A lot of car for not that much scratch

Mazda has made a name for itself by offering affordable cars and crossovers with high-class styling and impressively put-together interiors. I’m reminded of that thanks to the 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring parked in my driveway this week. It’s fitted with just about every bell a whistle Mazda offers, which is just about everything you’d want in a sub-$30,000 hatchback.

As for the interior quality, the Grand Touring trim includes some rather soft leather seats with three-way heating and a heated steering wheel. The door panels and center console enjoy the same soft leather, making elbows happy. What isn’t leather is made from high-quality plastics. Piano black plastic surrounds the gearshift and door panel switches, while the dash, steering wheel, and infotainment controls are made from a low-sheen, soft touch material. A few metal accents are scattered through the cabin for a nice touch.

The Grand Touring trim, especially when combined with the $1,600 Premium Equipment Package, brings a ton if active and passive safety items, too. My tester has Adaptive Front lighting that follows the steering angle, radar cruise control, traffic sign recognition, automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and lane keep assist. The Mazda3 will even stop itself in low-speed traffic situations thanks to the Smart Brake Support.

But the Mazda3 is more than just a nice interior, safety systems, and a sculpted body. The driving experience feels more high end than its price would suggest. The steering is nicely weighted and the 2.5-liter SkyActiv’s 184 horsepower feels more like 200, especially in sport mode. The six-speed automatic transmission is well sorted and makes the most of the engine’s 185 pound-feet of torque. Holistically, the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring offers tons of amenities with a price that’s well placed in its class.

As for cost, The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring starts at $24,945. My tester stickers at $28,020, which includes several options and the $875 destination fee.

We will be covering the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring this week, so post your questions and we’ll answer them.



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

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