Mazda redesigned its 3 model for 2012 with its Skyactiv technology, an umbrella term for fuel efficiency tech. Like the previous generation, the Mazda3 is available as a sedan or hatchback. An important distinction is also the i versus s trim, as the i model gets a Skyactiv engine, giving it much superior fuel economy.
Mazda's current design language is called Kodo, and the new Mazda3 exhibits it to some degree, mostly down the sides. The front grille and headlight arrangement forms the smiling face which Mazda has designed into many of its cars.
Our review car was the i Grand Touring, meaning it has the SkyActiv direct-injection engine with four cylinders and 2 liters of displacement. Mazda only gets 155 horsepower out of it, but also excellent fuel economy of 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.
Mazda has long lagged behind competitors in cabin tech, but this newest Mazda3 patches some of the holes. The compact navigation unit comes standard in Grand Touring trim, and Bluetooth streaming audio allows music playback from iPhones and Android devices.
Route guidance was not very good with this system, as it does not read out street names and the small size of the screen makes it difficult to tell where the car is in relation to streets.