New Car Reviews

2010 Mazda3 s Sport 5-Door – Four Seasons Update – December 2009

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

Even as the miles wore on during two recent road trips, our Mazda 3 remained comfortable and engaging. During a Thanksgiving trip to Boston, assistant editor David Zenlea found the seats supportive over the long haul while the 3’s chassis soaked up bumps and kept the drive lively. Having made the same trip two weeks earlier in our long-term BMW 7-Series, Zenlea made the surprising assessment that the 3 was “significantly more enjoyable.” His only gripe during the1600-mile drive was the navigation system that failed to warn him about standstill traffic near the Canadian border costing him hours and forcing him into a hotel for the night.

Before taking off for Boston, Zenlea also used the 3 to move apartments. “The 3 offers plenty of room for your boxes, furniture or, in my case, poorly packed Hefty bags full of clothing,” he noted. “That said, the car’s attractive, deeply slanted rear end does extract a penalty in usable space, as you can’t load it up right to the sill and still close the hatch, as you can in a boxier small car like Honda Fit.”

“Would I choose the 3 over a 7-series for a serious road trip or over a Ram for furniture hauling?” posed Zenlea. “Of course not. But for someone who only occasionally moves apartments and doesn’t regularly drive across the country, the 3 is more than sufficient.”

Shortly after it returned from Boston, the 3 made another run to the East Coast, this time at the hands of senior Web editor Phil Floraday. Covering 1800 miles in three days, Floraday was appreciative of the snug driver’s seat, but quickly grew tired of the incessant interference from the three Blackberry phones onboard. He also took aim at the 2.5-liter’s fuel economy rating of 21/29 mpg and noted that, with only 19 fewer horsepower, the 2.0-liter base engine is worth a look as it returns 25/33 mpg. To get it, though, you have to forsake the hatchback in favor of the Mazda3 sedan.

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: Continental ExtremeWinterContact winter tires
Tire Size: 205/50TR-17

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