Even when it's on its way out and not lookin' too hot, the sporty Mazda 3 still impresses us. Our dream ride would be a 3 with a manual transmission, a bigger 2.5-liter engine, and a hatchback. But the 2017 model we tested is a sedan with a 2.0-liter engine and automatic transmission, and it's a Touring model which is better than the base Sport model. Mazda's made some updates this year, like restyling the front and back, adding more standard equipment, and making the suspension smoother. They also threw in G-Vectoring Control to make the handling even better. If you want a compact car that's not basic or cheap-feelin', check out the 2017 Mazda 3. It's been one of our fave compact cars for a while now, and this year's model is even better.
The Mazda 3 is still super practical and versatile. You can pick either the sedan or hatchback, depending on how much stuff you gotta carry. And if you go for the higher trim levels, you can get some fancy features like adaptive cruise control, a head-up display that's now in color (no more boring monochrome), and an i-Eloop package that helps you save on gas.
But hey, don't just take our word for it. You might wanna check out some other rides too. The 2017 Honda Civic is sweet - roomy, stylish, and sporty all at once. The 2017 Ford Focus is worth a look, and so is the 2017 Chevy Cruze. And if you're ballin' on a budget, the 2017 Kia Forte is pretty dang affordable while still looking fly. But honestly, the Mazda 3 is still our top pick.
In terms of safety, you're covered with the 2017 Mazda 3. It's got all the basics like antilock brakes, stability control, a rearview camera, and a bunch of airbags. But if you go for the Touring or Grand Touring models, you'll also get low-speed collision warning and a blind-spot monitoring system. And if you wanna go all out, you can add a lane departure warning system and a more advanced collision warning and braking system. Safety first, homies.
The 3 family is straight up dope. Ain't nobody in that crew underachieving. The six-speed automatic is pretty tight, but we'd rather have the standard manual. It shifts crisply and gets the most out of that 2.0-liter engine with 155 horses. Plus, the manual shift gate is hella intuitive - push forward to downshift and back to upshift. But let's be real, that smaller engine ain't as smooth as the newer ones in the competition. It's kinda loud and grainy when it's cold, but it chills out when it warms up. If you want speed, go for the more powerful 2.5-liter engine, but it's only available on the Grand Touring trim for 2017.
But yo, that 2.0-liter ain't no slouch. Our 3 went from 0 to 60 in 7.9 seconds, which is 0.1 seconds faster than a similar 2016 model we tested. It's pretty peppy around town and only gets loud when you're going over 70 mph. But let's be real, the real star of the show is the chassis. The Touring model for 2017 has upgraded to 18-inch wheels and tires, and it posted some sick numbers - 0.87 g of skidpad grip and a 171-foot stop from 70 mph. That's an improvement of 0.05 g and 8 feet over the 2016 model. So yeah, the Mazda 3 is basically the top dog in the compact-car class.
No matter what kind of engine, transmission or body style you get with the Mazda 3, you're gonna be happy with the gas mileage. The EPA estimates say you can get anywhere from 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway) with the 2.5-liter engine and the six-speed manual, all the way up to 32 mpg combined (28 city/37 highway) with the 2.0-liter engine and the automatic transmission. That's pretty sweet, right?
And check it out, Mazda's G-Vectoring Control is pretty sweet. It makes the car respond even better to steering inputs by transferring load to the front tires when you're turning into a corner. And they even made some improvements to the suspension for a slightly better ride. Plus, the steering wheel looks pretty slick.
So, Mazda did some updates to the 2017 model of the Mazda 3 to make it even sportier and more driver-focused, but they didn't really do much to fix the issues it already had. The cabin is still pretty loud when you're cruising on the highway, especially in the Touring model with the bigger tires. Plus, the back seat is kinda cramped compared to other cars in the same class. The Mazda 3 also feels a bit more flimsy than other cars, so you can hear the suspension noise more. But, we're hoping that these things will get fixed when the next-gen Mazda 3 comes out in a year or so.
Yo, check it out - the 2017 Mazda 3 is a dope compact car that comes in both a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. You can choose from four different levels: Sport, Touring, Touring 2.5, and Grand Touring.
The base Sport is pretty sweet, with 16-inch steel wheels, a foldable rear seat, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, remote locking and unlocking, keyless ignition, a 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity, voice controls, and a six-speaker audio system with two USB ports, an auxiliary input, HD radio, and smartphone-enabled internet radio. If you want some extra goodies, you can get the Preferred Equipment package, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, premium cloth upholstery, a rear-seat armrest, automatic headlights, automatic windshield wipers, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Touring is even better - it's got all the Preferred Equipment package features plus 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition and entry, low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, imitation-leather (premium vinyl) upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. If you're rolling in the sedan, you can also get the Popular Equipment package, which adds a rear lip spoiler, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a CD player, satellite radio, and a premium nine-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
For the hatchback lovers out there, the Touring 2.5 is where it's at. It's basically the same as the standard Touring, but with a more powerful engine and a sunroof.
The Grand Touring is the cream of the crop - it's got all the Popular Equipment package equipment plus the aforementioned more powerful engine, LED foglights, a gloss-black grille insert, a digital speedometer, a head-up display, and full leather upholstery. If you want to take it up a notch, you can add the Premium Equipment package, which adds adaptive LED headlights and daytime running lights, LED taillights, a heated steering wheel, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a navigation system. And if safety is your thing, you can also opt for the i-Activsense Safety Package, which adds a more capable forward collision warning and mitigation system, a lane departure warning and intervention system, automatic high-beam headlight control, and adaptive cruise control. If you're looking to be extra eco-friendly, you can add the i-Eloop package, which adds the i-Eloop energy recovery system and active grille shutters.
For now though, the Mazda 3 is still a pretty great car. It looks good, drives well, and has a nice interior. Plus, they made some upgrades for 2017, like an electronic parking brake, an updated head-up display, and a redesigned center console. The Mazda 3 has been on our list of 10Best Cars for a while now, and it's won some comparison tests too.
So, while this version might not be our top pick, it's still a solid choice for the compact car market. And, the price is pretty reasonable for what you get. For just over $22k, you can get leatherette seats (heated in the front), a power driver's seat, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, and rain-sensing wipers. That's actually more features than they had on the Touring model last year, and it's basically the same price. If you're into manual transmissions, you can even save some money and get a six-speed for just $1050 more. Either way, you're getting a really good car.