By Jove, they did it again. Putting together an affordable compact sedan capable of delivering class-leading technology at a low price is difficult enough. Making sure that compact sedan is also fun to drive, safe, and luxuriously appointed? That should be impossible. Yet the engineers responsible for the 2017 Mazda3 have again delivered a car capable of wowing test drivers with responsive handling, an upscale interior, and impressive safety and infotainment technology.
Since debuting its third generation in 2013, Mazda has left things pretty much unchanged until 2017. This year, we can enjoy a slightly updated front fascia, a new steering wheel brought over from the 2016 Mazda CX-9, and—most notable—Mazda’s new G-Vectoring technology. Designed to improve handling, G-Vectoring Control tunes down the engine’s torque when the wheel is turned, which results in weight shifting back-to-front and improves cornering. Whether or not its delivers a noticeable improvement is subject to debate, but the technology’s focus is bringing the same kind of car control used by racing drivers to the layman.
Under the hood of the base Sport and mid-level Touring trim is the typical 2.0-liter SkyActiv inline 4-cylinder, good for 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. Move up to the Grand Touring trim, however, and the 184-horsepower, 185 lb-ft 2.5-liter I4 engine is now standard. New for 2017 is also the Touring 2.5 Hatchback. Fuel economy from the larger engine comes in at 27 mpg city/36 highway, with the 2.0-liter returning 28/37.
Mazda has started to earn a reputation for great interiors, and that won’t change in the 2017 Mazda3. Besides the optional heated, leather upholstery and standard, 7-inch full-color touchscreen, you can expect a well-organized design, comfortable seats, and a quiet cabin. Although the infotainment offering is fully-featured with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, SiriusXM satellite and Pandora radio, Nicole also found it difficult to use. Navigation relies on the “multifunction commander control,” a large dial that allows you to spin through the menus. It’s less than intuitive and builds too many steps into what should be a simple process.
Advanced (but also optional) safety tech available on the Mazda3 includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and autonomous emergency braking. For pricing and further information on the Mazda3, read Nicole’s full Test Drive Review on CarGurus: https://cargur.us/d2tXs
Presenter: Nicole Wakelin
Producer: Trevor Holmes
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