Sacramento, California – I hadn’t spent serious seat time in a Mazda3 in something like forever, so my recent week in a 2015 Mazda3 i Touring four-door model reminded me just how charming a compact-size, affordable vehicle can be.
Mazda certainly seems pleased. The Mazda3 is the automaker’s top-selling vehicle in
Not much mystery there. Low-riding and aerodynamically pleasing to the eye – especially in profile – the Mazda3 looks attractive parked in any driveway, regardless of household income level.
I like the relatively stretched wheelbase (106.3 inches, according to the manual) on this ride, and maybe that contributed to its solid, no-wiggle handling at high speed. The 2-liter, four-cylinder engine has a max 155 horsepower, so you’re not going to get that drag strip rush. But the power plant certainly handles most things rather well.
Here’s something that’s sure to impress: 30 miles per gallon in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.
Currently low gas prices might negate the good feelings those numbers normally bring, but rest assured, they feel good standing at the gas pump. And if you think gas prices will not be heading up again, well, check with me later. I have an East Coast bridge I want to sell you.
The back-seat area is not cavernous, but volunteer passengers said they were comfortable in our short rides around town.
The Mazda3 is a pleasure to operate from the cockpit. Vision is good all the way around the car, and standard rearview camera and blind spot monitoring equipment made me feel secure.
The Mazda3 was extensively reworked for the 2014 model year, so it goes into 2015 pretty much unchanged, which is all good. The starting price on the tester was an easy-on-the-eyes $20.645. An optional package with some technology goodies pushed the bottom line to $23,410, still pretty good in this class.
Perhaps the largest praise I can give to this Mazda3 is that it’s a compact that doesn’t feel, or drive, like a compact. It feels midsize all the way in my hands.
Safety ratings, by the way, are top-tier.
This is a great second family car or a safe and secure ride for young folks just starting out in the work-a-day world.
It gets a solid “B” from me.