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Mazda first introduced the Mazda 3 in 2004 and modeled it after the Ford Escort platform. Twenty years later, Mazda is still making its compact hatchback car with the lifting backside door, and its design makes it hard to remember that it is an economy hatchback. 

Overview of the Mazda 3 Hatchback

The 2024 Mazda3 hatchback starts at $25,690 for the base trim 2.5 S Select Sport and increases to a $36,650 starting price on the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus top trim level

The base model engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder DOHC with cylinder deactivation, a VVT, and front-wheel drive. The top trim model’s engine is a dynamic pressure turbo engine with i-ACTIV AWD. The lower trim level engines put out 191 HP and 186 lb-ft of torque, while the top trim level’s engine has 250 HP and 310 lb-ft of torque. According to Car and Driver, the Mazda 3 Turbo AWD can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. 

With responsive steering and smooth suspension, the Mazda 3 is a top performer at any trim level. The Mazda hatchback’s fuel economy is more than adequate at a combined 30 MPG in FWD models and a combined 29 MPG in AWD models

Mazda 3 Hatchback specs


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The exterior of the Mazda 3 hatchback has LED lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rear wiper, and heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals. The top trim levels also have a wiper de-icer and black mirrors. All trim levels come with 18-inch wheels. 

Inside the Mazda 3 hatchback is 38 inches of headroom and 42.3 inches of legroom in the front. The rear seat has 35.1″ of space, which is much more than some compact cars in its segment. Cargo volume is an underwhelming 20.1 cubic feet, which is average for vehicles its size. 

All Mazda 3 hatchback models have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and the 2.5 S Carbon edition and 25 Turbo Premium Plus have wireless integration. The sound system starts with a basic 6-speaker audio system by Mazda Harmonic Acoustics, but top trip levels have Bose 12-speaker premium sound. 

Other technology features in the Mazda 3 hatchback include radar cruise control with stop and go, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a 3-year trial of Mazda’s connected services. The blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic alerts are welcome after criticism concerning the 2023 Mazda 3’s poor visibility

Benefits of a hatchback over a sedan

The biggest benefit of a hatchback over a sedan is the ease of loading and unloading cargo because of the extra door in the back. This also makes it easy to fold down the rear seats and expand the cargo space. 

Hatchbacks are also shorter than sedans in most cases, which makes them easier to maneuver and fit in small spaces. The length of the 2024 Mazda 3 hatchback is 70.7 inches. The length of the 2024 Mazda 3 sedan is 183.5 inches. 

The fuel economy is very similar between the Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan. In fact, the sedan gets slightly better gas mileage with 31 combined MPG in its FWD models and 30 combined MPG in its AWD models. In addition, the bulbous back side of the hatchback may decrease visibility. 

Overall, people choose the Mazda 3 hatchback over the sedan because they like the sporty appearance and convenience of the back end. The performance and design are otherwise very similar. 

The starting price of the Mazda 3 hatchback and its fuel economy make it slightly more expensive to drive than the sedan version. However, people who like to have the convenience of a hatchback will have trouble returning to anything with traditional trunk space.