Highlight: A new red leather interior color is available.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $31,335 (Base model $24,520)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; Daytime Running Lights; automatic headlights; smart brakes with pedestrian detection; a blindspot monitoring system with a rear cross traffic alert system; a
traction control system; a driver’s fatigue warning sound system; a lane departure warning system; a lane keep assist system; a radar-activated cruise control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment (Premium AWD): all-wheel drive; an automatic transmission; door trim with vinyl leather; 60/40 split fold down rear seats; a leather wrapped steering wheel; an adaptive front lighting system; highbeam automatic light control; leather seats; a power driver’s seat; power moonroof; paddle shifters with steering wheel; heated front seats; a 12 speaker BOSE system with SiriusXM satellite; and an exterior mirrors with memory positioning
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: cargo mat; illuminated door sill trim plates; frameless auto dimming mirror; a navigation SD card; and a wireless charging pad
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 8-speaker AM/FM/HD
Apple CarPlay/Android: Standard
Bluetooth Connectivity: Depends upon trim
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/186-hp (horsepower)
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 26-city/35-hwy
Why: The redesign Mazda3 hatchback wears a more sculpted exterior design, giving the vehicle a premium look and feel. In fact, the vehicle looks like a clay model that was just completed in a design studio.
The Mazda3 is one of the vehicles that continue to be available in both a hatchback and sedan configuration. Trim levels on both models slightly differ. Those trims can range from a base model to a Preferred model to a Premium model.
Both vehicles are also available in a front wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration.
For those seeking more control of the driving experience, they can opt for a a manual transmission. In order to access that feature, one has to step up to the midlevel Preferred trim.
Mazda also separates itself from its competitors, offering a more engaging driving dynamics, due to its tighter handling and more responsive suspension system. The brand manages to stay out the way too of Infiniti, which is a B-list performance-oriented luxury brand.
Lastly, Mazda’s hatchback is on board with making a number of safety driving aids standard. They range from a driver attention alert system to a lane departure warning with lane keep assist to a blind spot monitoring to a rear cross traffic alert system to a radar-activate cruise control system.
But: A manual transmission is only available in the midlevel Preferred package, with the front wheel drive configuration. Buyers yearning for a manual transmission that is driven by an all-wheel drive system or any of the other trims are unfortunately out of luck.
Also Mazda’s design team has opted not to redesign its layered BMW-like i-Drive rotary system which controls the navigation system. The system literally requires too many steps to make simple changes. Its simply too layered.
And, the vehicle continues to be snug, especially for occupants seated in the rear.
Verdict: Mazda has been constantly pushing itself from being a mainstream brand with its styling cues, upgraded premium features, driving dynamics and host of standard safety driving aids in the all-new Mazda3 hatchback.
Its quite obvious the brand is aiming for the near luxury segment, as they continue to push upmarket.
Competition: They are driving into Audi and Infiniti territory.