IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
Few mainstream compact cars can match the Mazda 3’s enviable blend of everyday practicality, commendable fuel economy, and athleticism.
Acceleration with the base 2.0-liter engine is middling, the rear-seat space is tight, and the ride is somewhat stiff with the available 18-inch wheels.
The Mazda 3 utilizes Mazda’s full SKYACTIV suite of technologies, which include engine and transmission enhancements and lightweight body architecture, in the aim of increasing fuel efficiency.
WHAT IS IT?
The Mazda 3 is Mazda’s compact car. It comes in 4-door sedan or 4-door hatchback form, with a choice of two engines: “i” models are powered by a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, and “s” models have a 184-hp 2.5-liter four. The base Sport trim level is restricted to i models, but the midline Touring and decked-out Grand Touring models are available in both i and s form. Both sedan and hatchback models sport swoopy styling; the hatchback has a rakishly sloped rear roofline that looks sporty, but compromises cargo capacity somewhat. Among the Mazda 3’s uncommon-for-the-class available features are heated power side mirrors, adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, and a unique heads-up display that powers up from the dashboard.
The Mazda 3 gets a standard rearview camera, along with two new option packages. The Preferred Equipment Package for Sport models includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, 16-inch alloy wheels, and heated mirrors with integrated turn signals. The Popular Equipment Package for Touring models includes an auto-dimming mirror, dual-zone climate control, and a nine-speaker Bose-brand stereo system.
The EPA rates the 2.0-liter sedan at 29 mpg city/ 41 highway with the manual transmission and 30/41 with the automatic. Sedans with the 2.5-liter engine are rated at 29/40 with the automatic and 25/37 with the manual. Hatchback 3s are rated at 1-2 mpg less than their sedan counterparts. In Consumer Guide® testing, an automatic-transmission i Touring sedan averaged 32.0 mpg, and an s Grand Touring hatchback with the 6-speed manual averaged 24.9 mpg. Both tests consisted of mostly city driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The Mazda 3 can stand toe-to-toe with most compact cars in terms of comfort, affordability, fuel efficiency, and safety/technology features, but it also delivers an engaging driving personality that few vehicles in its class can match. If you’re looking for a compact car that’s as satisfying on twisty roads as it is in the daily grind, a Mazda 3 should definitely be on your shopping list.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$17,845 – $25,495|
|BODY STYLES||4-DOOR SEDAN, 4-DOOR HATCHBACK|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||155-HP, 2.0-LITER 4-CYL.; 184-HP 2.5-LITER 4-CYL.|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||25-41 MPG|
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