Live Thread: One week with a 2024 Mazda3 2.5T Premium Plus Sedan

Colin
By Colin Wood
May 7, 2024 | Mazda, Mazda3, New Car Review, Live Thread

Photography by David S. Wallens

Wanna ride shotgun with GRM?

Welcome to this week’s test vehicle, a 2024 Mazda3 2.5T Premium Plus Sedan.

The Premium Plus is the–you guessed it–most premium option in the Mazda3 lineup, powered by a turbocharged, 2.5-liter inline-four. (Mazda offers lower trims that come with a naturally aspirated inline-four as standard.)

Mazda says the turbo-four is good for 250 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque, but only if you pick 93 at the pump. Fill the Mazda3 with 87, and you'll only be getting 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque.

While a six-speed manual is available, Mazda only fits it to the hatchback model, and only to the 2.5 S Premium trim–which is only available with a non-turbo engine. Everything else, like our sedan tester, comes fitted with a six-speed automatic.

All turbo models also come with all-wheel-drive as standard, with front-wheel-drive reserved for the lower, non-turbo trims.

MSRP for the Mazda3 2.5T Premium Plus Sedan starts at $35,450, with our test car sticking in at $37,065.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to post them below.

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Comments
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/7/24 12:43 p.m.

On paper, there’s so much here to like here:

It’s the right size.

It has all-wheel drive.

Turbo power!

Analog gauges plus a traditional shifter.

Smart styling inside and out.

A usable trunk.

Knobs for HVAC and audio volume.

Fairly luxurious touch points.

A long, deep motorsports heritage.

Comfortable, supportive seats.

Communicative steering.

It’s not an SUV (#sorrynotsorry)

It’s like a modern, grown-up version of the Mazda3 and 323 GTX, two legends in our world.

But riddle me this: Why is this Mazda3 turbo just so bloody boring? There’s no snap, no urgency. It’s barely even fun to drive.

For $37,065, there are just too many other options these days. It’s a fine people-mover, but it’s lacks the spark of, say, a GTI, Elantra N or Civic Si. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
5/7/24 12:46 p.m.

I had this car for a day or two after it arrived, and I remember very little about those two days aside from driving around with my wife in her Ioniq 5, which is actually fun and interesting.

And it's a bummer, because this 3 has so many ingredients—on paper at least—which should add up to  a cool car. But instead they turn it into middle school pizza. It has all the stuff that should combine for a cool, fun ride like a turbo, AWD, a nice wheelbase/length ratio for performance work, and make something that resembles pizza, but tastes more like cardboard.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/7/24 12:52 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I had to check the thread title again, $37K for a Mazda 3?  WTF??

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/7/24 12:52 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

And it's a bummer, because this 3 has so many ingredients—on paper at least—which should add up to  a cool car.

I recall driving a 2.5-liter turbo model a few years ago and felt the same way. It should be way fun to drive, but, somehow, it's not–not bad to drive, because it was pretty comfortable, but just not fun like you think it would be.

 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/7/24 12:54 p.m.

In reply to 06HHR (Forum Supporter) :

It makes any difference, the sedan actually starts at $24,170 for the most base model. The cheapest you can the turbo engine is $31,750.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
5/7/24 12:57 p.m.

I loved my 2008 Mazda3. It was fully loaded and had a stick. Because of the latter, I got nearly $10K off the sticker price.

To me, the new Mazda3 seems bigger on the outside but smaller on the inside. I'm not sure how they achieved that. It's got a more grown-up look, but with it did it lose some of the fun factor?

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/7/24 12:59 p.m.
J.A. Ackley said:

It's got a more grown-up look, but with it did it lose some of the fun factor?

I look in the mirror and ask myself that question every day.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/7/24 1:02 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

In my mind I keep associating Mazda 3 with an econobox but i'm coming to the realization that Mazda ain't that kind of car company anymore.  We live in a world with $40K Civics and Corollas, why shouldn't this thing cost $37k?  indecision

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/7/24 1:03 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Colin, you’re still fun. :) 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/7/24 1:05 p.m.

And I’ll have the Mazda3 in Orlando later this evening so look for me among the chaos that is I-4.

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