New Car Reviews

2010 Mazda 3 – Four Seasons Introduction

Long-Term 2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Update: Summer 2009 Array Miles to date: 0

It’s not easy being the little guy these days. And Mazda, having been all but cast out of Ford‘s brand family, is definitely a little guy. What the brand lacks in size, though, it has more than made up for with spunk. Take, for example, the Mazda 3, our newest Four Seasons car.

The perpetually grinning compact builds on the qualities that made the original 3 a two-time Automobile Magazine All-Star, namely its strong value and its ability to put a bigger smile on a driver’s face than typical Japanese small cars.

The boy racers among us might have waited for the 263-hp Mazdaspeed 3 that recently went on sale, but we chose to test the 3’s credentials as a workaday compact. Our hatchback thus has the standard 167-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder (sedans start with a smaller 2.0-liter). That said, we’re hardly scrimping, as the 3 hatch comes with goodies that you won’t find on most comparably priced competitors, including seventeen-inch wheels, Bluetooth, and a six-speed stick shift. We added navigation, keyless ignition, a sunroof, and stereo upgrades. Even with the extras, the price is a reasonable $22,570.

Early praise for the 3’s tossable yet composed driving dynamics and the smooth, powerful four-banger has confirmed that the 3 is a solid choice in this tough segment. At a time when drivers are looking to cut both their budgets and their carbon footprints, we’ll be interested to see if the versatile hatchback can step up and fill the role of a typical mid-size car.

898 miles “The new 3 picks up where the last one left off: at the top of the small-car category,” enthuses copy editor Rusty Blackwell.

2167 “The pause button on the dashboard does more than stop your compact discs-it also pauses Sirius radio. I’ve only seen that before on primo luxury cars,” writes Web producer Evan McCausland.

2010 Mazda3 s Sport 5-Door

Base price (with destination): $19,900
Price as tested: $22,570

Body Style: 4-door hatchback
Accommodation: 5-passenger
Construction: Steel unibody

Size: DOHC 16-valve I-4
Displacement: 2.5 liters
Power: 167 hp @6000 rpm
Torque: 168 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: front-wheel
Fuel economy: 21 / 29 / 24 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.9
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft
Suspension, Front: Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R: Vented disc/disc, ABS
Wheels: 17 x 6.5 in
Tires: Yokohama Avid S34
Tire Size: P205/50-R17

Headroom F/R: 38.1/37.4 in
Legroom F/R: 42.0/36.2 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 54.9/54.0 in
Wheelbase: 103.9 in
Track F/R: 60.2/59.6 in
L x W x H: 177.4 x 69.1 x 57.9 in
Cargo Capacity: 17.0 cu ft
Weight: 3005 lbs
Weight Dist. F/R: 60/40%
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gal
Est. Range: 382 miles
Fuel Grade: 87 octane

Standard Equipment
Front, side, and side curtain airbags
Push-button ignition with intelligent key
Power windows, locks, and mirrors
Auxiliary audio input
Tire-pressure monitoring system

Moonroof/Bose Package $1395
-242 watt Bose Centerpoint 10-speaker surround sound
-Moonroof with one-touch open
-In-dash 6-disc CD changer
Technology Package $1195
-Color display with compact nav-screen
-Advanced keyless system with push-button start
-Sirius satellite radio with 6-month subscription