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If you’re looking for a compact sedan that can not only get you to and from work but can also put a smile on your face every time you drive it, the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo could be for you. Don’t get me wrong, you can get some enjoyment out of driving one of its competitors like the Kia Forte GT or even the Honda Civic Sport, but the Mazda3 Turbo feels like it’s on a different level. In fact, it could be one of the best daily drivers that you can buy.

The Mazda3 Turbo provides plenty of useable space

2021 Mazda3 Turbo
2021 Mazda3 Turbo | Joe Santos

Power and fuel efficiency aside, the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo has the practicality you would expect from a compact sedan. It can seat up to five passengers, however, I wouldn’t recommend anyone over five feet tall to sit in the rear middle seat. So technically, there are four usable spaces to put four average-sized (and taller) adults.

As far as cargo room goes, the Mazda3 sedan measures in at 13.2 cubic feet, which is admittedly smaller than its competitors from Honda and Kia. But it’s more than enough room for a couple of carry-on bags or a set of golf clubs. Also, unless you’re constantly using the rear seats and filling up the trunk every day, you probably won’t miss having the space. And if you really need more cargo room, then you can opt for the Mazda3 hatchback, which is also available with the turbocharged engine.

The powertrain is where the Mazda3 Turbo really shines

2021 Mazda3 Turbo front
2021 Mazda3 Turbo | Joe Santos

If you’re into performance and like to tear up canyon roads as I do on the weekends, then opting for the highest 2.5 Turbo trim is a must. Under the hood of this beefed-up Mazda3 is a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that produces 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. According to Car and Driver’s testing, those specs are good for 0 to 60 mph times of around 5.6 seconds and quarter-mile times of 14.1 seconds.

In case those numbers don’t mean anything to you, then just know that it’s about as quick as a Ford Mustang and a little quicker than its spiritual predecessor, the Mazdaspeed3. In any case, I found the off-the-line power delivery to be surprisingly smooth. Even the shifts from the six-speed automatic transmission were as smooth as can be. Although, I do wish that this setup came with a manual transmission.

If the performance doesn’t get you, maybe the interior will

2021 Mazda3 Turbo
2021 Mazda3 Turbo | Joe Santos

Even if you don’t care about the Mazda3 Turbo’s performance, its interior quality and design will get you every time you sit in the driver’s seat. There are soft-touch materials everywhere and the elegantly simple design evokes emotions of richness and modernity. In comparison to cars like the Civic, Forte, and Corolla, the Mazda3’s interior is second-to-none.

Additionally, the Mazda3 is filled with all of the driver-assist features you need including adaptative cruise control with traffic jam assist, which does the stop-and-go driving for you. Also, the top-trim Mazda3 comes with a Bose premium sound system that sounds amazing at all speed levels.

Fortunately, you can get all of this luxury and performance for around $34,000, which I personally feel is on the steep side. But if your daily life includes a lot of back and forth trips to work, child duties, and errands, then the Mazda3 Turbo is sure to inject a lot of fun, elegance, and practicality into it.


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