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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Mazda Mazda3

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Expert's Rating

4.6Excellent

MPG 25 City / 35 Highway
Pros
  • Crisp handling
  • Smooth-shifting transmission
  • Versatile cargo area
  • Excellent fuel economy
Cons
  • Styling not for everyone
  • Ride somewhat stiff
, Automotive Editor -
The Mazda3 sets fun-to-drive standards in its class -- and with Mazda's new Skyactiv technology, it delivers exceptional fuel economy.

Introduction

When the Mazda Protege finally wore out its welcome in 2004, Mazda introduced an all-new lineup in its place: the Mazda3. The Mazda3 not only added the extra functionality of a wagon to the mix, but also gave the Japanese automaker a base model that had the extra design flair to draw in younger buyers.

As the Mazda3 enters the 2013 model year, it is largely a carryover from the previous year, but there are some minor revisions to the driveline. The base trim level carries the same old 2.0-liter engine from the 2012 model year, but the big change is the addition of the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine to the i Sport trim level. Short of that change, everything else in the 2013 model year remains the same as the 2012 edition.

For the 2013 model year, the Mazda3 comes in a whopping eight trim levels: i SV 4-Door, i Sport 4-Door, i Touring 4-Door, i Grand Touring 4-Door, s Grand Touring 4-Door, i Touring 5-Door, i Grand Touring 5-Door, s Grand Touring 5-Door. The biggest reason for all of the trim levels is the fact that the 2013 Mazda3 comes in two body styles – sedan and hatchback – and each body style has its own list of trim levels and standard features. The base i SV 4-Door trim level is a bare-bone sedan with a few little goodies here and there, but nothing too overwhelming. The i Sport 4-Door adds in some of the creature comforts that most buyers expect to see in this day and age. Moving into the i Touring trim level, you have a choice of the sedan or hatchback models, and they include an array of premium features, like alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The i Grand Touring also has the sedan or hatchback option and it builds upon the i Touring package with luxury features like leather seating and navigation. Finally you have the s Grand Touring, which is again available in sedan or hatchback and offers a higher-performance engine and sport seats.

In terms of competition, the compact sedan and five-door hatchback market is pretty well covered. A good place to start your alternative shopping is the 2013 Ford Focus, which comes in either a sedan or hatchback and comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, a 2.0-liter engine with 160 horsepower, five-speed manual transmission, and 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. Next up is the 2013 Hyundai Elantra, which is available as a sedan, coupe or hatchback and comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, a 1.8-liter engine with 148 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission, and gets 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. Finally, you have the 2013 Subaru Impreza, which comes as a sedan or hatchback and comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, 2.0-liter engine with 148 horsepower, a five-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, and gets 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Mazda Mazda3
Starting price
$11,575

2013 Mazda Mazda3 i Grand Touring

Recommended for: Buyers that want all of the premium features found in higher-end sedans with a lower price and good fuel economy

The luxurious additions keep on coming, as you move up to the i Grand Touring trim level, as it carries over the i Touring’s base features, but tosses in premium features. On the outside, the i Grand Touring adds in heated side-view mirrors and welcome lighting. Inside the cabin, the i Grand Touring surrounds its passengers in luxury by adding in features like: power moonroof, blind-sport monitoring, 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint audio system with AudioPilot, Pandora Internet radio, voice command, RBDS and HD radio, sliding center console, 5.8-inch color navigation with voice control, text message delivery and reply, leather seating with five-level heated front seats, and an eight-way power driver seat.

2013 Mazda Mazda3
Starting price
$11,575

2013 Mazda Mazda3 i SV

Recommended for: Buyers looking for an inexpensive sedan with only basic amenities

The i SV 4-Door trim level acts as the base trim level for the entire 2013 Mazda3 lineup, as is features all of your basic amenities and not much in terms of luxury. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter DOHC engine that pushes out 148 horsepower and connects to a standard five-speed transmission. This driveline nets the i SV 4-Door 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. On the outside, the i SV 4-Door features only the basics, like: 16-inch steel wheels, power side-view mirrors, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, intermittent wipers, dynamic stability control, traction control and a tire-pressure-monitoring system. Inside the cabin, the i SV’s minimalist approach continues with standard features that include: air conditioning, cabin air filter, cloth seating, power windows, four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with an aux-in jack, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and active front headrests.

2013 Mazda Mazda3
Starting price
$11,575

2013 Mazda Mazda3 i Sport

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a cheaper sedan with a power boost and more features

The i Sport 4-Door trim level takes the basic features found in the i SV trim level and adds some extra comfort and convenience features. Under the hood, it i Sport 4-Door receives a mild boost with the addition of the 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine, which has 155 horsepower and mates to a standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission. This driveline allows the Mazda3 to achieve 27 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. On the outside, the Mazda3 i Sport 4-Door is identical to its i SV sibling. Inside the cabin is where the i Sport makes its difference, as it adds in keyless entry, power door locks, a multi-information display and trip computers, cruise control and a USB audio input for the four-speaker stereo system.

2013 Mazda Mazda3
Starting price
$11,575

2013 Mazda Mazda3 i Touring

Recommended for: Young buyers that want premium features without breaking the bank

The i Touring 4-Door is the trim level where some luxury really starts to shine through. It carries over all of the i Sport’s trimming, including its driveline, but adds in some extra goodies. On the outside, the i Touring adds in a set of 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels to spruce things up a bit. Inside the cabin, however, is where the i Touring works its magic, as it adds in: dual-zone automatic climate control, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry with Start System, push-button starting, six-speaker stereo system, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, back-seat armrest with integrated cup holder, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob.

2013 Mazda Mazda3
Starting price
$11,575

2013 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring

Recommended for: Buyers that want all of the features and extra power

The s Grand Touring is the top-of-the-line trim level for the 2013 Mazda3 sedan, and it adds everything a discerning buyer would want in a premium, sub-luxury sedan. Under the hood it adds in a 2.5-liter engine good for 167 horsepower and mates it with a six-speed manual transmission. This nets the s Grand Touring trim level 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. On the outside, the s Grand Touring adds in premium features like: fog lights, 17-inch aluminum-allot rims, rear lip-style spoiler, chrome dual exhaust, side-view-mirror-integrated turn signals, LED taillights with clear lenses, auto-on and off bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system, rain-sensing wipers and an alarm. Inside the cabin, the s Grand Touring tosses in: SiriusXM radio capabilities with four free months of service, leather-trimmed sport seats, overhead sunglasses storage and illuminated vanity mirrors.

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