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2020 Mazda 3 - Driven Review

2020 Mazda 3 - Driven Review

How well does the Mazda 3 carry over to the 2020 model year?

Flying in to Newark International Airport last month, I arrived at the Budget Rent a Car counter and received the keys to a familiar staple of rental fleets: a 2019 Nissan Sentra wearing scratched-up Ignore Me Silver paint. Plenty of travelers would likely ask if, pretty please, anything else was available. This previous-generation Sentra (the car was fully redesigned for 2020) is generally reviled by anyone who appreciates a fine automobile. It’s underpowered, it lacks handling poise, and it’s drab-looking inside and out. And yet, it was just what my family of three needed for a three-hour drive home to Maryland. The Sentra’s plus-sized rear backseat was perfect for our rear-facing child seat, and its big trunk swallowed our suitcases and stroller with ease. Its generously sized windows offered excellent outward visibility, and it could go 41.3 miles before burning a gallon of gasoline. And, keeping our rental rate in check, the Sentra provided plenty of features at low prices.

This brings us to the subject of today’s review: the 2020 Mazda3. Like the Sentra, it belongs to the compact economy car market segment. But that’s pretty much where the similarities stop. For two cars in the same segment, it’s hard to get more dissimilar than our tested Mazda3 and our rental Sentra — for better and for worse.

The Mazda3 is basically a luxury sports sedan (or, like in our test car, a five-door hatchback). It’s beautifully styled, elegantly finished, laden with features, and — although it’s not as energetically zippy as it once was — a pleasure to drive. It even offers all-wheel-drive, just like an Audi or BMW. Yet like a luxury car, it’s also more expensive, has a cramped rear seat and tight cargo hold, has slits for windows, isn’t cheap for its class, and gets lousy gas mileage. It would have been absolutely the wrong choice for a family road trip, even for our small family. But if you appreciate something finer than a Sentra and won’t often carry more than one extra passenger, the Mazda3 brings a high-end experience at relatively affordable prices — starting from $21,500.

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This Is What the New Mazdaspeed3 Could Look Like, But Won't

This Is What the New Mazdaspeed3 Could Look Like, But Won’t

Drool all you want, the Mazdaspeed3 is not happening and that makes us sad

Mazda’s Motorsport arm has unveiled the Mazda3 TCR race car, a vehicle that knows one thing and one thing only: carve through the corners of any given track out there. The Mazda3 TCR is aimed at pumping new blood into the carmaker’s customer racing program, and we’ll see it geared up and ready to hit the track during the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, which is part of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona racing event that takes place next year, on January 26.

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We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy’s Ford Focus RS - Here’s Why It Won’t Happen

Sometimes you need stability in life over fun and enjoyment - Mazda

The performance hatch segment is one of the hottest markets right now. There are a plethora of options to choose from, for instance, Honda Civic Type-R, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus RS, and so on. However, this one particular automaker from Japan is adamant on not launching a performance version of its hatch for some reason. The Mazda 3 is a perfect hatch that could be launched with a supplement of steroids. But the automaker is steering clear from this fat-profit segment. This is pretty sad considering that Mazda has the means and the tools to launch a pocket-rocket that can give stiff competition to the existing players.

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Mazda is Cooking up a Hot Hatch And It Could Take On Some of the Biggest Players in the Game

Mazda is Cooking up a Hot Hatch And It Could Take On Some of the Biggest Players in the Game

The previous Mazda3 MPS was sold globally until 2013 and it was pretty good

Mazda doesn’t do hot versions of any of its cars anymore, even though the likes of the Mazda3 and Mazda6 MPS (or MazdaSpeed in some markets) were exceptional cars in their respective categories before they were phased out. But now, with the new Mazda3 hatch making its debut and being received quite well, it seems the Japanese automaker is again considering making a hot hatch version, and it on that could arrive before the year 2021.

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2019 Mazda3 Skyactiv-D hatchback - Driven

2019 Mazda3 Skyactiv-D hatchback - Driven

Forbidden Diesel-drinking Mazda3 you can’t get Stateside is a smooth blend of style and efficiency

Mazda has created one of the most beautiful shapes in the compact hatchback segment, its new Mazda3 hatch, a shape that lifts it above any competitor in terms of design. It has a pretty face, nice sides, and a unique rear end that lends it a lot of personality, but at the same time, it also needs to do all the boring, practical stuff well in order to be a serious class contender.

Its interior feels upmarket, and the driving experience is precise and relaxed, especially if the power plant under the hood is Mazda’s latest diesel engine, still available in the 3 and other models the Japanese manufacturer sells in Europe. This latest model doesn’t feel as sharp as its predecessor nor is it the best in class, but it’s far more relaxed and refined than the car it replaces, and it exudes an overall desirable and premium feeling.

The car it replaces was a great all-rounder, although it suffered from excessive tire roar inside at speed (and generally not the best soundproofing), plus its interior didn’t feel as nice as some rivals’, and it also lagged behind in terms of tech. Mazda has addressed all these concerns and more with its new 3, and the result is a much better all-rounder with an even prettier face than before, plus that rear end that will sure to draw a lot of gazes.

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Video: We Spent Some Time with the Forbidden 2019 Mazda 3 Hatchback Diesel and it was Amazing

Video: We Spent Some Time with the Forbidden 2019 Mazda 3 Hatchback Diesel and it was Amazing

Is it worth sighing for the oil-burning Mazda3 that isn’t sold Stateside?

Mazda has created a lot of buzz around its all-new 3 hatchback, a car that has made an impression with its pretty body, premium-like interior, and good handling. To be more specific, this is a car with a nice face, toned, flowing sides, and quite the rump - it looks like it’s wearing leggings two sizes too small, but it is for some reason a very good look - a look that’s much better than that of the boring three-box Mazda3 that debuted alongside it.

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These Video Reviews Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Mazda 3

These Video Reviews Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Mazda 3

First impressions point to the 2020 Mazda 3 being a well-rounded vehicle

Mazda has launched an all-new yet evolutionary looking 2020 Mazda 3 in hopes that it will help it in its quest to improve brand image while, at the same time, move its products further upmarket. The car was mostly well received at launch, although not everybody was on board with the shape of the hatchback’s hind quarters. Now, journalists are finally getting their hands on the 2020 Mazda 3 and have tried it out on the road at the Mazda3’s official international launch venue held the U.S. Despite the controversial look of the hatchback’s rear, the Mazda 3 has been praised for its upmarket feel and overall build quality.

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Mazda's Program Manager Exposes 2019 Mazda 3 Development Secrets

Mazda’s Program Manager Exposes 2019 Mazda 3 Development Secrets

How Mazda brought the new 3 to life

Given what we’ve seen from models in the past, we all know the Mazda 3 is an epic little compact, combining fun dynamics with a practical, well-appointed cabin and head-turning good looks. Now, we’re getting an inside look at the new 2019 Mazda 3’s development secrets, which look to bring all the good stuff as the old model, but on a fresh platform.

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Mazda is Set to Put on One Hell of a Showing at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon

Mazda is Set to Put on One Hell of a Showing at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon

Spoiler – These mean machines will leave you drooling

Mazda seems to be on a roll these days. After attending auto shows all across the globe, the Japanese automaker finally returns to its homeland with a variety of models that it plans to unveil at the Tokyo Auto Salon next month. Can it spin the same magic and continue the good form here?

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2019 Mazda 3

2019 Mazda 3

Inspired by the Kai concept

The fourth-generation Mazda3 made its global debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The hatchback replaces a six-year-old third-gen model that has been highly successful and established the nameplate as a strong competitor in the compact market. The new Mazda3 is heavily based on the Kai concept on the outside and features a more upscale interior plus an innovative engine.

Part of Mazda’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 long-term strategy, the new Mazda3 debuts the company’s most recent interpretation of the Kodo design language. It also pushed the hatchback higher on the premium ladder and a five-engine lineup. On top of the usual gasoline and diesel SkyActiv units, the Mazda3 debuts the new SkyActiv-X, the first commercial gasoline engine with Spark Controlled Compression Ignition technology. The hatchback also features an all-wheel-drive system for the first time.

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Mazda Says Hell No to a Performance Version of the New-Gen 2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback

Mazda Says Hell No to a Performance Version of the New-Gen 2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback

The automaker may use the 2.5-liter turbocharged mill instead, but it still won’t be a Mazdaspeed 3

The 2020 Mazda 3 was launched at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and looked quite impressive overall. The first two generations of the Mazda 3 were offered with turbocharged versions, moniker’d as MPS, or Mazdaspeed 3, depending on the market it was sold in. However, Mazda decided to break the pattern with the third-gen by not offering the performance version, and it is doing the same with the fourth-generation 3 as well.

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Mazda3 Moves Up the Premium Ladder with Gorgeous Interior, New Materials

Mazda3 Moves Up the Premium Ladder with Gorgeous Interior, New Materials

The future looks bright!

The new-generation Mazda3 just made its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show. It looks hotter than ever, boasting an evolution of the company’s KODO design language seen in the RX-Vision and Kai concept. It also features new engines, including a diesel and an innovative gas unit featuring innovative spark controlled compression ignition. More importantly, Mazda moved its compact into the premium market.

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The 2019 Mazda 3 Finally Hits the Mark with Spark Controlled Compression Ignition

The 2019 Mazda 3 Finally Hits the Mark with Spark Controlled Compression Ignition

It comes with some exciting changes under the hood

After months of teasing, Mazda has finally revealed the 2019 Mazda 3. It comes loaded with new features and is packed so nicely with the much-anticipated Skyactiv-X engine with Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition. And, to make the purists happy, the compact car comes with a manual transmission as well! Yes, it gets brownie points for that.

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2018 Mazda2 (Mazda Demio) - Driven

2018 Mazda2 (Mazda Demio) - Driven

City cars don’t get more fun than this

If cars were judged based on how cute their face is, then the 2018 Mazda2 (also known as the Mazda Demio in its native market, Japan and some other markets) would be among the best cars in the world. However, it’s obviously not just about looks, since cars nowadays, even small city cars, need to be fully featured, well-rounded vehicles that you can even drive on the highway without it feeling daunting.

Thankfully, the pint-sized Mazda2 proved to be thoroughly competent in all those areas and more - it even surprised me on a few occasions. But returning to looks for a second, the Mazda2 is certainly one of the most daring vehicles in its class, only really matched for visual impact by the Peugeot 208 - in the trinket-laden Peugeot’s presence, the 2 can almost be described as sculptural.

Its interior is equally daring, and even if it can’t match the best in class for fit and finish quality, it’s still pleasant to spend time in it. But what many owners and possible future buyers of the Mazda2 may not know (and never find out if they drive slowly and sedately) is the fact that the little 2 is a hoot to throw around - it has fun but predictable handling, and it really puts a smile on the spirited driver’s face much more so than most rivals.

If you live in North America, you can actually buy a sedan version of the Mazda2, however, it wears a Toyota badge and is called the Toyota Yaris sedan; previously it was known as the Scion iA.

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New Mazda Mazda3 caught testing before L.A. Auto Show reveal

New Mazda Mazda3 caught testing before L.A. Auto Show reveal

The new Mazda3 has been spotted testing in full camouflage attire

Mazda’s new Mazda3 hatchback will be officially revealed later this month at the L.A. Auto Show, but test mules are still clocking up miles in testing. Sadly, the sleek new compact model is still sporting full camouflage in these latest spy shots.

The new Mazda3 is poised to become the best-looking alternative to the Civic or the Corolla if we take into consideration the Kai concept. Sure, not much can be seen under all that wrapping, but the aggressive nose is a sign that some of the concept’s traits have made it into production.

The Japanese manufacturer has released a number of teasers, but these are some of the best images we’ve got of the new Mazda3. What is more, photos of the interior have also emerged and, with a new steering wheel in place, it looks like an interesting proposition.

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