We drive the Mazda 3 Hatchback AWD
The Mazda 3 is certainly very attractive and compared to the competition, it looks like a much more expensive car. That trend continues with an interior that looks more like an Audi rather than an economy car.
The center console has been redesigned with the shift knob, new commander control and armrest moved forward, while the cupholders are repositioned to the front and everything is covered in rich materials and feels expensive.
Mazda has also spent a lot of money on acoustics. The upgraded premium driving experience goes beyond just look and feel. There is a vast improvement in the sound quality of the Mazda3 as well. The sense of sophistication starts as soon as you get inside.
Mazda has reduced the unwanted noise and vibration that comes inside by increasing sound insulation and applying a double wall structure in certain areas.
While the bad noise was reduced, there was a push to improve the good ones too such as a new 8 speaker standard audio system and an available 12 speaker Bose premium system.
The speakers were moved to strategic locations for best sound quality. For example, the woofers are usually placed in the doors but Mazda’s audio engineers wanted to reduce unwanted sound vibrations, such as items in the door pockets rattling, so they were moved to the front cowl.
It is a lot of fun to drive, especially when the road gets twisty but it just needs more power. Fortunately, there is a bright side and that is fuel economy, The Mazda3 is rated at 35 mpg on the highway (32 mpg with AWD) and is happy to burn 87 octane regular unleaded fuel.
With a starting price of about $21,000 the Mazda3 is a great value. Our top of the line AWD model was closer to $30,000 but unless you live in a cold climate area, you don’t need AWD.
It just adds cost and extra weight. Select the model that fits your budget and you will have a fun and reliable car that feels like you spent twice as much.
Mazda 3 Hatchback AWD
PRICE AS TESTED
EPA FUEL ECONOMYF
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