Mazda3 Review

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finder score: 83.00%

Avg. critics score: 83.00%
5 critics
How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of Car Advice, Motoring, WhichCar, Drive and Finder to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
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Critic reviews

Website Rating Notable quotes
Car Advice 82% "If a premium-feeling, sharp-handling, eye-catching small car is what you're after, though, then it mounts a stronger case than ever – just be prepared to pay for the privilege." Read more
Motoring 80% "While the Mazda 3 price has jumped, a heck of a lot is new, some is modified and some is pretty much unchanged. It adds up to a significant overhaul for one of the biggest sellers on Australian roads. But how does it drive on them?" Read more
WhichCar 90% "The new Mazda 3 manages to be a vast improvement over the popular, outgoing third-gen model, and presents as a deeply impressive, ultra-well-rounded small car." Read more
Drive 80% "The decision to push the new model more upmarket will no doubt have a negative impact on overall sales, but the Japanese brand values quality over quantity and is prepared for a slight drop." Read more
Finder 83% "Mazda's latest generation hatch is a well-built, elegantly styled car. Everything feels sturdy and of quality material. It boasts plenty of safety technology, and it wears an upscale-feeling cabin. If you look at the standard features, the increased prices seem justified." Read hands-on review

How does the Mazda3 compare with its peers?

Updated September 18th, 2019
Name Product Boot displacement ANCAP rating Price (from) Finder Score Read review
295L
5 stars
$24,990
83%
280L
5 stars
$17,190
82.6%
250L
5 stars
$14,990
82.5%
378L
5 stars
$19,990
82.2%
380L
5 stars
$22,840
82%
445L
5 stars
$21,490
81.2%
333L
5 stars
$22,870
80.25%
414L
5 stars
$22,390
78.6%
345L
5 stars
$23,080
77.75%
242L
5 stars
$15,990
76%

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A comprehensive review of the Mazda3 hatch

Mazda3 pricing

The Mazda3 is available in six different grades as well as two body styles: a hatchback or a sedan.

G20 Pure

The base grade G20 Pure comes with a 2.0-litre petrol engine. Highlights include 16-inch alloys, all-round disc brakes, daytime running lights, LED headlights with auto on/off and taillights, air conditioning, active driving display, radar cruise control, 7-inch multi-information display, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, carpet floor covers, a urethane gear shift knob and steering wheel, cloth seats, electronic parking brake plus a stop-start engine. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, the audio system has 8 speakers, Bluetooth phone connectivity, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, DAB radio, satellite navigation and steering wheel-mounted controls.

Standard safety equipment is impressive, comprising of ABS, blind spot monitoring, driver attention alert, dynamic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, emergency braking assist, emergency stop signals, forward obstruction warning, high beam control, hill launch assist, intelligent speed assistance, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, a reverse camera, smart braking support, smart braking rear crossing, smart braking support (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), traffic sign recognition, traction control system and tyre pressure monitoring system.

All in all, it’s a very impressive spec list, especially when considering this is the entry-level Mazda3. Drive-away prices start at $28,629.

G20 Evolve

Spending an extra $1,751 will net you a G20 Evolve Mazda3, which starts at $30,380. Notable upgrades include 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, a leather steering wheel and gear shifter and push-button ignition. Automatic-equipped models have paddle shifters.

G20 Touring

Why would you plump for the $33,259 G20 Touring model? You get leather seats for a start as well as a power-adjustable driver’s seat and advanced keyless entry. Mazda also attaches an automatically dimming driver side wing mirror to prevent drivers behind you dazzling you with their lights.

G25 Evolve

Spending $33,774 puts you in G25 Evolve territory. This model has a large capacity 2.5-litre power plant. The engine can stall cylinders to improve efficiency. This model has cloth upholstered seats and automatic models have a drive selector and a kick-down switch that unlocks full acceleration.

G25 GT

The semi-hot Mazda3 G25 GT costs $37,284. Model highlights include an auto-folding exterior mirror with heating elements, a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system with an amplifier plus heated seats and a heated steering wheel.

G25 Astina

Buyers who splurge $41,499 get a fully-comped G25 Astina Mazda3. This hatch has attractive black alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a power-sliding and tilting sunroof plus the normally $1,500 Vision Technology as standard.

The Vision Technology system is made up of a 360° around-view monitor, cruising and traffic support, driver monitoring, front cross traffic alert and front parking sensors. The daytime running lights are also upgraded from halogen to more energy-efficient LED units.

Click on the price to compare Mazda3 car loans.

G20 Pure G20 Evolve G20 Touring G25 Evolve G25 GT G25 Astina
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, hatchback: $28,629
2.0-litre petrol, six-speed automatic, hatchback: $29,659
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan: $28,629
2.0-litre petrol, six-speed automatic, sedan: $29,659
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, hatchback: $30,380
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, hatchback: $31,410
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan: $30,380
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, sedan: $31,410
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, hatchback: $33,259
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, hatchback: $34,289
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan: $33,259
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, sedan: $34,289
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear manual, hatchback: $33,774
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, hatchback: $34,804
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan: $33,264
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, sedan: $34,294
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear manual, hatchback: $37,384
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, hatchback: $38,414
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan: $37,894
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, sedan: $38,924
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear manual, hatchback: $41,499
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, hatchback: $42,529
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan: $40,989
2.5-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, sedan: $42,019

Standard, no cost, paint finishes include the following:

  • Sonic Silver Metallic
  • Titanium Flash Mica
  • Deep Crystal Blue Mica
  • Jet Black Mica
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica

Premium paint finishes cost $495 and come in the following colours:

  • Polymetal Grey Metallic
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Machine Gray Metallic
The above prices are the recommended delivered price (RDP) for a private buyer living in Sydney postcode 2000. They include 12-months rego, a year's compulsory third party insurance, stamp duty, statutory charges, dealer delivery and admin fees.

Overview

The Mazda3 is a crisply styled, fully stocked hatch or sedan with an exhaustive arsenal of safety gadgets. The rear seats are snug and boot space was commonly criticized, but overall, this is a very well built and recommended small car that'll appeal to many drivers.
Website Pros Cons Notable quote
Car Advice
  • Modern design
  • Sophisticated interior
  • Safety equipment
  • Interior noise
  • Boot is small
  • Heightened prices
  • Rear visibility
"Its positive attributes are manifold. It won't appeal to everyone, but the company knows this, so we'll defer to the market to decide the wisdom of this tactic."
Motoring
  • Cabin improvements
  • Noise levels reduced
  • Fun to drive
  • Poky boot
  • Overeager radar cruise control
  • Confined in the rear
"It's a quality small-car contender that will justifiably appeal to a substantial number of Aussie new car buyers."
WhichCar
  • Standard levels of equipment
  • Ride and handling
  • Safety equipment
  • Boot space on hatch
  • Interior space
"The smart money seems to be on the GP20 Evolve auto (hatch or sedan)."
Drive
  • Textbook interior cabin design
  • Infotainment system
  • Steering is on point
  • Design flair over rear passenger/boot space
  • Elevated pricing
  • Older engine designs
"Hiroshima has crafted a fine family hatch and the SkyActiv-X engine is the cherry on top.

Engine and performance

The Mazda3 sells with either a 2.0-litre or 2.5-litre petrol engine.

Mazda 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G

For G20 Mazda3 models like the Pure, Evolve and Touring, Mazda deploys a 2.0-litre in-line four petrol engine. The engine makes 114kW @ 6,000rpm and 200Nm @ 4,000rpm, across all models. This engine has no turbocharger.

Mazda 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G

Higher-end Mazda3 grades use the more powerful 2.5-litre petrol engine. For the Aussie market, this engine develops a standard 139kW @ 6,000rpm and 252Nm at the same 4,000rpm as the smaller 2.0-litre. Like the 2.0-litre, it's a naturally aspirated power plant.

Mazda3 gearboxes

For the Mazda3, the carmaker gives buyers the choice of a Skyactiv-MT manual or a Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission. Both of these gearboxes have six-speeds.

Car reviewers' impressions of the Mazda3 engine and transmission combo

Some reviewers observed that with no forced-induction ramping up the lower-end torque and power outputs, you really have to spool the engines to get up to speed. Another tester commented that it felt like it was a tad underpowered. The smaller 2.0-litre doesn't inspire confidence when you need some get-up and go, like overtaking or for tackling hills. Others said it was a bit of a noisy power plant. One journo went as far as to say the chosen engine was the Achilles' heel of the Mazda3.

Other evaluators suggested that for town driving, the engine is more than capable and it'll easily handle relaxed highway cruising.

Both transmissions attracted positive comments. The automatic apparently changes gears very neatly.

Mazda3 engine and transmission statistics

Mazda 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G Mazda 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G
Engine type In-line, four-cylinder, 16 valve, double overhead cam, Skyactiv-G In-line, four-cylinder, 16 valve, double overhead cam, Skyactiv-G plus cylinder deactivation
Drivetrain FWD FWD
Engine size/displacement 1,998cc 2,488cc
Fuel type Petrol (91 Ron) Petrol (91 Ron)
Cylinders Four inline Four inline
Fuel tank capacity
51-litres
Max power 114kW at 6,000rpm 139kW at 6,000rpm
Max torque 200Nm at 4,000rpm 252Nm at 4,000rpm
Fuel consumption (combined) 6.4L/100km (Manual)
6.2L/100km (Auto)
6.3L/100km (Manual)
6.6L/100km (Auto)
Acceleration (0-100km/h) N/A N/A
Emissions standard Euro 5 Euro 6D
Top speed (km/h) N/A 215km/h
Security
Engine immobiliser
Transmission
Six-speed manual or automatic gearbox
Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)
600kg/1,200kg

Mazda3 fuel economy

Mazda supplies fuel economy figures for both engine variants in the vehicle's brochure.

2.0-litre I4 Petrol
The smaller of the two petrol power plants uses the following claimed figures when paired with a manual gearbox:

  • Combined: 6.4L/100km
  • Urban: 8.2L/100km
  • Extra-urban: 5.4L/100km

With an automatic transmission, the 2.0-litre uses less fuel:

  • Combined: 6.2L/100km
  • Urban: 7.8L/100km
  • Extra-urban: 5.3L/100km

2.5-litre I4 petrol

The larger engine surprisingly appears to be quite a frugal fuel-drinker. With a manual, it claims the following:

  • Combined: 6.3L/100km
  • Urban: 8.3L/100km
  • Extra-urban: 5.1L/100km

When the larger engine is paired with an automatic, the 2.5-litre motor claims to use the following:

  • Combined: 6.6L/100km
  • Urban: 8.6L/100km
  • Extra-urban: 5.4L/100km
A word on factory fuel figures
In order to determine the fuel usage data of an engine, carmakers have to put their vehicles through a heavily-controlled testing procedure. This evaluation is designed specifically to reduce any variations that may affect the results. However, on public roads, there are a number of factors that impact on fuel economy. Consequently, there can be a margin of difference between the brochure figures and real-world achievable numbers. Only use the brochure data as a way to compare different models.

Sometimes, factory fuel use claims can be a little fanciful. For the Mazda3 though, many of the reviewers found them accurate.

Handling

A model hatchback should have agile, athletic handling, and the Mazda3 fulfils these expectations. Apparently, spinning the wheel requires little effort and the steering rack transmits feedback to the driver effectively. Reviewers perceived Mazda engineers have done a good job of keeping the ride and handling nice and tidy. One tester said it offered the perfect blend of low-speed manoeuvrability and high-velocity corner-holding abilities. To sum up, it appears to be a good example of a front-wheel-drive hatch. It has a sharp, tight feel with little body roll. Crucially, the new model improves upon the previous generation too, which shows Mazda's commitment to progressing their product.

The ride hasn't compromised passenger comfort either as testers said the hatch did a good job of smoothing over road imperfections.

Interior and features

Mazda interior stylists took a modern approach to the passenger compartment design. Journalists felt its layout favoured the driver more than previous generations. The majority of reviewers also noted a marked shift towards higher-end materials and assembly.

However, the most common bugbear with the interior was a lack of space. It was felt the car was too tight in the rear and the stingy boot space was picked up on universally. Also, it seems the large scooping C-pillar caused some interference with the driver's view.

Where the car really excels though is in the spec list. Even the basic G20 Pure models have pretty much everything you'd expect on a more premium vehicle. Also, the safety spec sheet is very long with tons of advanced safety systems. The only thing to beware of is that some journalists found the car's driver assists leaned towards being a tad too sensitive.

Ergonomics wise, motoring experts thought the Mazda3 should be held as a pinnacle to aim for. It was obvious to testers that the sculpting of seats and the positioning of controls had been minutely scrutinised and finessed. One other thing to note, while many manufacturers are switching to touchscreens, Mazda is sticking to a more analogue interface built around dials and buttons.

Mazda3 G20 Pure

The base-level car has taken a step forward over the previous iteration of the 3. The standard feature list would place this model pretty high in rival line-ups. You'll get 16-inch alloys, a 7-inch driver LCD display, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, keyless push-button start, A/C, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB, 8-speakers, a robust safety system, Bluetooth connectivity, LED headlights, parking sensors at the rear, auto-folding wing mirrors, a reversing camera, sat-nav, an adjustable steering column and tyre pressure monitoring as well as rain-sensing wipers. Now that's a well-stocked hatchback!

Mazda3 G20 Evolve

The G20 Evolve does away with the 16-inch alloys in favour of 18-inch rims in metallic grey. It also receives dual-zone climate control and rear air vents as well as leather wrapping on the gear-shift knob and steering wheel. Automatics have paddle shifters.

Mazda3 G20 Touring

If you opt for a G20 Touring model, you'll get advanced keyless entry, an auto-dimming driver's side wing mirror, tilting rear mirrors for reversing, an overhead sunglass storage box, black leather seat trimming, a 10-way power adjusting driver's seat plus vanity mirrors with illumination.

Mazda3 G25 Evolve

This model has a larger, more powerful engine for a start. It also gets cylinder deactivation technology for better fuel economy.

Mazda3 G25 GT

Heated seats up front, heated mirrors, a premium Bose 12-speaker sound system and a heated steering wheel set the GT apart from the rest of the line-up.

Mazda3 G25 Astina

The G25 Astina has black alloy wheels, 360° around-view, adaptive LED headlights, cruising and traffic support, driver monitoring, front cross traffic alert, front parking sensors, a glass sunroof and the ability to optionally purchase burgundy leather seats.

Mazda3 safety and driver assists

G20 Pure G20 Evolve G20 Touring G25 Evolve G25 GT G25 Astina
360° around-view Option Option Option Option Option
Adaptive LED headlights ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Advanced keyless entry ✖️ ✖️
Advanced keyless push-button start
Airbags SRS: front (driver and passenger) side (front), curtain (front and rear), and knee (driver)
Anti-lock braking system
Blind spot monitoring (BSM)
Cruise and traffic support (CTS) Option Option Option Option Option
Driver attention alert
Driver monitoring Option Option Option Option Option
Dynamic stability control (DSC)
Engine immobiliser
Forward obstruction warning (FOW)
Front cross traffic alert (FCTA) Option Option Option Option Option
High beam control (HBC)
Hill launch assist
ISOFIX child restraint anchor points and top tethers
Lane-keep assist system
Left-hand-side convex wide-angle exterior mirror
Parking sensors (front) Option Option Option Option Option
Parking sensors (rear)
Rear cross traffic alert (RCTA)
Remote central locking (two fobs)
Reverse camera
Seat-belt warning (front and rear)
Smart brake support (SBS) with pedestrian and cycle detection
Smart brake support (rear crossing)
Smart brake support - reverse
Traction control system (TCS)
Traffic sign recognition (TSR)
Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)

Mazda3 interior and comfort features

G20 Pure G20 Evolve G20 Touring G25 Evolve G25 GT G25 Astina
Black cloth ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Black leather ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Burgundy leather ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ Option
Front seats with:
  • 10-way power adjustment (driver)
✖️ ✖️
  • Heating function
✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
  • Height adjustment (driver)
  • Height adjustment (passenger)
✖️
  • Lumbar adjustment (driver)
✖️ ✖️
  • Rake and slide adjustment
Rear seats with 60/40 split-fold backrest
Centre fold-down armrest ✖️
Active driving display
Air conditioning
Air conditioning (dual-zone climate control with rear vents) ✖️
Ambient temperature display
Cup holders
Door bottle holders (front and rear)
Electric parking brake with auto hold
Leather-wrapped gear shifter ✖️
Leather-clad steering wheel ✖️
Paddle shift gear control (automatic only) ✖️
Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go
Rear-view mirror with auto-dimming function ✖️
Tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel
Trip computer
8.8-inch widescreen display
DAB radio with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth phone connectivity and satellite navigation
8 speakers ✖️ ✖️
12 speakers ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
USB audio input port (iPod compatible)

Mazda3 exterior highlights

G20 Pure G20 Evolve G20 Touring G25 Evolve G25 GT G25 Astina
Daytime running lights - halogen ✖️
Daytime running lights - LED ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Chrome exhaust extension
Green-tinted window glass
LED headlamps/tail-lamps
Headlamps auto on/off function
Exterior mirrors (driver side) with auto-dimming function ✖️ ✖️
Exterior mirrors with power adjustment
Exterior mirrors with auto-folding function
Exterior mirrors with heating function ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Power sliding and glass tilt glass sunroof ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Wipers with two speeds and rain-sensing function
16-inch alloy wheels (silver) ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
18-inch alloy wheels (metallic grey) ✖️ ✖️
18-inch alloy wheels (black) ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️

Verdict

No car is perfect, but the imperfections can be minimised. The Mazda3 appears to attract a few key complaints, mainly that the rear seats and boot aren't big enough. Also, the C-pillar is too chunky, prompting most reviewers to long for better rearward visibility. Also, the 2.0-litre Mazda engine was determined to be a little sluggish. But other than those foibles, the Mazda3 was very well-reviewed. It's got an impressive feature list, cutting-edge styling and superb safety features. If you're in the market for a high-end hatch, make sure to shortlist the Mazda3.

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Updated September 18th, 2019
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