I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Mazda has really stepped up their game in the last couple years. If you remember, I drove a 2010 Mazda 3 a couple weeks ago and was less than impressed. It feel like your run-of-the-mill economy car. That’s great for people looking to get from point A to point B, but for a car enthusiast and someone who doesn’t like being bored, I didn’t like it too much. Now let’s jump forward eight years to 2018 to see how Mazda has changed their recipe over that period of time.
The 2018 Mazda 3 has a 2.5L inline four-cylinder engine and a 5 speed automatic transmission. This is the same engine put in the new Mazda Cx-5, which I really liked. 2.5 liters is a pretty big displacement for a four-cylinder, so power and torque is no issue. The engine is naturally aspirated, so don’t expect to blow the doors off anyone who pulls up next to you, but when compared to smaller displacement economy engines, the 2.5 packs a punch. The automatic transmission is pretty average, and also has a sport mode like the Cx-5.
The interior compared to the 2010 Mazda 3 is that of a Rolls Royce. The leather was comfortable and classy. Interior wise the car is rather well equipped. It has Mazda’s standard infotainment system which I don’t love, but I can deal with. There are two parts that I wasn’t very fond of. The first is the sunroof’s switch. You have to hold the switch down the complete duration of it closing in order to keep it moving and shut fully. This isn’t a huge issue, but the Cx-5 has what appears to be the same button but in the Cx-5 it closes after one touch. I feel like Mazda could have easily put that switch into the 3, but they did not. The other thing I didn’t like was the heads-up display. The HUD is a piece of clear plastic that displays your speed behind the gauge cluster. I’m normally a fan of HUDs, but because it displayed on a piece of thin plastic and not the windshield, it felt more like a Happy-Meal gimmick than an optional automotive feature.
That being said, I really liked the overall feel. It takes a lot for me to really see myself owning something. Heck, I still don’t feel like I own my Rx7 three years later. But I really felt at home and comfortable in the Mazda 3. I told my friends and family after the review that I found my next car once my daily decides to give out. If Mazda continues on this path, Nissan should start sweating.