Mazda has always been an underdog in the Japanese automotive market, over shadowed by Honda and Toyota. So to help out, Ford had a controlling share in Mazda from the late 90’s until 2015. So how does a ford-era Mazda sedan stack up? Surprisingly well.
The 2010 Mazda 3 I drove had a 2.5L inline 4 cylinder and a 5 speed automatic transmission. The 2.5 offers a lot more torque than most other economy cars in its class. Torque is what makes a car feel fast, it throws you back in your seat. So when driving the 3, you feel like you’re driving faster than you are. The automatic trans works, and nothing more. The Mazda 3 is front wheel drive, which is great for fuel economy and around-town driving.
The interior falls flat in my opinion. While it functioned well, was equipped well to compete in its class, it didn’t feel special. Now I understand that the 3 is an economy car, and is meant to get from point A to point B. But there are ways to get around the cheap-o feeling, and Ford/Mazda failed to do this. The steering wheel felt nice in my hands and everything was within easy reach. The back seats were functional, but sort of stiff so I’d avoid sitting back there on long trips.
The Mazda 3 is a great little car to get around with. If I needed a daily driver, the 3 would be high on my list. Give the Mazda 3 a look if you’re in the market for a car to get you around, and not much more.