The Mazda3 is all new for the 2010 model year, with its swoopy styling and wide-mouth grille. In addition to the new styling, for the 2010 model year, Mazda has added such high-tech optional features as self-leveling Bi-Xenon headlights; a compass with an auto dimming interior mirror; adaptable lights which swivel with the steering wheel; a three-position power memory driver’s seat; and a push button starter engine. Typically, these high-end features are usually reserved for luxury brands.
Must Have Goodies:
Depending on if you select one of the “I Touring” and or “S” models, will determine if your Mazda3 is equipped with a keyless entry system; a 10-speaker BOSE Surround Sound system; variable adjusted heated seats, a dual-zone automatic climate control; a navigational system; a power roof or a Bluetooth phone with audio connectivity capabilities. Oh yes, don’t forget about the other high-tech features cited in the “What’s New” section.
The spunky driving Mazda3 is available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback. While the vehicle has been redesigned inside and out, a new comprehensive Multi-Information Display Center (MDC) is now available in the Mazda3. Besides the typical gauges, the MDC provides the outside temperature, the time, the fuel range, and upcoming pre-programmed maintenance services, too.
Also by stepping into the “S” model, the funky looking vehicle adds on the dual exhaust pipes and an integrated rear spoiler, which is available only on the four-door model.
Moreover, to compliment the new curvaceous design of the Mazda3, the compact vehicle can be outfitted with 17-inch wheels, helping to improve the ride and handling, when cornering and shifting gears, if you opt for the optional six-speed manual transmission.
What We Disliked:
Unless you’re a small child, it’s almost impossible to seat adults in the cramped rear cabin. While we didn’t have an opportunity to review a Mazda3 with leather seats, we did find that the two compact vehicles we reviewed, with the cloth interior, lacked adequate support in the front seats.
The fun-to-drive compact size Mazda3 is available with a 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which produces 148 and 167 horses, respectively. We strongly recommend opting for the fast and furious six-speed manual transmission, if you’re looking for a little excitement. A five-speed automatic transmission is also available on the 3, if you’re not up to shifting gears.
Since hitting the streets in 2003, the Mazda3 has been a trend-setter in the compact segment, especially this year as it combines the best attributes of both it full-size sedan, the 6, and its sports car, the RX-8. With its high-content level, the 3 continues to be the best-selling vehicle in the entire Mazda line.
Pricing for the base Mazda3 starts at around $16,000 and can easily jump to $25,000, if you opt for the high-end Touring edition. The Mazda3 definitely offers more zoom and excitement than most of its competitors – even if it’s lacking in rear seat leg room.
Competition: Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra and