With all the buzz surrounding electric vehicles, pickup trucks and off-road vehicles, compact cars are easy to overlook even though they have had an enduring place in automotive culture.
But small or compact sedans offer a lot to motorists looking for a combination of economy, versatility and maneuverability. The latter, often characterized by the ability to fit neatly into a complex urban or suburban environment where space is often limited, and parking can be scarce or hard to find, may be the biggest selling point of all.
The 2022 Mazda3 is all those things, plus it’s powerful and equipped with a full-complement of advanced safety and connectivity features, giving the vehicle an up-to-date feel. That aura is reinforced by the sharp exterior and interior designs.
Pound for pound and inch for inch the 2022 Mazda3 appears to be an impressive value for buyers willing to trade space for a more practical vehicles capable of fitting into all kinds of situations.
On the outside, the 2022 Mazda3 offers a departure from the rather dowdy exteriors carmakers are offering these days. The silhouette of the Mazda3 is highlighted by a single line, which carries from the car’s nose through the roofline and down through the to the rear edge. The classic sweep of the roof line is re-enforced by the front fascia with its nicely shaped grille and the Mazda badge.
Mazda’s stylists also artfully shape the LED light fixtures at the four corners of the vehicle and the exterior is finished off by the 18-inch wheels made of black alloy emphasizing the car’s bold appearance.
The interior of the 2022 is Mazda is a nice, straightforward layout with an emphasis on functionality and simplicity. However, the material used throughout the interior while not expensive, doesn’t appear cheap. There are also nifty flourishes, such as the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, which offer the driver a nice connection to the car.
There is an 8.8-inch display in the center stack, but controls are a mixture of buttons and knobs as well as controls on the steering wheel for the entertainment system and cruise control. The car is low slung compared to most vehicles built now, but it has excellent visibility from the driver’s seat. The cabin also is surprisingly quiet.
Our Mazda3 test car is equipped with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with 6-speed automatic transmission and Mazda’s i-active all-wheel-drive system. It also had paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. The powertrain produces 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Mazda3 has a combined fuel-economy rating of 27 mpg including 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg highway.
Safety and Technology
The 2023 Mazda3 is equipped with multiple airbags as well driver assistance features such as lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive headlights.
It is also equipped with driver attention alert, radar-based cruise control, traffic-sign recognition and a 360-view monitor. It also comes with wireless charging and four USB ports, Sirius/XM Radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Bluetooth and Mazda Connected Services.
One of the best aspects of the 2022 Mazda3 is its performance on the road. It has more than enough power, given the car’s overall weight and thanks to 2.5-liter turbo engine, which produces 227 horsepower. The 6-speed automatic transmission delivers power to the wheels smoothly and effectively.
The ride and handling are supported by a strong suspension, which is augmented by the vehicle’s G-vectoring controls and dynamic stability control system as well as being backed up by the four-wheel disc brakes. The impressive underpinning makes the Mazda3 fun to drive even on a very ordinary errand or out on the highway where the power and handling can be put to effective use.
2022 Mazda3 AWD Specifications
|L: 175.6 inches/W: 70.7 inches/H: 67.3 inches/Wheelbase: 107 inches
|2.5-liter 4-cylinder; 6-speed automatic transmission
|23 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined
|227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $22,500; As tested: $34,115 plus $1,015 destination charge.
Times change, of course, but the Mazda3 seems to combine the attributes buyers have traditionally prized in a vehicle such as smart styling, ample power and impressive performance. The package, however, is on the small side for many Americans. That said, it fits nicely into the lifestyle of plenty of buyers and by the standards that prevail into today’s automotive market.
However, it is also relatively affordable while delivering many of the safety and connectivity features consumers have come to expect from a well-equipped vehicle today. All and all the Mazda3 is very attractive vehicle.
2022 Mazda3 AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Mazda3 have all-wheel drive?
The Mazda3 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that can put out as much as 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The sedan comes standard with i-Active AWD, which directs torques to the tires with the most grip, improving response and performance.
Is the Mazda3 reliable?
The Mazda3 Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it ninth out of 36 for compact cars. The average annual repair cost is $433 which means it has excellent ownership costs, according to RepairPal.com.
What is the top speed of a Mazda3?
The sports car can reach 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and attain a top speed of 135 mph.