Last year I was able to put some serious miles on the new-gen, 2019 Mazda3 sedan, which is basically the same car as this one here, minus the bubbly butt. As I noted in 2019, I was pretty floored by what Mazda had pulled off in terms of refinement and character, managing to build a fun-to-drive sedan that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. My only complaint: the suspension was too stiff.
The 186-horsepower engine under the hood of my recent test car was the same one I experienced in the sedan: a Skyactiv 2.5-liter four-cylinder with variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation. The same goes for the transmission: a six-speed automatic equipped with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
Judging from behind the wheel of the Mazda3 hatchback, nothing’s really changed. The cabin looks the same because it is the same, and that sense of Japanese minimalism still