The MAZDA3 comes with one of two engine choices, both of which utilize Mazda's SKYACTIV technology to increase fuel economy. The base engine, available on Sport trims, is a 2.0L 4-cylinder unit that makes 155 horsepower and is capable of up to 41 mpg on the highway. It's connected to either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. The optional engine, equipped on Touring 2.5 and Grand Touring trims, is a 2.5L 4-cylinder making 184 horsepower. Despite the extra power, the MAZDA3 is still able to achieve up to 40 mpg on the highway with the more powerful engine when equipped with Mazda's i-ELOOP regenerative braking system. This engine, too, is mated to either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission.
A recent addition to the MAZDA3 lineup is G-Vectoring Control, an exclusive technology that uses the engine to refine steering and handling to match driver input.
The MAZDA3 is available in two body styles -- 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback -- while each body style is available in several different trims. The sedan is offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring, while the hatchback adds a Touring 2.5 as well.
The MAZDA3 Sport in either sedan or hatchback guise offers 16-inch wheels, halogen headlights, body-colored outside mirrors, power door locks and windows, keyless entry and push-button start, cruise control, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch color touchscreen, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with illuminated steering wheel controls, and a 60/40 split rear folding seat. The hatchback adds a rear window wiper.
The Touring trim adds heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, a leather steering wheel and shifter, a rear armrest and cup holder and a blind spot warning system. Also available on the touring trim is the Technology Package, which adds a navigation system, a rearview camera, a 9-speaker sound system, two USB ports, voice recognition, Internet and satellite radio integration and a compartment for sunglasses. Buyers who order the MAZDA3 Touring 2.5 with the more powerful engine will get all of the features included in the Technology Package as well as a few extra goodies like bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 6-way power adjustable driver's seat and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The Grand Touring trim adds leatherette seating to the equation, along with a moonroof and heated front seats. Like the Touring trim, buyers opting for the more powerful engine will get even more features in Grand Touring form. Items such as automatic headlights and windshield wipers, an auto-dimming mirror and leather seats come standard on Grand Touring trimmed MAZDA3 s models.
Safety features are plentiful and include six standard airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control. The MAZDA3 also features a collapsible steering column to help minimize damage in front-end collisions and a hill-start system to minimize rollback when starting on a hill. Optional safety features include rear view cameras, a blind spot warning system and Smart City Brake Support, a system that uses a laser to detect forward collisions.
The big deal for the 2021 Mazda3 is the addition of a new turbo engine. Roadshow's Andrew Krok recently , but not everyone is looking for a big turbo punch. Thankfully, even without a wallop of power, the Mazda3 is still really, really good.
You can buy the 2021 Mazda3 as a sedan or hatchback, in base S, Select, Preferred or Premium trims. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for an extra $1,400.
No matter how you slice it, the Mazda3 looks great. I prefer the swoopy lines and bulbous butt of the hatchback to the sedan's more staid shape, but even in base form, this car looks 100% better than a Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra or Toyota Corolla. Of course, the sloping roofline and thick C-pillars mean the hatchback doesn't have the best rear sightlines, and cargo space falls behind the Mazda's competitors, too. The 2021 Mazda3 hatch has just over 20 cubic feet of space with its rear seats up, but the Honda Civic goes big with 25.7 cubic feet.
The Good ~ Very fun to drive ~ Sophisticated styling ~ Manual transmission still offered ~ Available all-wheel drive
The Bad ~ Lackluster infotainment ~ Poor fuel economy ~ Poor rear visibility
The Bottom Line The 2021 Mazda3 should be on your short list if you value driving enjoyment and refined styling at a decent price.
You don't need a full-size SUV to earn some versatility. A compact or small SUV can be just the ticket.
These are our best convertible picks, from affordable two-seaters to luxury four-seaters that cost well into six figures.
Mazda confirmed with Roadshow the rotary generator will still be onboard the PHEV when it launches, contrary to previous reports.
A cool car doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some great options from across the automotive spectrum.
Looking for a small SUV? A luxurious utility vehicle? There's an SUV for everyone these days.
The driver's motives are unclear, though they had taped "SOS" on the hood of their Mazda3.
It could be anything ranging from a mild hybrid to a more aggressive sort of electrification.
The newly turbocharged crossover stands out with sophisticated looks and an excellent red paint job.