The Mazda 3 has been redesigned for 2010. It competes well in the compact car market. It comes available in either a sedan or four door hatchback flavors. There are three trim levels to choose from as well. The Mazda 3 shows a rare level of interior class for this segment of cars. It also offers enough room for full sized adults to be comfortable in the front seats. It gives the general impression that more was paid for the car than it actually costs.

Power for this sporty compact comes from both a 2.0 liter four cylinder making 148 HP and 135 Ft. – lbs. of torque, or a 2.5 liter inline 4 cylinder model making 167 HP and 168 Ft. – Lbs. of torque. Power is routed through either a six speed manual or a five speed automatic transmission.

What comes as a surprise to many who drive the Mazda 3 is the manners it exhibits on the road. It has quick and communicative steering, combined with good grip and excellent body motion control. Though riders used to the softly sprung ride of a Honda or Toyota many find the 3’s ride a bit too firm.

Bodystyles: Sedan, Hatchback
Engines: 2.0L I-4, 2.5L I-4
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, 5-speed manual Models: Mazda3i SV four-door, Mazda3i Sport four-door, Mazda3i Touring four-door, Mazda3s Sport four-door, Mazda3s Grand Touring four-door, Mazda3s Sport five-door, Mazda3s Grand Touring five-door

For 2010 almost everything is new or revised on the Mazda3. Major changes include five new exterior colors and restyled 16- and 17-inch wheels. Mazda3 “S” models receive body colored mirrors, a lip spoiler, and dual exhaust. Mazda3 “GT” trims add adaptive bi-xenon headlamps. Higher trims also get Bluetooth, auto locks, dual climate control, and a multi-information display.

Designers wanted to evoke the “soul of a sports car” with the latest Mazda3, so they included a lot of chiseled, swooping lines that scream “speed”. Not only do they give the 3 a modern appearance, but they contribute greatly to the 3’s improved aerodynamic efficiency.

It’s simple and comfortable inside, not to mention replete with features. Bottom trims start with plenty of storage bins, two 12-volt outlets, rear heater ducts, a multi-function three-spoke wheel, power windows, 60/40 splitting rear seats, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary jack.

Both the 2.0-liter (148 horsepower, 135 pound-feet of torque) and 2.5-liter (167 horsepower, 168 pound-feet of torque) four-cylinder engines come with variable valve timing and a two-mode composite intake manifold. If you’re looking for more punch, the 2.5-liter is the best bet. Regardless of engine choice, the spritely chassis is buttoned down thanks to higher tensile steel, thicker gauge metals, and extra gussets.

Standard safety features include a collapsible brake pedal assembly, dual front and side airbags, side impact airbag curtains, active front headrests, and anti-lock brakes. All models except i SV and i Sport get traction control and dynamic stability control.

Mazda3i: 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway (manual); 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway (automatic)
Mazda3s: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway (manual); 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway (automatic)

  • Great powertrain
  • Responsive chassis
  • Long standard features list
  • Tiny navigation screen
  • Joker-like mug

Fun, fuel efficient, and price right


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