Last year's base 155-hp 2.0-liter engine has been dropped, and the new base unit is the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 191 hp - 5 hp more than before - along with 186 lb-ft of torque. Last year's biggest news was the introduction of a 2.5-liter turbocharged mule delivering 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque - the same engine we've lauded in the CX-5 and CX-9 before. These figures are a massive increase over the non-turbo 2.5, but we're a little disappointed that you can't have this mill, or any of them, actually, with a manual gearbox. There's solace to be had, though, as the Mazda 3 is one of the very few sedans in this segment that can be paired with either front- or all-wheel drive.
The turbocharged engine doesn't make the Mazda 3 a performance sedan, so it's not an outright rival to the VW Jetta GLI and Honda Civic Si. Instead, it has a more laid-back driving experience that we'd consider to be 'luxury with power' rather than 'boy racer'. That doesn't mean it isn't fun to drive, and it doesn't mean it isn't quick. The new turbo motor is capable of dispatching the 0 to 60 mph sprint in around six seconds in independent testing thanks to standard AWD, which is a significant improvement over the eight-second dash of the standard 2.5L models. All models are electronically limited to a top speed of 130 mph.
Now that the base 2.0L base engine is gone and only the top trim gets the 2.5L turbo, the naturally aspirated 2.5L is the standard unit in the rest of the line. With 191 hp and 186 lb-ft, it provides a nice blend of semi-brisk performance and good fuel economy. The engine even sounds alright, although it can be a little coarse when wrung out. It is paired with FWD in the bottom three trims, while the Carbon Edition gives you a choice between FWD and AWD. The Premium is the only trim that pairs the nat-asp 2.5 exclusively with AWD.
The turbocharged model is also only available in AWD format. It develops up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft, but you can feed it regular gasoline and make do with 227 hp and 310 lb-ft. It's still not a genuine performance motor, and dislikes being wrung out. There's a steep drop-off after 5,000 rpm, and the six-speed auto is insistent on shifting well below redline to ride the wave of torque down low.
All models in the range use Mazda's six-speed automatic transmission. It's quick and smooth, but the game has moved on a bit, and in manual mode, it requires a little preemptive shifting. Leave it to its own devices, though, and it works well with either of the engines.
|Mazda 3 Sedan Trims||Mazda 3 Sedan Engines||Mazda 3 Sedan Horsepower||Mazda 3 Sedan Transmissions||Mazda 3 Sedan Drivetrains||Mazda 3 Sedan MPG/MPGE|
|2.5 S||2.5L Inline-4 Gas||191 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||31 MPG|
|2.5 S Select||2.5L Inline-4 Gas||191 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||31 MPG|
|2.5 S Preferred||2.5L Inline-4 Gas||191 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||31 MPG|
|2.5 S Carbon Edition||2.5L Inline-4 Gas||191 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||AWD|
|30 MPG |
|2.5 S Premium||2.5L Inline-4 Gas||191 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||AWD||30 MPG|
|2.5 Turbo Premium Plus||2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||227 hp @ 5000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||AWD||27 MPG|
The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter is rated at 28/37/31 mpg in FWD form on the city/highway/combined cycles, which is one mpg better combined than last year, thanks to the new cylinder-deactivation system, but it's still far worse than the FWD Civic 1.5L turbo's 36 mpg combined. Adding AWD results in 26/35/30 mpg - a 2-mpg improvement on the combined cycle. The turbo's fuel consumption isn't half bad, coming in at 23/32/27 mpg, and we landed on an indicated 25 mpg combined after a week's driving.
FWD 2.5L models get a 13.2-gallon gas tank, resulting in a best range estimate of 409 miles in mixed condition. AWD models, however, get a smaller 12.7-gallon tank, and in the worst-case scenario, the 2.5T AWD will only manage around 342 miles to a tank and requires Premium gas to get the full allotment of power and torque.
|Mazda 3 Sedan Trims||2.5 S||2.5 S Select||2.5 S Preferred||2.5 S Carbon Edition||2.5 S Premium||2.5 Turbo Premium Plus|
|Mazda 3 Sedan Tank size||13.2 gal.||13.2 gal.||13.2 gal.||13.2 gal.||13.2 gal.||13.2 gal.|
|Mazda 3 Sedan Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||28/37||28/37||28/37||26/35||26/35||23/32|