2024 Mazda3 2.5 T AWD Premium Plus AWD - A comfy, compact GT.


While much is made of hot compacts like the Civic Type R or Corolla GR, the Mazda3 2.5 T AWD is almost invisible. And that is a shame. 

Yes it isn't quite as blistering quick as either of those other two but it sure isn't a slouch. It's turbocharged 2.5-liter four puts out 250 hp through a 6-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. The 2.5 Turbo moves the 3,400 lb. Mazda3 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. That's around a half second slower than the more powerful (by 50 hp) competition. 

The front has the normal two seats; the Premium Plus version has multiple power adjustments. The seats were comfortable with small side bolsters to keep you in place should you attack the twisty bits with vigor. 

The rear seats really are best for two people. Like so many cars today that claim to be five passenger, the middle of the rear seat is not someplace I'd like to sit.

The gauge layout is clear and concise, the way I like it.

The rear seatback is split so you can put long items in the storage area and still sit one person back there. There is up to 20.1 cubic feet of storage in the hatchback model.

I enjoyed driving the Mazda3. I would liken its ride more to a GT than a race car, as it is more oriented toward fast, comfortable touring than pinning you to the seat with blinding acceleration. Road holding is good but you won't need a 5-point harness to keep you behind the wheel. 

The only criticism I have is that rear/side vision is compromised. The C-pillar is wide, and the rear window is scrunched down. That leaves a big blind spot. Backing up I had to depend on the rear camera.

Fuel economy is not fantastic but it is acceptable given the performance. EPA rates the Mazda3 2.5 T AWD at 23-mpg city, and 31-highway. 

A base 2024 Mazda3 Hatchback starts at $25,690 (mazdausa.com); a 2.5 T Premium Plus AWD starts at $36,650. The only option on the test Mazda2 2.5 T was the Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint at $595.  It's a very nice car - Check it out at your local dealer.


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