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As an automaker, you can never really please everyone and there is no such thing as the perfect car. However, many automakers like Mazda, have come close to it. Enter the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo sedan. It’s a compact four-door that competes with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla but essentially blows the doors off of both of those cars.

It’s quick, elegant, and comfortable for a turbocharged compact car, but is the Mazda3 Turbo really worth its $34,000 price tag?

The Mazda3 Turbo is a sophisticated little car

2021 Mazda3 Turbo exterior shot
2021 Mazda3 Turbo | Joe Santos

If you have never sat or test-driven a Mazda3, then I suggest you do so if you’re in the market for a compact sedan. You’re sure to be impressed by the car’s simplistic interior design that not only complements its exterior elegance but also makes the car feel like it’s from a class above. It’s really that good.

In fact, my current Mazda3 Turbo tester has a Machine Gray Metallic exterior that contrasts well with its white leather interior. That’s right, it has a white interior that is sure to be stained by your blue jeans and other clothing over time. But it just looks too good. Interior aesthetics aside, the Mazda3 Turbo comes with all of the safety and convenience features you need including a Bose Premium sound system and all of the driver-assist aids.

Driving the Mazda3 Turbo is a sedate, but fun experience

2021 Mazda3 Turbo engine
2021 Mazda3 Turbo | Joe Santos

Once you get past all of the next-level refinement that the Mazda3 Turbo oozes, it’s time to get down to business. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that produces 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. As you can imagine, the powertrain is smooth in its operation in the lower rpm range, which delivers a calm and sedate driving experience around town.

But once you find an opening when merging onto the freeway, you’ll be surprised yet again when you pin the throttle. The turbocharger spools quickly and you’re met with a surge of power that pushes you back in your seat. No, it doesn’t feel like you’re taking off in a jet, but considering this car is meant for daily errand duties with the occasional spirited drive, it definitely hits the mark.

The editors at Car and Driver tested the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo and they were able to get from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds. That’s a whole second faster than the 2020 Civic SI that they tested and two seconds faster than the 2021 Toyota Corolla Apex.

It’s quick and elegant, but is the Mazda3 Turbo worth it?

2021 Mazda3 Turbo seats
2021 Mazda3 Turbo | Joe Snatos

Ultimately, the Mazda3 Turbo Premium Plus has a starting price of $32,450. My tester had a few add-ons like the gray paint job and all-weather floor mats, so the price as tested is $34,015.

Considering the car costs almost $10,000 more than its comparative competitors and is priced as much as the entrants in the mid-size sedan segment, I would personally say it’s not worth paying that much for it. However, don’t let that dissuade you as certain dealerships might have discounts to bring the price down a little.

However, if you crave performance and like to enjoy the more sophisticated things in life and would like to experience that every day, then the Mazda3 Turbo is a great choice for you. Regardless of its price tag.


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