The New York Times
The “zoom-zoom” automaker is known for fun-to-drive small vehicles, but compact size hasn’t always meant fuel-efficient. Now, thanks to a “transformative new engine and a pair of exceptional new transmissions”—collectively called Skyactiv—the Mazda 3 “effortlessly tops 40 mpg in real-world driving.” Little else is changed for this model year, but what remains is “awfully good.”
Car and Driver
Model-year changes usually come with styling and interior upgrades, but such improvements are “barely noticeable” on the 2012 Mazda 3 because it already had “a quality interior and a very athletic chassis.” The new Skyactiv powertrain is the real game-changer here. Its high-compression, direct-injection engine delivers exceptional fuel economy without turbocharging or other expensive technologies. We always liked the 3’s crisp performance. Now, it’s far more affordable to drive.
What a difference a powertrain can make. Like last year’s Mazda 3, this edition can “attack a corner like no other economy car.” But until now it was comparatively fuel-thirsty. Two other engine choices are available besides the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G. But why even consider the higher- or lower-priced options? In its newly efficient iteration, this car “has never been better.”