Engaging compact receives high marks
Roseville, CA- Mazda engineers are known for pushing the envelope in the search for something more innovative and interesting than its competitors.
With that in mind, the Japanese automaker has equipped the popular 2019 Mazda3 with a novel new feature – all-wheel drive (AWD). With the exception of the front-wheel drive base sedan, every other Mazda3 trim level (Select, Preferred, Premium) has an AWD option. Note that AWD is only paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Adding AWD to a sedan is nothing new. Subaru has been doing it for years and multiple luxury brands provide it as well. Adding it to the Mazda3 gives the car a definite distinction that should make this affordable sedan even more appealing.
To demonstrate the AWD efficiency, Mazda set up a snow course this winter in Lake Tahoe to show off how the Mazda3 performed. By most reports, it did quite well.
The Mazda3 was introduced in 2004 and quickly established a solid reputation as both a sedan and five-door hatchback. Over the years, the Mazda3 has went through modest and full redesigns and still maintained its status among competitors.
The compact class has a number of “stars” and the Mazda3 has been one of them from the beginning. It shares the spotlight with some other notables, including the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, and Toyota Corolla.
Adding AWD is easily the most interesting aspect of the fully redesigned Mazda3. But it’s not the only one. The vehicle was given an overhaul – inside and out.
The car’s length has been increased and overall the Mazda3 has a more sophisticated presence, featuring a long aerodynamic hood and a wide body. The sedan is nearly 8 inches longer than the hatchback.
The interior redesign has the dash residing further back and angled toward the driver. The new touchscreen has a huge rotary dial and several buttons on the center console that Mazda feels will be less of a distraction for the driver. Getting acquainted with the new system does require some time – not everything is intuitive. We found the audio system setup more confusing than it needs to be.
The responsive Mazda3 performance is quite evident in the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 186 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. The engine is quick, smooth and delivers good acceleration. The Mazda3 goes 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds and has a maximum speed of 130 mph.
- Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 186 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 26-35 mpg
- Estimated price: $21,100 to $28,100
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited; corrosion: 3 years/36,000
The Mazda3 also receives solid marks for the way it performs. The engaging compact accelerates quickly and handles with good precision when navigating tight turns, providing the driver with a high level of confidence.
A well-designed cockpit is better than most compacts. The front seats provide good support, comfort and adequate head and leg room, but the rear seats are not as gracious with space, especially leg room. The sedan has 13.2 cubic feet of cargo space and there’s 20.1 cubic feet in the hatchback.
Thanks to a smart redesign, the 2019 Mazda3 with its AWD option will continue to be rated among the top compact cars and remains a great buy for multiple reasons.