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Let’s start with a disclaimer. The 2023 Mazda3 is a good car. No, it’s a great car. The smallest new Mazda is comfortable, looks great, and has the safety stuff that matters. However, a few things about the new Mazda3 make it a headache to live with. Here are three of them.

Front angle view of blue 2023 Mazda3 Sedan, the cheapest new Mazda car in 2023
2023 Mazda3 Sedan | Mazda

Blind spots for days

For as attractive as the 2023 Mazda3 can be, all of those good looks come at the expense of…function. Getting socked into the bolstered driver’s seat of the Mazda3 feels like settling into the cockpit of a racecar, right down to the lack of visibility.

The low seating position and long hood make it feel like driving a land yacht rather than a compact sedan. And don’t even get us started on the rearward blind spots.

Tiny mirrors and c-pillars large enough for NASCAR sponsorship logos make the Mazda3 a nightmare when trying to change lanes. There aren’t many small cars that make blind spot monitoring feel like a requirement, but the Mazda3 is one of them. The backup camera does well to help when backing out of a parking space, but it’s still nerve-wracking to maneuver this compact Mazda around tight spaces.

A cramped back seat

2023 Mazda3 Sedan Gray
Mazda3 | Mazda

For all of the comfort and tech to be found up front, the back seats of a Mazda3 aren’t a fun place to be. With 35.1 inches of rear legroom, there is seven inches less space than in the rear seats of a Toyota Corolla. In fact, the rear seats of the Mazda3 offer barely more space than the subcompact Hyundai Accent. That’s a problem for a brand that is trying to sell itself as an affordable luxury option.

The price of a Mazda3 makes it an enticing choice for families and young drivers. But those two groups are also more likely to put passengers in the back seat. Unfortunately, the Mazda compact fails at that task when compared to its competition.

Limited cargo space

Along with the cramped back seat, the 2023 Mazda3 also falls short in cargo space. The trunk itself holds 13.2 cubic feet of stuff, which is below average for the compact car class. That’s on par with the Corolla, but a full 1.6 cubic feet down on the Honda Civic for cargo capability. The Mazda3 falls short of its closest competition when looking at the hatchbacks as well. Here, the Honda Civic hatch outclasses the Mazda model by 4.4 cubic feet. That’s enough space to fit an extra full-size suitcase in the Honda model. And in the Golf GTI, 22.1 cubic feet outclasses the Mazda’s 20.1 cubes by a noticeable amount.

Is the Mazda3 a good compact car?

It’s clear that the Mazda3 isn’t perfect, especially for those with families and cargo to cart around. Still, despite these flaws, the 2023 Mazda3 is an excellent compact car. J.D. Power has high expectations for reliability, and Mazda’s luxury car credentials are on display, especially in the upper trim levels.

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