The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

It has always been an exciting and well-composed ride for us. In fact, all Mazdas are. What makes the Mazda3 special is its amazing agility, response and grip. The 2019 power train is fitted with the direct-injection Skyactiv technology, which uses a torque boost via a high compression ratio for stretching fuel economy. Under the hood sits a 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine that develops 186 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 186 pounds-feet of torque @ 4000 rpm. Mated to the car, which is available as a sedan or hatchback, is a 6-speed manual or auto gearbox.

Length and wheelbase see a modest upturn of 3.2 and 1 inches respectively. A matte-finish grille with the Mazda insignia is surrounded by horizontal LED headlights and daytime running lights. Changes in the cabin include a newly redesigned command control to operate the bigger 8.8-inch (prior was 7”) navigation/infotainment screen. Also revamped is the leather steering wheel design, shifter and the armrest, which has been moved forward. Other conveniences include six-way power driver seat, heated front seats, push-button start, dual-zone auto a/c, 60/40 fold-down rear seat with hidden armrest and cup holders, power windows and door locks, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and AM/FM.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, stability and traction control, hill launch assist, active front-head restraints, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, rearview camera, radar cruise control, lane keep assist and departure warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. For 2019, the G-Vectoring Control Plus (enables driver to handle emergency situations or untoward road conditions with more accurate steering inputs) comes at no extra cost. And the i-ACTIV AWD works along with G-Vectoring to control torque distribution between front/rear wheels.

Base-priced at $27,900, Mazda3 is a compact car, so we will excuse the tight rear seat for passengers or the intruding noise at highway speeds. But this splendid fuel-sipper is reasonable, well-balanced, trendy and a blast to take out for a jaunt or as a dally ride.

Tires: P215/45R18
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; torsion beam axle rear
Steering: electric power rack-and-pinion
Wheelbase: 107.3 inches
Length: 183.5 inches
Width: 70.7 inches
Height: 56.9 inches
Weight: 3,248 pounds
Fuel capacity: 12.7 gallons
City: 25 mpg
Highway: 33 mpg
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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