Experienced by Adrian McQueen
Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles
Mazda continues to raise the bar on each of their vehicles. The Mazda3 was not left behind, as turbo has now been added to the vehicle. With this move Mazda is definitely making waves into current conversations in the JDM world. In that scene, the Mazda RX7 is king, the Miata holds court and now the Mazda3 is demanding attention with this new model.
The Mazda3 or Mazda 3 is a compact car manufactured in Japan by Mazda. It was introduced in 2003 as a 2004 model, replacing the Familia/323/Protegé. The model tested during our review period was the Mazda3 2.5 turbo Hatch AWD with the Premium Package.
Upon first look, you notice the sleek angles of the new Mazda3 hatchback. The LED headlights and large grille add to the Mazda3’s aggressive look. The Mazda 3 came in a Polymetal Grey metallic hue with 18 inch black alloy wheels. The hatchback was complete with the dual LED taillights, black rear hatch spoiler and a sloping rear window. There is also a shark fin antenna to add some flare to cap off the sporty look.
The interior is nice as well complete comfy leather seats that have a lavish look. Being in the compact car class, this is not considered an ideal family vehicle. I felt that head and legroom are small. The Mazda3 can seat five people but probably not five adults or taller children. Both back seat and cargo space is limited. Considering that this is a compact car, be mindful of your needs in regards to space when going to make a purchase. If a larger vehicle is what you need, Mazda has other vehicles in their fleet to meet your needs.
Mazda hit it out the park with the infotainment system. There is an 8.8-inch central screen, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, heads up display, wireless charging, navigation, Homelink, Appl CarPlay and Android Auto. The Bose sound system delivers crisp and body moving sounds throughout the car. The rotary dial near the gear shift lever is simple to operate and makes up for the lack of having a touch screen option. The four buttons surrounding the dial quickly take you to navigation, music, home, and back to the previous screen that you were on.
The fourth-generation Mazda3 is equipped with a spark-controlled compression ignition, SKYACTIVE-G 2.5 Turbo engine that produces 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The newly-developed SkyActiv technology, includes the latest SkyActiv-DRIVE 6spd sport mode transmission. This engine has responsive speed control in any driving situation and a Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition system. The Mazda3 has all-wheel drive to further distance itself from the competition. The 2021 Mazda3 Hatch AWD with the Premium Package returns 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.
Driving the Mazda3 around town was a pleasure. The handling between corners and the acceleration on straights is superb. The throttle response was on point, especially in Sport mode. Braking into a corner would quickly engage a downshift, then keeping the lower gear for the right amount of time. The SKYACTIV®2-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission with sport mode was spot on.
Mazda keeps safety high on the priority list. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2021 Mazda 3 a Top Safety Pick. The Mazda3 offers safety features such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and high-beam assist.
Competitors of the Mazda3 are the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Audi A3, BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz A Class. The Mazda3 is competitively priced with our tested range-topping, fully loaded AWD hatchback Premium package version coming in at $34,820. Please enjoy the photo gallery.