New Car Review

2016 Mazda3: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Grand Touring Sedan
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$15,991
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Touring Sedan
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$15,740
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Sedan
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$13,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Hatchback
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$14,990
RELATED READING
See all Mazda MAZDA3 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2015

The 2016 Mazda3 is the last of a dying breed. On one hand, it's an economical and fuel-efficient compact car loaded with features at a fair price. On the other hand, the Mazda3 offers the kind of driving dynamics usually found with expensive European sport sedans; it's also one of the few compacts to offer a manual transmission across the model line.

The fun-to-drive Mazda3 delivers outstanding fuel economy without sacrificing performance, especially with the optional 2.5-liter engine. The real fun comes in turning corners, where the Mazda3 boasts some of the best driving prowess around. Opt for the GT trim, and you'll have upscale features such as leather, a navigation system and heated seats, plus you can order high-end technology, including a radar-based adaptive cruise-control system, which automatically maintains a safe distance between the Mazda3 and the traffic ahead.

What's New for 2016?

The 2016 Mazda3 gains more features and a lower base price. A rear backup camera is now standard on all models, while the Sport trim becomes the new entry-level model.

What We Like

Handsome styling; great performance; upscale luxuries; attractive pricing; excellent fuel economy

What We Don't

Slightly sluggish with the 2.0-liter engine; freestanding infotainment screen looks cheap; infotainment interface can be slow and confusing

How Much?

$19,665-$33,000

Fuel Economy

The Mazda3 offers two engines. The base-level Mazda3 i uses a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which can be mated to a 6-speed manual or an optional 6-speed automatic. Gas mileage with the manual is 29 miles per gallon in the city and 41 mpg on the highway (29 mpg city/40 mpg hwy for the hatchback), while the automatic transmission boasts 30 mpg city/41 mpg hwy (30 mpg city/40 mpg hwy for the hatchback).

Opt for the 185-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, and you'll have improved acceleration without much of a gas-mileage penalty. Fuel economy for the larger engine is 28 mpg city/39 mpg hwy for the sedan or 25 mpg city/37 mpg hwy with the manual transmission. Pick the hatchback, and mileage numbers drop to 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy with the automatic or 26 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with the manual. Models equipped with the i-ELOOP regenerative braking system attain 29 mpg city/40 mpg hwy for the sedan and 28 mpg city/39 mpg hwy for the hatchback.

Standard Features & Options

The Mazda3 is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Shoppers also have the choice between two engines. Mazda3 i models use the 2.0-liter, while the Mazda3 s models use the 2.5. The Mazda3 s is confined to Touring and Grand Touring trims.

The Mazda3 i Sport ($18,665 for the sedan; $19,365 for the hatchback) includes push-button starting, power locks, power mirrors, power windows, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, 16-inch steel wheels, a folding rear seat, 6-speaker audio with USB integration, cruise control, Bluetooth (including audio), Mazda Connect and a tilt-telescopic steering column.

Above the Sport is the Mazda3 i Touring ($20,865 for the sedan; $21,565 for the hatchback). The Touring model adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a power moonroof, halogen fog lights, advanced keyless entry and starting, a blind spot monitoring system, a rear cross-traffic alert system and heated side mirrors.

Choose the Mazda3 i Grand Touring ($23,365 for the sedan; $24,065 for the hatchback) for heated front seats with leatherette covering, a power driver's seat and navigation.

If you want the larger engine, there are two options. The Mazda3 s Touring ($25,615 for the sedan; $25,315 for the hatchback) is similarly equipped to a Mazda3 i Grand Touring with a few additional luxuries. They include 18-in alloy wheels, xenon headlights and a head-up display directly in front of the driver.

At the highest end of the lineup is the Mazda3 s Grand Touring ($25,565 for the sedan; $26,265 for the hatchback), which offers luxury-car levels of equipment. Think rain-sensing wipers, adaptive headlights and true leather seats.

New for Mazda3 i Sport is the Preferred Equipment package, which adds 16-in alloy wheels, heated side mirrors with integrated turn-signal lamps, premium cloth-trimmed sport seats, auto on/off headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.

The Touring's Popular Equipment package adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a Bose 9-speaker surround-sound system with Centerpoint 2 and AudioPilot 2, SiriusXM radio with a 4-month subscription, a CD player and a shark-fin antenna.

In addition to its standard features, many Mazda3 models offer options available on more expensive trim levels in the car's range. The Mazda3 s Grand Touring can be equipped with a regenerative braking system, adaptive cruise control, an automatic high-beam control feature and a forward-collision warning system.

Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2016 Mazda3 its highest rating of five stars in all but the rollover test, in which it scored four out of five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Mazda3 its best score of Good in every test category, plus a Top Safety Pick award.

Behind the Wheel

With any Mazda3, the handling is crisp and well-balanced, especially for a small car. Mazda engineers place an emphasis on the steering feel, even in a time when electronic power steering is the norm. The Mazda3 responds exactly how you'd expect in corners, with almost no understeer and little drama in the tightest of turns.

Acceleration is also a strong point. While the 2.0-liter Mazda3 isn't especially fast, we didn't find it slow. We're more impressed by the 2.5-liter engine, which feels truly quick.

Inside, the Mazda3 stands out for its high-quality materials and the sheer number of features. We're less than impressed by the pop-up infotainment screen, which looks flimsy, but most other surfaces are top-notch. Tall people will be pleased to discover there's a lot of headroom and legroom, both in front and in back.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Ford Focus -- The Ford Focus remains a worthy competitor, offering more conservative styling but equally impressive audio and electronic features. Like the Mazda3, it's offered as a sedan or a hatchback, and the turbocharged ST can blow the doors off a Grand Touring.

2016 Honda Civic -- The new Honda Civic feels at home in the midst of the compact-car segment. Base models are just as sporty as the Mazda3, but the performance-oriented Civic Si and Type R will give any Mazda3 a run for its money.

Used Audi A3 -- For the price of a new Mazda3, you can pick up a nice 2010-2013 Audi A3 hatchback and have the choice of all-wheel drive or a diesel engine.

Autotrader's Advice

Virtually every Mazda3 offers a long list of positive traits. Our favorite trim level is the s Touring. It combines the big engine with everything you might want from a compact car -- and a few things you probably weren't expecting.

Find a Mazda Mazda3 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Grand Touring Sedan
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$15,991
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Touring Sedan
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$15,740
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Sedan
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$13,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Hatchback
Certified 2016 Mazda MAZDA3
$14,990
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Mazda3: New Car Review - Autotrader