For all the attention paid in recent years to trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles, the small car continues to answer the needs of a significant element of the car-buying public.
The appeal of traditional luxury cars, midsized sedans, convertibles and sports coupes have all faded. However, sales of small cars have remained relatively stable, and Asian carmakers have gone hunting for additional market share as American brands, notably Ford, have surrendered the space.
During the past 40 years, the Mazda3 has been a popular choice with many small-car buyers and Mazda has continued to change and to update the Mazda3 to keep up with the times.
Mazda now offers a hatchback version of the Mazda3 with driver assistance features and updated connectivity. But the hatchback also features a sunroof, comes with an efficient engine that packs plenty of punch and a nicely tuned chassis and suspension, which make the car a pleasure to drive.
Given Mazda’s long history of selling small cars in the U.S., it does not try to disguise the Mazda3 as a larger vehicle. Instead, the car’s exterior seems to celebrate the its roots with a fresh design and styling that celebrates its small size.
The area around the fifth door at the rear of the vehicle is given a special treatment, making it far more eye catching than the typical fifth door found on other hatchbacks and crossover vehicles. Designers also have lowered the height of the Mazda3, setting it apart from small crossover vehicles such as Mazda own CX-30. It also has only 5.5 inches of ground clearance, giving the overall vehicle a low profile even with 18-inch wheels at the corners.
Mazda’s designers have employed a clever strategy in furnishing the interior. They use an abundance of soft material on the instrument panel and on the inner doors, which made the cabin seem more comfortable. At the same time, they have opted for a very simple layout for the controls and screens inside the vehicle, which looks for very austere even with a cabin’s padded envelope.
All the critical control information is within easy reach of the driver in the utilitarian layout. The cabin is small, and I suspect it will seem cramped to a plus-sized individual. On the other hand, making the Mazda3 a hatchback rather than a notch back means there is more room for rear seat passengers and or packages. The visibility from the driver’s seat is good and the quality of sound system is well above average.
The 2023 Mazda3 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with double-overhead cams and a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual option and an active all-wheel-drive system.
The powertrain is capable of 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the Mazda 3 Hatchback has a combined fuel economy rating of 29 miles per gallon, including 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
The safety features include multiple airbags for protection in front- and side-impact crashes. The 2023 Mazda3 Hatchback also is equipped with driver assistance features such as blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam headlight control for the LED highlights.
The Bose audio system in the vehicle I drove It also equipped with Bluetooth, Sirius XM radio connection, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. In addition, the Mazda3 Hatchback comes rain-sensing windshield wipers
Mazda tries, and succeeds, in building its small cars so they are sporty and fun to drive. The Mazda3 Hatchback comes with extra power, responsive steering and firm brakes, and its overall driving dynamics are excellent. It has the power to get up and down the freeway, and it also plenty of grip out on back roads.
The suspension is nicely balanced and help clear the bumps on Michigan’s less than ideal roads during the week I had to drive the car. Another element with which I was impressed was how relatively quiet the cabin was. It is quieter than other cars in the class so you can actually hear the music or carry on a conversation out on the road.
2023 Mazda3 Carbon Edition AWD Hatchback Specifications
|Dimension||L: 1755 inches/W: 70.7 inches/H: 56.7 inches/Wheelbase: 107.3 inches|
|Powertrain||2.5-liter 4-cylinder; 6-speed automatic transmission|
|Fuel Economy||26 mpg city/33 mpg highway/29 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $23,550; As tested: $31,115 including $1.065 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Mazda has a lot of competition in the small car segment from its Asian rivals. While Ford, General Motors and Stellantis bailed out of the segment, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and Kia all have very good entries in this segment.
Mazda’s vehicles are priced a bit higher than its rivals and $31,000 is hardly econo-box territory. But Mazda 3 Hatchback comes with a powerful engine and a long list of safety and comfort and convenience features. I also like what they have done with the styling, and I think American motorists should not be so quick to pass over hatchbacks.
2023 Mazda3 Carbon Edition Hatch — Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Mazda3 hatchback come in AWD?
The Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback models also come standard with i-Activ AWD which constantly directs torque to the wheels with the most grip to help optimize performance in nearly any weather.
Is the Mazda3 economical?
In the real world, it is little more economical than the SkyActiv G, but it is a far better performer.
How long do Mazdas last, mileage wise?
The most dependable Mazda models can reach up to 200,000 to 250,000 miles and run up to more than a decade with proper care and maintenance. However, Mazda’s longevity can vary from one model to the next.