Interested in a Mazda 3?
    • Elegant exterior
    • Upscale interior
    • Sporty handling
    • Ride could be smoother
    • Cabin could be quieter, roomier
    • Powertrain merely average
    5 Star

    Hatches have long dominated the small car segment, but if you prefer a sedan you’re surprisingly still spoilt for choice.

    Even as sedans recede in popularity as SUVs continue to take hold, you can still buy every member of the Mazda 3 family in sedan guise.

    Not only that, but you can get sedan versions of the Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato and Toyota Corolla, while the segment has even grown to include a new cut-price rival to these vehicles in the shape of the MG 5.

    Sedans seem to appeal to a more traditional kind of consumer, and we suspect the Mazda 3’s design will appeal to such a buyer.

    Where the hatch is polarising, the sedan is elegant, underscored by the use of chrome trim for contrast instead of black. Personally, I think this is one of the best-looking small sedans in recent history.

    WATCH: Paul’s video review of the 2020 Mazda 3 G25 Astina hatch

    The more traditional styling of the sedan also has practical benefits, too, offering greater visibility.

    Mazda recently pruned its small hatch and sedan range significantly, but you can still buy a Mazda 3 sedan in one of six trim levels with one of two engines.

    Here, we’ve put to the test a G20 Touring, which signifies the highest level of specification available with the smaller of the two engines.

    How does the Mazda 3 compare?
    View a detailed breakdown of the Mazda 3 against similarly sized vehicles.

    How much does the Mazda 3 cost?

    The 2024 Mazda G20 Touring Sedan on test is priced from $34,670 plus on-road costs. The choice between hatch and sedan bodies across the range is a no-cost option.

    2024 Mazda 3 pricing:

    • 2024 Mazda 3 G20 Pure: $30,470
    • 2024 Mazda 3 G20 Evolve: $32,020
    • 2024 Mazda 3 G20 Touring: $34,670
    • 2024 Mazda 3 G25 Evolve SP: $34,670
    • 2024 Mazda 3 G25 GT: $38,570
    • 2024 Mazda 3 G25 Astina: $42,470

    Prices are before on-road costs

    The optional Vision Technology package ($2000) fitted to this tester adds:

    • Surround-view camera
    • Cruising & Traffic Support
    • Driver monitoring
    • Front cross-traffic alert
    • Front parking sensors
    • 10.25-inch Mazda Connect infotainment screen

    To see how the Mazda 3 compares with its rivals, line it up against its rivals using our comparison tool.

    What is the Mazda 3 like on the inside?

    Against the Mazda 3, rivals like the Kia Cerato and Hyundai i30 Sedan feel almost low-rent. Heck, even some premium-brand rivals could learn a thing or two.

    This is a genuinely classy interior, with excellent material quality. The entire dash top is soft-touch, while there’s cushy leather-look trim on the sides of the centre console where your knee might touch it.

    There’s hard plastic trim where you would usually expect to see it, such as the lower reaches of the dash and doors. But surprisingly even the rear door tops are finished in soft-touch plastic, something we’ve seen a couple of luxury-brand models skimp on.

    The only material choice we’d question is the use of gloss-black trim on the centre console, which quickly showed smudges.

    Once you’re done poking and prodding every surface – that’s a perfectly normal thing we all do, right? – you’ll find the technology in the Mazda 3 to be of a high standard.

    The infotainment system has attractive graphics and a logical user interface easily navigable using the tactile rotary dial. With the Vision Technology package added, the G20 Touring upgrades to a larger 10.25-inch (instead of 8.8-inch) screen.

    The screen is situated quite far away from the driver. That wasn’t a problem when it lacked touch functionality but now you can – hallelujah – use it as a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    That was always a sore spot with the 3 as, while all other functions are easily controllable using the rotary dial on the centre console, smartphone mirroring is awfully cumbersome to use without being able to touch a screen. But should you want to touch the screen, it’s a long reach.

    Camera quality is class-leading, with crisp, high-resolution footage. The G20 Touring also features two USB-C outlets.

    The instrument cluster combines a digital screen with analogue gauges. It’s not as flashy as some rivals’ full-digital setups, but it’s legible and has a classy, traditional look.

    The Mazda 3’s switchgear is generally quite good. The climate controls are tactile, with proper buttons and knobs that feel good to use. The drive mode selector is delightful, too.

    There are a couple of button blanks, but they don’t stick out like a sore thumb. I’m not a fan of the steering wheel switchgear, which feels a bit plasticky and awkward to use.

    At least the wheel itself is nice, being leather-wrapped and well-sized. The stalks behind it are nicely damped, and Mazda has cleverly incorporated a light in the wiper stalk to indicate if the wipers are in auto mode – such a simple detail most brands don’t bother with.

    The roomy Kia Cerato sedan makes you wonder “why would anybody bother with a mid-sized sedan?”. The Mazda 3 sedan makes you think, “Oh, that’s why.”

    That’s not to say it’s cramped, or even the worst in the segment. I felt I had more headroom in the backseat of the Mazda than in a Corolla, and the front seatbacks are helpfully scooped out, but nevertheless this is still less spacious than a Cerato.

    It’s certainly nicer back here than in the Mazda 3 hatch, however. The hatch’s thick C-pillar gives the back seat a dark, gloomy feel, in contrast to the airier sedan. Nevertheless, you can see why the CX-30 has overtaken the 3 in sales, building on the strengths of the latter while adding a more practical cabin that’s easier to get in and out of.

    There are three top-tether and two ISOFIX anchor points for child seats, and as with all Mazda 3s bar the base G20 Pure there are rear air vents and a fold-down centre armrest.

    Boot space is 444L, which is less than a Cerato (502L), i30 Sedan (474L) or Corolla (470L). The opening is also quite small.

    What’s under the bonnet?

    The Mazda 3 G20 Touring features a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 114kW of power at 6000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4000rpm. Following a recent pruning of the Mazda 3 range, the only transmission available is a six-speed automatic.

    You can still step up to a G25 model, though, which upgrades to a 2.5-litre four with 139kW and 252Nm.

    Claimed combined cycle fuel economy in the G20 Touring is 5.8L/100km. Overall, we averaged 6.6L/100km with a mix of inner-city, suburban and highway driving.

    The Mazda 3 runs on 91 RON regular unleaded fuel and has a 51L fuel tank.

    How does the Mazda 3 drive?

    Here’s where the Mazda 3’s little limousine act stumbles.

    We’re not surprised the Mazda 3 errs more on the side of sportiness than luxurious isolation – this is the Zoom-Zoom brand, after all. What we are surprised by, however, is how much tyre roar gets into the cabin.

    The Mazda 3 simply gets too noisy, and it’s disappointing for a vehicle with premium overtones.

    The engine also makes a racket when you first start it up, with an almost diesel-like idle. When you’re on the move it sounds much better, but we’d stop short of calling it sonorous.

    The performance from this engine is adequate. It felt slow at first, though I got used to it. Still, I found myself flicking the neat drive mode switch into Sport mode if I wanted to make a gap in traffic.

    It’s also mated to a transmission that is generally competent, but in which we occasionally observed less than smooth shifts.

    The ride quality is average, too. It’s firm overall, and can feel a bit fidgety on coarser-chip roads with the torsion-beam rear suspension not absorbing impacts as well as some rivals’ multi-link setups.

    The Mazda 3 is enjoyable to drive, though we’d steer you towards the more powerful 2.5-litre for more excitement.

    The steering is a bit heavy, and doesn’t lighten up much at low speeds. That means it mightn’t be the easiest vehicle to steer around a tight car park, but it gives the car a nice, sporty feel.

    Turn-in is sharp, and the Mazda 3 stays flat in corners with excellent body control.

    The adaptive cruise control works well in conjunction with the lane centring function, which can be easily turned on and off. Just be warned the latter will ding every time it can’t detect lane markings, so on country roads it proved annoying. It’s also not quite as assertive as Hyundai’s Lane Following Assist, and struggled a bit with curved roads.

    The regular lane-keep assist function works well, flashing up a warning light in the instrument cluster if you cross a lane marking and applying slight corrections ot the steering.

    The Mazda 3 also features driver attention monitoring, but it’s well-calibrated and only chided me when I actually looked away from the road (and I promise I didn’t do that often!).

    What do you get?

    G20 Pure highlights:

    • 16-inch alloy wheels
    • Automatic LED headlights
    • Automatic high-beam
    • Power-folding exterior mirrors
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • 7.0-inch instrument cluster screen
    • 8.8-inch infotainment screen
    • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
    • Satellite navigation
    • DAB+ digital radio
    • 8-speaker sound system
    • Keyless start
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter
    • Cloth upholstery

    G20 Evolve adds:

    • 18-inch alloy wheels
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
    • Paddle shifters
    • Centre fold-down armrest

    G20 Touring adds:

    • Keyless entry with walk-away locking function
    • Auto-dimming exterior mirrors with heating, reverse tilt-down function
    • Black leather upholstery
    • 10-way power driver’s seat
    • Wireless phone charger
    • Wireless, wired Apple CarPlay
    • Wireless, wired Android Auto

    The G25 Evolve SP goes without the leather upholstery, but is otherwise almost identical in equipment.

    Vision Technology Package adds:

    • Surround-view camera
    • 10.25-inch infotainment screen
    • Cruising & Traffic Support
    • Driver attention monitoring
    • Front parking sensors
    • Front cross-traffic alert

    Is the Mazda 3 safe?

    The Mazda 3 has a five-star safety rating from ANCAP, based on testing conducted in 2019.

    Standard safety equipment on all Mazda 3 models includes:

    • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
    • Front, front-side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags
    • Autonomous emergency braking (forward and reverse)
    • Blind-spot monitoring
    • Driver attention alert
    • Lane-keep assist
    • Rear cross-traffic assist
    • Reversing camera
    • Rear parking sensors
    • Traffic sign recognition

    As mentioned, the optional Vision Technology package adds Cruising & Traffic Support, which is a Level 2 autonomous driving feature that combines adaptive cruise control and lane-centring.

    It also adds driver attention monitoring, a surround-view camera, front parking sensors and front cross-traffic alert.

    How much does the Mazda 3 cost to run?

    The Mazda 3 is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

    Mazda also offers seven years or 105,000km of capped-price servicing. Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000km, with the first seven services capped at $334, $530, $414, $530, $334, $609 and $334, respectively.

    That’s a total cost of $3085 over seven years, while a Cerato 2.0L will set you back $2970 and an i30 Sedan 2.0L $2344.

    CarExpert’s Take on the Mazda 3

    With elegant exterior styling and a luxuriously appointed cabin, the Mazda 3 majors on showroom appeal.

    The long list of safety equipment, particularly with the optional Vision Technology Package, also impresses.

    But on the road, the Mazda 3 disappoints with its boomy cabin, so-so performance, and a ride that could use more finessing. Stepping up to the 2.5-litre engine mitigates one of those issues, though it’s thirstier.

    You won’t find a nicer interior in this segment, but you can find more space (Cerato), greater economy (Corolla hybrid) and more performance (i30 Sedan N Line). It’s up to you to determine where your priorities lie.

    If you love the Mazda 3, we’d steer you to the G25 Evolve SP. For the same price, you lose leather trim but you get a more powerful engine.

    Click the images for the full gallery

    BUY: Mazda 3
    MORE: Everything Mazda 3

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

    Overall Rating

    Cost of Ownership7.5
    Ride Comfort7.3
    Fit for Purpose7.8
    Handling Dynamics8.2
    Interior Practicality and Space7.2
    Fuel Efficiency8
    Value for Money7.7
    Technology Infotainment8
    $36,670 MSRP
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