One-week vehicle loan was provided for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
|Type: Compact Hatchback
Fuel Efficiency: 27 city/37 hwy
|Best Suited For: Small families, singles, commute
Notable Features: Sleek look, tight handling, sporty interior, roomy cargo space
Links: Official site
When I pulled up to my mom’s house to drop Speckles off for a few days, she came running out to meet me. “What kind of car is that?!” she excitedly asked. Beyond the gorgeous, stunning red paint, she was impressed with the sporty yet stylish exterior. When I told her it was a Mazda3, she was shocked. Yes, the 2016 Mazda3 is definitely a good-looking car, especially with the graphite/black rims added.
2016 Mazda3 Review — Exterior & Interior
My family and I were attending an event in San Francisco with Mazda that weekend. So, it was fitting that we drove into the city in one of their cars. The Mazda3 has a modern style with clean lines. This is not what you’d expect a compact car to look like — it’ smokin’. I’m not a fan of the protruding tail lights but the bold front grill and cute rear make up for those. Also, if you leave the moonroof propped up, it gives off an extra bit of charisma.
Inside you’ll find a sleek two-tone leather interior and contrasting red stitching. Cupholders in the doors are slanted. So, while I wouldn’t put regular cups there, the holders are perfect for bottles. There is a wide, non-skid shelf below the climate controls that’s big enough for your large phone or phablet.
2016 Mazda3 Review — Performance & Technology
Performance is good and there’s plenty of power for day-to-day usage. As is the norm from Mazda, the steering and suspension are fairly tight. It is by no means tough to drive. In fact, it responds immediately and handles well. The turning radius is a bit wide despite this being a smaller vehicle.
The Mazda3 has the same projection panel that the CX-3 has but the display is more simple. The dash and center control area are likewise no-frills for easy access. I would love to see the interface of the infotainment system upgraded one of these days. The resolution is somewhat low and the graphics look so 2000’s. Information can be input via the control knob near the middle console or by the touchscreen. It’s functional if not a bit dated. Navigation is spot on.
That’s not to say that this car doesn’t have modern tech, though. The Mazda3 has blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, auto dim rearview mirror, and push button start. Make sure the key is somewhere in the front-seat area since the range seems somewhat short. When I had the key in my purse in the back seat, the system didn’t detect it and the engine wouldn’t start. This car also includes a Bose sound system so you’ll get good quality sound during your commute.
2016 Mazda3 Review — Seating & Space
The front seats are comfortable and need minimal tweaking to get just the right settings. I wish you could adjust the passenger seat height. I felt itty bitty when I sat there while Frans was driving. The back seats are roomy for four but five passengers might be a squeeze. There’s not much leg room and the middle seat has a high hump on the floor in front of it.
At least there’s plenty of cargo space in the back! I was worried our luggage wouldn’t fit but it was fine. As you can see, a 28” large suitcase lays flat with a nice amount of room around and above it.
The 2016 Mazda3 feels like a solid compact. It offers a design that will appeal to most, handles well, and offers a decent gas mileage. It’s roomy enough for four and would be fine for a small family. Everyone will be comfortable on short or long rides. Just know that there are only two USB ports in the console so you’ll have to charge your devices in turns.