2022 Mazda 3 Sedan

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2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Review: Wearer Of The Compact Crown

by Aiden Eksteen

With its suave design, turbocharged engine option, and masterfully tuned chassis, the Mazda 3 Sedan is something out of the ordinary: it's Wagyu beef at minute steak prices, offering a premium experience at a reasonable price. With a selection of engines ranging from a 155-horsepower naturally-aspirated four-cylinder to a turbocharged unit capable of 250 hp, buyers are given the option to prioritize efficiency or performance or choose a good balance of both with the 186-hp naturally-aspirated four-cylinder in the middle of the range. As a compact car, the Mazda 3 Sedan is one of the more playful and fun-to-drive vehicles in the segment and one of the few offered in either front- or all-wheel drive. It faces stiff competition from the likes of the evergreen Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Jetta, and it doesn't always come out on top - but with its compelling looks, turbo vigor, superb handling dynamics, and exquisite interior, the Mazda 3 Sedan really should be on your shortlist.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan?

For 2022, Mazda introduces an all-new Carbon Edition model to the newest Mazda 3 lineup. Differentiating the Carbon Edition from the Preferred trim on which it's based, is the exclusive Polymetal Gray color scheme, blacked-out exterior accents, red leather upholstery, and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

For the familiar Mazda 3 models carried over from last year, there is now a new Platinum Quartz Metallic paint option offered.

Pros and Cons

  • Contemporary exterior design
  • Finely-tuned chassis for fun driving
  • Can be had with turbocharging and AWD
  • Modern, tailored interior
  • Impressive safety reviews
  • Loads of features available at a reasonable price
  • No manual gearbox is offered for the sedan
  • Shortage of legroom in the back seats
  • Below-average trunk cargo capacity
  • Infotainment screen isn't touch-compatible

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2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
2.5 S
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Carbon Edition
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

It may not be a sedan purposed for any sort of competitive performance, but the Mazda 3 is still lauded as one of the most fun-to-drive and adroit compact sedans in the US. It's a joy to drive, thanks to a masterfully tuned chassis that delivers sharp, composed, and balanced handling dynamics. It's not as precise as the Honda Civic Si but it strikes more of a balance between precision and comfort whereas the Civic SI and VW's Jetta GLI can often feel overly firm. Its steering is sharp and very responsive, though as with most modern electronic steering systems, it's not particularly communicative.

While the turbocharged engine in the higher-spec Mazda 3 models does offer impressive potential, it's held back a little by the six-speed auto transmission. It fares well, but there is more potential in the engine than the measured auto 'box allows. A manual would've been a great option for this power plant.

Verdict: Is the 2022 Mazda 3 Sedan A Good car?

With its handsome and modern aesthetic, entertaining driving dynamics, and lovely interior, the Mazda 3 Sedan is most certainly a compelling car. Though the entry-spec 2.0 sedan with its 155-hp motor is a tad dull, it provides shoppers with access to a very frugal, basic yet safe sedan. The naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter motor is a more lively option that strikes a better balance in performance and efficiency. The turbocharged engine really does a good job of bringing out the Mazda 3 Sedan's entertaining and adroit performance potential, with up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft, you can really make the most out of its featherweight build and playful chassis. It's not as sharp as true performance sedans are, but it's still a really impressive sedan for the price it's sold at.

Apart from this, the Mazda 3 is also loaded with value and is fairly practical for a compact sedan. It boasts a pleasant interior packed with first-rate materials and oodles of features. The fact that the infotainment screen doesn't feature touch functionality could be disappointing for some, but the rotary dial and short-cut buttons are easy enough to learn and use. All in all, the Mazda 3 Sedan is an exceptional car and one we'd easily recommend over many others in the segment.

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2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Comparisons

Honda Civic Sedan CarBuzz
Mazda 3 Hatchback CarBuzz

2022 Mazda 3 Sedan vs Honda Civic Sedan

If you're looking for a popular sedan with a sportier demeanor than the Mazda 3 Sedan, both aesthetically and in the driving experience it delivers, then the Honda Civic Sedan may be just what you're looking for. It's the second best-selling sedan in America due to its striking design, sporty driving dynamics, and uncompromised practicality. The Mazda 3 Sedan is a fun and fairly adroit car to drive, but the Honda Civic feels just a tad bit more tuned in and communicative. The Mazda 3 is offered with a more powerful engine, however, and the Honda Civic embraces the sportier dynamics at the cost of a firmer ride quality. Nevertheless, like the Mazda 3 Sedan, the Honda Civic boasts a contemporary and commodious interior and is also one of the safest and most practical compact sedans in the classification. You can't go wrong with either car, but when you look at the performance the Honda Civic offers at its entry-spec price compared to what the Mazda 3 does, it's clear that there's more value to be gained from the Honda.

See Honda Civic Sedan Review

2022 Mazda 3 Sedan vs Mazda 3 Hatchback

The Mazda 3's sharp and contemporary design fits the hatchback form really well, and though there may not be as much passenger room in the back seats, the hatch benefits from a far more spacious cargo bay than the sedan. In terms of performance, the Mazda 3 hatch actually carries a whole lot more appeal than the sedan. It's put forward with just the stronger naturally aspirated engine and the turbocharged option, but the former can be had with a manual gearbox, which adds a special layer of driving engagement that isn't easy to find nowadays. Mazda offers the entry-spec 3 Hatchback with the 250-hp engine and with a solid specification package, and prices it at around $2,000 more than the entry-spec 3 Sedan. We'd say that the hatch offers plenty more value than the sedan at that level, offering superior performance, a sweeter aesthetic, more features, and higher practicality than the sedan.

See Mazda 3 Hatchback Review

2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Popular Comparisons

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