The fourth-generation Mazda3 arrived in 2019 featuring an improved look based on Mazda’s bold “KODO” design language. In 2021, Mazda made a very special addition to the Mazda3 offering, by way of an all-new turbocharged engine with a specification list that is reminiscent of a tuned-up street racing car. Don’t be fooled by these specs, however, because on the outside the Mazda3 in 2021 still retains that chic, dignified demeanor and allure that have made this generation so well-liked.
The Premium Plus 2.5 Turbo features, as you might have guessed, a 2.5-liter version of the Skyactiv-G turbo engine from Mazda. It outputs some 250hp at 5,000rpm and up to 320 lb-ft of torque at 2,500rpm. All-wheel drive is the standard setting on this car, and it also comes with the G-Vectoring Control Plus control systems. These control systems respond to your steering to make very subtle (but incredible) changes to the engine torque and braking to deliver smoother and more seamless handling.
What’s the result of all this superior engineering? Well, first of all, this Mazda3 is quick. It’ll do 0 to 60 in just 5.6 seconds and has a top speed of 134 mph. From the more mature exterior design, this is not necessarily the kind of high-performance style you expect, but this Mazda3 delivers.
The exterior offers a subtle modern charm that I find very appealing. This is the kind of vehicle that looks great but doesn’t boast too much. This hatchback has some nice additions, however, such as 18-inch black-aluminum alloys, gloss-black grille and power mirrors, LED headlamps and daytime running lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and more.
If you opt for the Premium Plus package, you can upgrade the side mirrors with auto-dimming, get a gloss-black rear roof spoiler and more on the exterior and interior. One of the best exterior design elements are the circular LED tail lights which are unmistakably Mazda and finish off the look with a crisp modern feel.
Fantastic High-end Interior
The interior is really quite something. It’s comfortable, packed with high-quality elements, stylish and offers great features. Starting in the front, the driver is treated to a fantastic 8-way power-adjustable leather seat with a heated seating with lumbar support and memory function. On smaller cars like the Mazda3 the seats are often on the smaller side but thankfully the Mazda3 offers a generous amount of room for maximum comfort.
The rest of the interior is sprinkled with chrome finishes, a glass moonroof, Mazda Connect infotainment system, several USB ports and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto…the list goes on. The Premium Plus Package once again adds some nice enhancements like leather seats, a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, and many additional safety features, plus there’s a digital instrument cluster on every model!
Safety and ADAS
High-spec fast car it is, but the Mazda3 Hatchback 2.5 Turbo is also one of the safest hatchbacks out there, especially when you add in optional features such as a a 360-degree view camera, traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic braking and smart city brake support. In fact, the 2021 Mazda3 even earned the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Verdict: Sporty Hatch Full of Fun
The list of features on this seemingly small and somewhat unassumingly stylish Mazda3 Hatchback is highly impressive. For the length and scope of the features, you’d expect to be driving a high-end hatch. On top of that, it has fantastic performance genes while still managing 26 mpg. Better yet, the new 2.5 Turbo models start at $31,050. It’s a deal and a half, in my book.