2021 Mazda3 Turbo AWD - Review by Mark Fulmer
Bigger Engine and All Wheel Drive for More Fun
The Auto Channel
The '21 Mazda3 has graduated to the next level in performance. The 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine, a high-compression, all-aluminum turbo-four cylinder engine produces 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed automatic feeds Mazda's part-time I-Activ all-wheel drive and all that means is more zoom per gallon and more fun per trip. The low end torque is so evenly distributed that I found myself switching the drive mode into SPORT both at freeway on-ramps as well as snaking through city streets (during non-commute times). During highway cruising and stop-and-go stuff I use the NORMAL drive mode to increase gas mileage and achieve the EPA fuel economy of 23 mpg city | 31 highway | 26 combined.
The interior (of the Premium Plus Package)features high quality leather seats which are both comfortable (heated and lumbar adjustable) and surrounded by safety systems that once again yielded a five star rating. The 360 view monitor and front and rear parking sensors You know the seats are cozy when the kids can fall sleep in the rear seats.
The infotainment system is a mixture of dials and buttons which I found easy to use and remember. By setting your Presets on the radio and making generous use of Voice Commands, you can both make adjustments and changes without having to road awareness compromised. The screen seemed a bit small when trying to read the maps traffic colors, however the Traffic Jam Assist was helpful.
The Bose sound system produced terrific separation and clarity which was a big hit with my music-oriented household. With Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB, and Bluetooth capability my gang enjoyed their own playlists and even had not complaints when I changed the tunes to jazz.
The bottom line is that this version of the Mazda3 has and will lift the spirits of those among us who enjoy all of the nuances and pick-me-ups of a light, agile, and peppy ride.