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It took a little while for some to warm up to the latest and fourth generation of the Mazda3 hatchback. But those who gave it a shot found it had a lot to offer. Yes, with this compact car, Mazda took a step closer to the luxury class. It’s stylish, well-equipped, and practical.

The best part? For those who enjoy road trips, the 2020 Mazda3 hatchback is hard to beat.

The 2020 Mazda3 is a road trip favorite

The folks at MotorTrend drove a 2020 Mazda3 hatchback for over a year and agreed it was one of their favorite vehicles for road trips. It not only offers a quality ride with a quiet cabin even on the highway, but it also has several great features that make long trips a treat.

Both the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems work to keep navigation relatively hassle-free. They found the Mazda3 to be fun to drive on winding roads, which it can handle with ease.

Their model was equipped with a manual six-speed transmission, which wasn’t popular with everyone. Some staffers thought the shifter wasn’t as precise as those in the Honda Civic or Mazda Miata. Others found the clutch pedal too light.

Still, the manual transmission offered them a more dynamic driving experience than the more lethargic six-speed automatic. It made the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine feel more athletic and gave it better acceleration. With the manual transmission, it could reach 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.

The Mazda3’s interior is crafted with quality materials and is thoughtful in design. Buyers can add even more great features, like leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a head-up display with higher trims. All seatsare comfortable and supportive.

The 2020 Mazda3 hatchback’s fuel economy

The engine in the Mazda3 hatchback puts out 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a front-wheel drivetrain standard but, all-wheel drive is available. You can get the manual transmission with front-wheel-drive models.

Hatchback models outfitted with the automatic transmission get an EPA-rated 26/35 mpg city/highway. All Mazda3 hatchback models equipped with all-wheel drive have cylinder deactivation systems that boost their fuel economy by 1 mpg. The MotorTrend team got an average of 28.8 mpg, which matches the EPA combined rating of 29 mpg.

Note that when outfitted with the manual transmission, the hatchback loses 1 mpg.

This hatchback at a glance

Simply put, the 2020 Mazda3 is one of the more refined hatches available. It looks elegant, offers a better driving experience than rivals, and can match most of its competitors’ features. Sure, there’s no performance model, but that’s one of this compact car’s few drawbacks.

The 2020 Mazda3 hatchback feels more sophisticated than top rivals like the Civic and Toyota Corolla. The four-cylinder engine provides a nice balance between adequate power and good gas mileage. The body styling on either the hatchback or the sedan proves Mazda has kept its promise to provide satisfying driver engagement.

For the 2020 model year, the Mazda3 got more standard driver-assist features. That’s a bonus because, with previous models, consumers had to buy a higher trim to get those features. Mazda’s i-Activsense suite is now available across the lineup. It includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane-departure alerts, and lane-keeping assist.

Overall, the Mazda3 handles curves like a pro, and no matter how bumpy the ride gets, it’s always comfortable. The 2020 hatchback offers great style, convenience, and comfort for the price. It’s an appealing luxury alternative that can make long road trips a delight.


Mazda3 Hatchback Has ‘Rare’ Features for a Compact Car, MotorTrend Finds