2020 Mazda Mazda3 Sedan AWD Premium

Fun and sporty with an upscale cabin and lots of standard and available features, the 2020 Mazda Mazda3 is one of the best compact cars you can buy. And that’s saying something because there are several nice vehicles in this class.

The Mazda3 got a makeover for the 2019 model year and gets a few tweaks for 2020 including some newly standard driver assistance technologies. It’s available as a sedan and hatchback. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available on all trims.

The Mazda3 sedan comes in base, Select, Preferred, and Premium trims. The hatchback is available in base, Preferred and Premium. Starting prices range from $21,500 to $28,900. Both body styles have seating for five passengers.

One engine is available for both body styles: a 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder that makes 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on both body styles. A six-speed manual is available on the Premium hatchback.

The Mazda3 is at the top of the class when it comes to performance. If you want a small car that’s lively and fun to drive, you’ll love the Mazda3. It zips around corners, accelerates quickly and easily gets up to speed for merging and passing on the freeway. Put it in Sport mode for even peppier performance. The automatic transmission shits smoothly and quickly. Steering and brakes are responsive. The ride is smooth and comfortable. Rear visibility is limited because of the thick roof pillars.

Fuel efficiency is about average for a small car. EPA ratings for my tester are 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28. I got 29 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.

The cabin is attractive and upscale. Materials look and feel good and most are soft-touch. The attention to design is impressive for the class. Every stitch is in place and things like door handles, air vents, buttons and knobs blend in with the design.

Passengers in the front seat have decent leg- and headroom, but the backseat is tight and will really only accommodate two adults instead of three.

Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, seven-inch driver information display, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, eight-speaker audio system, HD Radio, two USB ports, and Bluetooth.

Cloth upholstery is standard in the sedan. Synthetic leather is standard in the hatchback and available in the sedan. The hatchback also comes standard with proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. All of these features are available in the sedan.

Available features include heated front seats, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, navigation, 12-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, moonroof, wireless device charging, head-up display, and a rear-seat center armrest.

Standard driver assistance features in both body styles include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and a driver condition monitor.

The infotainment system does not have a touchscreen; rather you use a rotary knob located between the two front seats. There’s a learning curve but the system becomes easy to use with practice. The large screen has sharp graphics and is tilted to the driver so it’s easy to see. One handy feature is a customizable favorites menu that lets you put your favorite navigation locations and radio stations in one spot so you don’t have to go through several menus and submenus.

Cargo space in the sedan is below average for the class while space in the hatchback is about average. There are 13.2 cubic feet in the sedan’s trunk and 20.1 cubes in the hatchback. The rear seats split 60/40 in both body styles.

The good:

  • Zoom-zoom performance
  • Fun to drive
  • Lots of standard driver assistance features
  • Upscale cabin with excellent fit and finish
  • User-friendly infotainment system

The not-so-good:

  • Second row seating is tight
  • Limited visibility to the rear
  • Cargo room is less than average in the sedan

Pricing info:

My testers starts at $27,900. Cargo mat is $100. All-weather floor mats are $125. Illuminated doorsill trim plates are $425. Machine Gray Paint is $300. Frameless auto-dim mirror is $275. Navigation SD card is $450. Wireless charging pad is $275. Deliver fee is $920 bringing the grand total to $30,770.

Bottom line:

If you’re shopping for a compact car, you need to check out the 2020 Mazda Mazda3. It’s got plenty of zoom-zoom, an attractive and upscale cabin, and lots of standard and available features. It sure stands out in a class full of competitive vehicles.

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