Mazda3

Considered among best vehicles in its class

Roseville, Calif.- When it comes to compact cars, the Mazda3 has historically been a good choice. So, what’s the deal with sales dramatically dropping in recent years?

From 2007 to 2015, Mazda3 sales exceeded 100,000 or more eight of nine times. But sales of the popular compact sedan/hatchback sank to an all-time low of 27,767 in 2022 and this year will likely be only slightly better – projected at roughly 31,200. That’s a huge decline since all-time high sales of 134,636 in 2012.

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Among best in class

According to most auto reviewers, the Mazda3 is one of the best vehicles one can buy in its class. It’s fun to drive, has an upscale cabin, and features a user-friendly infotainment system. Although the sticker price has risen about $5,000 the past two years, it remains affordable at $25,700.

The compact car segment has dwindled over the years, yet there are still good ones remaining, including the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, and Kia Forte.

The 2024 Mazda3 introduced a turbocharged engine three years ago that certainly increased performance. It also added all-wheel drive as an option, made the hood longer aerodynamically, and the body wider. Note the sedan version is nearly 8 inches longer than the hatchback.

The company also made some less significant changes, but essentially the 2024 version is the same fourth generation Mazda3 that was introduced in 2019.

Performance

interior cabin of Mazda3

For anyone seeking performance, the turbo engine is the way to go. Borrowed from the Mazda CX-5 and CX-9 SUVs, it’s a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The turbo model is super quick – 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Of course, the fuel economy (23-31 mpg) suffers, yet that’s to be expected.

The standard Mazda3 engine is a less energetic 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Gas mileage is better at 27-35 mpg.

The Mazda3 has traditionally received solid marks for how it performs and the turbo option definitely gives the vehicle a fun factor, something that’s generally lacking in this class. The Mazda3 offers great precision when navigating tight turns, providing the driver with a high level of confidence. A drive along mountain passes and some challenging roads did not overwhelm the front-wheel drive hatchback.

The Mazda3 comes with multiple standard driving safety features – forward collision warning; automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, lane departure warning, and drowsy driver monitor.

AT A GLANCE – 2024 MAZDA3

  • Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 191 horsepower; turbocharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 250 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 27-35 mpg; 23-31 mpg
  • Estimated price: $25,700 to $36,700
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 3 years/36,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000 miles; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

Interior

The interior has an 8.8-inch display (optional 10.23-inch) that’s not a touchscreen. It’s controlled solely by console-mounted rotary knobs that are preferable for some. Yet many young drivers prefer more advanced technology.
Even though the Mazda3 interior is old school, getting acquainted with the new system does require some time – not everything is intuitive.

Seating is fine for front-seat passengers, but the back seat is tight and lacking in leg room. The Mazda3 provides less cargo capacity than several other small cars. It has 20.1 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. When folded down, the cargo area increases to 47.1 cubes.

Despite being a sophisticated sedan/hatchback, sales remain slow. With no major improvements, the 2024 Mazda3 might suffer the same fate – poor sales.

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