2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo
When you think of Mazda, the compact Mazda3 still comes to mind. It remains the embodiment of the old tagline, “Zoom-Zoom.” In this newest version, there is now more to enjoy than ever.
Now, Mazda is offering their compact car with the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. This is the same engine found on almost every Mazda model – except for the MX-5 Miata.
We already know that this engine packs a huge punch in every vehicle we tested from Mazda. Which made us very curious whether this turbocharged engine will transform the Mazda3 into one of the most desirable compact cars in this market.
It all starts with a sporty style we first saw two years ago. The KODO design is enhanced with a sleek silhouette for our sedan tester. The prominent front grille welcomes you to a unique driving experience, along with LED headlamps on each side. The side profile is also stylish, leading to a sculpted rear deck. Our 2.5 Turbo tester adds black-finished wheels to this gray paint job.
One thing to consider is its low roofline. Taller drivers may have to maneuver themselves for entry and exit from the Mazda3’s cockpit.
When the driver is situated behind the wheel, there is plenty of headroom behind the wheel. The leather front seats are supportive and have power-assisted adjustments for rake, recline, and lumbar support. Rear seat space is fine for average adults, but there is a driveshaft hump in the middle that may not fit five people comfortably.
Controls on the Mazda3 are superb, logical and good to the touch. The instrument binnacle combined analog and digital readouts in a very clean screen. The MazdaConnect controls on the center console drives the wider infotainment screen sitting on top of the dashboard. This includes a large multifunction knob.
Our sedan tester had 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space, expandable with the rear seats folded down. If you are interested in the hatchback, you will have 20.1 cubic feet to play with behind the rear seats.
The 250-horsepower 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G turbocharged four-cylinder engine is very familiar to us. However, the Mazda3’s lighter weight brings out a lot more fun out of this engine. The turbo engine was combined with a six-speed automatic transmission connected to an all-wheel-drive system. This system is designed to enhance year-round traction rather than enhanced performance.
Throttle response is excellent, and you should have no problems with passing and on-ramps, as the power is instant with this turbo engine. If you want more engagement with the Mazda3, flip the switch on the center console to “Sport.” This drive mode will hold the gears longer and higher on the tachometer.
In turn, we experienced a fuel economy average of 27.1 MPG.
We found the ride quality very solid but on the firm side. Where the Mazda3 shines is the way it handles. The cornering is sensational, as well as its response to evasive maneuvers.
The steering is sharp with excellent on-center feel and a tight turning radius. The brakes are equally good. Pedal feel is solid and stopping power is sharp.
The entire Mazda3 lineup starts with a base price of $20,500 for the sedan, $22,500 for the hatchback. Our turbocharged tester with the Premium Plus package came with a sticker price of $34,015.
While the turbocharged engine elevates the Mazda3’s profile, it is still compared with its mainstream compact rivals, along with its premium-branded counterparts. Those competitors include the Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Subaru Impreza, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Acura ILX, MINI 4-door Hardtop, and Audi A3.
The beauty of this Mazda3 2.5 Turbo is how it delivers on its performance that befits the brand’s message. Its upmarket aspirations match its driving experience. That is one reason to consider one for yourself – especially if you are a true automotive enthusiast.
Sroty Credits: CarSoup Editors