Historically, the Mazda3 has all the time been one in all, if not the, driver’s selection within the compact automotive phase. That is not surprising, given the corporate’s well-known follow of sprinkling great-driving dynamics into each automotive it makes. However, up to now, the tradeoff for the 3’s nice on-road chops have been underwhelming interioris, cramped quarters and poor cabin tech.With the introduction of the brand new 2019 3, Mazda is hoping to make up for previous sins with contemporary sheet steel, plush inside environment and a well-populated function listing. For probably the most half, fortunately, Mazda succeeded.Mature threadsThe previous-generation Mazda3 was a sharp-looking automotive, however this new mannequin strikes an excellent cleaner and extra elegant look. There aren’t any laborious character strains or wild creases. Instead, there are simply refined strokes that, along with the large grille and thin headlights, make for a sedan that is notably engaging from the entrance three-quarters view. If there are downsides to the outside wrapper, it is the staid again finish and plain Jane 10-spoke wheels.
Mazda retains issues easy contained in the cabin, too, with a pretty, flowing sprint. The entrance cabin is generally clutter-free, too, except for local weather controls within the center. The Mazda’s cabin is finished up in a pretty two-tone black and beige shade scheme, accented with a tasteful serving to of metallic trim. Not solely does it look good, however feels good, too. All supplies, from the rubbery panels to the stitched, soft-touch leather-based surfaces protecting giant components of the sprint, heart console and door panels are prime notch. There’s not a cheap-looking piece to be discovered inside, which undoubtedly wasn’t the case with earlier Mazda3 fashions.
Front lodging are snug, with a superb seating place and supportive seats. The Mazda3 provides passable legroom and sufficient cubby spots to stash belongings. What could also be a pink flag for some clients, nevertheless, is that the Mazda3 is likely one of the smaller compact automobiles on the market as we speak. As opponents just like the Honda Civic have gone by a development spurt, the Mazda3 sticks to its tidier sizing. The story of the tape does present the Mazda rising three inches in size over its predecessor, with one inch situated within the wheelbase. But even with that, the Mazda’s cabin remains to be tighter than most of its opponents — particularly for back-seat riders. Richer techDisappointing expertise choices are a factor of the previous within the new 3. No matter the trim, the Mazda3 will get an 8.8-inch infotainment system operating the newest Mazda Connect software program, which lastly will get a much-needed visible makeover. Since the display is positioned additional again on the sprint, it is not responds to the touch, which means controls now primarily depend on the middle console dial and shortcut buttons. Unfortunately, the shortage of a touchscreen does make some issues like coming into addresses into navigation extra time consuming, however total, this setup works nicely. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are lastly on board, too. Mazda took its candy time to carry these two to market, however hey, higher late than by no means.Where the 3 falls brief is in its choices to cost telephones and tablets. A single USB port resides on the middle stack, whereas one other USB and 12-volt socket are within the armrest compartment. Mazda does provide an elective $275 wi-fi cost pad, however it nonetheless will not assist folks in again who haven’t any retailers inside straightforward attain, which is a bummer. Mazda lastly will get into the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto sport.
For security, all Mazda3 sedans (aside from the bottom mannequin) pack adaptive cruise management, ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a crystal-clear, high-definition backup digicam. The Premium Package tester pictured right here additionally provides a head-up show and adaptive headlights to the combo. Everything works as marketed, and the Mazda3 provides a terrific listing of tech at this worth level.Dynamic darlingUnder the Mazda3’s hood lies a massaged model of the two.5-liter four-cylinder engine from the previous-generation automotive. This naturally aspirated I4 lays down 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. In the sedan your sole transmission choice is a six-speed computerized, serving to to return an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 36 mpg on the freeway. Those searching for a handbook gearbox must go for the Premium Package hatchback, that returns an estimated 25 mpg metropolis and 35 mpg freeway.
Off-the-line grunt is not something to write down dwelling about, however the Mazda3’s engine wakes up in the midst of its rev vary and pulls regular to the 6,500-rpm redline. Up- and downshifts are all the time swift and well-timed, eliminating the necessity to use the paddle shifters (that are not very responsive, anyway). For laborious driving, a Sport mode provides totally different transmission programming that holds gears for longer durations of time.The Mazda3’s four-cylinder pulls laborious from the center of the rev band on.
All-wheel drive is a brand new trick up the 3’s sleeve for 2019 (learn all about it in opinions editor Manuel Carrillo’s first drive), my tester makes use of front-wheel drive. In typical Mazda trend, the 3 is involving and playful — much more so this yr because of its stiffer chassis and, oddly, a brand new torsion beam rear suspension, which replaces the previous multilink setup. This would possibly seem to be a step backward when it comes to driving refinement, however I promise, it is an enchancment. Plus, Mazda says the 3’s total lateral stiffness is up because of the brand new setup in again, and noise, vibration and harshness ranges enhance, as well.
Enter a nook and there is a trace of preliminary physique roll, however then the Mazda3 claws by turns, with numerous grip from the 18-inch Toyo Proxes A40 tires. Michigan’s bumpy roads usually do not combine nicely with torsion beam rear suspension setups, however it’s not a difficulty within the Mazda3, which is a pleasing shock. Steering weight and suggestions are additionally excellent, which provides to the general enjoyable issue.When pushed usually, the 3’s experience is compliant, with the suspension absorbing impacts from small bumps and potholes with no hitch. Bigger highway hazards can be felt inside, however even then, there’s sufficient give within the chassis to stop it from being jarring.At dwelling carving by corners or operating errands round city.
The solely factor that takes getting used to is the brake pedal: it does not possess the sturdy preliminary chunk that I usually like. In the 3 it is extra progressive in habits to assist brake smoother, with extra pedal stress summoning extra seize, which is smart. It takes some getting used to, and I am undecided I find it irresistible.How I would spec itMy splendid Mazda3 sedan could be a Preferred Package mannequin with a Deep Crystal Blue Mica paint job. Important options like blind spot monitoring, rear cross visitors alert, Bose sound system, satellite tv for pc radio and heated seats are all included, to assist make commuting a bit extra bearable. To cost my Samsung Galaxy smartphone, I would add the $275 wi-fi cost pad and be accomplished. That brings the value tag of my automotive to $25,395, which incorporates $920 for vacation spot. The Premium Package automotive pictured right here with fancy issues like adaptive LED headlights, leather-based seats, head-up show and moonroof punches in at $27,720. Those are all niceties I am keen to stay with out with a view to save a couple of bucks.This range-topping Mazda3 Premium Package stickers for $27,720.
Still the motive force’s selectionThe 2019 Mazda3’s $21,920 base worth means it begins fairly a bit greater than opponents just like the Honda Civic ($20,370), Kia Forte ($18,715) and Toyota Corolla ($20,430). However, while you take a look at greater trim ranges, the value hole does shut up. Either approach, the premium simply could also be price it to some with a view to have one of the best driving automotive within the phase. Plus, with bang-up styling, a terrific cabin and unbelievable tech, I would don’t have any downside ponying up just a few extra bucks for this actually glorious bundle.