Zippy performance? Check. Comfortable and upscale interior? Check. User-friendly infotainment system? Check. The Mazda3 checks all the boxes and is one of the best compact cars available today.
The five-passenger Mazda3 gets a makeover for 2019. It’s a little bit longer and gets an upgraded infotainment system. The Mazda3 is available as a sedan and hatchback and in four trims: base, Select, Preferred and Premium. Starting prices range from $21,000 to $28,900. These are a bit higher than other compact cars. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available for an additional $1,400.
The Mazda3 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and a six-speed manual is available on the Premium Hatchback. Mazda says other engines will soon be available on the Mazda3.
The Mazda3 is one of the best performers in the compact vehicle class. It boasts dynamic handling, zippy acceleration and offers a more refined ride than the outgoing model without sacrificing performance. Steering is responsive and the Mazda3 stays planted when cornering. You might expect a firm or even rough ride at times, but the Mazda3 delivers a smooth, comfortable ride where rough roads and bumps are barely noticeable.
Fuel efficiency is about average for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with a combined rating of 27 mpg. I got 27 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is modern and more upscale than many rivals with high-quality materials that look and feel good. Fit and finish are what you’d expect to find in higher-priced vehicles. The front seats are comfortable and supportive with good legroom but taller passengers may wish for a little more headroom. The backseat can feel cramped, especially for larger and/or taller adults.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, seven-inch driver information display, infotainment system with an 8.8-inch display, eight-speaker audio system, HD Radio, Bluetooth and two USB ports.
Options include proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, moonroof, synthetic or real leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A number of driver assistance systems are available including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, a head-up display, and the Driver Attention Alert system that monitors the driver for attention and drowsiness.
The Mazda3’s infotainment system is easy to use, after you spend a few minutes getting acquainted with the system. There’s not a touchscreen; rather there’s a rotary dial surrounded by four buttons on the center console that lets you easily navigate through the menus. You can set up a “favorites” menu of the commands you use most often. The system quickly becomes second-nature, and you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to use it.
The Mazda3 Hatchback has 20.1 cubic feet of storage while the sedan has 13.2 cubes in the trunk.
Delivers on Mazda’s zoom-zoom slogan
Smooth, comfortable ride
Upscale interior with quality materials
User-friendly infotainment system
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on all but the base trim
Starting prices are a bit higher than average for a compact car
Second row can be cramped for taller/larger passengers
Some competitors have more space for passengers and/or cargo
My tester starts at $28,900. Cargo mat is $90. Illuminated door sill trim plates are $425. Soul Red Crystal paint charge is $595. Frameless auto-dimming mirror is $275. Navigation SD card is $450. Wireless charging pad is $275. Delivery fee is $920 bringing the grand total to $31,930.
The 2019 Mazda3 is fun to drive, has an upscale cabin, a user-friendly infotainment system, and decent fuel economy. If you’re shopping for a compact car, make sure you consider the Mazda3.