The 2021 Mazda3 rolls out of the factory with three powertrain options – including a turbo engine – along with new tech features and the choice between a hatchback or sedan. The new Mazda3 checks off a few priorities on a car buyer’s list, namely affordability. Safety features and connectivity options are also a strong point for the 2021 Mazda3.
Given the nice balance between affordability and new technology, we could see buyers feeling confident with the Mazda3. Let’s walk through the vehicle top to bottom and see what’s new for 2021.
The chart above does not include the $945 destination fee ($990 in Alaska). There are three premium paint colors for the 2021 Mazda3: Soul Red Crystal ($595), Machine Gray Metallic ($495), and Snowflake White Pearl Mica ($395).
Mazda3 Engine Updates by Model
True to form, the Mazda3 has three engine options available. The first is the Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter found in the 2.0 Sedan which delivers 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft. of torque. Mazda added their now-famous G-Vectoring Control Plus system for extra traction and improved handling for the front-wheel drive 2.0 Sedan.
The next engine on the list is the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter with 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft. of torque. Buyers will find this engine under the hood of the Mazda3 2.5S. Unlike the 2.0 Sedan, the 2.5S is available as both a hatchback and sedan.
The final option – and the most fun to drive – is the 2.5-liter turbo in the aptly named Mazda3 2.5 Turbo. This Skyactiv-G 2.5T plant creates 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of torque on regular unleaded. If you make the switch to premium, then the powertrain generates 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque. Mazda worked to balance the turbo engine with the standard i-Activ all-wheel drive system, saying it adds a sense of refinement and harmony.
By harmony, Mazda tracks back to its core philosophy that the relationship between car and driver is similar to the relationship between a horse and its rider. In Japanese culture, this is known as Jinba Ittaiwhich transforms a car into more than a tool, but a living thing which responds to the driver like a horse responds to its rider.
2021 Mazda3 Standard Features
Starting in the driver’s seat – which is fitted in black cloth – the 2021 Mazda3 will have a push-button start and an 8.8-inch center display with Bluetooth capability. Drivers can access Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as two USB inputs. A three-year trial of Mazda Connected Services is standard.
Moving to the outside of the 2021 Mazda3, automatic LED headlights and a “matte” grille decorate the front of the vehicle. LED taillights, 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a rearview camera, and rain-sensing wipers (my favorite touch) are all standard.
2021 Mazda3 Safety Features
The 2021 Mazda3 offers a variety of advanced safety technologies. These systems include Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Alert, and High Beam Control.
Mazda3 2.5S With Select Package
Mazda’s Select Package arrives with a slew of new features like Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. The Select package also gets door mirror turn signals and 18-inch gray aluminum-alloy wheels. Interior updates include black leatherette seats, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, and rear armrest with cup holders. Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system is optional.
Mazda3 2.5S With Preferred Package
The Preferred Package adds a power moonroof for those rides where your friends pile in and you need a little extra air. Mazda switches the front grill to a gloss black and adds door mirrors with memory positioning. The front and rear seats can be outfitted with leatherette surfaces in black or greige (gray + beige), while the heated front seats receive eight-way power and lumbar support.
If you opt for the Premium package hatchback, you can actually get a six-speed manual transmission! (Too bad that’s not available for the turbo!). Black, white or red leather seats are standard (your choice) in the Premium Package, although the red leather is limited to the hatchback. Drivers are also treated to navigation, a Bose 12-speaker stereo, and a three-month trial of SiriusXM.
2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo
A heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, and chrome finishes for the glove box and push-start button are all exclusive to the Turbo. The interior has a power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, leatherette seating surfaces, aluminum speaker grilles, and a shift knob wrapped in leather.
Outside are the larger tailpipes, 18-inch black aluminum-alloy wheels, gloss black heated door mirrors, a rearview camera, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, and a shark fin antenna. A “TURBO” badge on the trunk and engine cover will leave no room for doubt which upgrades your Mazda3 has.
Moving to connectivity features, the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo gets a Bose 12-speaker premium stereo, Bluetooth functionality, and a Wi-Fi hot spot (six months or 2GB trial). The standard 8.8-inch center display is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Not to be forgotten, two USBs are available in the front for quick access.
Mazda3 2.5 Turbo With Premium Plus Package
Long name . . . but for those looking to upgrade, Mazda offers a Premium Plus Package for the Turbo. They add more dark elements to the exterior, including a gloss black rear spoiler for the sedan or a gloss black roof spoiler and front air dam for the hatchback. The Premium Plus package adds leather seats, navigation, and a 360-degree View Monitor with front and rear parking sensors.
We would probably opt for the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo. It will be the most fun to drive and is still affordable. If you have a little more to spend and like the gloss black design, the Premium Plus Package would be a nice treat.
Emily Pruitt is fascinated by the current changes in the automotive industry, from electric cars and infrastructure to fully autonomous vehicles. Outside of the automotive world, she can be found writing poetry or unraveling the latest mystery novel.