Ever since it was introduced, the Mazda3 has been the Hiroshima automaker’s top sedan, rarely outsold even by Mazda’s popular range of crossovers and SUVs. The car was a major success from the first day it appeared at the dealerships and has remained so ever since. Nowadays, some rivals are concentrating on SUV products and neglecting sedans and hatchbacks, but not Mazda, which has brought us an all-new Mazda3 for 2019.
Like previous Mazda3s, the new car is a very tidy styling job combining sportiness with great practicality, especially the hatchback. The new car is available as either a sedan or a hatchback and both are great-looking vehicles with the hatchback having the edge when cargo space is a factor. Both body configurations are available in three trim options – GX, GS and GT in ascending order of equipment level and price. Buyers can choose 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions; though some trim levels do not offer this choice.
The basic Mazda3 is a front-wheel drive car but all-wheel drive is available on some trim levels, a nice touch for the Canadian market where winter weather can be especially daunting. All-wheel drive is only available with the automatic transmission.
The manufacturer says its new Mazda3 embodies the essence of traditional Japanese aesthetics with an overall form that presents a “single motion” with subtle undulations that bring the design to life. Certainly the styling is very organic and sinuous. It’s a car that gets noticed out on the road and even turns heads it’s so good to look at.
Mazda has packed in a wealth of standard features, including a 7-inch digital centre gauge display, 8-speaker sound system, 8.8-inch Mazda Connect screen with HMI commander, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. LED head and taillights are also standard equipment. The entry-level car is a very modest $18,000. Move up the trim level range and more goodies are packed in. At the top of the line, the specification is nothing short of luxurious and the uprated 2.5-litre engine produces 186-horsepower. Going all the way with a 2019 Mazda3 will run the price up over $30,000 - still a reasonable sticker for a near-luxury car.
The flagship Mazda3 GT includes the 2.5-litre engine with 6-speed automatic, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, auto levelling headlights, adaptive front lighting system and a Bose premium audio setup that includes no less than 12 speakers.
One thing all Mazda3s have in common is a surprisingly refined ride and excellent responsiveness. The smooth ride wasn’t developed at the cost of handling performance, which is very sporty and predictable.
The new Mazda3 continues this model’s tradition of combining eye appeal with impressive comfort and sporty performance. The new “3” should easily maintain its place as one of the most desirable small cars on the Canadian market.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Hatchback and sedan available
ENGINE: Base engine, 2.0-litre 4-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 8-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: 8.8-litres/100 km city, 6.6-litres/100 km hwy.
PRICE: Starting at $18,000 MSRP