2019 Mazda 3 Premium AWD – An efficient Commuter That’s Fun to Drive

The 2019 Mazda 3 is a slick and comfortable small sedan with good options. In Mazda fashion, the 3 gets incrementally better with each passing year. The last one I drove was in 2017, how does the new one compare?

EXTERIOR 

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Outside, the Mazda 3 looks good. I like the uncluttered nature of its styling. The long low hood, raked C-pillars and stubby trunk all add up to give the Mazda 3 a sporty profile. The chunky 18-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights and taillights have an upmarket look. I especially like the front grille treatment. The Soul Red Crystal metallic paint has to be one of the most appealing factory colors on any car.

INTERIOR

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Inside this press car was outfitted with white leather wrapped seats and dash. I can’t say I’d like to be accountable for keeping it clean over the life of the car, be for the week I had it, it presented no issues. The seats are comfortable and there’s room enough in the back seat for grown ups.

The premium trim gets you a Bluetooth capable, 12 speakers Bose stereo. Android Auto and Apple Carplay make connecting your phone to the car seamless.  A moonroof with one-touch open lets the light in and the Active Driving Display projects vehicle information like speed, cruise control settings and even navigation aids onto an area in the driver’s line of sight to keep eyes safely on the road. Mazda has integrated the 3’s infotainment screen into the dash more and it looks good. It’s a subtle change that indicates they’re still improving the car little by little.

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Mazda’s infotainment system controls are some of the most intuitive on the market.
There’s a multi-function control wheel and a few shortcut buttons that make navigating the menus a breeze. Within the console, there’s a Qi wireless charging pad. I like this layout because it encourages us to drop the phone in the console while we drive.
THE DRIVE

Under the hood, the 2.5L SKYACTIV-G 186 horses and 186 lb-ft torque. Not huge numbers, but the car never feels anemic. The 6-speed automatic transmission is nice and snappy.  In fact, it’s fun to goose the little 3 around and its predictable driving character inspires confidence in the bends.

Mazda says that we can expect the AWD 3 to get 25 mpg around town and 33 on the highway.  The combined mileage is 2 mpg worse than the front wheel drive version. However, if you live in a snowy climate I imagine that you’ll find the AWD a good investment. Highway driving is quiet and smooth.

THE DIRT

The base price on the 2019 Mazda 3 is $27,900. Adding the Premium package gets you some features you might not expect in a non-luxury brand. This includes the heads up display, leather seats, moonroof, paddle shifters and adaptive lighting to name a few. Other available options featured on this car include illuminated door sills like a lexus and a frameless rearview mirror like those found in a Volvo.  All these push the price point to $30,930.

The last time I reviewed this car was in 2017, at that time I called the car a good value. I haven’t changed my mind. It’s still an efficient commuter/kid hauler that’s fun to drive and offers good amenities. I would like to see a return of the Mazdaspeed3 which had a turbo option.

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