It looks like we won’t have to wait until the Los Angeles Auto Show to find out more information about the next-generation Mazda 3. Recently, our spy photographers managed to spot a lightly disguised unit in hatchback guise out in the wild, complete with an interior that looks production ready.

If you’re a fan of the Kai Concept, you’ll be glad to know that Mazda’s finished product very closely resembles the show car that debuted at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Based on these photos, many of the cues that were present on the concept have managed to make their way onto the production model, albeit with some revisions.

The front end of the vehicle features a much larger grille compared to the outgoing model, while a downward sloping bonnet leads to a pointed nose in the style of the Kai. Another cue shared with the preview car are the sharper headlamps, which are comparatively smaller than those on the third-generation car.

In profile, the new Mazda 3 is almost a carbon copy of the Kai, right down to the design of the five twin-spoke wheels and placement of a roof spoiler. The presence of camouflage makes it hard to tell if the formed body panels from the concept made it into production.

On the Kai, the design creates transitions between light and shadow without the need for a distinctive character line, a an effect that is also replicated on the Vision Coupe – another concept that served as a preview for Mazda’s second-stage Kodo design language.

Focusing on the rear, the oversized vent/diffuser element seen at the bottom of the Kai has been remove entirely on the production Mazda 3, and with it comes a more sizeable rear hatch plus actual space for a number plate holder. The circular taillights are retained but are shaped more conventionally, although the “bump” on the outer circle has been inversed and downplayed here.

The new Mazda 3’s cabin, like the exterior, borrows heavily from the Kai and is an exact replication of what we saw in a leaked illustration. From the driver’s seat, there is a completely new steering wheel design and the three-section instrument cluster makes a return. The latter differs from before in that there are now three circles, and the one in the middle is a digital screen flanked by analogue dials.

Controls for the climate control are minimalistic in appearance, and feature a digital screen in the middle of the dashboard, in line with the vents on the passenger side (driver side vents are angled). Just above is a dedicated section for a display screen, which appears to be hooked up to an overhauled version of the marque’s MZD Connect infotainment system.

Just like the concept, the front occupants are separated by the centre console, which houses the controls for the infotainment system, and in this instance, what is likely a six-speed manual gearbox.

On that mention, the Mazda 3 could be powered by the company’s SkyActiv-X compression ignition engine, which could be joined by existing powerplants. The C-segment model will also be the first to benefit from the next-generation SkyActiv-Vehicle Architecture.

While we may have garnered a lot of information from these spyshots, we’ll only be able to get complete information when the Mazda 3 makes it global debut in Los Angeles in a few weeks’ time. Like what you see so far?

GALLERY: Mazda Kai Concept