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2013 Mazda3i Grand Touring Review By Larry Nutson

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2013 Mazda3i Grand Touring

2013 Mazda3i Grand Touring Compact Cruisin’
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

A recent visit to the Motor City had me “Cruisin’ Woodward” in a 2013 Mazda3i 5-door. My wife was along for this cruise and the famed Vinsetta Garage made for a perfect stop for a casual lunch.

Metro Detroit's Woodward Avenue is known globally for its annual classic car event, the Dream Cruise. It's no wonder that America's first highway has one of the oldest garages east of the Mississippi. However, this garage has taken on a whole new life as a restaurant serving Custom Detroit Eats.

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Also famous, the Mazda3 is very well known around the globe, it being the brand’s best-selling vehicle. More than 3 million have been sold since its 2004 debut. The Mazda3 was refreshed for the 2012 model year and is the first Mazda to feature SkyActiv Technology in North America.

My most recent drive in the Mazda3 was about a year ago in the very urban environs of Chicago. For 2013 the Mazda3 gets some new features to enhance its appeal to those looking for good fuel efficiency in a well performing car.

Fuel efficiency or miles per dollar is top of mind for most every new vehicle buyer today, and the Mazda3 with its SkyActiv Technology delivers, in my opinion, better fuel economy than you would expect. I put about 180 miles on the 6-speed stick-shift Mazda3 driving around the northerly suburbs of Detroit. My overall fuel economy was 32.6mpg with an average driving speed of 27mph. In spite of some highway drives, this low average speed puts my driving in the realm of the EPA city fuel economy rating, which for the Mazda3 with the six-speed manual, as my car was equipped, is 27mpg.

On my initial 30 mile highway drive from Detroit Metro Airport to our Vinsetta Garage lunch stop, my average driving speed was about 62 mph with an actual fuel economy of 47.2mpg, well over the EPA highway rating of 38mpg.

In the real world, the EPA fuel economy ratings of the Mazda3 with the 2.0L SkyActiv powertrain are easy to achieve, and sometimes easy to greatly exceed. Take note that the automatic transmission sedan model has a 40mpg highway rating, better than the manual.

In detail, the 2013 Mazda3i I drove was the 5-door Grand Touring model with the 6-speed manual. Base MSRP is $23,300. Options included a $1500 Technology Package with Bi-xenon headlights, adaptive front-lighting system, body-color heated power mirrors with turn signal lamps, LED rear lights, Sirius satellite radio, and rain-sensing wipers. A $200 Interior Lighting kit bathed the footwells in blue ambient lighting and included an interactive instrument display.

The outstanding fuel economy is coming from the 155HP, SkyActiv 2.0L engine coupled to a 6-speed manual driving through the front wheels. A six-speed automatic is also offered.

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I continue to find a high level of overall driving enjoyment and fun in the Mazda3. Acceleration is quick and responsive. Driving dynamics including handling, cornering, steering feel and feedback, and braking are top notch.

I prefer the hatchback over the sedan simply for its increased versatility and slightly shorter overall length which helps in city maneuvering and parking. Ingress and egress is quite easy. Driving position is comfortable with good seat support along with easy to read instruments and good all-around view to the outside.

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Amenities like blind-spot monitoring, the large opening moonroof, heated front seats, keyless entry, and full screen navi system all make the driving even better.

Mazda’s SkyActiv Technology is an entire suite of design and development innovations incorporated in the engine, the manual and automatic transmissions, the body structure, and various chassis elements. All of these work together to provide and outstanding driving experience.

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The Mazda3 is offered as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback. The sedan comes in Mazda3i SV, Mazda3i Sport, Mazda3i Touring, Mazda3i Grand Touring, and Mazda3s Grand Touring. The hatchback models are the Mazda3i Touring, Mazda3i Grand Touring, Mazda3s Grand Touring, and Mazdaspeed3 Touring.

Prices start at $16,700 for the iSV 4-door with the 148HP MZR 2.0L engine and 5-speed manual. At the top is the $25,650 sGrand Touring 5-door with the 167HP MZR 2.5L engine and 5-speed automatic. My recommendation would be one of the 155HP SkyActiv 2.0L powered models with either the six-speed manual or automatic, which can be had for as low as $18,375.

If you want to compare the Mazda3 to other compacts you can do that right here on For more detailed information and specs on the complete Mazda3 model line up visit

It’s been a cool and wet spring in many parts of the U.S. However, summer is coming and that means cruisin’ the highways in whatever you choose.

Be safe.

Larry Nutson