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2020 Mazda Mazda3

Performance


#2 out of 12 in Compact Cars

MSRP
$21,500
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Mazda Mazda3 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.6

The 2020 Mazda3 stands out in the compact car class because of its dynamic handling and comfortable ride. It also offers a capable engine.

  • "And, while not as powerful as some competitors, the Mazda3 is an enjoyable driver’s car, with superb ride and handling characteristic and a quiet cabin." -- 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 (2019)
  • "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 (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The Mazda3 comes with one engine option: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 186 horsepower. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda3 Premium hatchbacks can swap that for a six-speed manual. The Mazda3 is one of the few cars to offer a manual transmission.

The engine isn’t the most robust in the class, but it supplies enough power for daily driving, and the automatic transmission makes smooth shifts.

According to EPA estimates, this vehicle gets up to 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That’s about average among compact cars. With the manual transmission and front-wheel drive, the hatchback earns 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

  • "Is the 2020 Mazda3 turbocharged? No, all Mazda3s for 2020 use the same 2.5-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine. Although not as powerful as the engine found in the VW GTI or Hyundai Elantra GT N Line, the Mazda3’s engine provides a respectable 186 horsepower. The Mazda3 is also one of the few cars to still offer a manual transmission, as well as the option of all-wheel drive." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2019)
  • "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 (2019)

Ride and Handling

Mazda vehicles are known for their athletic road manners, and the 2020 Mazda3 does nothing to sully that tradition. It has corner-carving prowess, with sharp steering and strong brakes. The ride remains comfortable over most roads.

Front-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is available, which is unusual for a compact car.

  • "The Mazda3 is the sportiest in the segment and, as far as I'm concerned, it's dead-even with the Honda Civic for the top spot in the looks department." -- Autoblog
  • "Responses to steering and braking inputs are quick but never skittish, bringing just the right amount of feedback to make drivers feel confident. There's a real pleasure to driving the Mazda3. It has the rare ability to appeal to comfort-seeking commuters and enthusiasts alike." -- Autotrader
  • "Good news, Mazda fans: There’s still plenty of that intrinsic ‘zoom-zoom’ in the latest Mazda3. In fact, we think the 2020 Mazda3 is its best version yet. Yes, the rear suspension has moved to a simpler torsion beam vs. the previous generation’s multilink setup. But Mazda’s engineers have done such a good job that the 3 retains its status as the most athletic car in its class. With its taut architecture and excellent steering feel, Mazda’s compact sedan and hatchback are made to carve corners. Even more impressive are this new Mazda3’s newfound levels of quiet. It has the hushed ride of a premium car." -- Kelley Blue Book
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Mazda Mazda3

MSRP: $21,500 - $28,900

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