Price (as tested) 💲: $37,970
Powertrain ⚙️: Turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-Cylinder
Output 💪: 250 hp/320 lb-ft of torque
Transmission 🕹: 6-Speed Automatic
0-60 MPH 🚦: 5.7 seconds
Top Speed 💥: 134 mph
MPG (as tested) ⛽️: 23 city/31 hwy/26 combined
Curb weight ⚖️: 3,391 lbs


Richer materials, more expressive designs, and greater compliance warrant the surcharge for an entry-level luxury vehicle over mainstream competition.

With models like the new CX-90, Mazda brings these elements together to make its strongest claim to upward mobility.

But the Mazdas we’ve known thus far have only dabbled in premium; nothing spoke the language fluently.
Perhaps the door close thud was less hollow, or the leather a bit softer, or the ride more agreeable.

The Mazda3 Turbo Hatchback has such glimmers of superiority in its segment, but justifying its $38K price (as shown) only finds *some* footing from its driving dynamics.

When compared to a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic Sport Hatch, the Mazda3 is more willing to sling through curves, with deeper feedback via its platform and steering.

It stops well short of proper hot hatchbacks like the Golf R, CTR, or GR Corolla when it comes to outright speed or precision, but it pads the other end of the equation with ride comfort and cabin quiet.

There’s a small target for a vehicle such as this, as an enthusiast would stomach the small livability penalty of a hot hatch for its driving thrill, and a posturing shopper would find a few grand more for a Benz A-Class or Audi A3. It doesn’t help that the hatchback version of the Mazda3 turns the rear cabin into a cave with its thick C pillar, and its tech is stuck in the mid-2010s.

With legacy vehicles like the MX-5 and CX-5, and new arrivals like the CX-90, Mazda has the resources and talent to build a stand-out premium, fun-to-drive compact car (and in fact, the 3 sedan is much more compelling), but this transitional phase to entry-lux seems to have led with price, not substance.