The 2021 Mazda3 AWD may be one of the best all around compact cars in its class. It’s no wonder Mazda won awards for this car. There is much to love about this car starting with the exterior and interior all the way through to a fun driving experience. The Mazda3 AWD starts at $20,600 but there are a lot of options along the way. The version I tested was the 2.5 Turbo with Premium Plus PKG AWD SDN. The exterior was an eye-catching Soul Red Crystal Metallic with White Interior. The MSRP was $33,990.
The highlights for me were the sporty exterior design, the simplicity of the interior and the fun, comfortable driving experience. I also really liked the brilliant red exterior and the white interior is great for sunnier areas like the greater Phoenix area.
When you press the gas, the car is responsive but it is not particularly fast. Instead, Mazda seems to have focused on ride quality and feel thus retaining the fun-to-drive nature that so many Mazda drivers appreciate. You really feel in control of the car and steering feels natural. The ride is firm but on some of the rougher roads it maintains a comfortable drive experience.The gas mileage was good and I had no problems accelerating when I needed it. The car handles well and is a good all around daily driver.
The Mazda3 interior is stylish and comfortable. Mazda takes a minimalist approach but I never felt like there was anything lacking. The console controls always take me a bit to get used to because they are located on the center console. I learned to appreciate this however as it’s easier to keep your eyes on the road while utilizing the heads up display. The 8.8-inch infotainment display is standard and it looks a lot bigger. The leather seats are very comfortable and also stylish. The red interior is a perfect blend of beauty and comfort. The interior is rounded off with the extremely nice upgraded Bose 12 speaker system.
The exterior design reflects light in an almost deliberate way. With beautiful and calculated lines, it’s no surprise Mazda won 2020 World Car Design of the Year with The 3. The version I tested had the Soul Red Crystal Metallic Exterior. The lighting design on the headlights and taillights flow into the grill and accentuate the exterior lines. The Body-colored dual folding, power side mirrors with integrated turn signals and memory positioning is convenient when parking in crowded areas. The front grille in gloss Black finish and Black rear lip spoiler give the Mazda3 a sporty but refined look. The power sliding-glass moon roof was enjoyable as we had great weather during my test week. The 18 inch rims finish off this great looking automobile.
Engine / Power train
The Mazda3 model I tested was equipped with the Skyactiv G 2.5 L a four-cylinder engine that generates 227 horsepower 310 lb-ft torque. The acceleration is definitely better than the 2020 version I tested and the Mazda 3 still gets great gas mileage. The AWD version we tested gets 23/32MPG (city/hwy) and a combined 27 MPG.It’s good on gas while providing enough power to whip in and out of Phoenix traffic.
Now, every 3 has Mazda’s i-Activsense suite that includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, automatic high-beams, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. The Mazda3 did win some safety awards and did earn a 5 star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The 2021 Mazda Mazda3 AWD Turbo isn’t the least expensive car in it’s class but I concluded that the quality extras justify the price. It’s a fun car to drive, has a beautiful appearance and interior plus it’s great on gas with plenty of space. Perhaps one of the most well rounded cars in its class.
There are a lot of options and trims available for the Mazda3 but I recommend the premium, the turbo or premium plus turbo.
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