Mike's Car Review: The 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD

2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD

For as long as I've been reviewing cars professionally---and that's 22 years, now---I've been telling readers and listeners that Mazda is not just another Japanese car company, that they're not the same as Toyota, Honda or Nissan (not that those cars are all that much alike, either).

What sets Mazda apart is its fun to drive factor and the imaginative styling---both of which can be traced right back to the two-seater Mazda MX-5 Miata.

2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD

All that is present in the all-new 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback---it's a blast to drive, packing more joy than its 186-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode (EPA fuel economy average 27 city/36 highway for front wheel drive models, 25/33 for all-wheel drive like our tester) would suggest possible on paper, and the latest design evolution, one fluid line with no breaks, is just stunning---but there's more. Mazda is setting itself even further apart from the pack by moving upscale, producing premium compacts with higher-quality materials.

2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD interior
2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD interior
2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD instrument cluster
2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD infotainment and HVAC

At this moment, in terms of fit, finish and materials, Mazda is doing some of the best interiors in the business---and performing way outside the price class of their vehicles.

2020 Mazda3 Hatchbacks start at $23,600, but our tester was the top-of-the-line Premium Package with All-Wheel-Drive. Base price is $28,900 and that brings all this as standard equipment:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED headlights
  • LED taillights
  • Automatic on/off headlights
  • Power driver's seat with power lumbar support
  • Driver seat memory
  • Heated front seats
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Mazda advanced keyless entry
  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seat
  • Rear seat armrest with cupholders
  • Pushbutton engine start
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Rearview camera
  • Carpeted floormats
  • Anti-theft engine immobilizer
  • Blind spot monitoring system
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Radar cruise control with stop and go
  • Smart brake support
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Electric power-assisted steering
  • G-Vectoring control plus
  • i-Activ AWD
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Dual power side mirrors with memory positioning and turn lamps
  • Shark fin antenna
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Multifunction commander control
  • Bose Premium audio system with 12 speakers
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio (three month free trial)
  • HDRadio
  • Two USB inputs
  • Bluetooth
  • Cargo cover
  • Dynamic stability control
  • Traction control system
  • Driver attention alert
  • Anti-lock brakes with brake assist
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Lane keep assist
  • High beam control
  • Active driving display
  • Adaptive front lighting system
  • Leather seats
  • Black-finish alloy wheels
  • Front LED signature illumination
  • Rear LED signature illumination
  • Power sliding glass moonroof
  • Paddle shifters

And again, that's all standard for $28.900.

2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD

Our test vehicle also had some extra-cost options:

  • Cargo mat ($100)
  • Illuminated door sill trim plates ($425)
  • Soul Red Crystal paint ($595)
  • Frameless auto-dim interior rearview mirror ($275)
  • Navigation SD card ($450)
  • Rear bumper guard ($125)
  • Wireless charging pad ($275)

With $920 delivery, processing and handling fee, the bottom line on the window sticker was $32,065.

No, that's not cheap for a compact hatchback. But the 2020 Mazda3 isn't a cheap car in any sense of the word. When you factor in driving fun and premium content and execution, it more than justifies the price.

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