2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring Hatchback: Extreme Drivability

Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | 11:15 PM

2018mazda3475Mazda has the touch. They can somehow take a boring compact hatchback and turn it into something fun to drive. It may not be the fastest four-door hatchback in the pack, but it is one of the most engaging to drive. Attractive inside and out, the Mazda 3 Grand Touring makes a striking statement as it bebops down the road.

For 2018 the Mazda 3 stays the course with only slight changes and fluff-ups.

The Mazda 3 comes in three body styles: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring and as either a sedan or a hatchback. This review will focus on the Grand Touring hatchback.

The top of the range Grand Touring trim is filled to the brim with useful stuff like LED exterior lights, sunroof, digital speedometer, upgraded instrument panel display, leather upholstery, and nine-speaker Bose surround-sound.

The Premium package was added and included: adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, auto-dimming rearview mirror, navigation system, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and braking for higher speeds, and traffic sign reader. It pretty much does everything but drive itself.

2018mazda3dashPowered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Mazda 3 pulls 184 horses and 185 lb-ft of torque. All Mazda 3′s come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but the model I drove came with the optional automatic transmission which shifted gears seamlessly. Expect to get 26/city, 35/highway, and 30/combined mpg.

I’ve always found the interiors of Mazda’s to be one of the areas where they shine. The instrument panel is logically set out and easy to use. The voice controls are logical and even recognize my little voice (I can’t tell you how many times I have resorted to yelling at certain voice controls).

The front seats are comfy and there is plenty of head and legroom. The back seats are roomy as well, but might prove a bit tight for those of taller proportions. The hatchback offers 20.2 cubic feet of storage space, when the backseats are down it grows to 47.1 cubic feet.

The Mazda 3 provides a nice comfortable ride, with dips and bumps smoothed out without giving up its sporty drive. Its quick off the dime, with good power and torque. Twisting roads are no problem since the Mazda 3 has a good grip on the road.

Looking for a compact car? Want one that makes driving fun? Give the 2018 Mazda 3 a test drive.