Mazda’s Mazda3, a compact-car darling of driving enthusiasts, drops the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for 2023, and the previously optional 2.5-liter engine is now standard. Its output has been increased to 191 horsepower, a bump of 5 horsepower, and cylinder deactivation technology is installed for better gas mileage.
The 2.5 Turbo engine is still on tap, supplying 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque if given premium 93-octane fuel, or 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet with regular 87-octane fuel.
EPA fuel economy ratings for combined city/highway range from 26 mpg to 30 mpg, below average for the compact-car segment.
Equipment upgrades for the 2023 Mazda3 include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now standard on all models, and newly optional all-wheel drive for the mid-level Carbon Edition model.
The Mazda3 is available in sedan and hatchback body styles. My test car was a hatchback, so information here is focused on that version.
A lineup of nine different trim levels starts with a well-equipped Mazda3 2.5 S with front-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive availability kicks in at mid-level with the Carbon Edition model. The 2.5 S Premium Package with front-wheel drive has a six-speed manual transmission. (A six-speed automatic is standard on all other versions.) Turbo models occupy the top two positions and come standard with all-wheel drive.
With a $1,065 destination charge included, pricing ranges from $24,615 to $36,365.
Mazda3’s exterior styling is beyond reproach, with a tiny exception being made for the hatchback’s rotund rear, a byproduct of reshaping a sedan into a hatchback. From the driver’s perspective, that reshaping also enlarges the blind spot because the C pillar becomes much wider. A blind spot monitoring system is called for and it’s a standard feature on all but the base model. Mazda’s excellent 360-degree view monitor, standard or optional depending on trim level, makes sure every angle is covered in close quarters.
The interior is artful and elegant, put together with precision using high-quality materials, and unwelcome noises from without, such as road noise, are successfully silenced. Even when taking advantage of the Mazda3’s tremendous handling abilities, ride conditions within the cabin remain civilized.
Rear seat legroom is hampered by the limitations of a compact car where driver and front-passenger comfort are given top priority.
The cargo area provides 20.1 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats. With seats folded, cargo space expands to 47.1 cubic feet. Not a vast amount, but plenty enough to give the hatchback some actual practicality along with its elegance and performance.
2023 MAZDA MAZDA3 TURBO AWD HATCHBACK
Base price, including destination charge: $36,365
Price as driven: $36,895
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.
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