2019 Mazda Mazda3

Performance


#1 out of 21 in Compact Cars

$21,000 MSRP
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2019 Mazda Mazda3 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.8

The 2019 Mazda3 has a peppy engine and engaging driving dynamics. The transmission shifts smoothly, and the ride quality is almost luxurious.

  • "Our takeaway from this initial test is that the Mazda3 remains a fun, dynamic compact car that aims to make the most of the power that it has. More notably for the majority of drivers, the new Mazda3 offers a more refined, premium drive experience." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "That the Mazda3 is the best-driving car in its class isn't really anything new -- Mazda has long topped that podium in the compact segment. The 2019 model's more refined on-road verve makes it even better to drive, and in a way that I think a greater swath of drivers will appreciate. It's a feeling that's hard to explain in text. But drive one, and you'll understand." -- CNET
  • "Driving this 3—the advancement of Mazda’s worldwide bestseller with more than 6 million units since launch in 2003—is an unqualified pleasure." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The 2019 Mazda3 comes standard with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and a six-speed manual is optional with the highest hatchback trim. Fuel economy varies based on the drivetrain configuration, ranging from an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway to 24/32 mpg city/highway.

The car feels more powerful than it might appear on paper, with solid acceleration for most driving situations. The automatic transmission is well-matched, holding gears appropriately and delivering smooth, timely shifts.

  • "The powerplant interacts beautifully with Mazda’s in-house automatic, and when we selected Sport mode, good things happened in the mountains where holding third gear is imperative. We came away with the sense it would be possible to drive the 3 for many years with complete satisfaction." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Mazda 3 is first available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Making a square 186 horsepower and pound-feet of torque, the engine is far from potent but still more than adequate for daily use, even when you drive with deliberate enthusiasm. The six-speed automatic provides quicker and smoother shifts than last year's, and a six-speed manual is available, too, but only with the hatchback." -- Edmunds
  • "Power-wise, the new Mazda3 now comes standard with the formerly optional, up-level engine of the outgoing vehicle: Mazda’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that’s good for 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers felt just enough for the new Mazda3. Initial power delivery has actually been smoothed for this new vehicle, which makes it feel slightly less punchy off the line, even if it’s just as quick as the current model. … When engaged, Mazda’s in-house 6-speed automatic holds gears longer and gives the vehicle more verve overall." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The Mazda3 has sharp steering, with well-controlled body motions and composure around turns. The car also boasts a comfortable ride, and it soaks up most imperfections in the road nicely. Front-wheel drive is standard in the Mazda3, and all-wheel drive is optional.

  • "The new 3 feels much flatter and stable in cornering, the steering is predictably manageable, and the new tires—which were specifically chosen to be softer, to take more of the initial impact vibration of bumps in the road—never threatened me with understeer." -- Jalopnik
  • "Ride quality is simply exceptional. Even on the harshest potholes and bumps, occupants are completely isolated from the impacts. Yet despite that isolation from impacts and noise, the Mazda3 remains remarkably engaging to drive. The Mazda3's steering is direct and progressive, with a hint of lightness to it that brings the Miata to mind." -- Motor Trend
  • "Some cars are objectively more fun to drive than others, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 is — and this is a very technical term — a freakin' blast. … The steering is not only direct and true, but possesses an extraordinary ability to maintain trajectory. From the moment you turn in, you never need to make adjustments to the steering wheel until the front tires are straight again. The car goes exactly where you intend, always." -- Autoblog
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