The current generation Mazda3 has been on sale since 2014, we’ve previously reviewed a 2014 Mazda3 Sport GT (hatchback) and a 2016 Mazda3 GT (sedan), I have been a fan of this car and most automotive journalists like the car’s driving dynamics. The Mazda3 is facing stiff competition from newly redesigned cars like the Honda Civic, which is now once again offered as a hatchback, and the new Hyundai Elantra, which does not have a hatchback version (yet).
Although the Mazda3 is a bit older now compared to the above mentioned two cars, it’s still the sportiest car in its segment. For 2017 Mazda did a bit of an update to the car’s exterior styling, which is very minor and I’ve had a hard time noticing it, but when parked next to a 2016 Mazda3, you do notice the minor changes, if you look close enough.
The changes on the outside include a wider front grill with new headlight assembly, the top of the line GT is offered with projector headlamps now and comes with a new design of 18” wheels, the rear bumper gets minor changes making it look wider. On the inside, the “3” benefits from a redesigned steering wheel, tire pressure monitoring, electronic parking brake, and reduced noise levels. The new Mazda3 also receives Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control (GVC) technology, which was first introduced on the Mazda6. See the video below for how the technology works:
2017 Mazda3 Sport is offered in three trims, the base Mazda3 Sport GX starts at $19,950 and the top of the line GT tops out at $29,250. These prices do not include $1,695 freight and PDI. Below is a list of prices for all trims with different transmissions and options:
The engines offered remain the same for 2017, which includes a 2.0 liter direct injection 4-cylinder SKYACTIV on the GX and GS trims, and a 2.5 liter direct injection 4-cylinder SKYACTIV on the GT trim. The smaller engine produces 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The bigger engine produces 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm. Both engines are offered with either 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters are only available on the automatic transmission equipped GT models.
According to Mazda, the Mazda3 GT with the automatic transmission should consume 9.0 liters/100 km in the city and 6.7 liters/100 km on the highway. The consumption has gone up, not because the 2017 Mazda3 is less efficient but because the government has changed how to calculate fuel consumption for 2017 cars, bringing the fuel economy testing more in line with real world driving. Our week-long review netted us 7.8 liters/100 km in city driving and 7.3 L/100 km in 60/40 city/highway driving, according to the on-board computer. I was able to get better consumption numbers than the posted figures, I’m not sure how I achieved that, as I had a higher fuel consumption number on the 2016 Mazda3 GT sedan I reviewed last year.
The Mazda3 might be a bit older design, especially when compared to the Civic and Elantra, but it’s still the sportiest to drive. The steering has a nice weight to it and the suspension is on the sporty side, Mazda did soften it a bit for initial turn in. I had a lot of fun zipping around the city in our review hatchback. Power is more than enough for city driving or enjoying some twisty roads, however, the automatic transmission does tend to go up gears quite quickly to save fuel, the remedy for that is putting it in sport mode and manually changing gears with the paddle shifters. In sport mode, the throttle response is quicker and the gears are held longer, making the Mazda3 quite fun to drive.
I would love to try a Mazda3 with a manual transmission, I believe that will take the fun factor a couple of notches higher.
The interior is basically the same as the previous Mazda3 we reviewed, except for the addition of the electronic parking brake, the same tech gadgets are available on this car as our previous review car. The HUD display now also features a graphic that shows if someone is in your blind spot, in addition to the mirror mounted blind spot monitoring lights. I believe this feature on the HUD was first introduced on the Mazda6.
The interior isn’t as roomy as the new Civic or the Elantra, however, those two vehicles are now categorized as mid-size cars, while the Mazda3 is still a compact. I also noticed the interior to be more noisy, especially driving it after the new Civic, which is very quiet.
I liked the Mazda3 on the previous two occasion I test drove it and for some reason I liked it even more this time, maybe because I was reviewing large SUVs the three weeks before? The Mazda3 is a driver’s car and it lives up to Mazda’s old “zoom zoom” slogan. Although the Mazda3 is still fairly new design, I do believe we’ll get to see an all-new model in the next year or so, I’m eagerly looking forward to what Mazda has in store for the “3” in the future.
For more information on the Mazda3, visit mazda.ca.