The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

After a major facelift just two years ago, the Mazda3 maintains its status quo except for a standard rearview camera in all its trims, among minor tweaks. Based on the CX-5 SUV and the Mazda6 sedan, this best-seller for Mazda is a fun ride for the daily grind.
The power train in our third-generation Mazda3 sedan was fitted with the direct-injection Skyactiv technology, which uses a torque boost via a high compression ratio for stretching fuel economy. The 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine cranks out 184 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 185 pounds-feet of torque @ 3250 rpm. Mated to the hot-selling car, which is available as a sedan or hatchback, is a 6-speed auto gearbox.
The front matte-finish grille, flanked by bi-xenon HID headlights, sports an aggressive look than ever before. Just above the central analog tachometer gauge encircled by wing-shaped digital displays is a heads-up display for a digital speedometer. Switch on the ignition and a panel pops up above the meter hood to display speed and navigation directions. The 7-inch touch screen, part of the Mazda Connect navigation/infotainment system, is a breeze to use. Other standard amenities include push-button start, a/c, tilt/telescopic steering column, fold-down rear seat, power windows and door locks, and AM/FM. Other notable firsts are front/rear running LEDs. Also available are 18-inch wheels, rearview camera and steering wheel paddle shifters.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, stability and traction control, hill launch assist, active front-head restraints, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, rearview camera, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
Base-priced at $26,495, Mazda3 is a compact car, so we will excuse the tight rear seat for passengers. And it’s not headed to the racetrack since power at the front wheels is just right. This great fuel-sipper with the impressive Skyactiv technology is affordable, stylish and a pleasure to drive.

Tires: P215/45R18
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; multilink rear
Steering: electric power rack-and-pinion
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length: 180.3 inches
Weight: 3,002 pounds
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
City: 27 mpg
Highway: 37 mpg
Web site:

CALLING ALL MAZDA DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at