The Mazda3 Is a Small but Fierce Family Sedan

There’s plenty to consider when shopping for family vehicles. And like families, vehicles come in many sizes. They also offer varying levels of safety, technology, and sustainability. The 2021 Mazda3 might not be the first car you’d consider a family hauler. But maybe it should be. Here’s why.

Good Housekeeping’s ‘Best New Family Cars of 2021’

A dark-gray metallic 2020 Mazda3 sedan traveling on a mountain road past snow and pine trees on a sunny day
2020 Mazda3 sedan | Mazda North American Operations

Through a collaboration with Car and Driver, Good Housekeeping has published a list of the best new family cars for the past six years. So if you’re shopping for a new vehicle for your family, the research has mostly been done for you.

Parenting experts and automotive industry experts have determined the best vehicle for every type of family. Each year, testers evaluate hundreds of new vehicles on more than 5,000 miles of road, from crowded city streets to winding country roads. They also install more than 100 child safety seats and pair smartphones with infotainment systems.

In addition, consumer testers and engineers use a formula to determine the best family vehicles. Each model must drive well and offer a certain level of safety. The vehicle should also offer a smooth, balanced ride with minimal noise. And all vehicles must have received strong rankings from Car and Driver.

Comfort and convenience are also important in the evaluation. The vehicles must have a good amount of storage space for their size. Installing and adjusting car seats must be easy to manage, too. And if the infotainment system offers voice commands, they must be accurate.

Other factors include little extras that make a car more accessible and practical. They include smart storage spaces in the cabin, USB charging ports, climate control systems, and more. Last, reviewers consider each vehicle’s fuel efficiency and overall value because most families appreciate a good value.

The Mazda3 won in the Best Compact Sedan category

Good Housekeeping named the 2021 Mazda3 the best compact sedan among 18 vehicles for families. The team loved its upscale vibe at a reasonable price, starting at only $20,650. Small but sporty, the Mazda3 offers an energetic ride with precise steering no matter the trim level. It also earned top marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In addition, the 2021 Mazda3 offers a user-friendly infotainment system featuring a rotary knob for ease of use. It also comes with plentiful advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and lane-departure warning.

Plus, seven optional packages allow buyers to customize the Mazda3 for their family. However, you’ll have to pay extra for higher trims that offer features such as power-adjustable seats, a head-up display, and all-wheel drive.

Aside from the up-charges for extras, the only other drawbacks are that the Mazda3 could use more cargo space and rear legroom.

The 2021 Mazda3 is also fun to drive

The Mazda3 offers an attractive balance between luxury and mainstream. You can get the popular, functional hatchback and add luxury with either the Premium or Premium Plus models. And you can get all-wheel drive and choose from three four-cylinder engines.

The Mazda3’s spirited drive makes it one of the most athletic compact cars. Considering that on top of the driver assists, excellent safety ratings, and better-than-average infotainment system, you realize how much value this car offers for the price. And if you have the budget and want even more luxury, it’s available.

In 2021, the 3’s lineup got two new engines, including a 2.5-liter turbo-four on the top trims. There’s also a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder offered with the base model. There was minor equipment shuffling among the trims, but not much else changed since last year.

With a ride that’s composed yet dynamic, the Mazda3 is refined and fun to drive. Sure, it’s a compact car, but it could be the perfect family vehicle for the right family.

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