Mazda Mazda3

#4 in Compact Cars Overall Score: 8.7 / 10
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2017 Mazda Mazda3 Overview

The 2017 Mazda Mazda3 ranks 4 out of 24 Compact Cars.

You'll have lots of fun behind the wheel of a 2017 Mazda3. It's one of the best performing compact cars, with precise steering, strong brakes, and excellent cornering ability, so you can look forward to your daily commute instead of dreading it.

SEATING


5

MPG


25-28

  CITY


33-37

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


FWD

HP


155-184
See full 2017 Mazda Mazda3 specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Superb handling
  • Outstanding fuel economy
  • High-quality interior
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Limited space in the back seats

Notable for 2017

  • New trim names
  • Minor interior and exterior refresh
  • Traffic sign recognition now available

 

Mazda Mazda3 Rankings and Research

The 2017 Mazda Mazda3 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Mazda Mazda3 has a score of 8.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 37 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.7
Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 9.0
Interior: 8.0
Safety: 9.7
Reliability: 2_5

Rankings

2017 Mazda Mazda3 Pictures

2017 Mazda Mazda3 Review

By Sarah Shelton April 6, 2017

You'll have lots of fun behind the wheel of a 2017 Mazda3. It's one of the best performing compact cars, with precise steering, strong brakes, and excellent cornering ability, so you can look forward to your daily commute instead of dreading it.

Is the Mazda3 a Good Car?

A car can be plenty entertaining – and the Mazda3 certainly is – but the best models must stretch beyond performance to satisfactorily pass safety, reliability, and quality tests. When it comes to safety, the Mazda3 passes with flying colors. It's one of the half dozen small cars that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named as a Top Safety Pick+. In addition to excelling in every crash test, IIHS notes that the Mazda3 has respectable headlights and LATCH child safety seat hardware, and it offers Superior front crash prevention when you add the available Smart City Brake Support.

In the remaining categories, the 2017 Mazda3 earns a solid B – it's very good, but it isn't the top-ranking model in every category. The Mazda3's reliability is better than many rivals', but not quite as good as the Kia Soul's or Honda Civic's. Likewise, you get high-grade materials in the Mazda3's attractive cabin, though the Volkswagen Golf has an even more upscale interior.  

Should I Buy the Mazda3?

The Mazda3 frequently finds itself at the top of our hatchback and small car rankings, and for good reason. On top of its athletic handling, the Mazda3 is a comfortable car to drive. Rivals like the performance-tuned Volkswagen Golf offer similar agility but without the ride comfort that the Mazda3 provides. The Mazda3's base four-cylinder engine also provides quicker acceleration than those of most other small cars. For even more power, a larger four-cylinder engine is available in upper trims. Both engines offer the rare combination of excellent fuel economy and superb performance.

The Mazda3's interior features richer materials than most competing cars, with simple, elegant styling. If the below-average trunk space of the Mazda3 sedan is off-putting, look to the hatchback instead and you'll find a surplus of cargo room. The Mazda3 offers an intuitive infotainment system that responds quickly, with several options for inputs via either the touch screen or control knob. Still, if you're interested in features like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you're out of luck with the Mazda3. While these features are increasingly common in the class, the Mazda3 doesn’t yet offer them.

The Mazda3 does many things well. Offering a generous amount of rear-seat space is not one of them. While two adults can fit comfortably back there, many competitors – like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic – have more room to stretch out. If you don't plan on carrying taller passengers very often, though, the Mazda is an excellent pick.

Compare the Mazda3, Golf, and Civic »

We Did the Research for You: 33 Pieces of Data Analyzed

We've got everything you want to know about the 2017 Mazda3 all in one spot: what features come standard in each trim, how safe it is, how reliable you can expect it to be, and how much horsepower it has. In addition to gathering 33 different data points for the Mazda3 and analyzing credible published reviews, we compare its details with top rivals like the Honda Civic, so you can clearly understand each model's strengths and weaknesses, and then pick the best one for you. The Mazda3 was redesigned for the 2014 model year and has seen only minor changes since. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2014 through 2017 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

For the most important buying decisions in your life – cars, college, investments – you need a trustworthy source you can turn to. At U.S. News & World Report, we are dedicated to guiding you through these decisions. We've been in business for 84 years, and we've been ranking and reviewing cars for nearly a decade, so you can be confident in our long-term integrity. And to ensure that our reviews are impartial, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and a separate team manages all of our advertising.

How Much Does the Mazda3 Cost?

The small car class is incredibly competitive when it comes to pricing, and it's hard to beat the cut-rate prices of the subcompact Chevrolet Spark and Ford Fiesta. Many of these low-priced models are smaller and rank lower than the Mazda3, but when you compare cars that are similar to the Mazda3, you can clearly see that it offers a good value. Prices for a Mazda3 sedan start at $17,845, which is less than what you'll pay for a Honda Civic ($18,740). If you prefer the five-door Mazda3 hatchback, your cost starts at $19,095. Again, that falls below the price tag for a Civic hatchback ($19,700) and a VW Golf ($19,895). Adding to the Mazda3's value is a list of appealing standard features that include a rearview camera, push-button start, two USB ports, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a six-speaker sound system, HD Radio, and the Mazda Connect infotainment system.

You can quickly and easily find the lowest price in your area on a new Mazda with our Best Price Program. We also list – and update monthly – available manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

Mazda3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mazda3 or Honda Civic?

If you're debating between buying a Mazda3 or a Honda Civic, your decision probably comes down to which one feels better to you from behind the wheel. In most categories – including safety and interior quality – these two are pretty evenly matched. You can even pick from a four-door or a five-door with either car company, now that Honda has introduced its new Civic hatchback. If you want a comfortable cruiser with excellent fuel economy, go with the Civic. For sportier handling and a lower price, the Mazda3 is the way to go. For more details on how these two stack up, check out our head-to-head comparison of the 2017 Honda Civic vs. 2017 Mazda3.

Which Is Better: Mazda3 or Volkswagen Golf?

Like the Mazda3, the Volkswagen Golf is fun to drive thanks to its nimble handling. Its base engine has more power than the Mazda3's (though the Mazda3 gets better mileage), and the high-performance Golf-R is really a Muscle Car in Disguise. For more practical matters, what really helps the Golf stand apart is its cargo space, which outclasses almost every other competitor. In addition, the Golf's low liftover height makes it easy to load heavy items.

If you plan on routinely cramming the cargo area, you'll appreciate the extra space available in the Golf (at 22.8 cubic feet). That said, the Mazda3 hatchback offers a respectable amount of room (20.2 cubic feet). It also has a lower starting price than the Golf, a better history of reliability, and better crash test scores. For most shoppers, these elements make the Mazda3 the clear winner.

Compare the Mazda3, Civic, and Golf »

Mazda3 Interior

How Many People Does the Mazda3 Seat?

You can fit five people in the Mazda3, with the four-door sedan and the five-door hatch offering an equivalent amount of passenger space. The front seats are well-contoured with good side support, which helps make long drives comfortable and keeps you planted in your seat when driving around winding roads. Two adults will be just fine in the Mazda3's back seats, but some rivals, including the Honda Civic hatch and the Kia Soul, offer more legroom.

Mazda3 and Car Seats

The Mazda3's LATCH car-seat system is pretty easy to use and includes a tether anchor and two lower anchors in both rear outboard seats and a tether anchor in the middle rear seat. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding the LATCH hardware, and there's enough room in the back for two car seats. If you're using a longer rear-facing seat (like an infant safety seat), be sure to test out its fit before you buy. Some larger seats force you to move the front passenger seat pretty far forward, leaving little or no room for whoever is riding shotgun.

Mazda3 Interior Quality

The Mazda3 has one of the most upscale and well laid-out cabins in the class. Its simple styling makes the cabin feel airy and uncluttered. Materials used throughout are much more premium than you may expect for a car in the Mazda3's price range.

Mazda3 Cargo Space

At 12.4 cubic feet, the Mazda3 sedan's trunk capacity is a bit small for the class. Most compact sedans have upward of 13 cubic feet, so you'll only gain a little extra room – enough for a grocery bag or two – with most rivals. For extra trunk space in a four-door model, consider the Honda Civic (15.1 cubic feet) or Chevy Cruze (14.8 cubic feet).

If you require more space out of the Mazda3, then the hatchback model is the way to go. It offers 20.2 cubic feet behind its back seats and 47.1 cubic feet with them folded down. Not only is that much more space than the sedan has, but it's also more overall space than most compact hatchbacks have. However, this still doesn't quite match the expansive cargo area of a Civic hatchback (up to 25.7 cubic feet) or a Volkswagen Golf (22.8 cubic feet behind the seats and 52.7 cubic feet with the seats folded).

Mazda3 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

If you're easily frustrated by complicated technology, you'll be pleased with the Mazda3's simple infotainment system. It's one of the best in the class, thanks to its straightforward menus and ease of operation. It's also quick, so you won't be left waiting for functions to load. You can control audio and navigation settings either through the touch screen or with the console-mounted multifunction knob, which is similar to those in luxury brands like BMW and Audi.

The Mazda3 offers standard Bluetooth for both phone calls and music streaming, as well as Pandora internet radio connectivity. However, classmates like the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf are available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which offer quick access to popular smartphone functions through the car's display screen.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Mazda3 Performance

Mazda3 Engine: 2 Energetic Engine Choices

Mazdas are synonymous with zoom. Though this verb was a marketing declaration, it still correctly describes the zippy acceleration and sporty handling offered by models like the Mazda3. The base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which has 155 horsepower and enough zing to quickly get you up to speed. For an even livelier ride, the Touring 2.5 and Grand Touring trims use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, boosting your output to 184 horsepower. There's no available turbocharged engine for the Mazda3, however. Almost every Mazda3 comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, with the option to upgrade to a six-speed automatic.

Mazda3 Gas Mileage: Fun Fuel Sipper

The Mazda3's engines deliver satisfying power and also offer the advantage of modest fuel consumption. The base model earns above-average fuel economy estimates in the class, and models with the larger engine follow closely behind. With the available six-speed automatic transmission, the Mazda3 earns 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Models with the more powerful engine only give up 1 mpg in the city. As admirable as that is, the Honda Civic proves to be even more efficient. Its hatchback – with a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and automatic transmission – gets 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. 

Mazda3 Ride and Handling: Sporty Handling

The Mazda3 is downright fun to drive, with precise, quick steering that allows it to take corners with ease. Moreover, its sporty suspension manages to keep the ride comfortable, in contrast to some other performance-tuned cars in the class. Additionally, its strong brakes have no trouble bringing you to a stop.

Mazda3 Dimensions and Weight

The Mazda3 has a 106.3-inch wheelbase. At 180.3 inches (about 15 feet), the four-door sedan version stretches less than half a foot longer than the five-door hatchback, which measures 175.6 inches (just over 14.6 feet). Curb weight starts at 2,875 pounds on the low end and tops out at 3,100 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Mazda3 Reliability

Is the Mazda3 Reliable?

J.D. Power and Associates gives the 2017 Mazda3 a predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five. That's a below average score. There is a slew of small cars with better reliability scores, including the Honda Civic and Kia Forte.

Mazda3 Warranty

The 2017 Mazda3 comes with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is typical for this class. If you want even longer coverage, look for a Kia or Hyundai instead, which come with a five-year/60,000 mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000 mile power train warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Mazda3 Safety

Mazda3 Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2017 Mazda3 its Top Safety Pick+ designation, the organization's highest merit badge. The Mazda3 aced every IIHS crash test and also received a perfect five stars in side crash testing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and four out of five stars in rollover testing.

Mazda3 Safety Features

The Mazda3 comes standard with a rearview camera, and many active safety features are included in higher trim levels or in optional packages. Available Smart City Brake Support will apply the car's brakes when it senses there's a chance of an accident. New for 2017, traffic sign recognition is available, providing you with real-time sign information (showing you the current speed limit, for example) in the driver's head-up display. Additional safety options include blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning.

Read more about safety »

Which Mazda3 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Mazda3 is available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback, with room for five people in both body styles. It comes in four trims: Sport, Touring, Touring 2.5 (hatchback only), and Grand Touring. The advantage of the sedan is a lower starting price (ranging from $17,845 to $24,195). While the hatchback costs about $1,000 more, depending on the trim, it offers much more cargo room behind the seats. Aside from their distinct exterior profiles, there are few other differences between the hatch and sedan. Below you'll find more information on the four- and five-door Mazda3 models, as well as details on the different trims.

A base Mazda3 comes nicely equipped with a rearview camera, push-button start, two USB ports, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a six-speaker sound system, HD Radio, and the Mazda Connect infotainment system. Mazda's standard powertrain pairs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is available in some trims, and a six-speed automatic transmission is available with both engines. All Mazda3 models come with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is not available, though few cars in the class offer this anyway, aside from the Subaru Impreza, which has it standard.

You'll find one of the best combinations of appealing features and a proper amount of power with a Mazda3 hatchback in the Touring 2.5 trim. This sets up the car with the bigger engine and the manual transmission (the automatic is optional), maximizing your joy behind the wheel. It comes with interior indulgences like heated front seats and leatherette upholstery, as well as driver assistance features such as pre-collision braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. That's a noteworthy amount of extras for only $3,300 more than the base hatch.

Mazda3 Hatchback

Pricing for the Mazda3 hatchback starts at $19,095 for the base Sport trim and tops out at $24,945 for the Mazda3 Grand Touring with an automatic transmission. As a bonus, the hatch configuration gets one extra trim that isn't available with the sedan: the Touring 2.5. Most features are identical to the midlevel Touring trim, which starts at $22,245 and comes only with an automatic transmission. The Touring 2.5 adds $150 to the price, swaps the 2.0-liter engine for the livelier 2.5-liter engine, and includes a six-speed manual transmission. If you want the six-speed automatic transmission instead in the Touring 2.5, add another $1,050 to your price.   

Mazda3 Sedan

You can pick up a four-door Mazda3 for a little less than the five-door version. Specifically, this configuration will save you $1,250 on the Sport trim and $750 on the Touring and Grand Touring Trims. Pricing is not the only element that shrinks with the Mazda3 sedan: Cargo space decreases from 20.2 cubic feet to 12.4 cubic feet. Passenger space, however, is the same in both configurations.

Mazda3 Sport

The Mazda3 Sport comes standard with a rearview camera, push-button start, two USB ports, Bluetooth phone and audio, a six-speaker sound system, HD Radio, and a voice-controlled Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen. Powering this model is a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Rear parking sensors can be added for $495.

Mazda3 Touring

The Mazda3 Touring model starts at $20,445. It comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, and leatherette upholstery. Standard pre-collision braking can automatically apply the brakes at low speeds if the car determines a collision is imminent. Also standard is blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. A $1,500 equipment package adds a moonroof, a nine-speaker Bose stereo system, and satellite radio. The Touring 2.5 hatchback, priced at $22,395, comes with all the features in the Touring model, plus a 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

Mazda3 Grand Touring

The top-of-the-line Mazda3 Grand Touring model is priced at $24,195. It comes with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include leather seats and a head-up display. You can add adaptive headlights, a heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, and navigation for $1,600. For $1,100, a safety package adds lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and traffic sign recognition. The Mazda3 Grand Touring with a manual transmission is priced at $23,145.

Who Makes the Mazda3?

The Mazda3 is made by the Mazda Motor Corporation, a Japanese car company founded almost 100 years ago. For just over 30 years years (from 1979 to 2010), Mazda had a partnership with Ford Motor Company. Ford never fully owned Mazda, however, with its stake reaching only as high as 33 percent. Mazda builds Mazda3 models for the North American market at its plant in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also head over to our Mazda deals page for the latest manufacturer incentives.

See 2017 Mazda3 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2017 Mazda3 has just the right amount of sugar and spice, making this an excellent pick for commuters looking to liven up their daily drive, as well as small families looking for a safe, spacious hatchback. It's a great value, too, owing to its affordable starting price, good reliability rating, and well-rounded list of standard features.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2017 Mazda3 compact sedan is the kind of car that satisfies many needs. It can be a frugal economy car, yet still satisfy the most demanding enthusiast. A sleek exterior is matched by a handsome interior, with plenty of cutting-edge safety and convenience features from which to choose" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… the new Mazda3 sedan makes a compelling case for best-in-class honors." -- Left Lane News
  • "Purposeful styling, fuel-efficient engines and an ideal ride and handling balance keep the 2015 Mazda 3 among our favorites in the compact car class." -- Edmunds (2015)
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