2022 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo Sedan w/ Premium Plus Pkg
Class: Compact Car
Miles driven: 570
Fuel used: 20.9 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|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.|
|Engine Specs||250-hp 2.5L|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cylinder|
|Drive Wheels||All-wheel drive|
Real-world fuel economy: 27.2 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/32/27 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular or premium gas
Base price: $33,100 (not including $1015 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint ($595)
Price as tested: $34,710
More Mazda 3 price and availability information
The great: Crisp, agile handling combined with a relatively supple ride; upscale cabin ambiance approaches luxury-brand competitors
The good: Respectable fuel economy, considering the horsepower on tap; standard all-wheel drive
The not so good: Extra-cozy cabin for large occupants; rear-seat space is cramped; infotainment interface isn’t one of our favorites; getting turbo engine requires stepping up to top-line trim level
In the mainstream-brand compact-car class, the Mazda 3 stands out. In its top-line trim levels, it’s much more upscale (and notably pricier) than most of its rivals, and in any of its forms, it has a more lithe, athletic driving character than the regular-line versions of its class competitors.
The 3 is essentially a carryover model for 2022; the only changes are the addition of Platinum Quartz Metallic paint to the color palette and a Carbon Edition appearance package that brings blacked-out trim elements, Polymetal Gray paint, red leather upholstery, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. The bigger news happened last year, when Mazda gave the 3 a serious horsepower infusion by making its turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder available in an upscale 2.5 Turbo trim level.
The turbo 2.5 is a delightfully healthy mill—it makes 250 horsepower when running on premium gasoline (or 227 hp when running on regular), and it definitely transforms the all-around character of the basic Mazda 3. However, if you were hoping you could get this spicier powerplant in a bare-bones budget bomb, sorry—Mazda only offers the turbo engine in topline trim with standard all-wheel drive. Likewise, you can’t get one with a manual transmission—Mazda only offers the 6-speed stick on front-wheel drive versions of the 3 with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine.
Our particular 2.5 Turbo sedan test vehicle was further decked out with extra-cost Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint (a truly dazzling candy-apple-red color) and the Premium Plus Package (which Mazda treats as a model more than an option group). The Premium Plus extras consist of leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree surround-view monitor, Traffic Jam Assist driver-aid feature, auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, Homelink universal garage-door opener, navigation system, traffic-sign recognition, three-year subscription to Sirius XM satellite radio with traffic and travel info, rear cross-traffic alert with rear automatic braking, and a black rear lip spoiler.
With all those features, plus the power of the turbo engine and the notably classier interior ambiance that the 3 gained with its 2019 redesign, the 3 2.5 Turbo is a legitimate alternative to luxury-brand compacts such as the Audi A3 and BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe. Compared to the leading mainstream-brand compact cars, however, the Mazda 3 is on the stingy side in terms of passenger room. In both the sedan and hatchback body styles, the 3’s rear seat is one of the most cramped in the mainstream compact-car class—even the 9-year-old and 7-year-old sons of one of our editors complained about the tight quarters back there.
Still, if you’re looking for a compact car with a fits-like-a-glove sports-car feel, the Mazda 3’s exceptionally cozy cabin might be an asset—if you’re looking for better passenger- and cargo-carrying versatility, it’s not. For more information, check out our First Spin report on the Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo and our test-drive review of the 2019 Mazda 3 sedan.
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