Mazda gets us and we need to embrace thatThe updated Mazda3 is proof positive of that

When I say that “Mazda gets us”, I am trying to stand on a soapbox and preach to the enthusiast masses. The problem here is that those masses aren’t exactly that. We’re the minority, yet Mazda is still plucking on our automotive heart strings. There have been many examples of this over the years, but the latest one is the updated Mazda3.
How so? List off all of the automakers that will let you opt for the manual gearbox across all available trim lines. I don’t have to wait for your answers here, because I know the list is short.

I had a chance to spend time with Mazda’s updated 3, and I opted for a loaded hatchback version. It’s not rare to find a loaded presser, but it is rare to find said loaded shared press sled packing a do-it-yourself transmission. You don’t have to settle for slumming it in the entry-level version, and it’s not quite slumming it to be honest. Still, if this vehicle is your daily driver you’ll probably want to sit in a nice cabin every time you go to push that start button.
And a nice place you’ll find here, as Mazda has improved the materials inside the car. The touch points feel upgraded, the leather used feels nicer, and the seats remain quite comfortable. The best part though is, of course, your hand falling to rest on that six-speed manual gearbox.
You get to choose between a pair of Skyactiv gas engines here on the 3. One is a 2.0-liter that is banging out 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. The other is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine pushing out a sportier 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. Either one is available with the manual gearbox or you can opt for a six-speed automatic.
Well the Mazda3 matures, the driving experience retains a lot of that zoom-zoom love that went into the older versions. The steering feel is strong despite running through both the new G-Vector control system and an electronically boosted rack. That delightful slow-car-fast enjoyability is absolutely still present. That’s helped in part because this thing weighs at or under 3,100 pounds. If you get the smaller engine, you’ll find a curb weight of just 2,875 lbs while the 2.5-liter will see 3,046 on the scale.
Even better? You can get a very nicely equipped Grand Touring with the larger engine and it will fall on the good side of $30,000. This is a car people should be examining if it fits into their life, and they need a new car. This is also a brand we should all be talking up to our non-enthusiast friends because they need our help and support.
We pine for cars that manage to retain some semblance of what we call a soul. It’s an overarching term we’re grabbing here to describe a vehicle that instills a sense of joy in you when you drive it. You push and it responds, and you smile. A warm rolling sensation starts in your head and rolls down into your heart before winding up in your feet, and you get that because you’re in a vehicle that enjoys taking the longer canyon road home just as much as you do.
[Images courtesy of Mazda]

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4 responses to “Mazda gets us and we need to embrace thatThe updated Mazda3 is proof positive of that”

  1. bv911 Avatar

    Doing my part: all of my new cars have been Mazdas. Well, all three of them, anyway. I’ve been saying “Mazda 3” for so long now…

  2. RustySpokes Avatar

    On our second Mazda 3 hatchback, great little drivers cars.

  3. Harry Callahan Avatar
    Harry Callahan

    On my third Mazda…a 2015 M6 Touring with manual. 40k trouble-free, gear-shifting miles. Mazda: thanks for building my “perfect car” : Affordable to buy and run, comfortable, well designed, and high build quality. VERY satisfied Mazda customer here!

  4. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    I’ve been recommending Mazdas more so than I have any other brand. They’re making pretty kickass cars; hopefully the masses notice and they to do so.

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