The New Mazda3 Red and Greige Interior Colors Are so 2019 It Hurts

I thought I escaped the scourge of the term "greige" when I turned off HGTV, but no! No! It found me! HELP ME, RED LEATHER. HELP!

Look, Mazda: we’re not mad, we’re disappointed. First, you dangle a hyper-efficient supercharged gasoline engine called Skyactiv-X with all kinds of trick technology in front of us, and then you tell us it won’t be available when the new 2019 Mazda3 goes on sale this March. 

Then you have the audacity to tell the Mazda3 faithful that the only way we can get a manual is on the highest trim level possible in a front-wheel-drive hatchback only. So many of us were excited about an all-wheel-drive manual Mazda3 that you didn’t give it to us. What a snub to sedan fans who actually want to see what’s going on behind them, too. I see how it is. 

Clearly, you’re trying to make this up with interior trim colors. Nothing has encapsulated our frustrating present-day more than the two seemingly opposite new interior options of “greige” and “red leather.” 

The term “greige” inhabits a space within my deepest nightmares. Mazda calls this new leatherette option a “color that combines the cool tones of gray with the soft feel of beige to create a pleasing sensation of vitality, warmth and sophistication.”

The new Mazda3 interior., Mazda

I’m under the age of 40 and don’t have a home merch deal with Target, so that sentence actually has the opposite effect on me. Greige should be pleasant in a car interior as a nice contrast to a metallic red on the outside, but elsewhere in design, it’s shorthand for the color terrible HGTV homes get painted for a quick flip. Greige is the kind of color that’s offensively inoffensive not for your own enjoyment, but rather, for the property values. It’s a blank slate. It is the ultimate nothing. A non-color. A wholly loathsome entity. 

Formerly, beige was the shorthand for a car so dull that it stands in opposite to everything that cars like the trying-to-still-be-fun-we-hope Mazda3 stand for. You may have a 2008 Toyota Camry that’s red on the outside, but it’s beige deep down in its soul. Beige was not a color so much as a state of being. 

Lately, though, the beiges have turned to grey. I noted a couple years ago that silver is the new beige, a statement which I stand by wholeheartedly today. When neutral earth tones become too exciting, silvers and greys are there to bland everything down further. 

Greige takes the world’s two most loathsome non-colors and combines them into one. If anything encapsulates our current drab moment in popular design in one word, it would be “greige.” 

Couldn’t you have called it “soft rock,” “pigeon belly,” “used gum,” or anything else?

It’s grey! It’s beige! It’s greige!, Mazda

Under a real exterior color on a good little car like a Mazda3, greige sounds fine. It works best in the background, as the wall color behind that 8-foot-long print of David Hasselhoff on a bearskin rug that you’ve been hiding away in the basement. If you order a vibrant or dark color over greige, it’s probably somewhat pleasant, and not too roasty in hot weather. 

Do you know who’s going to order a silver-over-greige Mazda3, though? People who probably should’ve ordered a Nissan Versa instead. 

If the notion of “greige” offends you, never fear: red leather is the other interior option Mazda added for this year’s Mazda3. If anything is the polar opposite to greige, this is it. There is absolutely nothing subtle about being enveloped in red leather, especially when it’s the dark burgundy color they’re using in the Mazda3. 

Nostalgia is in, baby, and nothing throws back to the simpler time when you didn’t have oppressive student loan debt quite like the ‘80s and ‘90s. The whole Radwood car show has sprung up around an appreciation for the cars of twenty- and thirty-somethings’ youths, and whole auctions are now dedicated to the cars we had in high school parking lots or as bedroom posters, so it’s not surprising to see a retro-tastic option like red leather interiors make a comeback. 

It’s clear by the pricing—$21,000 for the base model sedan, and $27,500 for the lowest trim package you can get a manual transmission—that Mazda wants to move the Mazda3 slightly upmarket. So, it makes sense that the interior color that looked best in the wild luxo-broughams and cocaine-fueled sports cars of yore would make a comeback here. 

Red leather is only available on the hatchback, which Mazda’s trying to position as the more premium and “sporty” of the two Mazda3 body styles. But when the hatchback’s giant C-pillar blocks off a good amount of your rearward visibility, you might as well be staring in vain at a fun color, right? 

Polymetal Gray exterior: it’s shiny!, Mazda

Jokes aside, both of these new options will look pretty cool with the right outside color. Mazda also offers a Polymetal Gray exterior color exclusive to the Mazda3 hatchback, which will be a nice contrast to a dark red interior. 

Now all they need to do is release a manual, all-wheel-drive sedan along with that trick Skyactiv-X engine. I, for one, would welcome that as a bare-bones, ultra-light trim because I love taking daily drivers to track days to annoy slower drivers in faster cars. That is, after all, what a fun compact like the Mazda3 has always been great for. These new interiors are nice, but we’re still waiting on the “occasional track day, bro” trim. (Red cloth would be nice, too, while we’re at it. I’m just saying!)