2016 Mazda Mazda3 badging ・ Photo by Mazda USA
The 2016 Mazda3 is easily one of the standout models in its category. This is saying a lot, because the four-door compact hatchback and sedan segments are intensely competitive. One of the most hotly contested aspects of the marketplace, there are some seriously high volume and high-quality players vying for a slice of this aspect of the automotive marketplace. To hold its own; a car in this category has to be genuinely special, and this is where the Mazda3 shines. Just on the basis of its sharp steering, agile chassis, willing engine, and remarkable fuel efficiency, the Mazda3 makes a compelling case for itself. However, the model is also exceptionally well equipped. In fact, Mazda’s product planners have fitted the handsome little car with a host of premium equipment usually not found in a car in this class—as standard equipment. Like what, you ask? Here’s a list of Mazda3 standard features you might not expect.
Easily one of the most successful applications of Mazda’s KODO-Soul of Motion design language, those fluidly undulating lines give the Mazda3 a look well above its pay grade. Debuted at the 2010 Paris Auto Show on the Mazda Shinari concept car, the alluring KODO design language evokes impressions of both speed and tension. If you look carefully, you’ll note the design of both the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback gives the impression the car is absolutely bursting with pent up energy seeking an outlet. The weight of the design is concentrated at the rear of the car, with eye-arresting lines gracefully flowing forward from there. The bulging rear wheel arches, so integral to the KODO language, are an aspect of design usually found on rear-wheel drive cars. Applied to the Mazda3, while most assiduously intimating capability, they also give the car an unexpected premium look.
While at first glance, Mazda’s Skyactiv technology might seem to be all about the engine, it actually encompasses the engine, transmission, body structure, and suspension system. In other words, it pretty much applies to the entire car. Skyactiv engines, as you’d expect, deliver outstanding fuel economy—while also bringing exceptional driving pleasure. The Skyactiv transmissions are configured to ensure outstanding control, while also contributing to a strong fuel efficiency story. All of the above is fitted to a lightweight, but rigid space-frame body structure designed specifically to enable the car to better perform the functions of acceleration, turning and stopping. Bolted into this platform are steering and suspension components specifically calibrated to excel in the areas of agility, stability, ride comfort, and weight savings. The upshot is Skyactiv, one of the Mazda3 standard features you might not expect, is calculated specifically to enhance the feeling of oneness with the vehicle you get when you’re at the wheel of a Mazda.
It’s a commonly accepted fact; Mazda automobiles handle better than just about anything else in their respective classes. While we alluded to this when we discussed the Skyactiv technology above, the Mazda3’s chassis is specifically calibrated to combine a feeling of lightness at low speeds with outstanding stability at high speeds. The suspension system is optimized to ensure smooth, controlled movements when the car is traveling rapidly. A higher steering gear ratio is employed to ensure the driver a nimble feeling at a more moderate pace, while also delivering outstanding control when the car is driven along at a clip. This is accomplished by varying the level of assist the electric power steering system provides as speeds rise and fall. Further, the suspension geometry is calculated to help the car feel more planted, and the steering feel firmer on the highway. While these strategies are routinely employed in expensive luxury cars, it’s one of the Mazda3 standard features you might not expect.
The Mazda3’s standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, a full complement of front airbags, side airbags, and side curtain airbags. Among the Mazda3 standard features you might not expect are a rearview camera, a five-star safety rating from NHTSA, and Top Safety Pick + status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). To qualify for IIHS Top Safety Pick + status, an automobile must earn good ratings in the Institute’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests—as well as a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front impact crash test. Further, they must earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. The Mazda3 does so with the availability of a lane departure warning system, forward collision warning, and Mazda's Smart City Brake Support, which is a forward collision mitigation system capable of automatically braking the car to a stop at low speeds if the driver doesn't react to an imminent collision.
Good power and remarkable fuel efficiency are two more Mazda3 standard features you might not expect. For 2016, Mazda3 offers a selection of two engines. Models with the “i” designation use a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter inline four with 150 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed manual and front-wheel drive are standard. Fuel economy is 33 miles per gallon overall. Mazda3 models with the “s” designation use a 184-horsepower 2.5-liter inline four with 185 ft-lbs of torque. The “Touring” version comes with a six-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. Fuel economy with the automatic is rated at 32 miles per gallon overall for both the sedan and the hatchback. If you go with the GT version, you’ll get the six-speed manual transmission, which returns 29 miles per gallon combined for the sedan and hatchback. Both engines provide more than adequate performance thanks to the Mazda3’s low 3,179-pound curb weight.
Photo by Mazda USA
General consensus in the auto industry is every modern car has to offer some sort of electronic high tech features if it wants to be attractive to younger buyers. To this end, another of the Mazda3 standard features you might not expect is the Mazda Connect telematics and infotainment system. Designed to reduce driver distraction while offering maximum utility, Mazda Connect employs a simple user interface with a consistent look regardless of the function the driver employs. Entertainment, communications, vehicle diagnostics, and trip information are among the features of the system. When linked to a compatible smartphone, Mazda Connect also supports interaction with a variety of Web-based applications and services. The primary interfaces for the system are a dial on the center console and a centrally located seven-inch, fixed-position monitor atop the dash. Designed specifically to maximize readability at a glance, the monitor also offers touchscreen capability. Mazda Connect also supports voice activation of certain functions.
Photo by Mazda USA
As we’ve mentioned, the 2016 Mazda3 is offered with a choice of hatchback and sedan bodies. Both are available in 3i and 3s models—with a variety of trim levels within both designations. Standard features you might not expect on the base model Mazda3 i Sport (sedan only) include Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, a rear-view camera, a seven-inch touchscreen with a dial-based controller, voice activation, cruise control, and Internet radio. Mazda3 i Touring (the base hatchback model) adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated outside rearview mirrors, automatic windshield wipers, automatic headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system, and rear cross traffic alert. Further, the 2016 Mazda3 iTouring comes with foglights, a sunroof, a rear spoiler (on the sedan), keyless entry and ignition, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Capping it off, the Mazda3 i Grand Touring’s standard equipment list includes dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, an auto dimming interior rear view mirror, satellite radio and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
The Mazda3’s upper trim levels are referred to with the “s” designation. To all of the features fitted to the Mazda3 i Grand Touring, the Mazda3 s Touring adds a six-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, the 2.5-liter engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, a digital speedometer, a head-up display, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters for the automatic transmission. Standard features on the top of the line Mazda3 s Grand Touring include all of the above, plus xenon headlights, genuine leather upholstery, LED taillights, and daytime running lights. To push your Mazda3 well into amazingly equipped, you need only add the model’s Technology package. This brings a regenerative braking system to improve fuel economy, active grille shutters to enhance aerodynamics at speed, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane departure warning, automatic high beam headlights, and smart cruise control.
Photo by Mazda USA
Lots of cars claim to be fun to drive, lots of cars claim to be nicely equipped, and nearly every car in this category touts the reasonability of its asking price. However, the 2016 Mazda3 credibly offers all of the above. The sheer volume of the 2016 Mazda3 standard features you might not expect is astounding. That all of this goodness is wrapped up in a handsome package with a strong warranty from a maker with a solid reputation for reliability is even more remarkable. Particularly when you factor in the Mazda3’s $17,845 base MSRP.