2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback w/ Premium Pkg
Class: Compact Car
Miles driven: 477
Fuel used: 17.8 gallons
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Real-world fuel economy: 26.7 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 24/32/27 (city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $28,900 (not including $920 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Cargo mat ($100), floor mats, all-weather, low wall ($125), illuminated door-sill trim plates ($425), frameless auto-dim mirror ($275), navigation SD card ($450), rear bumper guard ($125), wireless charging pad ($275)
Price as tested: $31,595
The great: Athletic driving personality; upscale interior
The good: Fuel economy for an AWD vehicle; available features
The not so good: Hatchback body style’s compromised rear visibility; tight rear-seat space; not all testers like infotainment control interface
It seems to us that Mazda liked the broth it cooked for its 2019 compact hatchback so well that it chased the cooks out of the kitchen lest they mess it up. The only change of note within the entire 2020 Mazda 3 lineup is the addition of more standard safety equipment for the base-trim notchback sedan.
Consumer Guide drove a ’20 all-wheel-drive hatchback with top-level Premium trim that was so like the ’19 it tested that both cars even had the same $29,820 starting price, including delivery. The biggest obvious difference was the newer car came in Polymetal Gray Metallic paint, one of three standard color choices—all carried over from 2019—whereas the older car was sprayed in one of the three extra-cost hues. In place of premium paint, the 2020 tester counted a stainless-steel guard to protect the top of the rear bumper from scratches among its seven individual options. The final price of $31,595 was $460 lower than the tab for the 2019 test vehicle.
The only other divergence we can mention is fuel economy. CGers put 477 miles on their 2020 Mazda 3 hatch, 65 percent of that in city driving, and came out with 26.7 mpg. Their ’19 returned 28.9 mpg following a 549-mile test with a 70-percent city driving load. EPA estimates for the AWD hatchback are 24 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined, so even though the 2020 test vehicle was somewhat thirstier, it still wasn’t half bad.
Hatchbacks come in base, Preferred, and Premium models. Mazda considers each to be a self-contained “package,” and Premiums stand out by dint of leather-upholstered seats, a head-up display, adaptive front lighting, front and rear LED accent lighting, black-finish 18-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, and paddle shifters. The biggest choice a buyer has to make within a trim level is drive type—front or all-wheel, the latter still a $1400 upgrade. (A 6-speed manual transmission is a no-cost alternative to the automatic, but it’s only offered with the front-drive Premium hatchback.)
As you might expect, given the lack of change between one model year and the next, our feelings about the car are essentially the same as they were when the redesigned 3 came out with first-time availability of all-wheel drive, a simplified rear suspension, and a more upscale presentation of features and appointments.
A naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine continues as the lone power choice. It makes 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. A toggle-activated “Sport” mode changes the transmission shift pattern to wring a little more power from each gear range and provide a modicum of sportier driving. Meanwhile, the 2.5 incorporates cylinder deactivation in pursuit of fuel savings.
The 2019 model marked a switch to a beam-type rear axle in place of the former fully independent rear suspension. Still, the 3 tackles bumps well. CG has praised the 3’s handling and maneuverability. Standard G-Vectoring Control Plus adjusts power delivery and braking during cornering to heighten the driver’s sense of control.
There’s decent legroom and passable headroom in front, but both are somewhat diminished in back. The hatchback shape takes a toll on driver vision from the B-pillars back. However, assembly seems tight and well executed, and materials—particularly in the leather-clad Premium—look and feel like a step up in class for Mazda. The test car also had passenger-pleasing features like heated front seats, a power driver’s seat with memory, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, 12-speaker Bose audio system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and Bluetooth phone and audio-streaming connectivity. However, the central Commander Control that governs infotainment functions is needlessly—even aggravatingly—complicated.
The glove and console boxes aren’t overly big, and there’s a single rear storage pouch, affixed to the back of the front passenger seat. Pockets sprout from all four doors, and paired cup holders are found in the console and the pull-down rear armrest. The cargo hold can contain a week’s groceries or several pieces of luggage. For bigger tasks, the 60/40-split rear seats fold almost flat to provide added room. The rear hatch does not have a remote release, an odd omission for an otherwise surprisingly luxurious little car.
2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback