The latest Mazda 3 looks cool and great to handles, exactly how a sporty sedan should be. For starters, its elegant sedan and unique hatchback body styles are considerably more stylish than expected for this segment.
There is something missing in the Mazda 3. There is a less sophisticated rear suspension for this latest generation which has dulled some of its corner-taking capability at the limit, but that is not the main complaint. The main beef is that, Mazda doesn’t offer a hotter version in the vein of the Civic Si or VW GTI.
There is still an increasing demand for fleet drivers who appreciate the superior driving dynamics of a saloon car, especially one that is packed with an array of high level safety equipment as standard such as adaptive cruise control, head-up display and rear-cross traffic alert.
Fleet managers can be confident that adding the Mazda3 Skyactiv-X Saloon to their choice list will ensure they don’t need to pay over the odds for drivers to have a premium, stylish and well-equipped saloon.
The steering wheel, which looks sensational, is an absolute treat to hold. There’s considerable center console space and Mazda’s tech interface, which had lagged behind its competition due to key usability issues, has been cleaned up. The dashtop screen is large and easy to see. The knob that controls it is large, not unlike BMW’s iDrive, and ergonomically placed on the center console. It’s not a touchscreen, though, as Mazda engineers determined that hunting for touch-operating icons can be distracting. They’re not wrong, and the higher-mounted screen is certainly easier to read at a glance.
The lack of a touchscreen makes it harder to select icons in Apple CarPlay, but the knob controller also makes scrolling through playlists or podcasts easier. Since the latest Android Auto was designed with non-touch screens in mind, the rotary controller isn’t a major problem for those locked into the Google ecosystem.
The 2020 Mazda 3 comes with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four good for 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. That makes it the most powerful and torquey engine in its class, with the exception of performance variants. You can feel that when driving, as the Mazda3 provides sprightly acceleration, and being naturally aspirated, throttle response is excellent.
Most versions comes with a standard six-speed automatic, which is wise about gear selection and avoids the annoying characteristics of rivals that have higher gear counts. It has a standard Front-wheel drive with the automatic, all-wheel drive is an option.
The eight-model Mazda3 Saloon range features Sport, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech trim levels, with a choice of automatic or manual transmission for every grade. All versions include a windscreen projecting colour head-up display with traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise Control and LED headlights.
Mazda 3 Sedan
- Base FWD: $22,420
- Select FWD: $23,620
- Select AWD: $25,020
- Preferred FWD: $26,520
- Premium FWD: $27,420
- Premium AWD: $28,820
Mazda 3 Hatchback
- Base FWD: $24,620
- Preferred FWD: $26,120
- Preferred AWD: $27,520
- Premium FWD: $28,420
- Premium FWD Manual: $28,420
- Premium AWD: $29,820
The 2020 Mazda3 pricing starts at $22,420, including the $920 destination charge. That’s for the base 3 Sedan, which comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, air conditioning, an eight-speaker sound system, two USB ports, an 8.8-inch infotainment display and a full suite of accident avoidance tech.
The base hatchback with front-wheel drive has a base price of $24,620 and is better equipped with 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity entry and push-button start, leatherette seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. These features are all included on the next highest sedan model, the Select trim, which starts at $23,620.