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2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring Review

2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring  (select to view enlarged photo)
2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring

SEE ALSO: Mazda Specs, Pics and Prices-Mazda Buyers Guide



Model: 2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring
Engine: 2.5-liter DOHC I4
Horsepower/Torque: 167hp @ 6,000rpm/168 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 103.9 in.
Length/Width/Height: 177.4 x 69.1 x 57.9 in.
Tires: P205/50R17
Cargo volume: 17.0/42.8 cu. ft. (rear seat backs up/down)
Fuel economy: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24.7 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 15.9 gal.
Sticker: $24,760 (includes $670 delivery, processing and handling fee and $2,590 in options)

The Bottom Line: Admittedly, the Mazda3 isn’t a vehicle that would normally come to mind if someone would ask me to recommend a compact sedan…But that has all changed! From its smiling “face” to its sculpted fifth door liftgate, the Mazda3 is bound to make you content with its content and price point.

With a base price of $21,500 (plus $670 for delivery, etc.) the Mazda3 is loaded with content. It has heated leather seats, an 8-way power driver’s seat, rain-sensing front wipers plus a rear wiper on the fifth door hatchback, pushbutton start and good power from a 2.5-liter inline four. It even has Dynamic Stability Control and a traction control system (TRAC).

That engine delivers a decent 167 horsepower and 168 lb.-ft. of torque, delivered to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. While the engine is buzzy at times, especially on acceleration, it isn’t annoying like some other small cars. What it has as a minor distraction with the buzziness it more than makes up with power.

The 6-speed manual transmission was nice and had good spacing between the gears so that there was always a right one to choose. Sometimes it was tough to find the gear you want, but I’ll admit that may be partly my problem. Undoubtedly, a Mazda3 owner would have more time to learn the quirks of the shifter.

2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring  (select to view enlarged photo)

A feature that totally blew me away was the styling. I don’t think there’s a straight line anywhere on the Mazda3. It has more curves than Jessica Simpson, and you find them where you don’t expect them, liked in the rear fenders and tailgate (any cross-reference to Ms. Simpson started out to be unintended). There’s also a small spoiler over the rear window that helps keep it clean.

2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring  (select to view enlarged photo)

The instrument panel consists of two major dials for the tachometer and speedometer, with smaller instruments for the fuel level and odometers. While I’m not a fan of orange-on-black dials, they work with the Mazda3. There’s also an information center at the top of the center dash with the navigation system, audio settings, outside temperature, HVAC settings and a digital clock.

The smart steering wheel has Bluetooth controls, cruise control switches and navi system controls.

In the flat center stack are the audio and HVAC systems, and they're readily at hand.

The front seats are comfortable and offer very good side support. The rear seats offer reasonable leg room, but not for extended trips if you’re an adult. In addition, the high center hump precludes carrying a third adult passenger back there. There’s a fold-down center arm rest with a pair of cup holders.

2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring  (select to view enlarged photo)

While the trunk is a good size at 17 cubic feet for a car of this size, it explodes to nearly 43 cubic feet with the rear seat backs folded. This is one asset of the hatchback design.

The Mazda3 has a good price point considering its content. Even the options ($1,195 for a technology package that includes the pushbutton start, Sirius XM radio and perimeter alarm; and $1,395 for the moon roof and Bose sound system package) are reasonably priced for what they offer, even though neither option package is necessary.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate

SEE ALSO: Mazda Specs, Pics and Prices-Mazda Buyers Guide