by Philippa Lane
The 2017 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring is one of the best in its segment with a stylish exterior, solid on the road performance, great driving dynamics, and is one of the most affordable small cars in America with a bold, yet unique exterior consisting of distinctive sculpted lines and a “grinning” front grille. The 2017 Mazda3 has entered the automotive scene with much to offer and it is easy to see why it is quickly becoming a popular choice throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe.
The Mazda3 is among the very best in its class offering a fun on the road experience, even though it may not capture as much attention as other vehicles from some larger brands, it is definitely not one to ignore.
After undergoing a complete redesign a few years ago, the Mazda3 now offers more efficient engine options, better exterior details, and new features.
With a desire to create a vehicle with excellent gas mileage, responsive athletic handling, and acceleration, Mazda has focused on making a lightweight vehicle by using a smaller amount of stronger steel, more welds, as well as weld-bonded adhesives in the body. Mazda’s engineers found a variety of ways to save extra pounds, for example the wiring harness, door locks and latches, radiator, automatic transmission shifter, pedals, stereo speakers. As a result, the 2017 Mazda3 is one of the lightest vehicles sold in America. Driving is smooth, easy, and almost effortless, which makes driving the Mazda3 fun, enjoyable, and a pleasurable experience.
The 2017 Mazda3 is available as a sedan or hatchback and comes in four trims- Touring, Sport, Touring 2.5, and Grand Touring.
The base trim comes fitted with air-conditioning, 16-inch steel wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, full power accessories, two USB ports, iPod integration, HD Radio, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, rearview camera, push-button start, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a trip computer, auxiliary input, a folding rear seat, a 6-speaker audio system, and the Mazda Connect Infotainment System. The lower trims come equipped with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 155 horsepower, 150 lb-ft of torque, and are available either as a 6-speed manual (standard) or an 6-speed automatic transmission (optional). The sedan with automatic transmission yields an impressive 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, while the sedan fitted with a manual transmission yields an estimated 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The higher trims, such as the Grand Touring, come equipped a more powerful 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower, 185 lb-ft of torque, with a choice of either a manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Vehicles equipped with a manual transmission yield an estimated 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, while the 6-speed automatic yields an estimated 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
The Mazda3 Touring comes standard with a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, climate control, heated front seats, and leatherette upholstery. A $1,500 equipment package adds satellite radio, a sunroof, and a 9-speaker Bose Stereo System. The Touring 2.5 hatchback is $22,395 and comes fitted with all of the aforementioned features as well as leatherette upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 6-way power driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, and a more powerful 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower, 185 lb-ft of torque with a choice of either a manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Touring trims do not have a CD player, but add much desired features, such as keyless ignition and entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, heated side mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear-seat center armrest, rearview camera, rear spoiler, and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts. The Touring Technology package is optional and adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a premium 9-speaker Bose Sound System, a navigation system, sunroof, and voice controls.
Last, but certainly not least in the lineup is the Mazda3s Grand Touring, which adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and leather upholstery. A technology package for this trim offers additional safety features, such as a forward collision warning and mitigation system, active grille shutters, i-ELOOP Regenerative Braking System, a lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.
Standard Safety features include- stability control, antilock disc brakes, traction control, side-impact and side curtain air bags, active front head restraints, front disc brakes and rear drum brakes equipped with ABS, frontal airbags, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and Brake Assist. A Technology package offers additional safety features for the Grand Touring trim which include a forward collision warning, lane departure warning system, and Mazda's innovative collision-mitigation system, known as Smart City Brake Support.
Interior amenities in the Mazda3 are quite nice. The front and rear cabin are roomy enough to accommodate up to five people, but because of limited space, I would not recommend transporting three adults in the rear cabin for long road trips. The front seats are supportive, firm, yet comfortable and on the Grand Touring trim, the seats have an attractive design, the trip computer and controls are intuitive, the dashboard/console area are within easy reach, and the upholstery, interior design, and knobs give the vehicle a more upscale appearance. I also really like the mounted color display touch screen that is located on top of the dashboard with a controller on the center console. This feature is similar to what is found in an Audi A4 and is responsive and easy to use.
The trunk of the hatchback measures about 20.2 cubic feet, is very spacious, and offers 47.1 cubic ft. of space with the rear seats folded down. I found it to be big enough for hauling a variety of medium to large sized items
Compared to similar small hatchbacks, such as the Nissan Versa Note, the Mazda3 has less interior space in the rear cabin for taller passengers; however, it provides faster, more solid road performance, and better handling than the Versa.
The exterior of the Mazda3 is stylish and eye catching with a modern, sporty look that is hard to ignore and a distinctive grille that has become one of Mazda’s signature features.
On the road, the Mazda3 performs very well with strong braking, responsive steering, solid suspension, and when driving at higher speeds, the ride is very smooth. It handles tight corners and sharp turns with ease, is engaging, and has a planted feel on the road.
In summary, the 2017 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring is a great choice if you are looking for a small subcompact hatchback that is fun to drive, sporty, inexpensive, stylish, and fuel efficient with excellent driving dynamics, and is affordable with an MSRP of only $17,845. It is definitely one of the best compact vehicles available and worth taking a look at.
To find out more about the 2017 Mazda3, please visit- www.mazdausa.com