Traditionally, the Mazda3 has at all times been considered one of, if not the, driver’s alternative within the compact automobile phase. That is not stunning, given the corporate’s well-known follow of sprinkling great-driving dynamics into each automobile it makes. Nevertheless, previously, the tradeoff for the three’s nice on-road chops have been underwhelming interioris, cramped quarters and poor cabin tech.

With the introduction of the brand new 2019 three, Mazda is hoping to make up for previous sins with contemporary sheet metallic, plush inside environment and a well-populated characteristic checklist. For essentially the most half, fortunately, Mazda succeeded.

Mature threads

The previous-generation Mazda3 was a sharp-looking automobile, however this new mannequin strikes a fair cleaner and extra elegant look. There are not any arduous character traces or wild creases. As an alternative, there are simply delicate strokes that, along with the large grille and thin headlights, make for a sedan that is notably enticing from the entrance three-quarters view. If there are downsides to the outside wrapper, it is the staid again finish and plain Jane 10-spoke wheels.

Mazda retains issues easy contained in the cabin, too, with a pretty, flowing sprint. The entrance cabin is usually clutter-free, too, excluding local weather controls within the center. The Mazda’s cabin is completed up in a pretty two-tone black and beige coloration scheme, accented with a tasteful serving to of metallic trim. Not solely does it look good, however feels good, too. All supplies, from the rubbery panels to the stitched, soft-touch leather-based surfaces masking giant elements of the sprint, heart console and door panels are prime notch. There’s not a cheap-looking piece to be discovered inside, which positively wasn’t the case with earlier Mazda3 fashions.

Entrance lodging are comfy, with a superb seating place and supportive seats. The Mazda3 affords passable legroom and sufficient cubby spots to stash belongings. What could also be a pink flag for some prospects, nevertheless, is that the Mazda3 is without doubt one of the smaller compact automobiles on the market at present. As rivals just like the Honda Civic have gone by means of a progress spurt, the Mazda3 sticks to its tidier sizing. The story of the tape does present the Mazda rising three inches in size over its predecessor, with one inch positioned within the wheelbase. However even with that, the Mazda’s cabin continues to be tighter than most of its rivals — particularly for back-seat riders.

Richer tech

Disappointing know-how choices are a factor of the previous within the new three. Regardless of the trim, the Mazda3 will get an Eight.Eight-inch infotainment system working the newest Mazda Join software program, which lastly will get a much-needed visible makeover. Because the display is positioned additional again on the sprint, it is not responds to the touch, which means controls now primarily depend on the middle console dial and shortcut buttons. Sadly, the dearth of a touchscreen does make some issues like getting into addresses into navigation extra time consuming, however total, this setup works nicely. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are lastly on board, too. Mazda took its candy time to carry these two to market, however hey, higher late than by no means.

The place the three falls brief is in its choices to cost telephones and tablets. A single USB port resides on the middle stack, whereas one other USB and 12-volt socket are within the armrest compartment. Mazda does provide an non-obligatory $275 wi-fi cost pad, nevertheless it nonetheless will not assist individuals in again who haven’t any retailers inside simple attain, which is a bummer.

Mazda lastly will get into the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto recreation. 

Jon Wong/Roadshow

For security, all Mazda3 sedans (aside from the bottom mannequin) pack adaptive cruise management, ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a crystal-clear, high-definition backup digicam. The Premium Package deal tester pictured right here additionally provides a head-up show and adaptive headlights to the combo. Every thing works as marketed, and the Mazda3 affords an excellent checklist of tech at this value level.

Dynamic darling

Below the Mazda3’s hood lies a massaged model of the two.5-liter four-cylinder engine from the previous-generation automobile. This naturally aspirated I4 lays down 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Within the sedan your sole transmission choice is a six-speed automated, serving to to return an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 36 mpg on the freeway. These on the lookout for a guide gearbox must go for the Premium Package deal hatchback, that returns an estimated 25 mpg metropolis and 35 mpg freeway.

Off-the-line grunt is not something to put in writing residence about, however the Mazda3’s engine wakes up in the course of its rev vary and pulls regular to the 6,500-rpm redline. Up- and downshifts are at all times swift and well-timed, eliminating the necessity to use the paddle shifters (that are not very responsive, anyway). For arduous driving, a Sport mode affords completely different transmission programming that holds gears for longer intervals of time.

The Mazda3’s four-cylinder pulls arduous from the center of the rev band on.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

All-wheel drive is a brand new trick up the three’s sleeve for 2019 (learn all about it in critiques editor Manuel Carrillo’s first drive), my tester makes use of front-wheel drive. In typical Mazda style, the three is involving and playful — much more so this 12 months due to its stiffer chassis and, oddly, a brand new torsion beam rear suspension, which replaces the previous multilink setup. This would possibly appear to be a step backward by way of driving refinement, however I promise, it is an enchancment. Plus, Mazda says the three’s total lateral stiffness is up due to the brand new setup in again, and noise, vibration and harshness ranges enhance, as well.

Enter a nook and there is a trace of preliminary physique roll, however then the Mazda3 claws by means of turns, with a number of grip from the 18-inch Toyo Proxes A40 tires. Michigan’s bumpy roads usually do not combine nicely with torsion beam rear suspension setups, nevertheless it’s not a problem within the Mazda3, which is a pleasing shock. Steering weight and suggestions are additionally excellent, which provides to the general enjoyable issue.

When pushed usually, the three’s experience is compliant, with the suspension absorbing impacts from small bumps and potholes with out a hitch. Larger highway hazards shall be felt inside, however even then, there’s sufficient give within the chassis to stop it from being jarring.

At residence carving by means of corners or working errands round city.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

The one factor that takes getting used to is the brake pedal: it does not possess the robust preliminary chunk that I usually like. Within the three it is extra progressive in habits to assist brake smoother, with extra pedal strain summoning extra seize, which is smart. It takes some getting used to, and I am unsure I adore it.

How I would spec it

My excellent Mazda3 sedan could be a Most popular Package deal mannequin with a Deep Crystal Blue Mica paint job. Essential options like blind spot monitoring, rear cross site visitors alert, Bose sound system, satellite tv for pc radio and heated seats are all included, to assist make commuting a bit extra bearable. To cost my Samsung Galaxy smartphone, I would add the $275 wi-fi cost pad and be performed. That brings the value tag of my automobile to $25,395, which incorporates $920 for vacation spot.

The Premium Package deal automobile pictured right here with fancy issues like adaptive LED headlights, leather-based seats, head-up show and moonroof punches in at $27,720. These are all niceties I am keen to stay with out with the intention to save a couple of bucks.

This range-topping Mazda3 Premium Package deal stickers for $27,720.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Nonetheless the motive force’s alternative

The 2019 Mazda3’s $21,920 base value means it begins fairly a bit greater than rivals just like the Honda Civic ($20,370), Kia Forte ($18,715) and Toyota Corolla ($20,430). Nevertheless, once you have a look at greater trim ranges, the value hole does shut up. Both manner, the premium simply could also be value it to some with the intention to have the most effective driving automobile within the phase. Plus, with bang-up styling, an excellent cabin and unbelievable tech, I would don’t have any drawback ponying up a number of extra bucks for this actually wonderful bundle.

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