When the folks at Mazda asked me if I wanted to try driving the 2015 Mazda3 I said, “No thank you.” Two years ago when I drove a Mazda 3 I found it to be incredibly okay. They then explained to me that the Mazda3 had changed quite a bit so I agreed to have Mazda drop one off for a week. I am pleased that I made that decision.
I can’t talk about all the changes that have happened from the old Mazda3 to the new one. The most remarkable difference I felt was in the power and handling. Now it’s unfair to treat these as the same vehicle because before I drove a automatic transmission and this one was manual. In fact I had previously really enjoyed a manual Mazda2. Perhaps the trick with Mazda is to only drive manual transmissions? Maybe I just have more fun when there’s a clutch involved?
The 2012 Mazda3 was a 155hp with 148 lb/ft torque and the 2015 I drove is 185hp with 185 lb/ft torque. There’s been roughly a 20% increase in power and it made all the difference in the world. If, like me, you’d driven a Mazda3 in years past and written it off as not very interesting I’d encourage you to give it another try.
I found myself racing off the line (as much as 185hp will allow) and oddly satisfied by the Mazda3.
Everyone loves a hatchback. The wisdom of the Mazda3 hatchback fits everything I need and then some.
The things that you don’t want to miss with the new Mazda3 are on the dashboard. Perhaps the greatest upgrade of all is the audio system. I cannot tell you what a joy it is to have a radio where your AM, FM, and satellite radio stations can all be favorited together. This means that I can flip between KPCC, Howard Stern, and KROQ seamlessly. I have never seen that then another car and I’m stunned that nobody else has thought to do it.
Furthermore all of the buttons make sense, there they are perfectly ergonomically centered where your right hand wants to rest and there’s a little star that’s raised so all you have to do is click on it and boom you’re changing radio station. This matters in every car, but when you’re in a manual transmission it is even more appreciated.
If I had a complaint about the Mazda3 it would be that there’s no shade for the navigation screen. I am also not convinced that the back up camera is as crisp and clear as it should be but that could be due to glare. I enjoy when navigation screens are set back a little bit in the dashboard so there isn’t too much sunlight on them. This may be particular to me as it’s a natural consequence of living in a city like Los Angeles where the sun is harsh.
At $28,000 the 2015 Mazda3 Grand Touring edition is a joy to drive. You can fit friends, gear and groceries in it and still be comfortable. It’s a lovely looking vehicle. It’s neither sexy nor staid and full of great features. Here’s a partial list of what $28,000 will get you in no particular order:
- 18 inch alloy wheels
- Power driver’s seat
- Heated front seats
- Dual exhaust
- Leather trimmed seats
- Dual zone climate control
- Power windows, locks and auto door locks
- Leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob & brake handle
- 60 month 60,000 mile powertrain warranty
- 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty
- Blind spot monitoring
- Rear cross traffic alert
- 7″ color touchscreen display
- Rearview camera
- Cruise control
- Sirius XM radio
- Bose Audio including Pandora, AHA & Stitcher
- Active driving display
- Hill Launch assist
I don’t have images of the vehicle I drove because the reporter who had it before me seems to have dropped something on the hood and no one wants a picture of a smashed up front end. So here’s the 2015 Mazda3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.