The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

Though the Mazda3 received a major transformation three years ago, the carmaker has incorporated some fresh life in 2017. The power train is still fitted with the direct-injection Skyactiv technology, which uses a torque boost via a high compression ratio for stretching fuel economy. A 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine puts out 184 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 185 pounds-feet of torque @ 3250 rpm. Mated to the car, which is available as a sedan or hatchback, is a 6-speed manual or auto gearbox.
Surrounded by bi-xenon HID headlights, the front fascia sports a bolder look with a new bumper and side mirror design, and a revamped matte-finish grille, The Mazda badge and license plate holder are now positioned slightly lower. Changes in the cabin include a new standard electronic parking bake, reworked steering wheel for a firmer grip, and center console and front door pockets with expanded storage room. To top it all, Mazda has used additional sound materials to insulate the interior from road noise. The 7-inch touch screen, part of the Mazda Connect navigation/infotainment system, is easy to operate via a command control button in the center console. Other standard amenities include six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, push-button start, dual-zone auto a/c, cruise control, leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic steering column and shifter, 60/40 fold-down rear seat with hidden armrest and cup holders, power windows and door locks, and AM/FM.
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. For 2017, the G-Vectoring Control (uses engine timing for more accurate steering inputs) comes at no extra cost.
Base-priced at $24,195, Mazda3 is a compact car, so we will excuse the tight rear seat for passengers. And it is not headed to the racetrack since power at the front wheels is just right. This great fuel-sipper with the impressive Skyactiv technology is inexpensive, trendy and a blast to drive.

Tires: P215/45R18
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; multilink rear
Steering: electric power rack-and-pinion
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length: 180.3 inches
Weight: 3,100 pounds
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
City: 27 mpg
Highway: 36 mpg
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