“The Mazda 3 has been unexpectedly transformed from a pretty good little car into a pretty great little car.” A finalist in our Automobile of the Year rankings, the fully redesigned compact now sits “unabashedly” at the top of its class. Always a critics’ darling for its performance, the 3 now pairs its “quintessential Mazda zoom-zoom” with dramatically improved fuel efficiency, a suite of optional active safety features, and “an outstanding level of luxury” for its price.
Road & Track
Many Mazda loyalists will no doubt opt for the more powerful of two engines offered. But the smaller, 2.0-liter four-cylinder can be paired with Mazda’s “delicate, precise, lovely” six-speed manual transmission, “and folks, that’s really all you need to have fun.” Even the base $16,945 sedan “feels brilliantly connected to the road.” Better yet, the new 3 “looks hot enough to wear an Alfa Romeo badge.”
Inside, “the only odd touch” is the new touch-screen display, whose perch atop the dash “gives it a tacked-on look.” The small engine is also “a bit noisy under acceleration,” even though ride comfort has improved considerably. In fact, “this isn’t just a car for 20-somethings anymore.” It “feels more grown-up than ever before.”