The 2019 Mazda3 is the small car you should buy if you want a compact car with great handling, a nice interior, easy to use infotainment system and a surprising amount of cargo room in the hatchback.
With a new design for 2019 Mazda upgrades the interior quality and a sharp eye-catching exterior. In addition to the upgraded tech, you also get safety and driver convenience features that many shoppers are looking for.
With options and the All-Wheel Drive upgrade, the Mazda3 can quickly jump in price from $21,000 for the sedan and $23,600 for the hatchback to the $31,335 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD with Premium Package and options that I tested.
I love the flowing, sporty lines of the Mazda3 Hatchback. The dominating grille and aggressive front end give this compact car a lot of character and match up well with the driving dynamics. The polymetal gray mica paint looks spot-on for the Mazda3 and accentuates the appeal of this new design nicely.
While there is a very large C-pillar, the section of the car behind the rear door and back window, the design still works very well and visibility isn’t awful. Plus you get blind spot monitoring on the Select Trim and up. At the rear of the car, the small spoiler and dual-LED taillights accentuate the style and round out the overall look of this hatchback.
Inside you’re in for a treat thanks to an upscale look with two-tone red and black throughout the cabin of the Premium Package tester. This combo and the new interior style looks like something you’d find in a much more expensive vehicle.
The seats are comfortable and on this unit are heated. Both front seats offer good support throughout and the bolsters are not aggressive, so it’s comfortable for a longer trip. The headroom and legroom are OK in the front seats, but you will know that you are in a small car while you are in the cabin. The backseat is very small. It’s not comfortable to sit for a long trip in the back seat of the Mazzda3 if you are a tall adult. There is a fold-down center to the back seat to offer cupholders and this works out for young kids. The back seat doesn’t feature vents on the center console or a place to plug-in for charging.
Cargo space is down slightly from the 2018 model and even with a hatchback it is limited. A week of groceries for two people will fit in the back or a set of golf clubs, but if you need to haul a lot of luggage or other items, plan to fold down the seats.
The 2019 Mazda3 packs a 2.5L 4 cylinder Skyactive G engine under the hood. This delivers 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft. of torque and is the only engine option. I tested the six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. You can configure the Mazda 3 with a six-speed manual or with front-wheel drive options.
This combination holds up well on the road with quick acceleration off the line. Mazda says you’ll go 0-60 in 7 seconds, but it feels quicker than that when you are in the driver seat. This is a fun car to drive especially when you head to a twisty road and throw the car into corners. The all-wheel-drive system delivers impressive grip during spirited driving and on wet roads.
Handling is impressive and the steering weight is spot on, and increases in sport mode. With sport mode on you get quicker off the line performance and the paddle shifters offer more control of this automatic option.
Our loaner with AWD and the automatic is rated at 27 mpg combined, 24 mpg city and 32mpg highway. The front-wheel-drive is more efficient at 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. IF efficiency tops your list, check out the Toyota Corolla Hatchback and the Honda Civic Hatchback.
Mazda really elevated the tech in the 2019 Mazda3. This includes a beautiful 8.8-inch display and it runs the new version of Mazda’s infotainment system. The display looks great and rises out of the dash with a beautiful angular design. This is nestled deep in the dash since you use the dial down on the center console for controls. This is not a touch screen, but the dial works better than trackpads on some other vehicles. After a few days, I adjusted to using the dial in the Mazda software. This system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard, which are easy to use with the dial controls. You can also connect with Bluetooth. The sound system is very good in this small cabin.
There is an optional wireless charger for $275, Navigation for $475 and an auto-dimming frameless mirror that includes garage door opener buttons. The wireless charger is handy, as is the upgraded mirror, but if you plan to use Android Auto or Apple Carplay, you can skip the navigation package.
Safety & Driver Aids
There are a lot of available driver aids that help with driver confidence and are very convenient for longer trips. On the Select and above trim levels, you get some of my favorite features including;
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert
- Lane Keep Assist & Lane Departure Warning
- Radar cruise control with stop and go.
- Smart Brake Support
Blind-spot monitoring makes changing lanes less stressful in traffic, rear cross-traffic alert helps when backing out of parking spaces and the radar cruise simplifies long trips and time spent stuck in traffic. Smart brake support can help slow the vehicle if the car senses a potential collision ahead. Lane Keep Assist helps keep you in your lane while driving on the highway, taking some of the need for constant corrections out of the driving experience.
With the Premium Package, you get Adaptive Front Lighting, which is a fancy way of saying the headlights turn with the wheel slightly so that they illuminate the road where you are going instead of pointing off away from your turn. Combined with the already great LED headlights, this dramatically improves night driving.