2016 Mazda 3: The Small Athlete
Mazda has shown a real knack for building cars that have a lot of pep and can really get going in a hurry. The Mazda 3 certainly shows itself as a car that can make things move and gets going quickly in the compact car class. Out classing such long rivals as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus the Mazda 3 is more than just a car that gets going, its attractive, efficient, comfortable and a lot of fun to drive with great driving dynamics and a smart set up of controls and features that we all love to use.
The Mazda 3 used to have an entry trim of the i SV, but that has been replaced with the i Sport which not only comes in cheaper than the outgoing model but it add a rearview camera. Across the lineup there are some trim specific equipment packages that are new for this year on the sedan and the hatchback.
This is a car that makes it fun to be efficient. The SkyActiv chassis and powertrain give the car a dynamic driving that is fun and active. With an engine that wants to get going you can certainly enjoy taking this car through the paces of a great country drive, up and down mountain passes, or along the most picturesque canyon run in the area. Not many cars can give you so much with only four cylinders, but the Mazda 3 makes use of every bit of what is under the hood.
Speaking of what is under the hood, there are two choices to make. The first is the 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that pumps out 155 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is attached to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. With this powertrain you are trading a bit of the fun for fuel efficiency, but that fuel mileage is excellent at 29 city/41 hwy mpg for the manual sedan, 30 city/41 hwy mpg for the automatic sedan, 29 city/40 hwy mpg for the manual hatchback and 30 city/40 hwy mpg for the automatic hatchback model.
The second engine you can have on the Mazda 3 is the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. This one carries in 184 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque. Attached to the same transmissions, this version certainly is a lot of fun to drive and does perform well in the fuel efficiency realm. With 25 city/37 hwy mpg for the manual sedan, 28 city/39 hwy for the automatic sedan and 29 city/40 hwy mpg for the automatic sedan with i-Eloop, 26 city/35 hwy mpg for the manual hatchback, 27 city/37 hwy mpg for the automatic hatchback, 28 city/39 hwy for the automatic hatchback with i-Eloop you can see the efficiency of this engine that matches up well with the fun you can have.
The Mazda 3 shows up with some great features to enjoy including the Mazda Connect infotainment system with a seven-inch screen, a six-speaker audio system with USB input and Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, push button starting and cruise control all if which is standard on the i Sport trim. The i Touring trim adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, halogen fog lights, rain sensing windshield wipers and premium cloth seats.
Heading up the lineup to the s Touring model and the s Grand Touring will add the more powerful engine, 18-inch wheels, a power driver’s seat, Leatherette for the s Touring and real leather for the s Grand Touring, a navigation system, a nine-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio and CD player, heated front seats, and a moonroof.
The i-Eloop is the regenerative braking system from Mazda that helps improve fuel efficiency and is only available on the Grand Touring model. Other features only on the Grand Touring include the Smart City Brake Support, radar-based cruise control, forward obstruction warning and lane departure warnings.
The new base model, the i Sport now starts at $18,665 for the sedan and $19,365 for the hatchback. The s Grand Touring sedan begins at $26,615 with the hatchback starting at $27,315 with the Technology Package adding another $2,600 to the price tag. This seems like a very reasonable price for a very energetic car that can give you the driving fun you are looking for and be a great daily commuter car.