KBB Recommends This 2022 Mazda3 Engine if You Want a Responsive Ride

Introduced in 2003, the 2004 Mazda3 replaced the popular Mazda Protege, which came equipped with a 130-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that averaged around 28 mpg. Eighteen years later, the 2022 Mazda3 offers three engine choices with distinct characteristics, fuel economy, standard issue, and turbocharged. So which 2022 Mazda3 engine will you choose?

Which engine does KBB recommend?

A red and blue 2022 Mazda3
Mazda3 | Mazda

The 2022 Mazda3 standard-issue engine is standard across most of the lineup for good reason. It’s more powerful, more responsive, and more fun to drive than the 2.0-liter. Fuel mileage falls off slightly, but you probably won’t even notice. Starting price for a model with the standard engine is $22,100. You will not be able to save that $1,000 by ordering the 2.0-liter engine in your new Mazda3 unless you’re ordering the base sedan version.

With 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder pushes the 2022 Mazda3 from 0-60 mph one second faster than the 2.0-liter. A front-wheel-drive equipped 2022 Mazda3 with the 2.5-liter engine gets 26 city/35 highway mpg for a combined 30 mpg overall. Opting for all-wheel-drive (AWD) drops all of the numbers some; this leaves the combined mpg estimate at 28. 

The fast engine delivers power rivaling some of the sportiest compacts in the class, but it’s exclusive to the top two trim levels starting at $30,900.

Kelley Blue Book recommends the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine “for most buyers.” They base the recommendation on the engine’s responsiveness and power when merging into traffic or passing slower traffic. However, they note that power comes at the expense of fuel economy. This lands the 2022 Mazda3 “at the bottom half of the segment” in that category. 

2022 Mazda3 engine choices

The smallest, least powerful engine offered for the 2022 Mazda3 is also the most fuel-efficient. Unfortunately, the KBB team reports that you’ll have trouble finding a 2022 Mazda3 equipped with this engine on your local Mazda dealer’s lot. It’s only available in the base model sedan, starting at $21,150. 

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder with its 150 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque propels the sedan from 0-60 mph in less than eight seconds. While the 2.0-liter isn’t fast or powerful, it does squeeze out 28 city/36 highway mpg for a combined 31 mpg. 

The fastest 2022 Mazda3 engine is the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque when using 93-octane pump gasoline. Performance falls to 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque on 87-octane.

At full power, the Turbo-trimmed 2022 Mazda3 goes from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds; it gets 23 city/32 highway mpg for a combined 27 mpg overall. Remember that the AWD standard-issue 2.5-liter without the turbo only gets 28 mpg combined. 

Is the 2022 Mazda3 a good car?

If you’re looking for an inexpensive compact car that provides plenty of power, is fun to drive, and gets decent fuel economy, the 2022 Mazda3 with the standard 2.5-liter engine is a good choice. However, if you’re shopping for a performance-oriented compact, the Turbo trim provides competitive power.

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