Mazda has been turning out some exciting crossovers and sedans, all of which have athletic handling, hushed ride and impressive fuel economy, all at reasonable prices. And their 2019 Mazda3 compact sedan in hatchback version, was no exception.
While todays car buyers are favoring crossovers, SUVs and trucks, sedans still have a place and will continue to, especially when equipped with AWD.
The Mazda3 has undergone refinements and upgrades including a torsion beam suspension instead of a multilink. And most significantly, the Mazda3 can now be had with AWD. A real plus for any sedan.
New too is a standard infotainment system with 8.8-inch display that melds nicely within the dash top.
Offered in Base, Preferred and Premium, we were privileged to test the Premium FWD hatchback that came with leather seating and associated trim.
Mazda3 has an upscale cabin with a wireless phone charging pad that’s embedded in the console box, supportive and comfy seats and the huge display that is controlled by a rotary controller on the console.
The infotainment system provides Mazda Connect with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, satellite radio with Travel Link that gives weather forecasts, weather map, local fuel prices, sports scores and other apps. It’s not wise though to use the system while driving as it requires eyes-off-the-road for the various selections. HVAC controls are easy to view and operate.
Back seat comfort is good, but only for two adults as a high driveline center hump doesn’t allow comfortable leg room. But three youngsters can be accommodated. And because of a sloping roofline, tall folks need a head duck during ingress/egress.
The cargo area with the rear seatbacks upright is rated at 13.2 cubic feet. Perhaps more meaningful, it measures 33 inches deep, 39 wide and 29 high. Flip the rear seatbacks and cargo depth increases to 63 inches, enough for two medium size golf bags or two large rollie bags and a couple small duffel’s. Beneath the cargo floor is a space saver tire where some small items can be stowed around it and out of sight.
Power wise, Mazda3 gets it’s zoom from a 2.5-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder that puts out a matching 186-hp and 186 lb/ft of torque. While a traditional 6-speed automatic transmission is offered, the test car came with the 6-speed manual. It would seem only true car driving enthusiasts would opt for this. Combined with a light pressure clutch and a smooth shifter, the result is exhilarating acceleration from a standing stop and when passing. EPA gave the combination fuel economy estimates of 25 city, 35-highway mpg with start/stop fuel saving technology. Fairly impressive numbers for a 3,022-pound hatchback.
As for ride and handling, the new suspension gives a stout but not uncomfortable ride on 18-inch tires. And it parks easily with a tight 37.50-foot turning radius. Handling is exceptional and quite sporty, more so than others in its class. The suspension is compliant and well-controlled in sharp turns. It exudes confident traits with most road imperfections and tar strips being nicely absorbed.
Mazda3 comes standard with an exceptionally long list of standard items and safety features that includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, smart brake support, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, radar cruise control, rain sensing wipers and many more. The only extra cost options were for a cargo mat ($90); illuminated door sills ($425); snowflake white paint ($200); frameless auto dim mirror ($275); navigation on SD card ($450); and wireless charging pad ($275). The sunroof, HUD windshield display and more are included in the Premium Package.
For all this, the base price started at an affordable $27,500 and bumped up to $30,135 with delivery.
Mazda3 comes with a 60 month/60K powertrain, 36 month/36K bumper-bumper and 24-hour roadside assistance coverage. And lest we forget, Mazda3 received IIHS's top safety crash scores.
If you’re in the market for a sedan or hatchback, Mazda3 deserves serious consideration.