2019 Mazda3 – Automotive Review
Mazda graciously lent me the all-new Mazda 3 Sport AWD in a beautiful Polymetal Grey Metallic paint. I fell in love with this car as soon as I laid eyes on it and I was not disappointed after driving it. It was comfortable, quiet, smooth, and aesthetically pleasing. It ticks just about every box when it comes to sporty hatchbacks. It’s fun, its AWD, it’s nimble, and the price isn’t outrageous. During my “Month of Mazda” test driving the CX-9, MX-5, 3 Sport, and 6 Signature, the 3 gets the top spot in my books and my heart. There’s a reason the Mazda 3 has been Mazda’s best-selling car since 2003, and this year’s model shows you why.
When coming across a 2019 Mazda 3 in the wild, you will look twice. The new design is on the border of drastic and subtle. You could almost say perfect, almost. The 3 has a new aggressive face and a round and sporty looking back end. The hashmark grill sits well between 2 narrow and long LED headlights while the shiny and large Mazda emblem sits dead-center and also doubles as the front-view camera when parking. The taillights are a gem to stare at, and they help the 3 give it it’s the wide-body look. The model I had the honor to test had the 18” alloy rims finished in black which went exceptionally well with the Polymetal gray body color. The 2019 Mazda3 finally adopts the all-new Kodo design. The Japanese styling is on point and not in your face about it at the same time. There aren’t any swooping, sharp body lines as you usually see these days on sporty cars, but the silhouette of the 3 is what definitively separates itself from the pack — nothing else in its class like it.
When hopping inside, the sleek styling continues. The Mazda3 seemed to be the only vehicle of Mazda’s 2019 line-up to have the slightly upgraded and tweaked interior. This interior is with the times and well thought out while the other models were a tad dated and a little annoying. In the Mazda6 Signature, the armrest was set a little too far back for your arm to sit comfortably. The CX-9s infotainment system was the previous version, and the cameras were low resolution and tough to use. This was not the case in the Mazda3, as Mazda clearly saw these flaws and gave the driver a clear, almost 4k like back-up camera, and an adjustable center armrest with plenty of cargo space. The red leather accents throughout the dash and door panels, color matching the seats, set a very luxurious and high-end feel. The infotainment is clean, modern, and user-friendly. Android Autoplay and Apple CarPlay work fine, but I found myself using Mazda’s software as it just looked more natural to the inside of the car. Digital tachometer doesn’t look digital at all and is wildly smooth. The quietness of the cabin is one of the first things I noticed when driving. It is quiet. Scary quiet. The cabin was designed with a “double insulated” structure. Engine noise and road noise are reduced immensely. Being 6’1”, I didn’t feel cramped, and visibility was ample. As for the back seats, don’t expect your taller passengers not to complain when squeezed back there.
Out of the two engines offered for the 3, 2.0L and 2.5L, I was given the 2.5L. 186hp and 186 ft/lbs of torque powering all four wheels with the i-ACTIV AWD. Seven seconds after the light turns green you can be at 60mph, and for a bit of added fun, you can give the paddle shifters a flick, or 6. It’s a hair faster than its competition, the Honda Civic Touring, which comes with a 1.5L turbocharged engine. As fun as a turbo is in most cars, its fastened to a snooze-fest of a CVT engine. I can go on for hours about how annoying the CVT engine is, but I won’t, today. The Mazda 3 after 4000rpm sounds nice, and maybe after a few minor upgrades, it can sound great on the daily. The G-Vectoring Control Plus, MacPherson struts, and a newly developed torsion bar in the rear keep the Mazda 3 planted and in control when cornering hard; it’s quite impressive. It gives the driver plenty of control regardless of the circumstance. The safety features seem endless. With a plethora of acronyms on the invoice, just know you will be safe out there. Lane-keep assist, Auto breaking at low speeds, Rear Cross-traffic sensors, Driver fatigue warning, Windshield active driving display, and the list goes on.
For my money, there isn’t a car that will make you feel special like the Mazda 3 will in this class and for this price point. You’ll forget you’re sitting in a Mazda. The only thing I could muster up to criticize is the lack of excitement. It holds itself together well. No loud noises. No aggressive and darty steering. The engine has some “pick-up-and-go” but nothing surprising. A turbo would be nice to get the juices flowing. Other than that, the 3 is an exceptional car for Mazda. It shows the progression Mazda is making, and it’s setting a new standard for this, and other classes. Here’s to hoping the competition sees the progress and steps up their game, because currently, Mazda’s getting my money.
- As tested: $33,295 (Fully loaded)
- Fuel Economy: 9.8L/100km (City) 7.4L/100km (Highway)
- 2.0l SKYACTIV-G
- 155 hp @ 6000 rpm
- 150 ft-lbs torque @ 4000 rpm
- 2.5l SKYACTIV-G
- 186 hp @ 6000 rpm
- 186 ft-lbs torque @ 4000 rpm
- 8.8” MAZDA CONNECT infotainment screen
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard
- Available 12 speaker BOSE premium audio system