Five doors means extra room

The Mazda3 5-Door is an interesting car. It’s an economical hatchback with seating for five, 47.1 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats folded, and a naturally aspirated four-cylinder under the hood. On paper, it sounds like a dull choice in today’s extremely completive automotive landscape. Yet the magic is in the Mazda name – an injection of indescribable goodness that somehow makes the car drive more ferociously than it should, feel more expensive than it costs, and return better fuel economy than spirited driving should allow.

In other words, the Mazda3 5-Door is impressive by all accounts. But that begs the question: how well does it handle daily driving for family duty?

To find out, I spent a week with a 2018 Mazda3 5-Door fitted with the range-topping Grand Touring trim. My tester came with nearly every available feature and option, making this little hatchback surprisingly well equipped. Things like adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and navigation graced the spec sheet. While that did increase the as-tested price by $3,075, the end result seems worth it.

Keep reading for how the Mazda3 5-Door handles family life.

Hauling the Kids

Does the Mazda3 5-Door Make a Good Daily Driver for the Family? Interior
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In back, however, the kiddos are left with cold bums and no air vents.

It’s not surprising that the 2018 Mazda3 5-Door offers a comfortable ride for mom and dad up front. Heated seats and a heated steering wheel, along with dual-zone climate controls make for a temperature-happy experience. The leather seats are also impressively cozy. In back, however, the kiddos are left with cold bums and no air vents.

The Mazda3, like several compact hatchbacks and even “family-oriented” crossovers, the rear seats go without HVAC vents. That’s a no-go for many families right there. However, if that doesn’t deter your choice, then things are looking good. The Mazda3 5-Door offers respectable legroom that falls mid-pack among competitors like the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback, Honda Civic Hatchback, Volkswagen Golf, and Toyota Corolla iM. Officially, legroom is measured at 35.8 inches. Headroom, however, is second only to the VW Golf, measuring 37.6 inches. That means even adults will be perfectly happy back there.

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A folding center armrest offers a cushy place for elbows and two cup holders.

Securing a car seat seems fairly easy thanks to readily accessible LATCH anchors. The wide outboard seats offered plenty of room for my six-year-old’s booster seat, but larger car seats should fit just fine. The only hang-up might be rear-facing infant seats placed behind a long-legged parent.

A folding center armrest offers a cushy place for elbows and two cup holders. Adjustable headrests add to the comfort levels. Door panels have deep pockets for bottles, but open drinks will need space in the center cup holders.

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The 60/40-split bench easily folds flat, opening up the cargo space from 20.2 to 47.1 cubic feet

Of course, the armrest isn’t the only thing that folds. The 60/40-split bench easily folds flat, opening up the cargo space from 20.2 to 47.1 cubic feet. While this is a respectable amount of cargo room, the folded seats mean nobody can ride in the second row. Hauling larger items and people isn’t going to happen. And as for the space behind the second row, 20.2 cubic feet is great for groceries, but a stroller and diaper bag will consume most of the usable space. Those with older kids might find the Mazda3 5-Door easier to live with since they don’t take up as much space.

Final Thoughts

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While the Mazda3 5-Door might be tight for those with newborns or more than two kids, the hatchback proved competent for families not in those life stages. Best of all, the Mazda3 offers an exciting driving experience, regardless of who or what it’s hauling.

Thanks for that is due to the Mazda3’s optional 2.5-liter Skyactive four-cylinder, smart six-speed automatic transmission, and the lively suspension. Even the fuel economy is family friendly at an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined.

References

Mazda3

Does the Mazda3 5-Door Make a Good Daily Driver for the Family? Exterior
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Price Check: Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring vs the Competition

Does the Mazda3 5-Door Make a Good Daily Driver for the Family? Exterior
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The Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-Door Gives New Meaning to Affordable Luxury

2016 - 2018 Mazda3 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda3.

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Read more Mazda news.

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