2017 Mazda 3 Grand Touring

The top-selling car from Mazda, the 3, has been updated for 2017. The result is an even better handling small machine.

It was the best looking small sedan before. Now, it’s even more so with a new nose design for 2017.

There are five trim levels for the Mazda 3, our review car being the top of the line Grand Touring.

The biggest update this year is something Mazda calls “g-vectoring control.” The new computer software matches engine output to cornering forces and makes what was already the best handling small sedan even better.

There are interior updates for this year, starting with electronics. An optional heads-up color display and camera can now read road signs and relay that info to the driver.

Available are blind-spot detection, auto braking, and lane departure warning. Mazda’s base six-speed manual is still one of the best transmissions of any car, and upper trims now get an electric parking brake.

Seats are redesigned for 2017, but if there’s somebody tall in the front, the Mazda 3 doesn’t have much leg room in the back.

You won’t find any shortage of space in the huge trunk.

The Grand Touring model has an 184 horsepower four- cylinder driving the front wheels. Base 3s get a 2-liter four.

The Mazda 3 is more fun to drive than some cars costing much more, with great steering feel and balance.

So, for the 2017 Mazda 3 4-door Grand Touring, I say thumbs up to fun to drive, great styling, and great gas mileage; thumbs down to the tight rear seat.

I averaged about 35 miles-per-gallon. The pre-production Mazda had no sticker, but expect to pay about $27,000.

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