The Dallas Morning News

Mazda3 2.5 Turbo isa powerhouse

- By Glenn Rosen | Advertisin­g Writer

One of my sons owns a 2018 Mazda6. He’s quite happy with it and has no plans, as far as I know, of trading it for anything else.

Maybe I should have taken him for a ride in the classy soul red crystal metallic (a $595 option) 2021 Mazda3 Hatchback, the one with the 2.5-liter turbocharg­ed engine with up to 250 horsepower (227 with regular unleaded gas) that would have left him eating my dust. Well, probably that is. He tends to drive a bit faster than his father who is three times his age. Yikes.

But the Mazda3 is so much fun, you’ll feel like a much younger driver and may even get pulled over for speeding a time or two or eight if you’re not careful. Sure, you’ll feel some bumps along the way, but nothing that will bust your … backside.

The Mazda3 is an ideal vehicle for a long road trip, thanks to comfortabl­e leather seats (part of the Premium Plus Package) and room for five passengers, although fuel economy ratings of 23/31 mpg in city/highway driving are OK. The leather seats, along with a host of other package features, made for a pleasing week; in fact, I found myself “needing” extra groceries more times than normal so I could enjoy the extra rides. “What, Hon, we need apples? Let me go get them now before the store runs out!”

The test car had its highlights and a few of lowlights. Strong points included a large center storage area that slid forward and backward, an easily removable cargo cover and sizeable flat floor space when the second-row seats were folded down, a decent-sized center display and a multifunct­ional knob, which was used to control the many features of the display. Although the knob had its drawbacks, I liked it FAR more than the touchpads that seem way too prevalent these days. I dislike touchpads so much that I don’t

even use the one on my computer; I have a keyboard plugged into it. I suppose that says more about me than anything …

Other thumbs up go to amenities such as a heated steering wheel, a quick-to-cool dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, Android Auto and Apple Carplay capability, and a power-sliding moonroof that extended over the front row.

Mazda3 drawbacks included limited headroom and legroom for second-row passengers, a smallertha­n-desirable rear window and less side-window visibility than I’d prefer. The Mazda3 test vehicle was a hatchback (a sedan is also available), so you don’t get the SUV size or the SUV height, not even that of a compact SUV. If your next car has to provide the ability to look down on other drivers, the Mazda3 is not for you.

However, if you’re looking for a stylish and sporty hatchback (or sedan) with excellent power, safety features that helped pull in a fivestar rating in government crash tests, and the thrill of driving that you may not be getting from your current car, a test drive of a Mazda3 – specifical­ly the 2.5 Turbo with Premium Plus Package that started at $33,900 – should be noted on your to-do-really-soon list.

 ??  ?? 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo. Photo courtesy of Mazda.
2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo. Photo courtesy of Mazda.
 ??  ?? 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo. Photo courtesy of Mazda.
2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo. Photo courtesy of Mazda.

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