2019 Mazda Mazda3 Review

2019 Mazda Mazda3 - Mazda3 continues tradition of fuel economy

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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.

FAST FACTS

Vehicle: all-wheel-drive 2019 Mazda3 with premium package

Type: four-door, five-passenger compact sedan

Price: $27,900

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

Assembly: Japan

Information: www.mazdausa.com




Jerry Kuyper

Born on a southwestern Minnesota farm, Jerrold E. Kuyper quickly became familiar with tractors, pickup trucks and related agricultural equipment. He left that behind to graduate from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and attend graduate schools in Evanston and Chicago. He was hired as a reporter for the Kenosha News, a daily newspaper in Kenosha, WI. After a stint of a dozen years at the Kenosha News, he became a columnist, layout, page and sections editor at the Northwest Herald, a daily newspaper based in Crystal Lake, IL serving northwest Chicago suburban communities.

While with the Northwest Herald he helped create, write reviews and opinion columns as well as edit the newspaper's Wheels section, a 16- to 40-page broadsheet that appeared weekly in the newspaper's Friday edition. Wheels was devoted to reviews of new vehicles, looks at automotive history, current trends in the automobile world and columns by automotive enthusiasts. Midwest Automotive Media Association members who contributed to reviews and columns included Mitch Frumkin, Phil Arendt, Matt Joseph and James Flammang as well as photo journalist Doug Begley and dragster specialist Fred Blumenthal.

Kuyper, who lives in Salem Lakes, WI, is a founding member of MAMA, is married, has three children and six grandchildren.