2019 Mazda3 New Car Test Drive
The redesigned 2019 Mazda3 marks the beginning of a new generation. With it, the perky personality of the previous car has matured into smooth and refined.
The hatchback has a stunning shape, with European lines suggesting Jaguar. The cabin is warm, upscale, and finely detailed. For the first time, the Mazda3 is available with all-wheel drive, which makes it a challenger to Subaru and Volkswagen.
The hatchback and attractive but less-gorgeous sedan are five-passenger compact cars, about the same size as the Honda Civic. Their 107.3-inch wheelbase is about 1 inch longer than before, while the hatchback is nearly 8 inches shorter than the sedan, yet offers quite a bit more cargo space. The redesigned cabin on both models is tight, quiet, and boasts exceptional fit and finish.
All Mazda3s are powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 with a 6-speed automatic transmission or, at the top of the hatchback lineup, a 6-speed manual. The all-wheel-drive system offered on all but the base sedan is a version of what's used in other Mazdas. It can move power to the wheels that might need traction before wheelspin actually occurs, making it great in snow and ice.
With the 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, the Mazda3 earns EPA ratings of 26 mpg city, 35 highway, 30 combined in either the sedan or hatchback. With all-wheel drive, the sedan gets 25/33/28 mpg and the hatchback gets 1 less mpg.
Mazda offers cylinder-deactivation technology on some Mazda3s, that shuts down two cylinders at very light loads. It comes in sedans with the Premium Package, and brings 27/36/30 mpg ratings.
The 2019 Mazda3 hasn't been crash-tested yet. All hatchbacks and all but base sedans come with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. On base sedans those features are options..
The front-wheel-drive Mazda3 Sedan comes in base, Select, Preferred, and Premium versions, while Hatchbacks skip the base model. All-wheel drive is available with every model except the base Sedan, which starts at a highly affordable $22,000.
Even the base model has decent standard equipment, but the Select Sedan for $23,600 offers more for the money; for that $1,600 difference it adds dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, 18-inch alloy wheels, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and last but definitely not least, a nearly full suite of active-safety equipment. That feature alone can cost $1,600 on some cars.
Select hatchbacks have synthetic leather upholstery instead of cloth.
Preferred models add a 12-speaker Bose sound system, heated front seats, and power driver's seat with memory.
Premium adds leather upholstery, adaptive front lighting, LED headlights, a power moonroof, and a head-up display. The 6-speed manual transmission is only available on the top model, the Premium hatchback. .