Experienced by Adrian McQueen
Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles
Over the years I have seen the Mazda 3 on the road but never had a chance to experience it for myself. The Mazda3 or Mazda 3 is also known as the Mazda Axela in Japan where it is manufactured. Mazda introduced this compact car in 2003 as a 2004 model, replacing the Familia/323/Protegé in the C-segment. The Mazda 3 became Mazda’s fastest-selling vehicle in January 2014, with cumulative sales of over 4-million units.
I was excited to get a full week review of the 2018 Mazda3, with the 5-door Grand Touring model. The Mazda3 5-Door has a unique appearance. Mazda’s Kodo design language is based on breathing life into the car. Mazda is working diligently to hit home with their message that a car isn’t simply a mass of metal but more like a living creature. The 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring has a sloped hood, signature Mazda grille, sloping rear roofline, projector-style LED headlights, chrome accents and 18-inch alloy wheels. This model has adaptive LED headlights that turn with the steering wheel, lighting the curves ahead. LED daytime running lights are also present. The Mazda3 comes as a sedan and a five-door hatchback. I prefer the hatchback model as the sleek appearance comes with a relatively inexpensive price tag.
The interior was even more impressive, truly giving you the urge to drive it. Mazda seeks to enhance the feeling home and comfort while in the vehicle. My tester vehicle arrived with black on black beautiful heated leather seats, dashboard, door panels and carpet. The door panels and center console have soft leather on them. There are aluminum accents on the vents, steering wheel, door handles and on most of the controls in the center console. The Mazda3 has three-way heated seats, dual-zone climate controls, along with a heated steering wheel. The driver’s seat is a six-way powered seat. The inside cabin allows front and rear seat passengers a decent amount of legroom and headroom. The back seat is also big enough for my three-year-old and her car seat. Naturally, being a hatchback, the Mazda3 5-Door offers plenty of space for cargo. The 60/40-split bench folds and increases cargo space leaving enough room for a quick run to your local grocery stores.
The 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring has a premium technology setup. The 7.0-inch infotainment screen with Mazda Connect and Navigation is extremely useful. It is a touch screen, along with a rotary knob controller and shortcut buttons. All are very easy and intuitive and easy to use. The nine-speaker Bose sound system is unreal. The sound was so crisp and clear. The heads-up display, with the speed and traffic sign recognition, is a great feature. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still unavailable but are currently available in the 2018 Mazda6.
Whether I was hustling about town, zipping down the highway or cruising around some winding scenic roads, the Mazda3 delivered satisfaction in all phases. The car feels rather quick due to its 2.5-liter SkyActiv inline-four engine pushing out 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque to a six-speed automatic transmission. The SkyActiv engine technology helps the engine produce big gains while providing decent fuel economy. The Mazda3 comes with a Sport mode too, which raises the adrenaline meter during my travels. The Mazda3 also has a light curb weight of only 3,100 pounds. The ride is smooth and the cabin is quiet. Gas mileage is pretty decent with 26 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg combined.
Safety is a major priority for Mazda. Mazda’s i-Activsense, is a comprehensive safety suite that includes radar cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and traffic-sign recognition forward collision alert with automatic braking. The smart city brake support stops the car automatically between two and 18 mph if the driver doesn’t engage the brake pedal. The 2018 Mazda3 5-Door is rated a 5-Star vehicle by the IIHS.
Three trim levels are offered for the 2018 Mazda3 starting with the Sport, Touring, and the Grand Touring. The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring starts at $19,345. Three trim levels are offered, starting with the Sport, Touring, and the Grand Touring. The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring starts at $24,945. My tester stickers at $29,785, including the $890 destination fee.
The Mazda3 holds up nicely to industry competitors such as the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT and the Volkswagen Golf TSI SEL. The Mazda3 5-Door offers a pleasurable driving experience at a low price, has a decent amount of cargo room and maintains 30 mpg combined. Mazda has made a name for itself by offering affordable cars with unique styling. The 2018 Mazda3 keeps this going with the new redesigned 2019 model ready to debut soon.