For 2019, Mazda's Mazda3 sports a redesign and a new more economical engine. Otherwise the Mazda3 remains the functional and average compact sedan/hatchback it was when introduced to a United States market in 2009.
If economy is important, fuel consumption should average between 25 and 33 miles per gallon in the city and highway respectively and that is with the Skyactiv-G engine. During a test week in the compact sedan with that engine, the average was 30.1 mpg in combined city-highway driving with two adults aboard. A new untested Skyactiv-X engine, which currently is not available on Mazda products sold in the U.S., should be 30 percent more efficient. That engine will be introduced in world markets other than the U.S. before the end of the year, a company official said in late April.
The tested dual overhead cam 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine with 186 horsepower is not quite a barn-burner, but does propel the sedan fast off the mark. This power is noticeable while passing slower traffic in tight situations on the interstate. In the city, power is evident when dodging through heavy traffic. Mazda got the Skyactive technology right. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and, if one wants to add more zip to the ride, a sport mode is provided. For the serious sportster, a six-speed manual, taken from the MX-5 Miata, is offered
Skyactiv was introduced in 2012 on the Mazda3. The air-fuel mixture is compressed much more than in conventional gasoline engines resulting in more power and efficiency. Compression ratios are higher. The technology includes the assistance of a modest supercharger pushing more air to mix with the fuel in a piston's combustion chamber.
The strut and torsion beam suspension has no surprises. The system will smooth out most highway imperfections but not all. It might be wise to go slowly over railroad crossings.
Leg room is ample in front, less so in the rear. Getting into the driver's seat can be awkward as head and body clearance seems insufficient. Perhaps some design work can be done here. Competitors in the compact market do better.
A criticism of certain automotive manufacturers is the insistence to automatically lock a vehicle after the driver with smart key in hand has departed and walked away 20 feet. The Mazda3 does not do this, which is a big plus. A driver can return to the car five minutes later without the smart key in hand, if for example he or she has forgotten a package. The Mazda is unlocked and will not lock until the operator decides, via the smart key, to do the honors.
On the down side, the sound system is complicated and not user-friendly. During the test week, it took multiple steps to simply get to a desired satellite radio station.
The power steering was taut. All-terrain P215 tires are mounted on 18-inch alloy wheels. The temporary spare is steel.
Mazda has a system called G-Vectoring Control. Delivery of power is adjusted as sensors note shifting weight of the vehicle. In cornering, for instance, engine torque is subtly reduced and more of the drive load is shifted to the front wheels. The system monitors activity of the steering wheel, speed and throttle position. The piston spark timing is retarded to reduce torque. If it is even a slight turn, the system kicks in and the response is in milliseconds.
The test model's standard features included keyless remote entry, pushbutton start, air conditioning with pollen filter, cruise control (mounted on the manually tilt and telescoping steering wheel), power driver's seat, two heated front seats, power windows (express down), door locks and heated exterior mirrors, remote keyless entry, rain-sensing intermittent wipers, fog lights, halogen headlights, moonroof with one-touch open, rearview camera, dual trip odometers, rear spoiler, cargo cover and intermittent rear window defogger and wiper.
The nine-speaker Bose sound system includes AM-FM, Sirius satellite radio, compact disc and MP3 players, two USB ports, a seven-inch color touchscreen, high definition radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Audio. There is SMS text messaging and Bluetooth hands-free telephone connectivity. Mazda3s have an information and emergency system for help such as the location of a certain restaurant or assistance from a technician or, in serious cases, a flatbed.
Other standard equipment includes leather seats, color dashboard trim in conjunction with luminescent gauges, side turn signal repeater lights, rear ventilation ducts, lighted vanity mirrors, reading lights in front and an overhead for both rows, two 12volt outlets, center armrests and cup and bottle holders.
Safety equipment above the norm includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and radar cruise control. Standard are antilock disc brakes with brake assist, active front head restraints, frontal and front-side airbags and headliner curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, rear door child safety locks, child seat anchors and tethers, five seat belts and four adjustable headrests and whiplash protection in front.
Vehicle: all-wheel-drive 2019 Mazda3 with premium package
Type: four-door, five-passenger compact sedan
Engine: 2.5-liter, 186-horsepower, dual overhead cam four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed automatic with sport mode
Fuel: regular unleaded
Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons
Weight: 3,248 pounds
Tires (P215), wheels (aluminum alloy): 18-inch, temporary spare
Brakes: discs, 11.6-inch vented front, 10.4-inch solid rear
Turning curb-to-curb: 37.3 feet
Suspension: independent, struts front, torsion beam axle rear
Wheelbase, length, width, height, ground clearance in inches: 107.3, 183.5, 70.7, 56.9, 5.5
Leg room: 42.3 inches front, 35.1 inches rear
Trunk: 13.2 cubic feet
Warranty: three years or 36,000 miles, five years or 60,000 miles powertrain