2021 Mazda Mazda3

2021 Mazda3 Photos
After seven years and an entire generation, there is finally another turbocharged Mazda3. But Mazda will be the first to tell you that it’s not, by any means, a successor to the rambunctious Mazdaspeed3, hence the lack of the name. Having driven it, we’ll be the second to tell you the same: this is definitely not a Mazdaspeed3. It’s an altogether different beast, but it’s still a good drive, and helps make the 3 a credible, budget alternative to an entry-level Audi or Mercedes. The turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is mostly the same one that Mazda has used in the CX-9 and turbocharged CX-5. It makes the same 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular fuel (or 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque on 93 octane), but it's been tweaked to fit in the Mazda3’s smaller engine bay. The biggest change is the use of an air-to-water intercooler integrated with the intake manifold that reduces the amount of plumbing. As a bonus to helping the engine fit, Mazda notes that the overall intake piping length is shortened, which should improve responsiveness. While we can’t speak to the improvement, the engine's response and power delivery is incredibly smooth. It feels about as close as a turbo engine can get to being like a supercharged or naturally aspirated engine. It’s easy to dial in exactly how much power you want, and there’s never an unexpected rush of turbo boost. All that torque is available low in the rev band, too, so it provides effortless acceleration, especially considering how much less mass the 3 has compared with its turbocharged crossover siblings. The smooth, relaxed acceleration is in keeping with the upmarket aim of the Mazda3 Turbo, and even compares favorably with powerplants from Audi and Mercedes. Those engines are similarly responsive, but deliver their torque in a fast rush, rather than the more gentle deployment of the Mazda. The turbo engine doesn’t lose much in efficiency, either. Overall fuel economy drops by just 1 mpg from the naturally aspirated all-wheel-drive Mazda3s. The sedan gets 27 mpg overall and the hatchback gets 26. The engine’s only real downside is that it’s a little noisy under acceleration, emitting a low growl. Arguably the smooth power delivery takes away some excitement often associated with small, turbo cars, but as we said before, this isn’t meant to be a Mazdaspeed successor. Like the engine, the drivetrain is closely related to other existing Mazdas. The standard six-speed automatic transmission is basically the same one used in the CX-9 and CX-5, but its casing was redesigned to fit the 3. It’s starting to show its age as shifts are relatively sluggish and its selection of six speeds stands in contrast to the eight that has become the more common minimum. This is especially the case when compared against the snappy-shifting seven- and eight-speed dual-clutch automatics found in the entry-level luxury cars Mazda is targeting. However, the 3's strong fuel economy would indicate its efficiency isn't suffering for …
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After seven years and an entire generation, there is finally another turbocharged Mazda3. But Mazda will be the first to tell you that it’s not, by any means, a successor to the rambunctious Mazdaspeed3, hence the lack of the name. Having driven it, we’ll be the second to tell you the same: this is definitely not a Mazdaspeed3. It’s an altogether different beast, but it’s still a good drive, and helps make the 3 a credible, budget alternative to an entry-level Audi or Mercedes. The turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is mostly the same one that Mazda has used in the CX-9 and turbocharged CX-5. It makes the same 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular fuel (or 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque on 93 octane), but it's been tweaked to fit in the Mazda3’s smaller engine bay. The biggest change is the use of an air-to-water intercooler integrated with the intake manifold that reduces the amount of plumbing. As a bonus to helping the engine fit, Mazda notes that the overall intake piping length is shortened, which should improve responsiveness. While we can’t speak to the improvement, the engine's response and power delivery is incredibly smooth. It feels about as close as a turbo engine can get to being like a supercharged or naturally aspirated engine. It’s easy to dial in exactly how much power you want, and there’s never an unexpected rush of turbo boost. All that torque is available low in the rev band, too, so it provides effortless acceleration, especially considering how much less mass the 3 has compared with its turbocharged crossover siblings. The smooth, relaxed acceleration is in keeping with the upmarket aim of the Mazda3 Turbo, and even compares favorably with powerplants from Audi and Mercedes. Those engines are similarly responsive, but deliver their torque in a fast rush, rather than the more gentle deployment of the Mazda. The turbo engine doesn’t lose much in efficiency, either. Overall fuel economy drops by just 1 mpg from the naturally aspirated all-wheel-drive Mazda3s. The sedan gets 27 mpg overall and the hatchback gets 26. The engine’s only real downside is that it’s a little noisy under acceleration, emitting a low growl. Arguably the smooth power delivery takes away some excitement often associated with small, turbo cars, but as we said before, this isn’t meant to be a Mazdaspeed successor. Like the engine, the drivetrain is closely related to other existing Mazdas. The standard six-speed automatic transmission is basically the same one used in the CX-9 and CX-5, but its casing was redesigned to fit the 3. It’s starting to show its age as shifts are relatively sluggish and its selection of six speeds stands in contrast to the eight that has become the more common minimum. This is especially the case when compared against the snappy-shifting seven- and eight-speed dual-clutch automatics found in the entry-level luxury cars Mazda is targeting. However, the 3's strong fuel economy would indicate its efficiency isn't suffering for …
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Retail Price

$20,650 - $33,900 MSRP / Window Sticker Price
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Engine 2.0L I-4
MPG 28 City / 36 Hwy
Seating 5 Passengers
Transmission 6-spd auto w/OD
Power 155 @ 6000 rpm
Drivetrain front-wheel
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