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The 2013 Mazda3 Grand Touring Sedan Review By Michael Bernstein

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Mazda3 Grand Touring Sedan

By Michael Bernstein
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

Mazda’s Version of 3 Has No Company

Happy Days are in store for Japanese automaker Mazda and you don’t need Magnum PI to find the reason because once you get behind the Wheel of Fortune of the new 3 you won’t have to buy a vowel, guess the puzzle, just take it for a spin and you will see for yourself why the Mazda3 4-door Grand Touring doesn’t suffer from the Hill Street Blues that historically plagued compact sport sedans, while its steady ride and responsive engine are ready for anything Elm Street, Sesame Street or Route 66 can dish out.

In case you haven’t tuned in lately, Mazda has some momentum fueled by a prime-time lineup of diverse products that all perform on the road and the latest version of the 3 will only enhance this by bringing to market a good looking, fun to drive sedan that is equipped with luxury appointments and advance features for not Thirty Something, but $26,420.

That means Good Times for driver’s wallets and the environment because the 33 mpg combined fuel economy, highlighted by the 40 mpg highway EPA rating, means fewer reruns to the pump and is moving Mazda on up to the Eastside, Westside and near the class leading side of the sales ledger.

More importantly this outstanding fuel economy doesn’t come at the expense of performance because the 2013 3 features Mazda’s Skyactiv technology that extends to both the 2.0L engine that is capable of producing 155HP and 148 LB-FT of torque and the 5-speed sport transmission that effortlessly directs the action.

The Designing (men and) Women put the focus of the interior design and its many options on the multi-level, multi-dimensional dash that dominates the cabin and creates unique sightlines. It features a driver’s IP consisting of two large traditional gauges and a small LED display. In addition, there are three other LED and/or video displays that provide the driver with control of the systems connected or with critical vehicle information in a relatively easy manner.

The 3 comes standard with a nice infotainment package that features Bose speakers and a built-in navigation system that is powered by TomTom. Connectivity doesn’t require the Electric Company or The Cable Guy and is easily achieved via Bluetooth or the various outlets located in the 3’s cabin.

Both the navigation map’s images as well as the infotainment system’s controls are displayed on a modest, but effective, touch screen video monitor that dominates the center of the dash. In fact the majority of the optional equipment, which totaled a modest $1975, was focused on the vehicle’s appearance and not on the number of features and options. The 2013 Mazda3 has a base MSRP of $23,650, meaning The Price is Right.

The interior style and vibe was enhanced by the optional $200 Interior Lighting Kit that added ambient illumination to key areas of the interior, while the exterior was up-scaled by the $1,500 Technology Package that contains nine features highlighted by the fog lights, Xenon headlamps and the adaptive Front Lighting System that allows the headlamp’s beam to follow the movement of the car while you steer around the corner. It’s like The Hills, err these lights have eyes!

The safety of Real People has also been more than adequately addressed to the point where even Cliff Clavin could find them. The scary thing is we are not even at the Outer Limits of the safety and security features on this year’s 3 that also include Mazda’s Dynamic Stability Control System, Traction Control System and “Triple-H” construction.

In fact the roaster of safety features dominate the Maroni and ensure that whatever the Emergency the Mazda3 is equipped to handle the situation better than MacGyver and the best part is the majority of these safety features again come standard on the 2013 Mazda3 including the 24-hr. roadside service, the 5-passenger 3-point safety belts, and the advanced duel front and front-side impact air bags.

That was The Good and the bad isn’t that ugly. There was some noticeable road noise especially on rough patches of the freeway and the back has seating for Two and a Half (very small) Men; however, when you consider all the premium features the 2013 Mazda3 4-door Grand Touring comes equipped with, like a blind spot monitoring system, and the fact that you don’t have to go to Fantasy Island to get one, makes the Mazda3 a compelling reason to “turn-in” to your local Mazda dealer to see for yourself why it is a serious contender for your business and the competition.