The 2021 Mazda3 Is the Perfect High School Daily Driver

One of the most stressful times of being a parent is when your teens start driving. Finding a new car, like the 2021 Mazda3, will help them stay safe and practice their driving skills. And you can relax a bit knowing they’re in a safe car that didn’t blow your budget. 

The Mazda3 is one of the safest but cheapest vehicles you can buy this year for your teens, MotorTrend reports. Why is it so safe, and which model does MT recommend?

How safe and reliable is the Mazda3?

Both the Mazda3’s hatchback and the sedan body styles performed well in crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration evaluated it in frontal, side, and rollover tests. Because the Mazda3 checked every box, the NHTSA gave the it an overall safety rating of 5 stars, the highest the agency awards vehicles. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rigorously tested the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback as well. The IIHS evaluates several areas involving both the driver’s and passenger’s sides. The results earned the Mazda3 a Good rating in all crashworthiness tests, which secured it the highest award of Top Safety Pick+. 

As for reliability, the Mazda3 gets good marks from Consumer Reports. For several years, this model earned a 5-star predicted reliability rating. Then, in 2019, it had a hiccup and fell to 3. 

But Mazda3 saw improvements and returned to a 5 rating. This year, however, it went down to 4 with body integrity issues. Overall, though, it remains a reliable vehicle for any consumer, especially teens just learning to drive.

2021 Mazda3 safety features

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Mazda offers a decent number of safety features as standard equipment on its models. For instance, the Mazda3 has an automatic emergency braking system. It alerts the driver if it detects a potential collision in front of the car. If the driver doesn’t take corrective action fast enough, the car will apply the brakes to ensure no crash takes place. It’s a great feature for teenagers who are just developing their road reflexes. 

You’ll also get adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a rear cross-traffic alert system. Another feature that can help teen drivers stay safe is blind-spot monitoring. The car can detect another vehicle in that area and alert the driver or steer the vehicle clear of the potential threat. 

Which model is right for your teen?

This year, the Mazda3 has numerous trims to choose from. The base model has the 2.0-liter engine and comes only in the sedan version. Next up is the 2.5S model, which you can get in Select, Preferred, and Premium trims. Each packs a 2.5-liter engine producing 186 hp.

Then there are the top-tier trims, the 2.5 Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus. These models come with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. All also come with front-wheel drive as standard. All-wheel drive is available, but not on the base version. Sportier hatchbacks are also optional except for the base model. 

MotorTrend recommends the base version of the Mazda3 for plenty of safety and driver’s assist features to keep your teen safe. It’s also the most affordable, starting at $21,645. However, if you live in an area where there’s snowy weather, consider a model with all-wheel drive instead. The cheapest AWD version costs $25,245.

Keeping your teens safe while they practice their new driving skills will lift some of that weight off your shoulders. Let the Mazda3 be their protective shell. For an affordable price, you can’t go wrong for your teen.