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Archive for the ‘Mazda 3’ Category

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs

The Mazda3 has been around since 2003, but the current version debuted for the 2014 model year. Thankfully, Mazda hasn’t let it trudge through the last four years unchanged. Small updates each year have kept it fresh. The same is true for the 2018 model year, which is exactly why I wanted to test the latest version. Parked in my driveway is a 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring coated in Soul Red Metallic and equipped with the six-speed automatic and the well-equipped Premium Package.

Like before, the Grand Touring trim is the highest of the Mazda3 range, and when combined with the Premium Package, offers some pretty nice features, creature comforts, and a strikingly classy ambiance for well under $30,000. But before I dive into my subjective thoughts and impressions, I wanted to cover the objective stats and specs of this Japanese hatchback.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757897

The 2018 Mazda3 5-Door is a compact hatchback with a small footprint. With a total length of 180 inches, the 3 will fit just about anywhere. Yet, thanks to its wheelbase of 106.3 inches and track of 61 inches, it has a stable ride at highway speeds and around corners. Best of all, the car is pretty light at only 3,098 pounds. That means its 184-horsepower four-cylinder has less to move. It also helps with fuel economy, too.

Wheelbase (inches) 106.3
Length (inches)
w/License Plate Holder
180.3
Width (inches) w/o Body Side Protector 70.7
Height, unladen (inches) 57.3
Track front/rear (inches) 61.2/61.4
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3,098

Interior Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757919

As compact as the Mazda3’s exterior is, its interior is impressively spacious. Front occupants have a good amount of room, with 42.2 inches of legroom and 38.6 inches of headroom. And despite the car’s track being only 61 inches wide, the front occupants enjoy 57.2 inches of shoulder room.

Rear passengers have a bit less room, though, measuring 35.8 inches in legroom, 37.6 inches of headroom, and 54.4 inches of shoulder room. Still, the back seat is just fine for kids and will easily accommodate two adults on anything shorter than a road trip.

The 5-Door’s advantage is cargo room. There are 20.2 cubic-feet of cargo room behind the second row and 47.1 cubic feet of room with the 60/40-split bench folded flat.

Headroom, front/rear without Moonroof (inches) 38.6/37.6
Headroom, front/rear with Moonroof (inches) 37.6/37.5
Leg Room, front/rear (inches) 42.2/35.8
Shoulder Room, front/rear (inches) 57.2/54.4
Hip Room, front/rear (inches) 55.5/53.5
EPA Passenger Volume (cubic feet) 96.4
EPA Cargo Volume (cubic feet) 20.2
EPA Cargo Volume with rear seats down, (cubic feet) 47.1
EPA Total Volume (cubic feet) 116.6

Drivetrain Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757901

While the Mazda3 comes standard with a 2.0-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder, the Touring and Grand Touring trims come with the more powerful 2.5-liter SkyActive four. The engine makes 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at only 3,250 rpm. A silky smooth six-speed manual comes standard, but the optional six-speed automatic transmission is available.

The sprint to 60 mph takes only 6.8 seconds, and its top speed is listed at 130 mph. Fuel economy is slightly more impressive, though not class-leading. The EPA estimates the Mazda3 5-Door with the automatic at 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined. Staying with the manual transmission reduces each figure my one mpg.

Engine Type-SKYACTIV-G 2.5L DOHC
Horsepower 184 HP @ 5,700 RPM
Torque 185 @ 3,250 RPM
Transmission SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual
Optional Trans SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic
Fuel economy 25 / 34 / 29 (Manual trans)
Fuel economy 26 / 35 / 30 (Automatic trans)
Top Speed 130 mph

Pricing Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757894

The 2018 Mazda3 5-Door starts at $19,345. Comparatively speaking, that’s a reasonable price. The Volkswagen Golf starts at $20,715, the Honda Civic Hatchback starts at $19,730, the Hyundai Elantra GT starts at $20,235, and the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback starts at $22,195.

My Grand Touring tester with the automatic transmission carries a base price of $24,945. Several á la carte options add cost, but also add convenience and style. These items include the $75 cargo mat, the $300 Soul Red Paint, the $100 rear bumper guard, the $125 scuff plates and door sill trim plates, and the big one – the $1,600 Premium Equipment Package.

The Premium Equipment Package adds navigation, paddle shifters, adaptive front lighting, smart brake support, radar cruise control, traffic sign recognition, auto-dim rearview mirror with HomeLink, a heated steering wheel, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. Needless to say, that $1,600 is well spent.

Sport MT SKYACTIV-G 2.0L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed manual transmission $19,345
Sport AT Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed automatic transmission $20,395
Touring MT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed manual transmission $20,840
Touring AT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed automatic transmission $21,890
Grand Touring MT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed manual transmission $23,895
Grand Touring AT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed automatic transmission $24,945

References

Mazda3


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757890

The Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-Door Gives New Meaning to Affordable Luxury


2016 - 2018 Mazda3 - image 639252

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda3.


maker logos - image 741756

Read more Mazda news.

PostHeaderIcon The Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-Door Gives New Meaning to Affordable Luxury

Mazda has made a name for itself by offering affordable cars and crossovers with high-class styling and impressively put-together interiors. I’m reminded of that thanks to the 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring parked in my driveway this week. It’s fitted with just about every bell a whistle Mazda offers, which is just about everything you’d want in a sub-$30,000 hatchback.

As for the interior quality, the Grand Touring trim includes some rather soft leather seats with three-way heating and a heated steering wheel. The door panels and center console enjoy the same soft leather, making elbows happy. What isn’t leather is made from high-quality plastics. Piano black plastic surrounds the gearshift and door panel switches, while the dash, steering wheel, and infotainment controls are made from a low-sheen, soft touch material. A few metal accents are scattered through the cabin for a nice touch.

The Grand Touring trim, especially when combined with the $1,600 Premium Equipment Package, brings a ton if active and passive safety items, too. My tester has Adaptive Front lighting that follows the steering angle, radar cruise control, traffic sign recognition, automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and lane keep assist. The Mazda3 will even stop itself in low-speed traffic situations thanks to the Smart Brake Support.

But the Mazda3 is more than just a nice interior, safety systems, and a sculpted body. The driving experience feels more high end than its price would suggest. The steering is nicely weighted and the 2.5-liter SkyActiv’s 184 horsepower feels more like 200, especially in sport mode. The six-speed automatic transmission is well sorted and makes the most of the engine’s 185 pound-feet of torque. Holistically, the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring offers tons of amenities with a price that’s well placed in its class.

As for cost, The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring starts at $24,945. My tester stickers at $28,020, which includes several options and the $875 destination fee.

We will be covering the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring this week, so post your questions and we’ll answer them.

References

Mazda3


2016 - 2018 Mazda3 - image 639252

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda3.


maker logos - image 741756

Read more Mazda news.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda Could Bring AWD to the Mazda3 and Mazda6 in the U.S.

There’s a lot to like about the new Mazda6. It has a fresh look and a new 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that has an output in the range of 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. All that power is sent to the two front wheels courtesy of a standard SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. The setup is impressive, but if Mazda really wants to elevate the status of the 6, the next logical step would be to throw all-wheel drive into the mix.


2018 Mazda6 - image 748276
“Mazda discussed the possibility of the Mazda6 getting all-wheel-drive capability in response to the huge demand in the U.S. for all-wheel-drive variants”

Mazda North America Operations President and CEO Masahiro Moro discussed the possibility of the Mazda6 getting all-wheel-drive capability in response to the huge demand in the U.S. for all-wheel-drive variants. Moro indicated that the sedan’s current architecture isn’t compatible with an all-wheel-drive system. “We have a layout issue with the sedans, that’s why a four-wheel drive isn’t deployed on the Mazda3 and 6 so far,” he said.

Such is the case, though, when demand is high for a specific product, as it is with four-wheel drive models in the U.S. An automaker like Mazda has to find a way to see if it can accommodate that demand. It’s especially important for a car like the Mazda6, which the Japanese automaker has high hopes for in the American market. To his credit, Moro has already been proactive in figuring out ways to work around the current issues.
“Four-wheel drive becomes a premium queue for US consumers and obviously I have asked our R&D department to think about how we can accommodate four-wheel drive capability in the future,” he said.

Mazda is playing it as it should in this situation. It knows where the market is right now for the Mazda6 in the U.S. It also knows that the company’s current platform limitations rule out all-wheel drive variants for the current 2.5-liter Mazda6. But it’s this same limitation that’s pushing Mazda to look into all the possibilities that will help bring all-wheel-drive models of the Mazda6 to the U.S.

References

Mazda6


2018 Mazda6 - image 748265

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda6.

Mazda3


2016 - 2018 Mazda3 - image 639258

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda3.



Read more Mazda news.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda Kai

2017 Mazda Kai Concept

Welcome to the future! Well, we’re not there quite yet, but the Mazda Kai Concept is essentially a quick look into the crystal ball that exposes the future of Mazda vehicles. Unlike Mazda’s “Vision” concept at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the Kai is something that Mazda could actually make some in the near future. It could even possibly represent the next-gen Mazda3 hatchback – a model that will be due for replacement in the next three to four years anyway. So, what does it bring to the table? Try stunning looks, aggressive lines, sleek curves, and the SkyActiv-X powertrain that’s expected to propel the Mazda brand into the next decade. Meanwhile, the interior gets a toned down look with accents in just the right places, a display screen that’s as wide as the day is long, and a cabin that emphasizes space as much as it does the car’s sporty prowess.

So, will Mazda turn this into the next-gen Mazda3 Hatch? Well, it’s certainly too early to tell since the third-gen model was just revamped for the 2017 model year. So, by the time 2020 get here, we could see a production prototype of that bad boy tearing up the streets with the usual pre-production camo and cloud of mystery floating above it. But, until that happens, let’s take a closer look at this concept, talk some more about it, and speculate a bit about what it could become in the future.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda Kai Concept.

Mazda Press Conference at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

Exterior

  • Bubbly appearance
  • Aggressive front end
  • Sexy Roofline
  • Attractive rear end

2017 Mazda Kai - image 740410
“Violent, mean, aggressive, intense, rampant, raging, wild, and frenzied”

Violent, mean, aggressive, intense, rampant, raging, wild, and frenzied – these words, among others, could all be used to describe the exterior design of the Mazda Kai Concept. The lines just seem to flow in a way that most automakers can seem to match. Take a look at the bottom of the A-pillars then look at how the hood line runs toward the nose, tilting in ever so slightly to make the hood narrower up front. Without a frame below, the hood and inner points of the fenders come together to create a bit of an overhang that shadows the chrome Mazda emblem positioned in the top-center of that recessed, black honeycomb grille. The design of the headlights, which appear to be LED units, flow seamlessly into the gloss black bezel that surrounds the sides and lower edge of the grille, coming to a point right in the center that matches that of the front fascia. Speaking of the fascia, notice how those long fenders seem to seamlessly blend in with the fascia? That’s what you call attractive from any angle.

The fascia itself features those stout lines in the corners that are put in the place most manufacturers would have dumped some fake vents to keep up with the Jones’ while the air dam below runs nearly the full width of the fascia but maintains a low profile despite the overwhelming style of the car itself. Finally, the lip running across the bottom of the fascia is a hit that some down pressure is needed and gives us hope that this little four-door hatch could provide some decent performance More about that later, though.


2017 Mazda Kai - image 740411
“As you move along to the side, it becomes evident that Mazda took its time when it came to design”

As you move along to the side, it becomes evident that Mazda took its time when it came to design and made it a point to put an emphasis and excessively tight clearance for not only the body panel but the doors as well. If this thing drove by you at 50 mph, you wouldn’t even be able to tell that it has doors. Of course, the lack of traditional door handles does help that a bit, as do those side view cameras. On the other hand, there are three features to the side profile that make this car so attractive. The first is those excessively long fenders that seem to run on forever. The second is the sheer smoothness of the side profile with its somewhat bubbly nature, while the third is the waistline that rides just north of parallel to the road and takes a sharp turn upward near the end of the rear doors. Down below the side skirts are accented by a small lip that curves upward just ahead of the rear wheel to create a little wingtip of sorts.

Looking at the Kai concept from the rear end and you can actually notice (and absorb) the fact that this thing has some very flared wheel arches. They aren’t all that noticeable from the front or side view, but from the rear, they are so flared that they the car actually has a smooth but muscular appearance to it. Meanwhile, the bubbly appearance continues around back but is toned down a bit thanks to the dramatic cutout for the headlights that feature circular LEDs recessed into the body. The Mazda emblem sits all by its lonesome in the center of the hatch and the little lip just below it makes the rear hatch look a little wider than it really is. It should also be pointed out that the “rear fascia” is part of the body shell. Now, this does make for a cleaner look, no doubt, but it poses a problem should this model shift into production as it could lead to some expensive repair bills or even a total vehicle loss after even a minor rear-end collision.


2017 Mazda Kai - image 740414
“The rear hatch is actually a bit wider up top where the rear windscreen is, and that little overhang holds tight to the top of the rear hatch”

Outside of this, the rear hatch is actually a bit wider up top where the rear windscreen is, and that little overhang holds tight to the top of the rear hatch. The bottom of the “fascia” gets a massive, flat-black insert with a black-hole-like opening along the bottom that runs almost the full width, being flanked but the circular exhaust outlet on each side. At the bottom, another lip is in place to level things out and tie the front and sides together in full harmony. The last thing I want to point out is the rood actually has two glass panels that for a T-top like-look, with the center portion of the roof getting two very sharp boy lines that provide some serious style if you happen to be looking down on this sexy little hatch.

Interior

  • Leather interior
  • Red accents
  • Long digital display
  • Digital Controls

2017 Mazda Kai - image 740409
“There is a sporty appearance while the smooth, elegant lines provide a feeling of length and dominance”

The interior of the Kai is just as intriguing as the exterior. There is a sporty appearance while the smooth, elegant lines provide a feeling of length and dominance. The seats sit far to the rear of the cabin, ultimately creating a legroom problem for those in the rear, but plenty of space for those up front. The dash has a two-tier look to it with a thin pad up top that overhangs along the full width of the dash with a longer overhang above the instrument cluster. The second tier sits lower and is widely smooth – a feature that helps the cabin feel wider than it really is. A long, thin screen sits between the upper dash bad and the lower, serving as a home for the infotainment system that looks to be more accessible to the passenger than the driver until you look at the center console and notice the circular touchback to the rear of the shifter.

Sitting below the dash is the HVAC console that appears to include the vents and control. The HVAC controller itself is fully digital, however, there is one number in the corner closest to the driver. The center console sits high between the rear seats, something that gives the car a real sports car feel and is certainly rivaled only by the Kia Stinger at this point in time. The face of the center console is recessed a bit and is either black glass or very glossy plastic. The gear shifter sits about in the middle and looks to be a spring-loaded unit that allows for a slapstick-like driving experience. Red accents make up the walls above the console face and match those accents on the door trim panels. The seats are upholstered in the blackest of black.


2017 Mazda Kai - image 740417
“The view of the driver includes a three-gauge cluster that would be quite nice as a digital unit but appears to be analog in nature”

The view of the driver includes a three-gauge cluster that would be quite nice as a digital unit but appears to be analog in nature. The steering column is short, much like the levels coming off the column while the steering wheel has thin spokes and a smaller central hub, giving the wheel a classic feel even with the chrome inserts and leather wrapping. The questions I’m left with are where do the side view cameras display their images and how much passenger and cargo room does this thing really have in the rear. The answer for the former is likely the rearview mirror, which could also be an all-digital unit and display a picture from the rear facing cabin out back. As for the passenger and cargo room, well, that’s like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop: the world may never know.

Drivetrain

  • SkyActiv-x Engine
  • 20-30 percent more efficient
  • 10-30 percent more torque
  • Up to 230 Horsepower
  • Could preview next-gen Mazda3 Hatch

Mazda has a lot Planned for the Tokyo Motor Show - image 737439
“Kai is powered by the new SkyActiv-X powerplant that will find its way into production cars as soon as the 2019 model year”

Mazda didn’t say very much about either of the new concepts that it brought to Tokyo, but we know that the Kai is powered by the new SkyActiv-X powerplant that will find its way into production cars as soon as the 2019 model year, with the Mazda3 hatchback being the most likely candidate for its initial introduction. For now, very little is known about the SkyActiv-X, but we do know that it uses a spark-assisted compression ignition system. This works by using very high compression to combust the gasoline-air mixture inside each cylinder. It works the same way a diesel engine fires, however, gasoline requires much higher compression rates and, as such, doesn’t work quite as well at all engine loads and temperatures, which is why you need the spark plug for the occasional assist. The engine itself is a 2.0-liter four-banger and should be able to deliver some 200 horsepower or maybe a little more. According to Mazda, it can deliver 10 to 30 percent more torque than the current SkyActive engines in use today while being 20 to 30 percent more efficient.

It really does sound promising, but test drives of vehicles fitted with pre-production versions yielded conditions such as spark knock – which was said by Mazda to be “normal” as well as some sluggishness at certain engine speeds like the engine was struggling to determine exactly when to use spark assist and when not to. Almost like it was experiencing a pre-ignition sort of situation. Of course, considering this engine is only good for so much horsepower, and there’s no telling what can actually be done to improve power, Mazda has to have a solution to offer even more power down the road. Well, this engine can be paired with a standard transmission or a hybrid unit so that more power could, in theory, be delivered with this engine with a little bit of electric help. On top of that, if the concept will work with four-cylinders it should work with six as well (Mazda hopes, anyway.) The biggest thing is, however, is that purchasing a car using this new type of engine is quite risky – it has no proven track record, no word for reliability, and good luck finding a mechanic that knows how to work on it, even at your local Mazda dealer in the first year or two the engine is in service.


2017 Mazda Kai - image 740424
“You can probably expect this concept to jump to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds or so, while top speed would probably be around 140 mph”

On the plus side, if the technology does prove to be worthy of long-term production, it could help keep the internal combustion engine in play for a long time to come and will give Mazda time to bank up a little cash to do some more R&D on the electrification front – something it wants to push but claims to have limited funds for R&D. For now, you can probably expect this concept to jump to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds or so, in optimal running conditions, while top speed would probably be around 140 mph based solely on an educated guess that the engine will produce somewhere around 200 horsepower an 230 pound-feet of torque.

Conclusion


2017 Mazda Kai - image 740414

When I first looked into Mazda today, the first thing I saw was the Vision Concept, and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. I thought it looked a lot like the Mercedes-Maybach6 Concept with some different lines. Of course, it could also show Mazda’s intent to take the plunge into more luxurious territory, but we’ll leave that conversation for another day. In the end, I browsed past that Vision concept and took a good hard look at the Kai, and I said (Yes, I actually said it out loud to myself,) “that’s the future Mazda3 Hatchback right there. Whether or not it will be the fourth-gen model remains to be seen, as we’ve already seen prototypes on the road and they look nothing like this, but it could very well represent a future version of the car. We can at least hope anyway, right? For now, there’s not much else to say about this concept except that it has all the right credentials to become a production model so hopefully Mazda won’t leave this concept lost in time past. What do you guys think? Would you roll a hatchback like looks like this baby? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Leave it
    • No details on SkyActive-X
    • Who knows when it’ll get to production
    • Little word from Mazda

References

Mazda3


2019 Mazda3 - image 689583

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mazda3.


2017 Nissan IMx - image 740404

Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda3

The Mazda3 has been generating solid sales for the Japanese automaker ever since it was introduced in 2003, but it was the third-generation model, launched in 2013, that established the nameplate as a strong competitor in the compact market. Selling more units than ever, the third-gen car received a mild update in 2016, but Mazda is already working on the next-generation model. Not much is known about the fourth-generation version, but Mazda’s North American design director, Julien Montousse, has recently unveiled that its design will borrow styling cues from the gorgeous Mazda RX-Vision concept.

Believed to preview the next-generation Mazda RX-7, the RX-Vision concept is also expected to inspire several vehicles in the company’s lineup in the future. The Mazda3 will become the first model to make use of the concept’s sporty lines and we just created a rendering of how the hatchback model may look like. The new Mazda3 won’t see the light of day until at least 2018, but having seen the company’s evolution in recent years, it’s not too difficult to predict what the next compact will bring to the table. As a result, we also put together a speculative review to go with our new rendering. Keep reading for all the info and make sure you stay tuned for updates.

Updated 09/01/2017: The next-gen Mazda3 was caught testing for the first time and, as you can see from the stickers on the prototype, it will feature Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X engine technology!

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Mazda3.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda3

Standing out in the world of compacts is no easy feat. The corner-cutting measures it takes to offer a product at a competitive price in this segment can quickly demote a car to drab background filler. Throw in the customer’s demand to “do it all,” from sporting fun to commuting practicality, and what you’re left with can often feel like too much of a compromise. That’s not the case with the Mazda3, which combines standout styling, top-notch safety, cutting-edge interior appointment and fantastic driving dynamics into one cohesive package, all for an aggressive price. For 2016, Mazda kept all those characteristics, but upped the ante with a variety of new features, both standard and optional.

Mazda3 was originally introduced in 2003 as a replacement for the Protégé, with a second generation unveiled five years later. Now in its third generation, the 3 continues to be one of the best compact cars on the market. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Automotive News reports annual U.S. sales of the Mazda3 have overtaken gains in the compact market as a whole, with growth of 5.2 percent compared to a 3.1 percent average for all other segment models. So then – what makes it so good?

Updated 08/02/2017: Mazda just released info on the 2018 model year Mazda3. Check it out below!

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda3.

PostHeaderIcon Buyer's Guide: Mazda 3 vs Honda Civic Hatchback

SUVs have the world by storm, getting a second wind after the high-priced fuel crisis of years past, and ultimately forcing automakers to rethink their whole strategy. But, SUVS aren’t the only popular models on the market, as hatchbacks are still a big-ticket item as well. There are so many to choose from – models like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, and even the Mini Cooper have found their way into the hearts of many, but there are two other players in this game that are worth your consideration, and those are the Honda Civic Hatchback and the Mazda3. Both offer aggressive styling, decent power output, and the ability to haul a decent amount of cargo or a few friends with ease.

The Honda Civic has been around for a long time, being introduced back in 1972. It was originally offered in a number of configurations, including three- and five-door hatchback form. The Civic itself has survived well over the years with the tenth-gen model being introduced for 2016. The Mazda3, on the other hand, is relatively a baby in comparison, being introduced just back in 2003. It saw its third generational shift for the 2014 model year and went through a minor revision for the 2017 model year. With Mazda’s latest design language and range of SkyActiv engines, the Mazda 3 is always ready to do battle with the other great hatchbacks in the world, but today we’re going to compare it directly to the Civic Hatchback and help you decide which one you should buy when it comes time to pull the trigger on your next big purchase.

With that said, let’s dive on in and take a good look at each one. Both come to the party with a lot to offer, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. Join me down the page, and we’ll get started.


PostHeaderIcon Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest

Here’s the scenario – you want a car, but it has to be the right car. It’s gotta be practical and comfortable, but it can’t be a complete snooze-fest behind the wheel either. You don’t want a crossover, and a sedan isn’t gonna cut it. What you want is a hatchback, something with a little zest and personality, but something that won’t break the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there, but which to choose? To help you decide, we’ve gathered six of the top contenders and put them head-to-head in the following comparison article. Let’s get ready to rumble.

To keep it all apples-to-apples, each of the entries in our comparison comes packaged in a five-door body style, gets standard FWD, and is instilled with at least a hint of sportiness. Each is also tagged with an MSRP around the $20,000 mark. With criteria like that, we decided to include the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda 3 Hatchback, Mini Cooper Hardtop Four-Door, and Volkswagen Golf GTI.

While all six of these hatchbacks are solid choices in their own right, the question remains – which is the best? Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full comparison.


PostHeaderIcon Mazda3

The Mazda3 has been generating solid sales for the Japanese automaker ever since it was introduced in 2003, but it was the third-generation model, launched in 2013, that established the nameplate as a strong competitor in the compact market. Selling more units than ever, the third-gen car received a mild update in 2016, but Mazda is already working on the next-generation model. Not much is known about the fourth-generation version, but Mazda’s North American design director, Julien Montousse, has recently unveiled that its design will borrow styling cues from the gorgeous Mazda RX-Vision concept.

Believed to preview the next-generation Mazda RX-7, the RX-Vision concept is also expected to inspire several vehicles in the company’s lineup in the future. The Mazda3 will become the first model to make use of the concept’s sporty lines and we just created a rendering of how the hatchback model may look like. The new Mazda3 won’t see the light of day until at least 2018, but having seen the company’s evolution in recent years, it’s not too difficult to predict what the next compact will bring to the table. As a result, we also put together a speculative review to go with our new rendering.

Keep reading for all the info and make sure you stay tuned for updates. We’ll be back to update this piece as soon as the first test cars hit public roads.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Mazda3.


PostHeaderIcon Next-Gen Mazda3 to Take DNA from Mazda RX-Vision Concept

When Mazda unveiled the RX-Vision at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, car enthusiasts all over the world began dreaming about a next-generation RX-7 that would include many of the concept’s spectacular styling cues. And, with Mazda having already confirmed that a rotary-engined RX-7 is indeed underway, a production-ready version of the RX-Vision is still a few years away. More recently though, the Japanese automaker revealed that the concept will inspire more vehicles from the company’s lineup, the first of which will be the next-generation Mazda3.

That’s the word from Mazda’s newly-appointed North American design director, Julien Montousse. Speaking to CarBuzz, which asked him whether the RX-Vision will become more than just a design study, Montousse confirmed that the some of its styling cues will find their way on future products.

“The RX-Vision is a breakthrough in Mazda design. We wanted to expand and capture more sophistication and the wow factor. This is the next evolutionary step for our Kodo design language. We wanted to generate an emotional reaction from the public. This design direction will inspire the future Mazda lineup, such as the next Mazda3,” he said.

This is definitely great news as the RX-Vision is quite the gorgeous concept, even if the next Mazda3 won’t be as sleek and sporty. So, what are we to expect from this mash-up? Among the first things that Mazda will probably transfer from the RX-Vision onto the Mazda3 will be the larger front grille and the slim headlamps with thin LED inserts carved into the body. The compact could also get the blacked-out trim, most likely on its more expensive models, and a sportier roofline. I don’t see the concept’s taillights making it on the Mazda3, but the rear end should also get slimmer light units to go with the sportier design.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Mazda3

Standing out in the world of compacts is no easy feat. The corner-cutting measures it takes to offer a product at a competitive price in this segment can quickly demote a car to drab background filler. Throw in the customer’s demand to “do it all,” from sporting fun to commuting practicality, and what you’re left with can often feel like too much of a compromise. That’s not the case with the Mazda3, which combines standout styling, top-notch safety, cutting-edge interior appointment and fantastic driving dynamics into one cohesive package, all for an aggressive price. For 2016, Mazda kept all those characteristics, but upped the ante with a variety of new features, both standard and optional.

Mazda3 was originally introduced in 2003 as a replacement for the Protégé, with a second generation unveiled five years later. Now in its third generation, the 3 continues to be one of the best compact cars on the market. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Automotive News reports annual U.S. sales of the Mazda3 have overtaken gains in the compact market as a whole, with growth of 5.2 percent compared to a 3.1 percent average for all other segment models.

So then – what makes it so good?

Updated 07/14/2016: Mazda has announced a minor revision to the Mazda 3 for the 2017 model year, which will go on sale in the U.S. sometime later this year. Check out the review below to learn what you can expect when it hits showrooms.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda3.


PostHeaderIcon Is The Mazda 6 Getting A Turbocharged Engine?

Mazda’s new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is already making an impression on the newly launched Mazda CX-9 SUV and apparently, the CX-9 isn’t the only model that can take advantage of the new turbo four engine. Turns out, the engine is also compatible with both the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6, leading to the possibility that both models could one day get the engine for themselves.

Speaking with CarAdvice, Dave Coleman — Mazda North America vehicle development engineer — highlighted the engine’s size and versatility and how it’s configuration would be able to seamlessly fit into the engine makeup of both the 3 and the 6. It’s worth noting that both models use a naturally aspirated version of another 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that maxes out at 185 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. The numbers don’t exactly drive up excitement, but with a tuned version of the turbocharged four-cylinder in the mix, both the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 6 could receive as much as 228 horsepower on tap.

The Mazda 6, in particular, would benefit greatly from a turbo four engine. As it stands, the naturally aspirated four-cylinder is the only engine option available, which puts it in a significant disadvantage when you consider that two of its biggest rivals, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, both have range-topping versions that carry V-6 engines. Granted, the 228-horsepower output still falls short of the Camry’s 268-horsepower V-6, but it would still make up a significant gap in power that the current 6 suffers from relative to its rivals.

For its part, Mazda has made no indication of any plans to use the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on either the Mazda 6 or the Mazda 3. Until that announcement comes, if it does at all, let’s hope that it’s something that the Japanese automaker considers.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Mazda3 Sport Black Special Edition

Launched in 2003 on a platform shared with the Ford Focus, the Mazda3 was generally well received for its performance, handling, and styling. It was often described as feeling like a more expensive compact despite its value-oriented sticker, a feat that continued in the second-generation model as well. After a decade of using Ford underpinnings, the Mazda3 finally received a Mazda-developed platform in 2013, the same year the compact adopted the “KODO: Soul of Motion” design language.

Having already received its mid-cycle facelift for 2016, the third-gen Mazda3 is an exceptional model in a market packed with compacts. It combines standout styling, the latest safety features, a well-appointed interior, excellent dynamics and, more importantly, an affordable sticker. It won’t get better than this until the fourth-gen version arrives in a couple of years, but for the time being Mazda wants to bring more customers to its dealerships by offering more special editions of the compact. The latest in this line is the Sport Black edition.

Based on hatchback model, the Sport Black features sporty exterior enhancements and a generous list of standard features on the inside. The only downside is that this special edition is a U.K.-only vehicle and won’t cross the pond to the U.S. Until Mazda launches a similar model here, let’s have a look at the limited-edition hatch the Brits will find in dealerships starting April 2016.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda3 Sport Black Special Edition.


PostHeaderIcon Mazda3

Standing out in the world of compacts is no easy feat. The corner-cutting measures it takes to offer a product at a competitive price in this segment can quickly demote a car to drab background filler. Throw in the customer’s demand to “do it all,” from sporting fun to commuting practicality, and what you’re left with can often feel like too much of a compromise. That’s not the case with the Mazda3, which combines standout styling, top-notch safety, cutting-edge interior appointment and fantastic driving dynamics into one cohesive package, all for an aggressive price. For 2016, Mazda kept all those characteristics, but upped the ante with a variety of new features, both standard and optional.

The 3 was originally introduced in 2003 as a replacement for the Protégé, with a second generation unveiled five years later. Now in its third gen, the 3 continues to be one of the best compact cars on the market. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Automotive News reports annual U.S. sales of the Mazda3 have overtaken gains in the compact market as a whole, with growth of 5.2 percent compared to a 3.1 percent average for all other segment models.

So then – what makes it so good?

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mazda3.


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