2013 Mazda Mazda3 Overview

Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - December 31, 2012

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.

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