model. 2020 Mazda3
as tested. $30,645 incl dest
seating/style. 5-pass/4-door sedan
powertrain. 2.5L 4-cylinder
transmission. Six-speed auto
driveline. FWD, AWD available
fuel economy. 25/33/28
The refreshed 2020 Mazda3 is such a good, solid compact sedan, I often forgot I was in a small car. With a beautifully appointed interior, a quiet, steady ride, and a peppy 186-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive, this is one capable, confident four-door. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, although toggling to “Sport” mode only revved the engine higher and noisier.
Mazda is moving upscale, focusing on classy exterior design and premium interior materials, ride, and handling. The Mazda3 benefits from these upgrades, with soft surfaces and firm switches on a clean-lined leather dash. The roomy cabin seats four comfortably and five in a pinch. The seat travel allows for a variety of heights. The interface is clumsy and Android Auto was often cranky, but the voice recognition worked well. The head’s up display in my fully-loaded Premium Package provided useful speed, signage, and navigation.
Mazda’s modern design is appealing but visibility is not ideal. The sharply angled slope of the windscreen and large dash reflected significant late autumn sun glare.
The Mazda3 is a great commuter car or urban runabout. Its front- or all-wheel-drive layout provides year-round assurance in any climate, a rare find in a compact car.