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2019 Mazda Mazda3

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$21,000 — $28,900 MSRP
14
Photos
Sedan
5 Seats
27-30 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 4 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Handling
  • Brakes
  • Steering feedback
  • Interior quality
  • Driver-accessible storage
  • Manual transmission still available

The Bad

  • Narrow driver’s seat
  • Cramped backseat
  • Multimedia system operation
  • Expensive starting price
  • Automatic braking not standard
  • Gas mileage
2019 Mazda Mazda3 exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2019 Mazda Mazda3
  • Redesigned for 2019
  • Sedan or hatchback
  • Newly available AWD
  • Standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Standard 8.8-inch dashboard display
  • Available manual transmission

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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Mazda has redesigned its Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback with a fourth-generation car that debuted at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Simplified styling and new technologies highlight the redesign, particularly a hybrid system due in late 2019.

By Kelsey Mays

The verdict: Redesigned for 2019, the Mazda3 doubles down on its roots as a car for drivers, not passengers.

Versus the competition: Drivability and quality shine in the fourth-generation Mazda3, but a cramped interior and fussy controls might push consumers to more practical — and often less expensive — alternatives.

Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Mazda3 comes standard with a punchier four-cylinder engine than is the compact-class norm. The prior generation’s base engine has been dropped for the U.S. market, but all-wheel drive is newly optional. Stick-shift enthusiasts can still get a manual in the hatchback’s highest trim level; other trims have an automatic. We tested the automatic on a hatchback and later a sedan, both well-equipped examples with AWD. Compare both cars, or read our initial thoughts after driving the Mazda3 at a media preview.

Styling and Visibility

Mazda hinted at the Mazda3 hatchback with the beady-eyed Kai concept in late 2017, but the production car is no less dramatic. A heavily raked windshield sweeps nearly over the front seats, while enormous rear pillars envelop the back half. It’s as much pillar as you get in hatchbacks like the Hyundai Veloster or erstwhile Honda CR-Z, and it hurts visibility just as much. If the prior Mazda3 hatch suffered poor sight lines, its successor is even worse. Glance over your shoulder, and an enormous column separates the tapered rear-door window from the tiny rear window.

Over-the-shoulder visibility is ...

The verdict: Redesigned for 2019, the Mazda3 doubles down on its roots as a car for drivers, not passengers.

Versus the competition: Drivability and quality shine in the fourth-generation Mazda3, but a cramped interior and fussy controls might push consumers to more practical — and often less expensive — alternatives.

Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Mazda3 comes standard with a punchier four-cylinder engine than is the compact-class norm. The prior generation’s base engine has been dropped for the U.S. market, but all-wheel drive is newly optional. Stick-shift enthusiasts can still get a manual in the hatchback’s highest trim level; other trims have an automatic. We tested the automatic on a hatchback and later a sedan, both well-equipped examples with AWD. Compare both cars, or read our initial thoughts after driving the Mazda3 at a media preview.

Styling and Visibility

Mazda hinted at the Mazda3 hatchback with the beady-eyed Kai concept in late 2017, but the production car is no less dramatic. A heavily raked windshield sweeps nearly over the front seats, while enormous rear pillars envelop the back half. It’s as much pillar as you get in hatchbacks like the Hyundai Veloster or erstwhile Honda CR-Z, and it hurts visibility just as much. If the prior Mazda3 hatch suffered poor sight lines, its successor is even worse. Glance over your shoulder, and an enormous column separates the tapered rear-door window from the tiny rear window.

Over-the-shoulder visibility is far better in the Mazda3 sedan. The rear window remains tiny, but the C-pillars, slimmer by design, no longer engulf adjacent traffic. Both cars position the cabin toward the rear of their respective profiles — a characteristic that makes the windshield seem especially close to the front seats, though it extends far enough over your head to keep traffic lights within your field of view.

How It Drives

Characteristic of the drivetrains in other Mazda products, the Mazda3 pairs a smooth-revving engine — in this case a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 186 horsepower and 186 pounds-feet of torque — with an efficiency-oriented automatic transmission that limits performance potential. The six-speed automatic downshifts swiftly when you need more power, but its tall gearing makes for a long climb up the tachometer. The four-cylinder has gratifying midrange power, but it takes forever to get there from a stop or to hit the sweet spot again after an upshift. A driver-selectable Sport mode improves accelerator response and keeps revs higher by staying out of the highest gears, but it seldom upshifts even if you stay at a steady speed, so there’s sure to be a mileage penalty.

If Mazda could shorten up the gearing by way of an eight- or nine-speed automatic while preserving kickdown response, the drivetrain could be dynamite. (Alas, it seldom works out that way.) It might also improve gas mileage, which is EPA-rated at 30 mpg for automatic front-drive models. As compact cars go, that’s unimpressive. AWD models are rated 27 to 28 mpg, depending on body style.

Ride quality is firm but sophisticated, with controlled shock absorption that belies the Mazda3’s move from its longstanding independent rear suspension to cheaper, torsion-beam hardware for 2019. Still, isolation is not its forte: At higher speeds, weathered roads highlight turbulence that rivals like the Chevrolet Cruze and Volkswagen Jetta do a better job of filtering out. (Both competitors also do that with torsion beams, mind you. The results, not the formula, are what matters.)

AWD might aid cold-weather traction, but don’t expect a boost when it comes to warm-weather handling. Push the Mazda3 hard through a sweeping curve and Mazda’s system shows little interest in sending power rearward to reorient the nose. Still, it’s not like the car begs for help; the chassis masks understeer quite well on its own, and its all-season tires (Toyo Proxes P215/45R18s on our test car) give plenty of warning before progressive sliding sets in. The brakes are strong and steering feedback is excellent, though the rival Honda Civic remains atop the class for steering quickness; the Mazda3’s wheel feels a little slower in terms of ratio.

The Inside

Quality trumps quantity in the new Mazda3, which boasts lavish materials but little space. Drivers of many sizes will find their knees pinched between the doors and center console, and adults in back will sit with their knees jammed into the front seats. Despite that, the Mazda3 has improbable storage space accessible to drivers — a failing of its predecessor — with generous provisions in the dash, doors and center console.

Interior styling mixes overlapping materials that arc around each other, with controls draped into the gaps; it’s a style that’s in vogue right now (see the new Lexus ES). Most controls feel meticulous enough, and certain sounds — the ticking turn signals, the chime when you end a Bluetooth call — have a unique, upscale vibe. Ditto for the materials; on that front, the Mazda3 could pass for an entry-level luxury car. Low-gloss panels cover the upper doors and dash, and generous stitched wrappings extend down to knee level — areas where mass-market competitors often revert to lower-budget plastics. The materials don’t cheap out when you get to the backseat, which is another common practice in the non-luxury class. Premium touches include fabric-wrapped A-pillars and one-touch express windows all around. Many pricier mid-size sedans don’t have it this good, and much of the Mazda3’s quality comes even in base trim levels.

Missteps come on the technology front, where the Mazda3’s standard tablet display (an 8.8-inch widescreen) no longer operates as a touchscreen. It’s high atop the dash and too far away to easily reach even if it was a touchscreen, but the result is a step backward for usability nonetheless. You have to use a multifunction controller ahead of the center armrest, which is anathema to the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems included on most trim levels. Consumer surveys show owners prefer touchscreens over console controllers, and both smartphone integrations are optimized for the former. Mazda is going the wrong way here.

Other head-scratchers: Android Auto consistently crapped out on one editor, and the display is too wide for its own good. The smartphone mirroring doesn’t use all the screen (Mazda says an update from Google should fix this sometime in 2019) and the backup camera occupies only about 60 percent of the space. The camera display also has static guidelines, not the dynamic lines widely available now. Multiple times while driving into the sun, editors observed messages that our test car’s driver-assistance systems were temporarily disabled.

Due to their separate calculation methods, you can’t compare manufacturer-stated cargo space between hatchbacks and sedans — one of several reasons such specs are unreliable — so don’t let the Mazda3’s specs fool you. Despite numbers that suggest otherwise, the sedan’s trunk is nearly a third deeper than the same space in the hatchback, by our measurement, with similar width and height up to the seatbacks. The hatchback adds versatility if you fold the seats down, of course, but if you aim to carry rear passengers and load up on cargo behind them, the sedan is the way to go.

Value

The 2019 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback received Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The cheapest variant, an automatic front-drive sedan, starts just under $22,000 with destination. That’s some $700-$1,500 more than automatic-equipped versions of the Civic, Jetta and 2020 Toyota Corolla, and value-priced versions of the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra will save you even more.

At its base price, the Mazda3 lacks Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and automatic emergency braking — three must-have features in any compact car. Higher trims have all three features, plus leatherette (vinyl) or leather seats, depending how much you spend. Other options include stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, a power driver’s seat, keyless access and a moonroof. Lane-centering steering, a feature increasingly available in the class, isn’t offered in U.S. models. Loaded with factory equipment and AWD, the Mazda3 sedan tops out around $29,500. That’s also pricey for the class, but most competitors are front-drive only.

Mazda’s latest compact might build a case as a value alternative to entry-luxury subcompacts like the Audi A3 or Mercedes-Benz A-Class, but mass-market value is not its forte, especially when you consider its mileage deficit — and the extra-long warranties (Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen) or free maintenance (Chevrolet, Toyota) offered elsewhere. Driving enthusiasts and quality aficionados will find something to like, but it’s hard to build a case for broader appeal.

Editor’s note: This story was updated July 5, 2019, to clarify that the manual transmission is only available with the hatchback.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.9
10 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(4.9)
Interior Design
(5.0)
Comfort
(5.0)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.9)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Love my car

by mazdafan from Oakland Park, Fl on August 23, 2019

I've only had my 2019 Mazda3 for almost a month now but I, love it even more every time i drive it. The 2019 is a big step up from the 2017 I turned in. From the very cool, sporty look to the strong, ... Read full review

(5.0)

This is my third Mazda3

by Theresa from Fairfax, VA on August 12, 2019

I have always loved the Mazda3, and 2019 is the best yet. The sportiness and handling...all the bells, whistles, and safety features. I absolutely recommend Mazda3...new or used. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2019 Mazda Mazda3 currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2019 Mazda Mazda3 Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
good

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Front Crash Prevention
superior

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
acceptable

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Overall Evaluation
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Driver Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Passenger Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Mazda

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Latest 2019 Mazda3 Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Mazda3 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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