Flash Drive

2018 Mazda3

Model Tested: 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring

The 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring is physically similar to the 2017 model.

Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, 184 horsepower, 185 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission, front-wheel-drive

EPA Rating: 26-mpg city/35-mpg highway/26-mpg combined

Base Price: $23,895

As Tested: $28,720


Peppy engine, strong acceleration

Fun, nimble, sporty with 6-speed manual transmission

Good clutch

The Mazda3 can be equipped with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic.

Hill hold feature

Dual exhausts

Handsome 10-spoke alloy wheels

Handy heads up display

Large tachometer in center of dash

OK size digital speedo in lower corner of tach


Stretch-out front legroom

Three temperatures heated front seats

6-way power driver’s seat

Driver manual lumbar adjustment

Doors open wide for easy in/out

Very snug back seat with front seats all back

Front seat room and comfort are excellent. A small heads up display is a very welcome feature.

OK legroom with front seats moved up

Good shoe room under front seats

Good rear headroom

Soft rear armrest with two cupholders

Inexpensive headliner

Pretty high floor hump affects middle seating position

Thick, contoured heated leather steering wheel

Good auxiliary controls

Wide adjustment range for steering column


Five-door hatchback model offers great functionality

Split, folding rear seats and a high-opening hatchback are key elements of the 5-door Mazda’s versatility.

Hatch opens high for tall people

Rear window slope impacts cargo space

Cargo cover (removable)

Split, folding rear seats

Front seats have to be moved forward to fold rear seats

Flat cargo deck

Three-inch lift-over height

One dim lamp in cargo area

Solid door shut

Medium size sunroof

Only bottle notches in rear doors—no other bins

One large vinyl seatback storage pouch

Medium size front door bins

Medium to small console bin

Large, deep glovebox without lock

WOW Factors:

The 2018 Mazda3 is a very fun weekend car as well as a practical daily driver.

6-speed manual transmission boosts fun factor

Excellent heated steering wheel

Sporty and practical

Rain sensing wipers

Nice sound system


Cheap headliner

Poorly lit cargo area

Bottom Line:

The 2018 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring is a great little car that does an excellent job of combining fun and practicality, especially when equipped with the slick 6-speed manual transmission.