2015 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring new car reviews

It's not an ugly car. At the same time, it doesn't grab you.

The Mazda 3 has served as the brand's entry-level sedan for almost 13 years. The latest edition combines the same practical four-door layout with a 184-horsepower powerplant that can achieve 40 mpg on the highway. On paper it looks like another good general-utility car.

We tested the most tricked-out of the five available Mazda 3 models. The Mazda 3 s Grand Touring includes features not found in the base models, including the larger 2.5-liter engine, leather sport seats and radar-assisted cruise control.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I really went into this one with high hopes, as the latest Mazda6 totally impressed me. Plus the new 3 just looks cool. Was the spirit of the original Protege back?

First, check out those EPA numbers. 28/39 mpg with boring, old-fashion gasoline in a roomy car is amazing--no expensive diesel, no expensive batteries, no cramped cockpit, no tinny ride. So, for a normal person, yes, the 3 makes a ton of sense. It's comfortable, roomy, easy to park and won't eat all of your lunch money. As a driving appliance it excels.

But there's that word: appliance. Perhaps it was our test car's automatic transmission, but this one was a bit of a snoozer. Yes, it's totally capable of hauling around the average commuter, but it's not going to get your blood pumping. Here's hoping that the next Mazda3 sent our way has the manual box.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin

We've gotten used to Mazdas being zingy and fun. Even their SUVs seem to carry a bit of Miata DNA, as the CX-5 and CX-7 are both more engaging to drive than you'd expect them to be.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with the Mazda 3 automatic we had.

This is a refined, capable, inexpensive, nicely finished small sedan that really doesn't do anything wrong. The bummer is, it appears that Mazda---in the search for refinement--- has baked all of the fun out of this one.

It isn't a bad car, but with an engine that is barely audible-- even at full throttle, it's hardly exciting. It doesn't like to corner with gusto either, wallowing on it's sidewalls and groaning all the way. This car wants to be your appliance, and it would probably serve that role well.

There are plenty of cars that will take you from point A to point B and deliver driving enjoyment along the way. Unfortunately, this Mazda 3 Grand Touring isn't one of them.

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View comments on the GRM forums
clutchsmoke Dork
3/19/15 1:11 p.m.

I really have to wonder if the automatic killed it. I enjoyed driving my father's 2014 Mazda 3 w/ 155hp 6 speed manual. I guess coming from a fit skews my perspective a bit.

trigun7469 Dork
3/19/15 1:33 p.m.

My wife is leasing the newest Mazda 3, the auto feature makes it less desirable. It handles well and has a good amount of room, never got 40 MPG, I think the top has been 37MPG. It sucks in the snow.

kanaric Dork
3/19/15 1:35 p.m.

I see 2.5l swaps into next gen Miatas being a thing here in 10 years lol

killeen_john New Reader
3/19/15 2:23 p.m.

We've had a great experience with our 2007 Mazda3 hatchback and have been thinking about getting a 2015 Mazda3 s Touring 5-Door (2.5) with the 6 speed manual. The $24,000+ admission price seems steep and I feel you get a lot more bang for the buck from the Ford Focus ST.

sanman HalfDork
3/19/15 3:14 p.m.

I'm wondering if the automatic, heft of a 2.5 up front, or the tires that killed it (what size was on the tester?...they look tiny. I wonder how a 2.0 liter with a manual and larger tires would do.

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