Mazda 3 2013

May 10, 2013
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Mazda 3 2015

Mazda 3 2015

There’s more than a little sports-car verve and eagerness in the Mazda 3 2015 , a lively feel we wish were baked into more of the compact sedans and hatchbacks it tangles with today.

Mazda 3 2015 is a rolling demonstration that affordable, practical cars don’t need to be lifeless. Nor do they have to depend on hybrid technology or CVTs to drive fuel economy to 40 miles per gallon highway.

Both the eco-conscious and driving enthusiasts should be happy with the new Sky-G engine that made its debut last year. And for 2015 Mazda has expanded its availability to Mazda3 i Sport models as well as Touring and Grand Touring trims. It makes 155 hp and is refined and responsive when paired to either an a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. And compared with the older-generation engines that are offered in the rest of the lineup, it goes about 20 percent farther on a gallon of gas.

A few other models in the Mazda 3 lineup are being carried over; base Mazda 3 i SV models offer the older-design 2.0-liter engine, while 3s versions get the 167-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine that has more low-end torque but it’s worth the the extra money or the huge tradeoff in mileage.

Simply put, these are all models that are a hoot to drive, and the Mazda 3 feels athletic while not sacrificing too much comfort. Strong four-wheel disc brakes (noteworthy among rivals offering inferior drum brakes), and top-notch electro-hydraulic steering mean that the tactile experience you get behind the wheel is unparalleled among affordable small cars.

The Mazda 3’s low points include its rather cramped back seat, as well as a little more road noise than is typical for the class (although Mazda has quelled that, mostly). Inside, you’ll find generous, supportive front seats and a tight but manageable back seat.

Mazda just improved its feature set for the Mazda 3 last year, but for Mazda 3 2015 it gets some other significant improvements that add to the value of these affordable small cars. On base SV models of the 2015 Mazda 3, you get a lot for your money (air conditioning is now included on it), and with the SkyActiv powertrains now made standard on the Mazda3i Sport as well, it’s an even more appealing package. The i Sport has also been revamped to include a USB port and the multi-information display–both things that used to require stepping up to the Touring. Mazda 3i Touring models remain the the models that most will probably want, as they include automatic climate control, push-button start, and Advanced Keyless Entry. Meanwhile, Grand Touring cars are the “leather and navi” choices, for those who want more of a premium, loaded feel–with rain-sensing wipers and HID headlamps at the ‘s’ level.

The top-performance MazdaSpeed3 variant comes with an equipment list that of course includes some serious upgrades, like the 263-hp turbocharged, direct-injected 2.3-liter four. For 2015, it adds 18-inch Gunmetal alloy wheels, a black rear roof inner spoiler, black rear lower valance, and black outer mirrors with turn signal lamps, as well as tech upgrades like those made to the rest of the model line.  However, it hasn’t received some of the structural changes or the newer transmissions and engine upgrades as the other models.

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