There are some vehicles that come along and get your attention more than others because they fill a unique niche in the market.
These are special cars.
The Mazda3 is one of those vehicles because it’s highly practical, yet at the same time, it’s a car that you can get excited about driving everyday.
We took the 2016 Mazda3 out for a thorough test in the mountains of Colorado, and city streets of Denver to give you an idea of what to expect if you buy the versatile, 5-Door hatchback model.
Mazda added more standard features to the Mazda3 for 2016. A rearview camera is standard on all Mazda 3s. Automatic headlights, auto wipers, and a sunroof are standard on trim levels higher than Sport. A manual transmission is no longer offered on the Mazda3 Touring.
Options & Features
This week we tested the 2016 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring ($26,495). It had a six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, and a navigation system. It also came with 18-inch wheels, a gloss-black grille insert, a digital speedometer, a heads-up display, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Grand Touring is upgraded with adaptive xenon headlights, LED taillights, daytime running lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and full leather upholstery. This tester came with the optional Appearance Package ($1,750) that included a front air dam, door mirror caps, and rear hatch spoiler.
Total MSRP including destination: $30,270.
The cockpit of the Mazda3 is sporty and focused on the driver – not like your everyday compact car. The interior has a high quality feel with above average materials, fit and finish wise, for the class.
Driving enthusiasts will like the thoughtful layout, with controls conveniently located on both sides of the steering wheel.
We liked the steering wheel paddle shifters for spirited driving to manually shift the 6-speed automatic.
A heads up display that is not found in the compact segment was very welcomed to help keep our eyes on the road as we motored through slower traffic. The rearview camera came in handy as we had extra cargo that blocked the back window this week.
We found the front seats to be comfortable and supportive. The extra bolstering helped keep us in the seat because of the Mazda3’s nimble driving dynamics. The rear seat is average for the class and will accommodate two adults. The hatchback body style offers 20.2 cubic feet of cargo carrying ability behind its rear seat; folding the seats yields 47.1 cubic feet.
While average for the class, the seats fold down easily with one push of the latch. When folded flat, we were able to easily load 15 medium size boxes with room to spare.
Engine & Fuel Mileage
Mazda3 Grand Touring is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, generating 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel mileage estimates are an impressive 27/37 city/highway mpg and 31 combined mpg.
We took the Mazda3 up a windy, mountain road west of Denver, and it was a good test of the 5-door hatch’s driving dynamics. We found the vehicle to be way above average in sporty character compared to the other compacts on the market.
Mazda has tuned the chassis for sport and the Mazda3 was able to carve through the tight mountain corners like a sports car. The 2.5-liter engine makes 185 lb-ft torque at 3,250 rpm making it strong under acceleration.
The 6-speed automatic transmission shifts with precision and confidence and has the characteristics of a dual-clutch system. We switched to Sport mode and that allowed quicker throttle response and later gearshifts. Sport mode also relaxed the stability control, giving us more composure when driving hard through the mountain corners this week.
In the city, the commute wasn’t boring and mundane, because this Mazda3 hatchback made the daily trip something to look forward to. We found the Mazda3 dials up driver engagement to a high level and the car ramps up the fun-to-drive meter to an eight out of ten.
We were able to zip in and out of traffic with ease. It made the 30 minute commute feel like half of that time. The only complaint we had this week was the cabin as it can be a bit noisy when traveling at highway speeds.
The 2016 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring is a practical city commuter that has above average interior quality and is highly driver focused. The hatchback body style is useful for carrying cargo, animals, and sports equipment.
It’s ideal for those with active lifestyles.
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It gets excellent fuel mileage and the 2.5-liter engine has enough power to keep a smile on your face during the daily commute.
Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring Gallery
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