2017 Mazda 3

The 2017 Mazda 3 continues in a tradition of what is known to one of company’s greatest cars. Shopping for a compact car be a daunting task. This because there are so many good choices out there and competition is fierce every new year. Mazda has made a name for itself in the compact segment and is class leading in terms of almost everything.

Mazda has made extensive updates to the new 2017 model even though it may not appear so from the outside. The third generation was introduced in 2014 and still comes in a hatch or sedan body styling.

There are 4 different trims to chose from ranging from sport, touring, touring 2.5 and the grand touring.

Design

The 2017 Mazda 3 is one of the best looking cars in the compact market. There are minor updates on the front of the car. There is new adaptive LED headlights in the higher trims with automatic beam functions.

The grill is slightly tweaked. There is a new chrome horizontal slack between the LED fog lights and the lower fascia.

Looking at the side, you get 18 inch wheels are only available from the touring trim and up. There are no any significant changes at the back compared to the 2016 model. There are still LED tail lights if you go for the premium package

Engine

Not a lot of changes have been made under the hood. You still get the choice of a 2-liter sky active G4 cylinder 155HP or the 2.5-liter with 184 HP With direct Injection. You can chose the transmission between the 6-speed manual or the 6 speed automatic. Fuel economy ranges based on the engine and the transmission. You get 25 MPG in the city and 34 on the highway. If you go for the automatic, it can go as high as 27/37 which is decent for a 4 cylinder engine.

All Mazda 3 are front wheel drive and weigh around 3000 lbs which is the norm for vehicles in the segment.

Interior

Most versions of the 2017 Mazda 3 will come standard with the company’s smart key access with  push button start. The interior looks very expensive. You get the 2-tone  Oman leather with black interior.

There is a decent stepping height given that it is a compact vehicle. The doors sound nice and compact when they are shut. The Mazda 3 is the only vehicle in the compact segment that offers an active drive display. There is a flexi glass screen that rises up when the engine is turned on.

The infotainment system has been integrated better into the dash. There is a new steering wheel compared to the one in the 2016 models. It comes off from the CX9 and you can get a heated one in the higher trims.

The door panels are all soft touch materials and there is a new piano black accent trim on the window controls which replaces the old one that was made from carbon fibre. The window is automatic one-touch for only the driver’s side.

Just like most Mazda’s entry level vehicles, you get a backup camera with basic functions but no trajectory or sensors. Mazda got rid of the traditional hand brake and replaced it with an electronic one which goes on and off automatically.

The head unit is full touch and screen and also comes with a command controller near the shifter. There are basic Mazda apps but there is no android auto or apple car play. There is a standard sunroof in the Mazda 3 with no panoramic options. The GT model gives you real leather on the seats as opposed to lower models which have synthetic leather.

The rear seat is a little bit on the tighter side if you compare it with competitors like the Corolla and the Jetta. There is decent foot space underneath the seat and there is no flat floor.

When it comes to cargo space, you get around 12.5 cubic feet in the 2017 Mazda 3 which is an inch smaller compared to competitors. The hatch gives you 20 cubic ft of space, looks better and there is more versatility.

Driving

Just like in the Mazda 6, The new 2017 Mazda 3 also has the G vectoring control which makes the car handle even better than its predecessor.

The 6-speed manual makes the Mazda 3 alive. It has crisp direct throws and the suspension has been updated to make it softer and improve the ride quality. It also added sound deadening materials to address complaints of the car being noisy.

The steering is segment best as it is quick and direct. The car inspires so much confidence and makes you think you are driving a premium sporty car.

The Mazda 3 will get from 0 to 60 in 7.5s in the bigger motor. This is slightly slower than the new civic turbo.

The G vectoring control is an advanced form of Chassis dynamics. It monitors your throttle input, vehicle speed and steering ratio. It senses when you are going towards a corner and actively reduces torque from the engine switches the load from the back tires to the front.

The car has more grip and smoother transmission when going back and forth between curves. The 2016 Mazda 3 would under steer when driving in heavy rains. The 2016 variant is a lot smoother and solid.

When it comes to safety, there is the adaptive cruise control with the 6-speed manual. It has a radar in front with laser cameras and will follow the car ahead of you at a speed of 90 miles an hour. The cool part is you can shift gears even when the cruise control is active.

The lane keep assist will private the wheel and nudge you back to your lane. This is as close to semi-autonomous driving as it can get. The new 2017 Mazda 3 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for daily driving car.

Pricing

The 2017 Mazda 3 starts at about $17800 for a sedan for a manual transmission and $1000 extra for an automatic and another $1200 if you want the hatchback. The grand touring sedan with a stick starts at around $23000.