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2020 Mazda Mazda3 Review

The 2020 Mazda3 sits near the top of our compact car rankings. Its engaging performance and upscale interior help it stand out in a highly competitive segment.

Pros & Cons

  • Refined engine
  • Sporty handling
  • Intuitive infotainment controls
  • Cramped rear seats

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Mazda Mazda3's #2 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Mazda Mazda3 has a score of 8.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Mazda Mazda3?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Mazda3 a Good Car?

The Mazda3 is an outstanding compact car that’s a blast to drive. It comes in two body styles: sedan and hatchback. No matter which one you select, you’ll get an agile vehicle with responsive steering and braking, as well as a peppy engine. Inside, the Mazda3 looks upscale, and it has plenty of user-friendly features. This car’s main drawback is cramped seating in the rear.

Should I Buy the Mazda3?

For a fun-to-drive, well-rounded small car, you don’t need to look much further than the Mazda3. However, this is a highly competitive class, and there are plenty of worthy contenders. The Volkswagen GTI costs a bit more, but it rivals the Mazda’s agility and provides more second-row space. The Honda Civic is roomier as well, and it offers even more-potent engine options.

You might also consider the all-new Mazda CX-30, which we will review soon.

Compare the Mazda3, GTI, and Civic »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mazda3?

The Mazda3 was redesigned for 2019, and there are only a few noteworthy changes for 2020. Forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and a driver condition monitor are now standard in all Mazda3s. These features were optional in 2019 models. We recommend looking for a 2019 model, which is nearly identical to the new Mazda3 and likely less expensive.

You could save money by shopping for a previous-generation Mazda3, but you’ll miss out on the benefits of the redesign, which included a stronger base engine and available smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you are considering an older model, you may not want to go further back than the 2016 model year. That’s when a rearview camera and a touch-screen infotainment system became standard.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Mazda3, 2018 Mazda3, and 2019 Mazda3 reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Mazda3 »

We Did the Research for You: 12 Reviews Analyzed

By researching Mazda3 reviews, our hope is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 12 Mazda3 reviews.

This 2020 Mazda3 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Mazda3 Cost?

The 2020 Mazda3 sedan has a base price of $21,500. The hatchback retails for $23,600. These are relatively high starting prices for a gas-powered compact car.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

Mazda3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mazda3 or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic and the Mazda3 are both fantastic cars, and choosing between them boils down to preference. The Honda comes in three body styles: a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback, and a two-door coupe. The sedan and hatchback body styles have more room for passengers and cargo than do the comparable Mazda3 models. On top of that, the Civic is more affordable. The base Civic sedan costs around $1,750 less than the Mazda3. On the other hand, the Mazda3 has sharper handling, and it offers available all-wheel drive, which the Civic lacks.

Which Is Better: Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla?

The Toyota Corolla is a good compact car, but the Mazda3 is a better one. Like the Mazda, the Toyota comes as a sedan or a hatchback. Toyota fully redesigned the sedan for 2020, giving it more standard tech features than the base Mazda3. The Corolla has a higher predicted reliability rating and better fuel economy estimates too. However, the Mazda3 shines on the road. Its engine is stronger than anything you’ll find in the Corolla, and it boasts sharper handling and a gentler ride.

Compare the Mazda3, Civic, and Corolla »

Mazda3 Interior

How Many People Does the Mazda3 Seat?

The Mazda3 seats up to five people on standard cloth upholstery (synthetic leather in the hatchback), but only four adults will be able to sit comfortably. Adults will have plenty of space to stretch out up front. However, room in the rear is tight.

Heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are available.

Mazda3 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for this Mazda’s rear outboard seats. There’s also a tether anchor for the rear middle seat, which has the ability to borrow a lower anchor from both sides.

Mazda3 Interior Quality

This vehicle has a classy cabin with top-notch materials and soft-touch surfaces.

Mazda3 Cargo Space

The Mazda3 sedan has 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space, which is less than what most compact car rivals offer. The hatchback’s 20.1 cubic feet of space is typical for small hatchbacks.

Mazda3 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard equipment in this Mazda includes an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, a 7-inch driver information display, HD Radio, an eight-speaker sound system, two USB ports, and Bluetooth. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, as are a 12-speaker Bose stereo and a moonroof.

This Mazda lacks a touch screen. Instead, most functions are controlled via an easy-to-use console-mounted rotary knob.

Read more about interior »

Mazda3 Performance

Mazda3 Engine: Peppy

The sole engine available for this Mazda is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and a six-speed manual is available.

The Skyactiv-G engine is peppy, and it helps this car accelerate swiftly. The automatic transmission is smooth and responsive.

Mazda3 Gas Mileage: Typical

With front-wheel drive, the Mazda3 sedan returns an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That’s about average for the compact car class.

The hatchback with the automatic transmission earns 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, while models with the manual transmission return 25/35 mpg city/highway. Adding all-wheel drive to either configuration lowers those figures slightly.

Mazda3 Ride and Handling: Thrilling

The exceptionally agile Mazda3 is fun to drive around sharp corners, and its ride is comfortable on most roads. Steering and braking performance are both excellent. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Read more about performance »

Mazda3 Reliability

Is the Mazda3 Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Mazda3 a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Mazda3 Warranty

Mazda covers the Mazda3 with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Mazda3 Safety

Mazda3 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Mazda3 a perfect five-star rating, with five stars in frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named this vehicle a Top Safety Pick+, giving it the highest rating of Good in six crash tests, the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention, and the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead.

Mazda3 Safety Features

Standard safety features in this Mazda include automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, and a driver condition monitor.

A head-up display, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive headlights are available.

Read more about safety »

Mazda3 Dimensions and Weight

The Mazda3 is between 14.6 and 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,071 to 3,255 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Mazda3 Built?

Mazda builds the 2020 Mazda3 in Mexico.

Which Mazda3 Model Is Right for Me?

Mazda offers the Mazda3 in two body types: sedan and hatchback. The sedan comes in four trim levels: base, Select, Preferred, and Premium. The hatchback comes in three trims: base, Preferred, and Premium. There’s one engine available, a 186-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, though Mazda3 Premium hatchbacks have the option of swapping that for a six-speed manual.

If you’re interested in a model with a decent helping of tech and safety features, look to the base hatchback or the Mazda3 Select sedan.

All-wheel drive is available in all but the base sedan. It costs $1,400 in every trim except the base hatchback, where it costs $1,500. Other options available throughout the lineup include navigation ($450) and wireless device charging ($275).


The entry-level Mazda3 sedan has a starting MSRP of $21,500. Standard features include an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and push-button start.

A few safety features come standard too. These include a driver condition monitor, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a rearview camera.

Mazda3 Select

The Mazda3 Select trim retails for $22,700 and is only available as a sedan. This model gets the base trim’s features, along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, proximity keyless entry, synthetic leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rear-seat center armrest, and larger alloy wheels. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are added too.

Mazda3 Hatchback

This Mazda3 starts at $23,600. While it doesn’t have a Select trim, its roster of standard equipment mirrors that of the Select sedan.

Mazda3 Preferred

The Mazda3 Preferred has a starting MSRP of $24,200 for the sedan and $25,200 for the hatchback. Both come with satellite radio, a 12-speaker Bose stereo, heated front seats, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, as well as a few exterior styling tweaks.

Mazda3 Premium

The top-of-the-line Premium trim comes with leather-trimmed sport seats, a moonroof, adaptive headlights, and a head-up display. The sedan costs $26,500, and the hatchback goes for $27,500. The Premium hatchback is the only configuration that offers a manual transmission, which can be added at no charge.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

See 2020 Mazda3 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Mazda3 stands out as one of the best small cars you can buy, largely because of its dynamic performance. Well-weighted steering and corner-carving excellence make it one of the most-fun-to-drive vehicles in the compact car class. Its rear seats are skimpy on space, but the Mazda3 merits a look from most compact-car shoppers.

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

  • "Completely redesigned last year, the 2020 Mazda3 pretty much carries over, continuing to be the connoisseur's choice for a compact car. For starters, its elegant sedan and unique hatchback body styles are considerably more stylish than expected for this segment. Park it next to a similarly priced Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla and people are likely to think you paid far more than you did. The same goes for the cabin, which is functional yet stylishly minimalist (if a bit cramped). Then there's the driving experience, which continues to delight those who value sharp responses and a driver-focused character. The switch to a less sophisticated rear suspension for this latest generation has dulled some of its corner-taking capability at the limit, but that's a low-percentile complaint." -- Autoblog
  • "While most compact cars try to impress with good fuel economy or sporting intentions, the 2020 Mazda3 puts them all to shame, offering seductive styling, an impressive list of available features and an interior [that] wouldn't look out of place in a $50,000 luxury car." -- Autotrader
  • "The new 2019 Mazda3 captures the fun-to-drive spirit of the Mazda we know and love while delivering on the entry-level luxury experience that might actually give Audi A3 and Mercedes CLA buyers some pause." -- Motor Trend (2019)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: July 9, 2020

Tumbling Demand: Sales of the Mazda3 placed in the lower third of the compact car class by the end of 2019, and things have only slowed since. Dealerships have moved a troubling 43.1 percent fewer Mazda3 models to date in 2020 relative to the same period last year. Segment sales titans, like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, are currently outselling the Mazda3 by more than 6 to 1. 

Research more buying advice »
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2020 Mazda Mazda3

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