The Mazda3 is a compact car that’s available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback configurations. First introduced for the 2004 model year, the front-wheel drive Mazda3 is now in its third generation.
2014 to Present: Mazda Mazda3
Upon its debut, the third-generation Mazda3 sedan was offered in SV, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Hatchback models were available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims.
Two engine choices power the latest Mazda3. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque is standard and comes paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. This model is EPA-rated at up to 30/41 mpg city/highway.
The second engine choice is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. This model is EPA-rated at up to 29/40 mpg city/highway.
Like other Mazda models, the Mazda3 advances the brand’s stylish Kodo or “Soul of Motion” design language. Every model is marked by a striking front fascia featuring a pronounced grille with a U-shaped bottom outline. Sleek, wraparound headlamps, a lower air intake and pockets housing the available fog lamps are also present.
From bumper to bumper, the Mazda3 flows with a rising hood and a sweeping roofline present. To the rear, the hatchback features a spoiler, large wraparound combination lamps, body sculpting and available diffuserlike trim along with up to two exhaust tips, depending on the trim level. The sedan offers a similar layout with the trunk lip serving as the spoiler.
Inside, the sport-oriented cockpit complements the flow of the exterior, with flowing lines throughout. Bolstered bucket seats are up front and a 60-40 split-folding bench seat is in the rear.
This model has 96.3 cubic feet of passenger volume and a 12.4 cubic-foot trunk. Offering room for five, the Mazda3 has one of the largest interiors in its segment. Still, seating is best for two in the rear.
Beginning in 2016, all Mazda3 models come equipped with a rearview camera. Keyless entry, push-button start and a Mazda Connect infotainment system are also included. Aluminum wheels are offered on the i Touring edition along with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. A navigation system is included with the i Grand Touring edition, as well as a six-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support and a nine-speaker Bose audio system. Other models bring in paddle shifters, larger wheels and leather-trimmed seats. All models come with two USB ports, an auxiliary input jack and a 12-volt outlet.
The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic are the two top selling models in the compact car segment. Other competitors include the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Jetta, Kia Forte, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra.
Earlier Mazda Mazda3 Models
The first-generation Mazda3 had a customary six-year model run, which was followed by a relatively short four-year production run for the second-generation model. That abbreviated run coincided with a major change instituted by Mazda. The automaker’s Skyactiv technologies, which include lighter vehicle frames and more efficient powertrains, were ready for a rollout. The best-selling Mazda3 was a natural early adopter for the new layout.
Since its release, the Mazda3 has been sold in hatchback and sedan body styles. The first-generation model was produced from 2004 to 2009. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, which produces 148 to 150 horsepower, depending on the model year. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is available.
Also available is a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine making 156 to 160 horsepower. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard on earlier models with this engine, which was upgraded to a five-speed automatic starting with the 2006 model year.
The second-generation Mazda3 was introduced in 2010, offering a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an available 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The smaller engine makes 148 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission.
The larger engine in the second-generation Mazda3 makes 167 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission.
Beginning in 2012, new Skyactiv powertrains became available on select Mazda3 Touring editions. These models came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and a six-speed automatic were offered.
The second-generation Mazda3 rolled out numerous technological features, including Bluetooth connectivity, an available full-color navigation system and a Bose audio system with noise cancellation technology.