Test Drives

Mazda 3 – Great fuel economy car Review

The new Mazda 3 has worked out nicely for the Japanese: it looks very good, with eye-catching design, the interior has been greatly changed, making it almost the premium segment of the compact and the onboard technologies are many and varied, level with the latest cars.

I was particularly impressed by the interior, which offers comfort and attention to detail as we have seen so far only on cars in the luxury area. What I say below applies to the Hatchback, but there is also a Sedan variant with the usual rear-facing differences.

Now some years ago, Mazda came up with a spectacular design for the Mazda 6, this car being highly appreciated. Then followed a Mazda 3 with a similar design and, of course, smaller size, both models being the kind that the world turns its head on to the street to say, “That’s nice baths!”

The Exterior

The Mazda 3 does not differ much in the exterior from the previous generation, but the design already featured in the model is improved and refined exactly where it matters. I compared it to photos with a Mazda 3 found around the neighborhood.

The car keeps the same sports alloy, with a fairly long bonnet and a rounded cabin. Changes are more subtle:

  • the front grille is bigger, all black but with a cool design, a kind of wavy black wires that give the car a more sporty look.
  • also for the sporty look, the headlights are slightly flattened over the previous generation, which seemed more “frowned”. Now it looks like a feline hunting.
  • the hood is beautifully rounded, with a curve down to the grille.
  • the headlamps have disappeared, so the front is simpler. It seems to me that it looks better without those projectors whose appearance usually trivial the rest of the design.

If you ask, the role of the projectors has been taken over by the adaptive LED headlamps, which can provide the same type of lighting. Maybe we will see them disappearing from other models in the future.

And that was just the front. At the back, especially when compared to the previous generation, you will see that there are fewer sharp angles (actually, I found only one). The board has all sorts of curves and fluid shapes that make the whole car look like a sporty one, moving away from many other more banal compact on the market.

There are other details I liked: the sensors are well dissimulated, the radar seems to have hidden them in the Mazda logo in front; most of the chrome trim on the car has been dropped, replaced by black ones, which only increases the car’s sporting look. Perhaps it’s hard to believe, especially if you have not studied configurators of other brands, but in many cases you pay to replace chrome elements with some black ones.

What I did not like: C pillar, the rear pillar of the car, is much thicker than the previous generation. Sometimes it bothers you because it limits your visibility when you turn it back, but it’s not a crucial issue. The sedan version looks different, it has a thin pointer.

The Interior

Here I can use the word “luxury”, but remember that I use it in the context of the compact segment, of which Mazda 3 is part. It’s more luxurious than other compact cars I see, basically going into the premium class of this segment, but do not compare it with the “luxury” on the BMW X7, for example.

The old generation had the classic small screen appearance in the central area, and below it a set of buttons for the various functions of the machine. That small screen and poor resolution attracted many critics. Things have changed now.

The new Mazda 3 features an 8.8-inch high-resolution, color, but not touch screen, and below it the board continues beautifully with a long leather area, well integrated there. Below there is a small and discreet row of buttons that control the automatic climate control and that’s it.

There is a huge space for the mobile phone, two glass bottles / glasses, the gearshift and the Mazda Connect control wheel, which is very similar to BMW’s iDrive. It has some buttons around, including the multimedia controls, which are placed here between the chairs.

The materials are all very good quality, but attention to detail is excellent and difficult to convey through words, you have to see and even button your car. The joints are excellent, the ventilation holes very naturally integrated into the car, the door opening handle the same, but what I liked and more is that each button, every switch, is excellent placed in the car, including at the right angle to push them.

Do you know how many machines have buttons in the vertical center console, and do you have to make your little finger navel up vertically up to you? Or how do the buttons on the door are sometimes horizontal? Eh, on Mazda 3 all are at the right angle to push them naturally, exactly in the position where their hand and fingers would fall on them.

Moreover, they all have excellent feedback. Every push, every push in the slider type on the steering wheel, every big wheel rotation or small wheelchair, all have a small click and an easy-to-touch tactile response. I saw cars that you rotate and press aside in the bell without feeling anything at the finger, but the Mazda 3 have excelled in this aspect.


Currently there are two engines in the package:

  • Skyactiv-G gasoline, 2-liter I4, 122 hp and maximum torque 213 Nm, available with 6-speed automatic or manual transmission
  • Skyactiv-D on gasoline, 1.8 liters I4, 116 hp and maximum torque 270 Nm, available with automatic or manual 6-speed transmission

The gasoline engine also includes a light-hybrid system, that is, the car has automatic charging batteries that assist in leaving, stopping and changing gear so the car can provide a constant and comfortable response for passengers at such times .

Officially, combined WLTP consumption is 6.5 liters / 100 km automatic gasoline and 5.6 liter / 100 km automatic diesel, a little smaller if you choose a manual gearbox. From what I feel, the figures are real; I drove more in the hills and I rained the car pretty much like when you want to see what it is, and I got an 8-liter gasoline. In the long run I could probably get 6 liters.

The mechanical performance is not very impressive, the hundredth hour is caught in 10 seconds and the maximum speed is about 200 km / h.

It may seem weak, but in principle it is similar to other compacts with the most popular engines purchased by customers. Those who want more from Mazda 3 can wait a few months to introduce the new Skyactiv-X engine, which promises to be revolutionized.

Skyactiv-X is a gasoline engine, but with diesel-specific features, running on self-ignition. The power will be 181 hp, which will make Mazda 3 a fast car, especially since the overall weight is under 1.3 tons. Skyactiv-X will offer a large torque available at low revs plus diesel-specific low consumption, but along with the high speed and acceleration speed of the gasoline engines. Moreover, this engine can be coupled with an AWD system.

The Verdict

Mazda 3 is very well made in the interior, it has modern onboard technology and comes with a pleasant, fluid appearance, different from many other compact cars that seem trivial when we put them next to Mazda 3.

Interior comfort is the main asset of the car, I felt very good in it. I think that once the 181 hp Skyactiv-X engine is introduced, the Mazda 3 will have the engine it deserves to match the sporty look and the rounded body shapes. Even so, however, it is a good choice for those looking for a well-made compact and where 122 hp are enough.

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