For the new model year, the 2012 MAZDA3 receives a new engine option that delivers more ponies and fewer stops at the gas station. Minor styling changes and a bolstered number of trim options also help make the MAZDA3 more competitive. Keep reading to learn what's new on the 2012 Mazda Mazda3 and review specs, styling and pricing.
Styling: 2012 Mazda MAZDA3
Car shoppers who were turned off by last year's smiling front grille will likely applaud the exterior changes made to the 2012 MAZDA3. Minor tweaks have been made to tone down the smiley face. The headlights, front fascia and rear fascia have also undergone a little reconstructive surgery. Like last year, the vehicle is available in either sedan or hatchback body style. However, Mazda promises to make the hatchback option more widely available.
Inside, the MAZDA3 stays true to last year's design. This results in a slightly upscale appeal that offers a comfortable drive for front seat passengers. However, the rear seat is likely a bit more cramped than most passengers would like (though that's to be expected in the compact vehicle class). Storage capacity is merely average for the class, with an official 11.8 cubic feet offered by the sedan and 17.0 cubic feet available in the hatchback.
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Performance: 2012 Mazda MAZDA3
The MAZDA3 is the first Mazda vehicle to receive a newly designed Skyactiv-G engine. This powerplant comes in the form of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and offers 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. Despite these power gains, the new engine also manages to boost fuel efficiency. Estimates suggest 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for models outfitted with a six-speed automatic transmission (manual transmissions lose one mpg in both city and highway driving).
Mazda's new engine is available as an optional upgrade. Entry-level models return with last year's 2.0-liter engine that makes 148 horsepower and 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway. A high-powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder also returns with 167 horsepower and 168 lb-ft. of torque. Opt for the added power, and you'll have to make do with 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway (or slightly less than that with an automatic transmission).
Review full 2012 Mazda MAZDA3 specifications
Safety: 2012 Mazda MAZDA3
The 2012 MAZDA3 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, stability control, traction control and brake assist. In crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the MAZDA3 earned a best-possible rating of "Good" in front, side and roof-strength tests.
Pricing and Features: 2012 Mazda MAZDA3
The base Mazda MAZDA3 i SV starts at $15,200 and is only available as a sedan (as is the Sport trim). Standard features are limited, but include power windows, power mirrors, height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 rear split seat, four-speaker stereo, CD player and steering wheel controls. Upgrade to the Sport and you'll also get air-conditioning, power locks, exterior temperature display and keyless entry.
If you want the new engine, then you'll need to opt for the Touring or s Touring trim. Starting at $18,100, these models include everything on the Sport, and add alloy wheels, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel/shifter, Bluetooth, six-speaker stereo and more. The s Touring also includes foglamps, LED taillights, larger wheels, brake upgrade, keyless ignition, sport seats, dual-zone climate control and spoiler on sedan models.
The MAZDA3 Grand Touring adds sunroof, navigation system, blind-spot warning system, bi-xenon headlights, automatic wipers and satellite radio. Top-of-the-line models cap out at around $23,400.
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