When I was a kid, we would have called this Mazda 3 a small station wagon instead of a 5-door. Whatever you call it, it works, with style and plenty of function.
The Grand Touring is the top trim level for the 3. A sedan is also available.
The $1,600 Premium package includes a windshield camera that reads traffic sign information and sends it to a heads-up display that deploys from the top of the dashboard.
There’s plenty of other tech in the stylish, comfortable interior. The Grand Touring gets leather seats and sound by Bose. A rotary knob controls many functions on the display. It all works pretty well, but navigation voice commands are often misunderstood.
A six-speed automatic drives the front wheels. A six-speed manual is available.
There’s plenty of room for five passengers, and row two is well designed.
Surprisingly, even the Grand Touring model does not have a power hatch. What it does have is plenty of cargo space, especially when you fold row two seats.
The 2.5-liter four has only 184 horsepower, but acceleration is still mid-pack in the class. Base Mazda 3s get a 2-liter four.
Where the Mazda 3 really shines is in the handling department. Nimble with great steering feel and confidence inspiring brakes, it’s fun to drive.
So, for the 2018 Mazda 3 5-door Grand Touring, I say thumbs up to great value, excellent handling and good gas mileage; thumbs down to poor navigation voice commands.
I averaged about 29 miles per gallon. The as-reviewed sticker price is $28,020.