Grinning from ear to ear like the Cheshire Cat, the 2013 Mazda3 embodies that all familiar “zoom-zoom” marketing philosophy of Mazda’s while offering value, quality and a truly nice driving experience for the segment. And whether you love or hate the styling, Mazda says the bold design was intentionally polarizing and was achieved through its design philosophy of “Nagare,” or flow.
Since going to the single digit moniker for its vehicle designations, Mazda proves it is capable of delivering automobiles worthy of the consumer dollar. On a grand scale, Mazda3, in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback versions, delivers.
I am not shy in proclaiming my love for the platform underneath the Mazda3 (which is shared by the small Volvo and now global Ford Focus). Even at the base level the entry Mazda is capable of delivering a pleasurable driving experience that combines comfort and quality and wraps it up in a vehicle one is not ashamed to park up front for all to see.
Our recent tester was the 2013 Mazda3 i in Grand Touring sedan trim. Current models are the second generation of Mazda’s 3 series and for MY2012 the line received a mid-cycle makeover that consisted of front and rear restyling but the biggest news was the adoption of new SKYACTIV engine technology that sees greatly improved fuel economy – up to 40 mpg on the highway in our tester.
The SKYACTIV technology in a nutshell is Mazda’s vision of delivering driving pleasure and outstanding eco-friendly and safety performance to every customer. It combines the use highly efficient new high-compression engines coupled to new transmissions in a lightweight yet rigid chassis and body with excellent collision safety, developed as the “ideal structure.”
Our Mazda3 rolled in with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood that generates 155hp and 146 lb. ft. of torque to the front wheels. It was mated to the new six-speed automatic sport gearbox with manual shift mode. Together the powertrain was able to deliver surprisingly decent acceleration on demand while keeping to its miserly fuel habits most of the time. During my week in the car the fuel gauge barely moved off full. Fuel economy ratings are 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
The 2013 Mazda3 exhibits very good road manners providing a very quiet and comfortable experience with a decent amount of space for both front and rear seat occupants.
While our tester came loaded with the technology package that included adaptive front lighting and Sirius satellite radio and navigation I would have much rather had a rearview camera as I feel this, of the two, is more important than headlights that turn on their own.
The good news is Mazda includes a host of safety technologies as standard including blind spot monitoring, tire pressure monitoring, dynamic stability control, traction control, front and rear side curtain and front side impact airbags, HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and keyless entry and pushbutton start.
Pricing for our 2013 Mazda3 i Grand Tourer sedan begins at $23,650 with our loaded model arriving at $26,420.
I am a big fan of the 3 series from Mazda and if this new Mazda3 just doesn’t deliver enough “zoom-zoom” for you there is always the MAZDASPEED3. Enjoy.