What’s Hot: The stylish and performance-oriented 5-door hatchback is available in a manual or an automatic transmission. The eye-catching design of the Mazda3 is available with two powertrains and two engines. Depending upon the trim selected, the vehicle is capable of getting up to 40 miles a gallon on the highway.
In fact, the Mazda3 offers best in class fuel economy for a non-premium hatchback. The sporty compact can be outfitted with the latest high-tech advanced safety driving features, better than most of its competitors. Some of those safety features consist of a radar activated cruise control and a smart braking system for city or high traffic areas.
The Mazda3 is an engaging driver-oriented compact that can be outfitted with everything from 18-inch wheels to a power driver’s seat to an automatic temperature control system. For that reason, this vehicle appeals to a variety of demographics.
The simple, clutter-free layout of the instrument panel, with its flat screen-like fixed infotainment system, mirrors that of such premium priced vehicles like the Audi and Mercedes-Benz and the compact is available in a four door configuration, too.
What’s Not: When fully optioned, the sporty hatchback tops the $30,000 price range. The latest Mazda3 is $6,000 more than the similarly equipped vehicle we last reviewed it in 2014. Yes, we must factor in some of the advanced safety features, which has played a pivotal role in driving up the price.
While Mazda is known for offering a performance-oriented, engaging driving experience, Kia’s Forte5 offers two engines that pumps out more horsepower than both the base and the premium trims in the Mazda5. That’s quite surprising, since Mazda is known for being the niche brand that offers a thrilling driving experience. Also, the knobless infotainment system requires one to relearn everything they knew about operating a traditional audio system.
Drive Or Drive By: There are three competitors available in the soon to be expanding segment – Honda’s Civic and Chevy’s Cruze Hatch will be rolling in soon. For buyers in the market for a hatchback, there are a lot more choices these days. Still, Mazda3 five door hatchback continues to set the standard for a well-built, engaging, safety-oriented, premium compact.
Competition: 2017 Chevy Cruze Hatch; 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback; 2016 Ford Focus ST; 2016 Kia Forte5 and VW Golf
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $30,530 (Base model $19,380)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; daytime running lights; hill launch assist; electronic brake force distribution; a stability control system; speed-activated door lock system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment (Base Sport Model): 16-inch wheels; 6-speed manual; a 7-inch infotainment screen; analog gauges; a/c with pollen control; center console with storage; cruise control; push-button keyless ignition starter system; a remote keyless entry system; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a removable cargo cover area; and cloth manually adjustable front seats
Standard Equipment (Grand Touring Model): 18-inch wheels; a 2.5-liter/4-cylinder engine; a 6-speed automatic sport transmission; Daytime LED headlights; automatic headlights; bi-Xenon headlights with auto leveling feature; fog lights; a 9-speaker BOSE system with a satellite radio and a CD player; a navigation system; dual cupholders integrated into rear cupholders; a keyless entry system; a power sunroof; an overhead console with sunglass holder; paddle shifters on steering wheel; illuminated passenger vanity mirror; heated dual power mirrors with integrated turn signals; automatic rain-sensing wipers; digital gauge speedometer; power brake handle with red stitching; power driver’s side seat; leather seats; and heated front seats
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: The Technology Package, which consist of a regenerative engine braking system, active grille shutters, an automatic high beam lighting system; a lane departure warning system; a smart city brake system; and a radar activated cruise control system
Other Trim Level:
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/155-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage:
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.