Is the best engine worth it?

mazda mazda3 Full Overview

The aspiration towards a higher level of luxury and refinement is an almost universal notion. Many of us Yanks would call it the American Dream, but the idea is far from exclusive to those who live in the United States. Mazda has been working on it for years.

The Japanese automaker has been known for decades as the sportier alternative to similarly priced Hondas and Toyotas (insert the well-worn slogan “zoom-zoom” here), but it has recently tried to adopt an identity of different brand. Based on its product strategy over the past five years and having developed a hybrid, rear-drive inline-six platform for the upcoming Mazda 6 and a pair of new SUVs, it is clear that Mazda is striving to go upmarket on the model of Lexus or Acura.

But what about its current lineup? With the optional turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and Premium Plus package, our 2022 Mazda 3 tester fetched a segment-high price of $34,115, more than $10,000 more than a Honda Civic. base and less than three thousand dollars from a BMW 228i Gran Coupe. So the question becomes: is a charged Mazda 3 a suitable luxury alternative, or a cheap compact with a handful of extra features?

Test figures and driving impressions

One thing’s for sure, this particular Mazda 3 isn’t your basic front-drive compact sedan with a sluggish four-cylinder. Its optional 2.5-liter turbo inline-four develops 227 hp (or 250 hp with super fuel) and 310 lb-ft of torque; both numbers are the highest you’ll find in the compact segment this side of a Civic Type R or Subaru WRX.

On the road, this premium Mazda 3 offers a more refined and mature driving experience than you’d expect from this class of vehicle. The turbo-four’s plentiful torque provides a good push every time you explore the latter half of throttle pedal travel, and the earlier peak torque masks the six-speed automatic transmission’s lack of cogs. aging compared to some of its peers. Additionally, noise, vibration, and powertrain harshness levels are better than some entry-level luxury cars.

The steering is heavy and precise, even offering a bit of feel. This is one area where Mazda’s sporting history shines through. Ride quality is firmer than a more relaxed compact like the Hyundai Elantra, but that translates into the 3’s superb body control and stable handling. is happy to keep up when you get excited on a twisty two-lane. We also had the chance to drive in snow and ice; the AWD system mixed torque back and forth to keep the little Mazda pointed straight and the driver calm. The traction control system severely limits power, but you can turn it off and have a little fun when you do.

That said, Mazda’s driver assistance system isn’t programmed to be as effective as those from Honda, Hyundai, Kia or Toyota. The lane centering almost never engages and the adaptive cruise control sometimes exhibits abnormal braking behavior. If you want something that minimizes highway fatigue with modern active safety features, the Mazda 3 isn’t for you.

Design Excellence

The Mazda 3 easily looks like the most expensive vehicle in the compact segment, with dash-to-axle spacing that conceals its FWD underpinnings better than rivals like the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe. Its LED front and rear lights are distinctly premium, and the way the turn signals flash brightly and slowly fade make it look straight out of an Audi.

Inside, the 2022 Mazda 3’s interior layout is minimalist without feeling cheap, and there are no finicky touch buttons; you get expensive buttons for climate and volume, which is a huge plus. It’s what elegance and class can feel in a relatively inexpensive vehicle. The materials and build quality are also top-notch, and the ergonomics are excellent, except for the cup holders, which aren’t ideal for larger drinks.

Some staff have had issues with the infotainment system (it may take too many steps to find basic functions like a radio tuner), but in many ways this is a better-executed version from an old BMW iDrive system. Mazda’s use of a rotary infotainment controller rather than a touchscreen allows the standard 8.8-inch infotainment screen to be mounted high on the dash, meaning the drivers can keep their peripheral vision on the road while selecting a podcast or adding a gas station to their navigation. road.

That’s not to say the interior isn’t lacking in a few features considering its nearly $35,000 price tag. Even when fully charged, the Mazda 3 lacks cooled seats, wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, rear air conditioning vents and a wireless charger, all of which are available from cheaper competitors. It should also be noted that the back seat of the Mazda is the tightest in the segment. The six-footer will brush their noggins on the headliner, and hard impacts won’t be easy on the spine.

Is the Mazda 3 Turbo a good car?

The turbocharged and charged 2022 Mazda 3 is not a vehicle for everyone. Its rear seat is extremely small and ill-equipped, the driver-assist technology lags far behind that of the competition, and some people won’t thrill with the infotainment system’s sometimes convoluted layout. There are also competitors with more features. But would you beat an entry-level luxury sedan like the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé? In a heartbeat.

This seems good! More details?

2022 Mazda 3 Sedan AWD Turbo Specs

STARTING PRICE $31,565
PRICE AS TESTED $34,115
VEHICLE UPFIT Front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
MOTOR 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Direct Injection Turbocharged Inline-4
POWER (SAE NET) 227 hp at 5,000 rpm*
TORQUE (NET SAE) 310 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (DIST FWD/REW) 3,376 pounds (62/38%)
WHEELBASE 107.3 inches
Length x Width x Height 183.5 x 70.7 x 56.9 inches
0-60MPH 6.4s
QUARTER MILE 14.8 sec at 94.6 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 120 feet
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.84g (average)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.6s @ 0.67g (average)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECONOMY 23/32/27mpg
EPA RANGE, COMB 343 miles
ON SALE Now
*250 hp on 93 octane fuel

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