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2019 Mazda 3 Sedan

$21,000 - $27,900
Price Range (MSRP)

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Review

by Roger Biermann

Among the best in the compact sedan class, the Mazda 3 Sedan has always provided the latest technology and safety features at a reasonable price. But for 2019 the Mazda 3 has been completely redesigned, bringing with it a slew of upgrades ranging from new engine technology to refinements of an already exceptional chassis. Available in four trims, the 3 Sedan is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Although front-wheel-drive is the standard, the Mazda 3 is one of the only vehicles in this segment to offer all-wheel-drive availability, something only offered by Subaru on the Impreza, but not by the likes of the Honda Civic and VW Jetta with which the Mazda 3 competes. While we wait for confirmation of whether or not Mazda’s revolutionary SkyActiv X engines will make it Stateside, it’s worth bearing in mind that Mazda is fast developing a reputation for building premium vehicles without the premium price tag, and the new 3 looks set to emulate that trend.

What’s New For 2019?

For 2019, the Mazda 3 is all-new. After being a segment leader in its last iteration, Mazda has fully redesigned the 3 in both sedan and hatch guises, upgrading the SkyActiv chassis and equipping the 3 with a 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G gasoline engine. New for the 2019 generation, the fourth in the 3’s history, is the option of all-wheel-drive for the first time. Mazda has jam-packed the 3 Sedan with the latest infotainment, comfort, and assistance features.

Pros and Cons

  • Available in all-wheel-drive
  • Sedan’s styling less divisive than the hatchback
  • Ultra-refined interior design and quality
  • New standard and optional safety tech
  • Upgraded infotainment platform
  • One of the best chassis in the segment
  • Rear legroom is lacking
  • Revolutionary SkyActiv X engine not available at launch
  • No manual gearbox offering

Mazda 3 Sedan Exterior

All Mazda 3 Sedan trims come standard with LED headlights, daytime running lights and LED combination taillights. The Base trim is fitted with 16-inch rims, power folding side mirrors and has a matte black finish on the front grille. The rest of the trims are fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels. The Select trim headlights have auto on/off functionality and the side mirrors have integrated turn signals. Visually, the front grille and lower front bumper are in a gloss black finish. The Preferred trim adds a roof mounted antenna, while the Premium trim comes standard with the exclusive signature LED exterior lights and the power glass moonroof.

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Front View
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear View
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Front Angle View

See All 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

With advancements made in weight saving, the Mazda 3 Sedan’s curb weight ranges from 3,071 lbs in its lightest FWD iteration to 3,248 lbs in all-wheel-drive guise, making the Mazda 3 100 lbs heavier in its lightest guise than a Civic Sedan in its heaviest. Regardless of trim and drivetrain, the Mazda 3 Sedan measures 183.5 inches and rides on a 107.3-inch wheelbase. With a ground clearance of 5.5 inches, the 3 measures 56.9 inches tall, while in width it measures 70.7 inches. Compared to its hatchback sibling, the 3 Sedan measures 7.9 inches longer.

Exterior Colors

The Mazda 3 Sedan boasts a standard color palette of six colors, down from last year’s eight-strong offering. The base model 3 Sedan is offered in just four of these hues; three standard colors of Jet Black Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica, Sonic Silver Metallic, and the premium Snowflake White Pearl for an additional $300. Select and Preferred trims get the full palette, including Machine Gray metallic for $300 and Soul Red Crystal for $595 extra, while the range-topping Premium model makes do without Sonic Silver.

  • Deep Crystal Blue Mica
  • Sonic Silver Metallic
  • Jet Black Mica
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Machine Gray Metallic

Mazda 3 Sedan Performance

The 3 Sedan is driven by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission across all trims. The 3 Sedan produces a maximum output of 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque and is offered in front-wheel-drive as standard, with optional all-wheel-drive making the Mazda 3 unique in the compact vehicle segment. Mazda claims the 3 Sedan will manage 0-60 mph in around seven seconds, before reaching a top speed of 130 mph.

The naturally aspirated engine struggles to match turbocharged rivals for low-down torque delivery and is slower than some like the Honda Civic, but its performance is still competitive overall. All sedan variants make do with a standard six-speed automatic gearbox, with no manual available - unlike the hatchback which offers one on select trims.

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Front View Driving
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear View Driving
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Exhaust

Engine and Transmission

The Mazda 3 Sedan is powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder SkyActiv-G engine with variable valve timing that produces 186 hp and 186 lb-ft. This new engine replaces the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines on the previous model. Although the engine is new, the Mazda 3 Sedan still features the same six-speed automatic transmission seen on the previous model. A manual is only available on the 3 Hatchback, and until further notice, only one engine is available as US-based buyers will have to wait for Mazda to bring the revolutionary SkyActiv-X compression-ignition engine to our shores.

All trims have the same engine and transmission configuration with a choice of either front-or all-wheel-drive (Base: FWD only). The acceleration is consistent, and gear changes are smooth and accurate. One advantage of the six-speed is that the driver isn’t always waiting for gear changes, and while the shifts themselves aren’t the quickest, the gear selection is always correct and power ready when you need it. Being naturally aspirated, however, the Mazda 3 requires drivers to seek out the upper echelons of the tachometer’s display, rewarding high revs with more power, but without a particularly tuneful soundtrack to back it up.

  • Engine
    2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The 3 Sedan is considered the sportiest car in its class, a common trend with Mazdas recently that all boast enticing driving dynamics and the perfect blend of composure, comfort, and outright dynamism. The G-Vectoring control system is responsible for the grip and composure around corners, balancing weight over the front axle for maximum grip and improved turn-in, while balance at the back end is the result of Mazda switching out the multi-link rear suspension for a torsion beam configuration with a stiffened chassis.

Despite what may seem a regression in suspension technology, Mazda has managed to improve overall ride comfort and composure over what was already one of the best chassis on the last generation 3. The 3 soaks up bumps and abrasions of all sizes and frequencies, and mid-corner bumps fail to upset a sense of control and contact with the road surface.

Turn-in is sharp and steering responses are direct, but feedback is lacking in typical EPAS fashion. However, it’s not the worst system, and the immediate responses mean the somewhat numb demeanor can be easily overlooked.

Crucially, Mazda balances all these traits with high levels of refinement. Noise insulation is truly premium, with little to no road and tire noise permeating the cabin even at highway speeds.

Mazda 3 Sedan Gas Mileage

The front-wheel-drive Mazda 3 Sedan has a claimed gas mileage of 27/36/30 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. All-wheel-drive equipped variants boast cylinder deactivation technology, mitigating much of the additional thirstiness of an extra driven axle, however, they still return figures of 25/33/28 mpg. These figures are slightly below average for its class, with top competitors achieving between one and three mpg more on average. FWD models boast the greatest driving range, managing 396 miles on a full tank, but owing to the 13.2-gallon capacity, while AWD models boast a smaller 12.7-gallon gas tank. Should Mazda bring the SkyActiv-X engine to the US, that should see gas mileage swing favorably for the Mazda 3.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 26/35 mpg
* 2019 Mazda Mazda 3 FWD

Mazda 3 Sedan Interior

The Mazda 3 Sedan gets an interior makeover in 2019. The new design is simplistic and decluttered, making it more driver-focused and easier on the eyes. That being said, the interior maintains a high level of quality and does not give the impression that the manufacturer was merely cutting costs. The 3 Sedan is equipped with a new driver’s seat, aimed at improving the driving position and the entire dash has been redesigned with the most distinctive feature being the bold trimming that thins out and flows to the instrument cluster. It retains a premium look and feel but with ergonomics and functionality improved over previous models. Mazda has worked on the spaciousness of the interior, and the sedan fairs well in this regard. But it’s not all roses for the Mazda 3, as rear occupants still lack the legroom of the Honda Civic.

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Dashboard
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Central Console
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Steering Wheel

See All 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Mazda 3 Sedan seats five people in a comfortable, refined cabin. The front seats are secure, comfortable and supportive to suit all driving conditions, as well as occupants of all heights and sizes. The driver can find an ideal position, seated low and within reach of all major controls, with excellent visibility. The issue, as with previous models, is the rear seating. The limited amount of legroom will have your passengers rather displeased with your new purchase, particularly those taller than six-feetl who won’t find enough knee room. Fortunately, the sedan doesn’t have the same chunky C-pillars as the hatchback, which does somewhat remedy the blind spots and claustrophobic feel, but a Honda Civic is still more spacious.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The Mazda 3 Sedan is available in five interior specs with Black Cloth the only option on the base trim. On the Select and Preferred Packages, upholstery is upgraded to a leatherette, available in either black or ‘Greige’. Full leather is only available on the Premium offering, in either black or classy white. Throughout the cabin, materials are predominantly soft-touch in nature, with chrome accents throughout and a two-tiered dash design comprising soft-touch material. The middle element of the dash, along with the upper door panels, is color-coded to match the chosen upholstery color.

Mazda 3 Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

The Mazda 3 Sedan has 13.2 cubic feet of space in the trunk, a below average figure for its class. The Honda Civic offers just under two cubic feet more trunk space at 15.1, but it’s the class leader and most rivals are closer to, or below the capacity of the Mazda. The 2019 generation does also represent growth over last year’s model, giving it greater practicality.

The Base trim offers limited storage options with one seatback pocket, storage in the armrest and front door pockets (with bottle holders). The higher trims are more adequately equipped with the addition of a sunglasses holder and rear armrest with cupholders. These options are about average for the class.

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Trunk Space
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear Angle View
  • Trunk Volume
    13.2 ft³

Mazda 3 Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

All trims of the Mazda 3 Sedan offer push-button start, a seven-inch driver display, cruise control, and a rearview camera. The Base trim comes with standard air-conditioning whereas the higher trims feature dual-zone climate control. The Select adds blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a slew of other assistance features including lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, while on the Preferred package the driver’s seat receives eight-way power adjustment, heated front seats, and driver attention alert. The likes of a power sliding glass sunroof and head-up driver’s display are reserved for the range-topping Premium trim.

Infotainment

Previously, Mazda outfitted its models with minuscule infotainment screens, but we’re happy to report the new Mazda 3 brings with it a larger 8.8-inch display standard across all trims, floating between the two upper tiers of the dashboard. It loses touch functionality and reverts back to a rotary controller, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s easy to use and boasts intuitive menus. The standard setup is paired with eight speakers and boasts AM/FM radio, Bluetooth telephony and streaming, HD Radio, and Pandora internet radio. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality are only added at Select Package level, while the Preferred Package equips a Bose 12-speaker premium sound system and SiriusXM.

Mazda 3 Sedan Problems and Reliability

The Mazda 3 Sedan is covered by Mazda’s standard three-year/36,000-mile warranty and its powertrain warranty of five-years/60,000-miles. However, as the Mazda 3 is new to the market, it’s too early on in its lifespan to decide whether or not it will be reliable. However, bearing in mind that the engine is carried over from the previous model, it bodes well for years to come. There have been no recalls for the 2019 Mazda 3 at the time of writing.

Mazda 3 Sedan Safety

The NHTSA has not yet evaluated the Mazda 3 in either hatchback or sedan guise for crash safety. However, the IIHS has crash-tested the 3 Sedan, awarding it 2019 Top Safety Pick status - one of the highest titles bestowed upon a vehicle. The 3 Sedan boats Good+ LATCH anchor access, which is unique across the motor industry.

Key Safety Features

The 3 Sedan is equipped with a class-leading eight airbags, including dual front airbags, front-side, side curtain, and driver and front passenger knee airbags. From an advanced safety aid perspective, the Standard model misses out on key features, but from the Select Package we start to see the fitment of technology like blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, smart brake support, adaptive cruise control, driver attention assist, and adaptive front lighting with high beam control.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan a good car?

In the compact sedan segment, the 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan is among the best in the class. Impressive handling and the latest safety technology make the 3 Sedan exceptional value for money. The all-wheel-drive trims introduced this year are impressive and represent a unique offering, while the only engine available is still a potent performer returning fairly impressive gas mileage.

Where the Mazda 3 Sedan shows its dominance is in its levels of luxury, with premium interior finishes and classy design, as well as high levels of specification to elevate it to the top of its segment. Rear seat legroom may not match that of the Honda Civic, but then again, few rivals do so, and the improvements in the cabin are vast compared to an already impressive previous generation.

What separates the Mazda 3 further, however, is the way Mazda has paired the premium feel with a refined, competent chassis that deals with casual cruising as well as catering to the driving enthusiast. With another generation of Mazda 3 comes another compact sedan to rival the best in the segment.

What's the Price of the 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan?

The Mazda 3 Sedan starts off with a base price of $21,000 in base format. From there, a front-wheel-drive Select Package is priced from $22,600, while the Preferred Package is priced at $24,200 in the USA. The range-topping Premium Package is priced from $26,200 before options, tax, registration, licensing, and a $920 destination charge. All-wheel-drive is available on all trims with the exception of the Standard model and will cost you an additional $1,400.

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Models

The 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan is available in four trims, or ‘packages’ as Mazda calls them. The Base, Select, Preferred, and Premium packages are all powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The entry-level Base trim is front-wheel-drive only and boasts 16-inch alloy wheels, an 8.8-inch infotainment system, manual air-conditioning, an eight-speaker sound system with HD radio, a rearview camera, and LED headlights.

Next is the Select trim that adds 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, and synthetic leather upholstery, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. The Select receives a handful of advanced safety features too, including automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning.

The Preferred trim includes a few extra options over the Select. The sound system gets upgraded to a 12-speaker premium Bose system and the driver’s seat gets eight-way power adjustment. Other extras include front seat heating, power-adjustable outside mirrors with memory, and integrated LED turn signals and SiriusXM satellite radio.

At the top of the range, the Premium trim is fitted with the signature adaptive LED headlights and taillights. Inside, the Premium has leather upholstery, paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission, a head-up display, and a power sliding glass sunroof.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
$21,000
with Select Package
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
All Wheel Drive
$22,600
with Preferred Package
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
All Wheel Drive
$24,200
with Premium Package
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
All Wheel Drive
$26,500

See All 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Mazda classifies its trims as Packages but does not offer any traditional packages for additional equipment. However, a few standalone options are offered across the range, including a $450 navigation system, $275 wireless charging pad, and a $275 frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror. The same mirror can be had with HomeLink functionality for $375.

What Mazda 3 Sedan Model Should I Buy?

As with most Mazda models, the Base trim does not offer many standard features. Thus, we recommend the Select Package. From a base price of $22,600, the Select offers bigger 18-inch alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto integration, and the latest safety features Mazda has to offer. Smart Brake Support, Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and driver attention alert are all offered with the Select trim. It also comes with dual-zone climate control, leatherette upholstery, additional storage space, and cruise control. The LED exterior lights have auto on/off functionality and high beam assisted headlights. With a starting price only $1,600 more than the Base trim, the Select is well worth the cost.

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2019 Mazda 3 Sedan Comparisons

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan vs 2019 Honda Civic Sedan

The Civic Sedan is one of the Mazda 3 Sedan’s primary rivals with a base price of $20,370, undercutting the $21,000 Mazda. This is balanced out at the top of the range with minimal price difference across the line-up. The Mazda’s engine has a higher capacity than the Civic and produces more power, but the Civic makes do with a turbocharged engine on higher trims, giving it superior performance, while both Honda engines provide better gas mileage estimates. The Civic boasts a high-quality interior, but then again, so does the Mazda, perhaps even more so, and with a better infotainment system. However, the Civic has a larger trunk of 14.7 cubic feet, as well as more rear seat space. If you must have more trunk volume and space for rear passengers, the Civic is the obvious choice, but if you value a high-quality interior and superior driving dynamics, the Mazda 3 is simply exceptional, especially for those seeking all-wheel-drive thrills.

See 2019 Honda Civic Sedan Review

2019 Mazda 3 Sedan vs 2019 Mazda CX-3

In a crossover-crazed world, the compact Mazda CX-3 crossover could easily steal sales from the Mazda 3 Sedan, especially with a cheaper base price of $20,390. But the CX-3 is based on a smaller architecture shared with the European Mazda 2 hatchback, and as such it’s smaller than the 3 by some margin, lacking interior room for both front and rear occupants. However, the hatchback styling gives it greater cargo volume and more practicality than the Mazda 3 Sedan. The CX-3 makes do with less power from a smaller engine, but its smaller body performs admirably and plates up impressive gas mileage estimates. Both vehicles are well-equipped, but the 3, being newer, benefits from advanced driver aids, a more premium feel interior, and substantially improved infotainment system. Pop culture dictates you should buy the crossover CX-3, but the Mazda 3 Sedan is our preferred pick.

See 2019 Mazda CX-3 Review

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