Handsome styling; great performance; upscale luxuries; attractive pricing
Slightly sluggish with the 2.0-liter engine; pop-up infotainment screen looks a little cheap
The Mazda3 is fully redesigned for the 2014 model year. It offers new equipment, thoroughly revised engines, and new styling inside and out. Fuel economy is also improved, as is interior room.
Virtually every Mazda3 offers a long list of positive traits. We'd avoid the base-level Mazda3i SV, but we recommend practically any other model. If we were buying, we'd choose the Mazda3s, largely because its fuel economy is hardly penalized by the bigger engine. Our favorite trim level is the Touring, as it combines the big engine with everything you might want from a compact car -- and a few things you probably weren't expecting. That said, we wouldn't fault you from splurging on a Grand Touring model with all the options. You'd be driving a $30,000 car with the luxury features you would expect from a car that costs twice as much.
The Mazda3 is offered in four trim levels. Base-level SV models are only available as sedans, while the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring are available on sedan or hatchback body styles. Shoppers also have the choice between two engines. Mazda3i models use the 2.0-liter, while the Mazda3s models use the 2.5. The Mazda3s is confined to Touring and Grand Touring trims.
The base-level, sedan-only Mazda3i SV ($17,900) includes only the basics. That means 16-inch steel wheels, power accessories, a folding rear seat and a stereo with USB integration and an auxiliary jack.
Step up to the Mazda3i Sport ($19,400 for the sedan; $19,900 for the hatchback) and you get a few more luxuries. Such items include cruise control, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Audio, a split-folding rear seat and a CD player.
Above the Sport is the Mazda3i Touring ($20,600 for the sedan; $21,100 for the hatchback). The Touring model adds alloy wheels, keyless access with a push-button starter, a blind spot warning system, a rear cross traffic alert system and heated side mirrors.
Choose the Mazda3i Grand Touring ($23,700 for the sedan; $24,200 for the hatchback) and you'll get heated front seats with premium vinyl upholstery, a power driver's seat and a rearview camera.
If you want the larger engine, there are two options. The Mazda3s Touring ($25,600 for the sedan; $26,100 for the hatchback) is equipped similarly to a Mazda3i Grand Touring, but with a few other luxuries. They include 18-in alloys, xenon headlights and a head-up display directly in front of the driver.
At the highest end of the lineup is the Mazda3s Grand Touring ($27,000 for the sedan; $27,500 for the hatchback), which offers luxury-car levels of equipment. Think rain-sensing wipers, a power sunroof, adaptive headlights and true leather seats.
In addition to its standard features, many Mazda3 models offer options available on more expensive trim levels in the car's range. There are also several further options, including a regenerative braking system, adaptive cruise control, an automatic high-beam control feature and a forward-collision warning system.
|Basic||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years/60,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||5 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
Ford Focus -- Once a mediocre contender, the Ford Focus was recently transformed to become one of the top compact cars around. Like the Mazda3, it's offered as a sedan or a hatchback.
Honda Civic -- With its 2013 refresh, the Honda Civic now feels at home in the midst of the compact car segment. Base models aren't as sporty as the Mazda3, but the performance-oriented Civic Si will give any Mazda3 a run for its money.
Toyota Corolla -- The Corolla is among the most popular compact cars around. It's not as fun-to-drive -- or as good-looking -- as the Mazda, but the Corolla is a perennial favorite for its no-nonsense approach to the small sedan.