This review centers on the 2024 Mazda 3, showcased here in its hatchback design while also offered as a sedan. Positioned as a compact vehicle, it faces formidable competition from the likes of the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla.
The Mazda3 hatchback has a distinct look that sparks different opinions due to its unconventional proportions, characterized by solid rear pillars and a built-in roof spoiler. The tested vehicle, painted in the eye-catching Soul Red Crystal Metallic color, comes with an additional $595 charge for this attention-grabbing color.
Featuring a forward-leaning shield-shaped grille, the Mazda3 flaunts a sleek look and elongated front, steering away from typical boxy shapes in small cars. Its refined style brings sophistication without the usual sharp edges seen in many compacts.
With its distinctive shorter hatchback build and strong pillar, the Mazda3 blends a charming quirkiness with a hint of nostalgic charm. Inside, the cabin exudes sophistication with a low dashboard, sleek metallic touches, and a seamless 10.25-inch color display, elevating the luxury, especially when paired with leather seats and the Premium Plus package.
The deceptive initial appearance of the Mazda 3 masks its true nature as a thrilling and sporty car, with understated aesthetics that belie its status as one of the industry’s top mainstream compacts. It delivers an excellent driving experience and exceptional handling, particularly with the higher horsepower turbo engine.
Since its redesign a few years ago, all Mazda3 trims feature G-Vectoring Control Plus, enhancing stability through nuanced weight transfer when exiting curves. This advanced technology builds upon Mazda’s basic G-Vectoring Control by adjusting engine torque in response to steering input, resulting in balanced control during cornering.
With its compact dimensions, the Mazda 3 easily navigates through tight roads with barriers, offering precise directional control and a predictable brake pedal for an improved driving experience. The car’s size not only facilitates easy parking in cramped multi-level garages but also allows you to park in those designated spots close to your location reserved for compact cars only.
The 2024 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus we test-drove for a week had an MSRP of $36,650, and the total came out to $38,410 when factoring in the vehicle options and transportation fees.
When it comes to the best choices in this category, the Mazda3, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla catch the eye with their various options of hatchback and sedan body styles.
Honda demonstrates its skill in providing spacious interiors and affordable performance through the Type R variant, while Toyota stands out for its efficiency, especially with the Corolla Hybrid.
The Hyundai Elantra maintains its reputation for delivering great value, especially with its 54-mpg hybrid model, and the Volkswagen Jetta and GTI impress with their competitive driving dynamics. However, Mazda leads the pack with its notably refined cabin.
For those interested in all-wheel drive capability, the Subaru Impreza and Crosstrek emerge as compelling choices to consider alongside these top favorites.