The Dallas Morning News
Mazda3 2.5 Turbo isa powerhouse
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.