Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring: The Brand’s Premium Class Sporty Hatchback



Highlight: Pricing for the 2016 model is slightly lower than a typically equipped 2015 model.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $30,530 (Base model $19,380)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; daytime running lights; hill launch assist; electronic brake force distribution; a stability control system; speed-activated door lock system; and a tire pressure monitoring system


Standard Equipment (Base Sport Model): 16-inch wheels; 6-speed manual; a 7-inch infotainment screen; analog gauges; a/c with pollen control; center console with storage; cruise control; push-button keyless ignition starter system; a remote keyless entry system; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a removable cargo cover area; and cloth manually adjustable front seats

Standard Equipment (Grand Touring Model): 18-inch wheels; a 2.5-liter/4-cylinder engine; a 6-speed automatic sport transmission; Daytime LED headlights; automatic headlights; bi-Xenon headlights with auto leveling feature; fog lights; a 9-speaker BOSE system with a satellite radio and a CD player; a navigation system; dual cupholders integrated into rear cupholders; a keyless entry system; a power sunroof; an overhead console with sunglass holder; paddle shifters on steering wheel; illuminated passenger vanity mirror; heated dual power mirrors with integrated turn signals; automatic rain-sensing wipers; digital gauge speedometer; power brake handle with red stitching; power driver’s side seat; leather seats; and heated front seats

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: The Technology Package, which consist of a regenerative engine braking system, active grille shutters, an automatic high beam lighting system; a lane departure warning system; a smart city brake system; and a radar activated cruise control system

Other Trim Level:       

Sport
Touring

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes
                                                                                                       
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/155-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:
29-city/40-hwy

What’s New:  With a few content adjustments, such as a standard rearview camera, the hatchback is basically a carryover.


Why: The stylish and performance-oriented 5-door hatchback is available in a manual or an automatic transmission. The eye-catching design of the Mazda3 is available with two powertrains and two engines. Depending upon the trim selected, the vehicle is capable of garnering up to 40 miles a gallon on the highway.

In fact, the Mazda3 offers best in class fuel economy for a non premium hatchback. Moreover, the sporty compact can be outfitted with the latest high-tech advanced safety driving features, which escapes most of its competitors. Some of those safety features consist of a radar activated cruise control and a smart braking system for city or high traffic areas.

The Mazda3 is a true driver-oriented, engaging compact that can be outfitted with everything from 18-inch wheels to a power driver’s seat to an automatic temperature control system. This vehicle can appeal to a variety of demographics.

Moreover, the simple, but clutter free layout of the instrument panel, with its flat screen-like fixed infotainment system, mirrors that of such premium priced vehicles like the Audi and Mercedes-Benz.  Yes, this Mazda has one of the best interior layouts in the non premium compact hatchback segment.
Lastly, this compact is available in a four door configuration, too.

But: When fully optioned, the hatchback can be a little pricey. The sporty hatchback topped the $30,000 price range. In fact, this time around the Mazda3 was $6,000 more than a typically equipped vehicle we last reviewed it in 2014. Yes, we must factor in some of the advance safety features that has played a factor in 'driving' up the price.

Furthermore, while Mazda is known for offering a performance-oriented, engaging driving experience, Kia’s Forte5, offers two engines that pumps out more horsepower than both the base and the premium trims in the Mazda5. That’s quite surprising, since Mazda is known for being the zoom, zoom company. Also the knobless infotainment system requires one to relearn everything they knew about operating a traditional audio system.


Verdict: Currently, there are three competitors available in the soon to be expanding segment. The Honda’s Civic and the Chevy’s Cruze Hatch will  soon help to expand the segment. So, for buyers in the market for a hatchback, there are more choices these days. With that said, the Mazda3 five door hatchback continues to set the standard on what a well-built, engaging, safety oriented, premium compact is capable of being. Yes, Mazda has been able to capture that and more with their 5-door hatchback.
                                  
Competition: 2017 Chevy Cruze Hatch; 2016 Ford Focus ST; 2016 Honda Civic Hatchback; 2016 Kia Forte5 and VW Golf

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