The first Mazda3 that could be purchased was the 2004 model, and the 2016 recently was introduced in a third generation configuration. The Mazda3 was loaned to me for testing recently by Greeley Mazda, and it came in Soul red metallic paint with a black and almond leather interior.
At the same time as the Mazda arrived, the January, 2016 issue of Car and Driver magazine arrived, and in it was the Mazda3 designated as a “10 Best Cars for 2016” selection. The test car that I received was the top-of-the-line Grand Touring S edition with an M.S.R.P. of $30,270.00. The base price was $26,495.00, and to it was added several options that totaled $2,955.00, most notable among them being an appearance package for $1,750.00. In the package was a grouping of spoilers and side sill extenders that actually added nicely to the appearance of the car.
As a Grand Touring Mazda3, my loaner had a moon roof, heated front seats, power driver seat, navigation/rear camera setup with 7” touch screen, and a Bose 9-speaker surround sound stereo. Additionally, the Mazda was equipped with XM radio, a console-mounted command control for the infotainment system, blind spot monitor, proximity keyless entry, and power windows/locks/outside mirrors. A genuine “hand brake” and push button (plus remote) starter, always positives for me, were on hand in the attractive Mazda interior. Also, the Grand Touring model features auto on/off bi-xenon adaptive headlights, LED combination taillights, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink®, and perforated leather-trimmed seats.
Power for the Mazda3 S is supplied by a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder, 184 horsepower (@ 5,700 rpm), 185 lb. ft. torque rating (@3,250 rpm) engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission with floor shift and paddles on the steering column. Reportedly, zero to 60 timing for the 3 is 7.4 seconds. Fuel economy ratings are 27/city – 37/highway, and 31/combined miles per gallon. Mazda equips this drive train with what is called SkyActiv technology, a combination, among other things, of 13 to 1 compression ratio and direct, multi-hole fuel injectors. Therefore the EPA highway readings are excellent, with my observation coming in at above the 31 mpg combined number.
Styling of the Mazda3 Grand Touring S, introduced in 2014, features a longer hood and elevated trunk lid with aerodynamic spoiler attached. All four windows roll down out of sight, and the windshield has an impressive rake to it. Wheels are ten-spoke dark gray alloys fitted with P215/45R18 all-season radials, and the new grill has a more menacing, blacked-out customized look. I gave high marks for the ride, handling, and guidance of the car, and adjusting the sound system and navigation is easy with the right hand on the command control arrangement.
The Mazda3’s handling is improved by virtue of the electric-assist power steering, MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension (a rarity in this class). The car is 180.3” in overall length, with a wheelbase of 106.3” and weight of 2,848 lbs. The fuel tank holds 13.2 gallons and the trunk holds 12.4 cubic feet.
I liked the 2016 Mazda3 five-door hatchback, and could anticipate recommending a purchase to a prospective compact hatchback shopper. And the new Car and Driver magazine editors agree with me.