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2018 Mazda MAZDA3 KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.9 / 10
10/8.9
This Car - 2018 Mazda MAZDA3
How It Compares to Similar Cars
10/
Highest -
10/
Lowest -
10/
Average rating for similar cars
More Details
Consumer Rating 9.0 / 10
10/9.0

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor


Playful and sophisticated, the 2018 Mazda3 is a fuel-efficient compact that’s one of the most fun-to-drive cars in its class. Available as a stylish 4-door sedan or a versatile 5-door hatchback, the new Mazda3 offers impressive standard features, many tech-based active safety systems and a refined interior. Three trim levels are available, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Sport models are powered by a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, while the Touring and Grand Touring get a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 184 horsepower. A 6-speed manual is standard but a far more popular 6-speed automatic transmission is available. Some of the Mazda’s rivals in the crowded compact segment are the Honda Civic, VW Golf and Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze and Subaru Impreza.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want more than four wheels and a steering wheel. If you want to like your car. If you want to want your car. If you want to feel something when you drive your car. If you believe life is too short to drive an ugly car you’ll like the 2018 Mazda3.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for all-wheel drive, check out Mazda’s CX-3 crossover SUV or shop Subaru’s Impreza. If have to have over 200 horsepower, the turbocharged VW GTI, Ford Focus ST and Honda Civic Si have the Mazda3 covered. The Civic also offers much more rear-seat legroom than the Mazda.

What's New for 2018

For 2018 the Mazda3 receives minor but significant updates. The 2.0-liter engine is no longer available in the Touring trim level. Touring models are now powered by the 2.5-liter also used in the Grand Touring. Also, Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support system is now standard on the Sport model.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Thanks to Mazda’s innovative Skyactiv powertrain and chassis design, the 2018 Mazda3 is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient. You’ll have to rev the engine high to get the most from its limited power, but the Mazda3’s precise steering, finely honed suspension and strong brakes assure a good time once up to speed. Unlike the VW GTI or Ford Focus ST, the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback don’t sacrifice a smooth, comfortable ride at the altar of great handling. The Mazda3 soaks up road irregularities well, even with the 18-inch wheels and tires of the top trim levels and it cruises well on the highway. The 6-speed manual is one of the best in the industry and is matched in efficiency and fun by the 6-speed automatic with manual mode. The Touring and Grand Touring’s 2.5-liter engine offers a bit more power with only a few miles-per-gallon sacrifice at the pump.

Favorite Features

TOP SAFETY PICK+
The Mazda3 may be Mazda’s smallest and least expensive model, but it has received the highest safety ratings for crash impact by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Mazda3 earned 5 Stars from NHTSA and a rating of Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS.

 VERSATILE HATCHBACK BODY STYLE
Many compacts are only available as 4-door sedans, but the sportier hatchback body style has made a recent resurgence in this class. The Mazda3 hatchback has one of the largest cargo volumes in the segment, 20.2 cubic feet of space behind the back seat and 47.1 cubic feet with the seats folded.


For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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