The Mazda3 offers one of the best values in the car business. This is a practical and fun to drive car you can buy without breaking the bank. If you are in the market for a new compact sedan or hatchback, be sure to check out the Mazda3.
Styling of the “3” remains unchanged this year, but that’s not bad. Even though it’s been around in its current form for four years now, it still looks contemporary. There’s a harmonious flow to the lines of the Mazda3 that insures that it will still look good years down the road.
Inside, the cabin is attractive. There’s an abundant use of soft-touch materials on the dash and doors. The dash itself is cleanly styled with a small instrument panel with a tachometer in the middle and a digital readout for speed. An upright touch screen in the center of the dash operates audio and other functions. A dial on the center console provides an alternate way of managing the screen as well. However, there’s one small problem, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still not available.
The Mazda3 can transport five passengers. The seats up front are well bolstered for sporty driving, and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel makes it easy to find a comfortable driving position. Those in the rear don’t have as much space as they would in some other compacts, but six-footers can squeeze in there. Storage capacity is a modest 12.4 cu-ft. in the sedan, but a more spacious 20.2 cubes in the hatchback.
Mazda offers the 3 model in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring versions. The Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter, 155-hp four-cylinder engine. The other two models get a 2.5-liter motor with 184 horses. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions transfer power to the front wheels. These power trains deliver more than adequate acceleration, and very good fuel economy in combined city/hwy. driving—30 mpg for the 2.5, and 32mpg for the two-liter mill .
Buyers these days want advanced safety systems, and you will be pleased to know that you can order them on the Mazda3. A rearview camera is standard on all models, and so is forward- collision emergency braking. This last feature is quite remarkable in that it senses when you are going to rear-end the car in front of you, and applies the brakes to minimize the impact.
Touring and Grand Touring models also get a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. An active lane monitor, adaptive cruise control and a higher-speed, forward-collision mitigation system are available in an option package for the Grand Touring.
Those seeking a fun-to-drive compact car won’t be disappointed with the Mazda3. The steering is quick, and provides a good amount of feedback to the driver. The suspension is tuned for nimble handling, which enables this spritely compact to zip around corners with ease. Furthermore, drivers can switch to the “Sport” setting that quickens throttle response, and then manually shift gears (on the automatic) for more enjoyable back roads driving.
The ride quality of the Mazda3 is good for the most part. It is compliant enough on well-maintained roads, but could be better absorbing bumps on broken or uneven pavement. In these situations, bumps in the road can be jarring.
It is hard to find any car priced lower than $20,000 these days, yet you can buy the Mazda3 Sport for just $18,970. The better equipped Touring is also a bargain at $20, 970. Even the top-of-the-line Grand Touring Hatchback with automatic, and all the advanced safety gear is reasonable at $27,420. As I said earlier, if you are in the market for a compact, check out the Mazda3.
Available Safety Features
Excellent Gas Mileage