiv-Vehicle Architecture, which is claimed to offer enhanced rigidity and NVH compared to the SkyActiv-Chassis used in its current cars.

Complementing the new platform is the brand’s SkyActiv-X engine, set to become the world’s first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition. With significant gains in performance and fuel economy, the upcoming powerplant uses spark controlled compression ignition (SPCCI) as its combustion method.

While it is still too early to say if this is indeed what the all-new Mazda 3 might look like, previous experience with other Mazda concepts certainly make it appear promising. The Koeru became the CX-4, the Takeri became the Mazda 6, the Minagi became the CX-5 and the Hazumi became the Mazda 2. Fingers crossed then.

The name “Kai” literally means “the pioneer.” Mazda chose the name in hopes the Kai Concept will set the stage for the next generation of its vehicles.