The Mazda3 has always stood out as a sportier choice than compact rivals from Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Compared to the previous version, the current Mazda3 has an improved, elegant, and quiet interior and a refined ride. But these improvements come at the cost of fuel efficiency and a less exciting driving experience.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission work well together, as the car always delivers power predictably, without hesitation. But this combo’s efficiency is a letdown. Our front-wheel-drive car achieved only 30 mpg overall in our tests. Although commendable by itself, this result means the Mazda is no longer among the category’s most fuel-efficient cars. A less powerful 2.0-liter engine is also available and might be more frugal.