The 2020 Mazda Mazda3 returns largely unchanged after last year's redesign. The only major update is that the base trim now includes Mazda's suite of active safety features that includes, among other things, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
Choosing Your Mazda Mazda3
The Mazda3 is available in four trims: Mazda3, Select, Preferred, and Premium. The available five-door hatchback is only available in Mazda3, Preferred, and Premium guise. Pricing starts at $22,420 including destination for the Mazda3 and climbs to $28,420 for the Premium hatchback.
Every Mazda3 model uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The only available transmission in the sedan is a six-speed automatic. Hatchbacks are almost exclusively found with two pedals as well, but the Premium trim does offer a six-speed manual for traditionalists.
Unlike most compacts, all-wheel drive is available with either body style on all hatchbacks, and the Select, Preferred, and Premium sedan. It's a $1,400 upcharge and is strictly limited to the automatic transmission.
The Mazda3 sedan achieves an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon city, 36 mpg highway, and 30 combined, or 25/33/28 mpg (city/highway/combined) with AWD. The hatcback earns 26/35/30 mpg with the automatic, 25/35/29 mpg with the manual, or 24/32/27 mpg with AWD.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
Both sedans and hatches will seat up to five people. Compared with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, and the Mazda3 gives up nothing in front-seat space. In back, things are a little more decisive, with the Mazda's 35 inches of leg room a full 2 inches shy of what the Honda offers. The Corolla's rear seat is the least roomiest of the three.
As for cargo-toting ability, the hatchback's 20 cubic feet with the rear seats up is plenty spacious, but the sedan's 13 cubes trails the competition. In both four- and five-door form, the Civic handily trumps these numbers, and a number of other compact sedans match or exceed the Mazda3 sedan's meager trunk space.
One thing worth noting: the cargo space offered by the five-door isn't only competitive with other compact hatches but also subcompact SUVs. It's in fact more roomy than Mazda's own CX-3, as well as the Chevrolet Trax and Toyota C-HR.
For 2020, all Mazda3 models now come standard with Mazda's i-Activsense suite of active safety features. Some of the notable technology grouped into this safety bundle include automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a driver attention monitor. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard.
This comprehensive list of standard features is more than what's offered by the Civic and Corolla, both of which charge extra for blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Other compacts, like the Nissan Sentra, Volkswagen Jetta, and Hyundai Elantra, are also not quite as generous with their standard safety features. All of these models have a significantly lower starting price than the Mazda3, however.
Every Mazda3 gets a standard 8.8-inch touchscreen with the brand's latest Mazda Connect infotainment software. Embedded within this system is Bluetooth, HD radio, voice command, and Pandora radio integration. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, as are two USB ports.
Base audio systems are eight speakers, though higher-trim models use a 12-speaker Bose system and also include SiriusXM. The Premium trim comes standard with a head-up display.
Navigation ($450) and a wireless charging pad ($275) are standalone options on every trim.
The cheapest Mazda3 is the base four-door sedan; the equivalent hatchback runs another $2,200. Among the standard features are split-folding rear seats, cloth upholstery, keyless entry, and rain-sensing wipers.
The hatchback gets additional niceties such as dual-zone climate control, keyless start, and leatherette upholstery. Both models come with full LED lighting and body-colored mirrors and trim. The sedan comes standard with 16-inch wheels, while the hatch is rolling on 18-inch aluminium-alloy rims.
The Select trim essentially equips the sedan with all the base hatchback's extra standard features. It's not available on the hatchback and there are no further options outside of paint selections.
Both body styles are available in the Preferred, though the hatch costs another $1,000. Standard features include memory-equipped heated side mirrors, illuminated vanity mirrors, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift. This is also the cheapest trim to offer the SiriusXM and the 12-speaker Bose audio system as standard.
The fanciest Mazda3 is the Premium. As with the Preferred, the hatchback is another $1,000 over the sedan. Both models come standard with leather upholstery, a memory-equipped driver's seat, paddle shifters for automatic-equipped cars, and a head-up display. A power-sliding moonroof with a one-touch open feature and interior sunshade is also standard.
We're most smitten by the 2020 Mazda Mazda3 Preferred, which is plenty luxurious for the class. Of course, the hatchback would be our choice – there's too much inherent practicality in the five-door to not splurge for it.