2020 Mazda 3

2020 MODEL
$21,500 - $27,900
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2020 Mazda 3 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020
Aaron Smith's image

Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist

What if you want a little more out of your humdrum sedan with a similar sense of frugality and value, you get in the popular choice's (Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla). It is where the 2020 Mazda 3 comes in, one of the most admirable compact cars in its category. The 2020 Mazda 3 earns premium styling inside out combined with ingenious SKYACTIV-X technology.

Available in base, Select, Preferred, and Premium trim levels, it is powered a 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder with VVT generating 186 hp. Both the sedan and hatchback adhere to Mazda's devotion to driving engagement. 

2020 Mazda 3 sedan and 2020 Mazda 3 hatchback
2020 Mazda 3 sedan and 2020 Mazda 3 hatchback

You get a six-speed automatic transmission and Front-Wheel Drive as standard while All-Wheel Drive is optional with Select and more expensive models. The enthusiast-friendly  6-speed manual transmission is only available in the Mazda 3 hatchback variant. Also, It is not amongst the fuel-efficient car to go with; still, 30 mpg combined is decent enough for a daily commute.

One of the prime reasons for its attraction is the interior which seems to be inspired straight of European sedans with well-executed lines and use of quality material. Some of the standard safety techs include frontal collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a drowsy driver monitor.

Also, Read: 2021 Mazda 3 Preview: Release Date, Pricing and Changes

See detailed review »

Pros

Good-looking overall design

Premium interior

I-Activ Sense Driver Assist is standard

Sharp handling

Cons

Low on cargo capacity

Mediocre legroom in the rear seat

Manual transmission not offered

Outward visibility

What's New?

Optional driver assist features are now standard.


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$21500

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

126 mph

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

151 cu.in.

horsepower

186 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

186 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension

suspension rear

Semi-independent rear torsion beam suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

44146

dimensions

wheelbase

107.3 in.

length

183.5 in.

width

70.7 in.

height

56.9 in.

curb weight

3071 lbs.

ground clearance

5.5 in.

capacity

passenger volume

92.8 cu ft.

cargo volume

13.2 cu ft.

towing capacity

1500 lbs.

payload capacity

1008 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

9.8 sec.

zero to 100 mph

10.4 sec.

standing ¼-mile

17 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

24/32/27 mpg

highway range

406.4 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr. /unlimited

roadside assistance

3 yr. / 36000 mi.


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2020 Mazda 3 Interior video
2020 Mazda 3 Review video
2020 Mazda 3 Exterior video

Styles

2020 Mazda 3 in Deep Crystal Blue color 2020 Mazda 3 in Jet Black Mica color 2020 Mazda 3 in Machine Gray Metallic color 2020 Mazda 3 in Snowflake White Pearl Mica color
Deep Crystal Blue

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine And Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

9.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

8.2

Final Verdict

7.0

7.5

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2020 Mazda 3 Base

Base

power
186 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$21,500


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $21,500 MSRP (24/27/32) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

2020 Mazda 3 Select Package

Select Package

power
186 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$22,700 - $24,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Select 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $22,700 MSRP (24/27/32) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Select 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $24,100 MSRP (24/27/32) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

2020 Mazda 3 Preferred Package

Preferred Package

power
186 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$24,200 - $25,600


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Preferred 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $24,200 MSRP (24/27/32) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Preferred 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $25,600 MSRP (24/27/32) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

2020 Mazda 3 Premium Package

Premium Package

power
186 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$26,500 - $27,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Premium 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $26,500 MSRP (24/27/32) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $27,900 MSRP (24/27/32) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.5

Overall Rating


The 2020 Mazda 3 Sedan can be considered to be the best deal for a compact car coupled with performance and styling. When compared to its rivals, it outperforms all of them and thus, at this price, Mazda 3 Sedan is a terrific package. From performance to looks, to comfort, this car hits all the right notes in an attempt to offer its buyer an all-around utility without compromising on the style factor.

The ride inherits all the comfort traits of a family sedan while setting some cutting-edge tech and appearance benchmarks. Under the hood of 2020, Mazda 3 Sedan is a 2-liter 4 cylinder naturally aspirated gas-based engine which is complemented by its 6-speed manually shiftable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Front View
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear View

7.0/10
Features

 

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

 

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

8.0/10
Interior

 

9.0/10
Exterior

 

7.0/10
Safety

 

8.2/10
Competition

 

7.0/10
Final Verdict

 

2020 Mazda 3 Features

7.0/10

The Mazda 3 is available in four trims with a standalone 2.5-liter inline-four engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard while the Premium hatchback is the sole configuration that gives a manual transmission. Moreover, a lot of active safety assist features have also been added as standard to make your M-wheels safer.

All other trims, except for the passage level, offer AWD for an additional $1400.  The range-topping Premium starts at $26,500  and features LED exterior headlights, fog lights and taillights, a sunroof, a digital speedometer, and an upgraded display in the instrument panel.

Model Base Select Preferred Premium
MSRP (FWD) $21,500 $22,700 $24,200 $26,500
MSRP (AWD) - $24,100 $25,600 $27,900
Key Features Daytime Running Lights Adds/Upgrades to Base trim- Adds/Upgrades to Select trim- Adds/Upgrades to Preferred trim-
  16-inch Alloys Apple CarPlay 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat WIndshield-project full Active Driving Display
  Body-Colored, Dual Folding Power side Mirrors 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels Side mirror memory adjustment Distance Pacing Cruise Control
  i-Activesense Driver Assist Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry SiriusXM Satellite radio Power sliding-glass moonroof 
  Adaptive Cruise Control  Body-colored folding, heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals Black metallic finish front grille Adaptive Front-lighting system
  Blind-spot Monitoring A dual-zone automatic climate control system Bose 12 speaker surround sound system  Paddle shifters
  Rain-sensing windshield wipers Android Auto Illuminated visor vanity mirrors Leather-trimmed sport seats
  An 8.8-inch large center display Leather-Finish Interior Variable heated front seats  

Which trim do we recommend?

The Mazda trims do not carry any engine or performance differences, considering this we’d recommend you go for the Select variant. The Select variant feels a lot more premium from the inside, courtesy to its leather-finished interiors. This trim also offers 18-inch alloys, as compared to the Base trim’s 16-inch, thus enhancing the ride quality. 

2020 Mazda 3 Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The solitary engine remains unchanged with a 2.5L I4, which is capable enough to generate an imposing 186 hp along with 186 lb.-ft. Of torque. These figures are the greatest in the segment, with Civic completing the closest run at 174 hp.

Every variant of the Mazda 3 sedan comes six-speed automatic and Front Wheel Drive (FWD) standard. The 6 -speed manual transmission is only offered on the Premium hatchback. Front-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive can be had with the automatic.

2020 Mazda 3 with SKYACTIV-G powertrain

If you chose to change gears manually, you can feel the smoothness of the low-effort shifter, the precisely placed pedals for toe-heel shifting, and continuous clutch take-up. The sport setting is brilliantly tuned for maximum attack. 

Models

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

MSRP

$22,420

$24,377

$21,990

$21,050

Engine

2.5L I-4

1.5L Intercooled Turbo I-4

2.0L I-4

2.0L Intercooled Turbo I-4

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower (hp)

186 @ 6000 rpm

174 @ 6000 rpm

147 @ 5500 rpm

128 @ 5500 rpm

Torque (lb/ft)

186 @ 4000 rpm

162 @ 1700 rpm

184 @ 2100 rpm

156 @ 1400 rpm

The Mazda 3 sedan is simply not able to match the low-end torque of rivals like the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra because of the naturally aspirated powertrain. The Mazda 3's performance isn't a dealbreaker, the 2.5-liter will be ideal for most demands.

Also, Read - Is there a turbocharged engine in 2021 Mazda 3

How fast is it?

Even though the sedan lags behind in the low-end torque, the engine, and transmission work together perfectly without any misfiring or unnecessary throttle to display an impressive acceleration.  It takes 8.1 seconds from a standstill to click 60 mph and does a quarter-mile run in 16 seconds. 

The acceleration of the 2020 Mazda 3 will leave you wanting for more.

Comparing the Mazda 3 to its closest competitors, it seems to be the slowest accelerating car in this segment. Golf leads the race doing 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds followed by Kia Forte5 and then Honda Civic.

Models

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

0-60 MPH

8.1 secs

7.5 secs

6.9 secs

8.3 secs

Quarter Mile

16.0 secs

15.5 secs

15.2 secs

16.4 secs

Engine

2.5L I4

1.5L I4

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

The only ride which requires more than 8.1 seconds, is the Hyundai Elantra but considering the horsepower gap between the Mazda and the Hyundai offerings, the Mazda 3 still remains a turn-off. 

How well does it stop?

Brakes on the Mazda have a decent bite with a curb weight of 3255 lbs. Eyeing this fact, the braking performance of the Mazda 3 earns our respect. It offers a biting stopping experience, it's easy to modulate and you can freely push the chassis harder without any worry.

The brake rotors of the 2020 Mazda 3 are one of the largest in the segment.

The braking arrangement is smooth and does well in panic braking scenarios. The ride requires 122 ft. In order to depreciate from 60-0 MPH, which indeed is a decent figure. 

Model

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

Brake Front (in.)

11.6

11.1

11.0

11.0

Brake Rear (in.)

10.4

10.2

10.3

8.0

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3255

2976

2903

2857

60-0 MPH (ft.)

122 

115

115

125

How well does it handle?

In terms of handing, the sedan offers exceptional driving dynamics. The steering on the Mazda is very engaging although the feedback from the road is not as good as one would expect. Though Mazda 3 is not the quickest it handles like no other car in this segment. It is nimble around the corners and remains composed in the straight line at highway speeds. The grip on the tires is good and the suspension setup will give you more confidence while driving.

The notably light controls and road movements of the Mazda make it responsive and playful. The ride quality is decent and the grip levels are firm. It can be a little uneven on rough pavements but that doesn't affect the overall goodness of the car. The steering quality is quite impressive with its on-center precision, the actual road feels, and quick responsiveness during cornering.

The handling of the 2020 Mazda 3 is one of its USP.

Examining the suspension, the ride scores an “A” grade. The suspensions of the Mazda 3 puts the setup of all other competitors to shame, swallowing almost every shock out there and inspiring confidence. The steering arrangement of the 2020 Mazda 3 is the point where the praise stutters a bit. The steering for the Mazda 3 feels soft and slow at feedbacks, thus making you feel less connected to the road. 

2020 Mazda 3 Fuel Economy

7.0/10

Fuel efficiency always plays a vital role when choosing a compact class car and the Sport does just fine in ensuring its prospective buyers with an admirable on-road EPA estimate. For maximum efficiency, you can go for the i-ELOOP package for the 2.5-liter engine which adds a double-layer capacitor, grille shutters, and a variable-voltage alternator.

The Mazda 3 can't be thought of as a fuel-efficient compact car, but its real-world mpg surpasses expectations. Front-wheel-drive cars with the handy automatic transmission are the most economical of the bunch at 27 mpg city, 36 highway, 30 combined, though models with bigger wheels and the less-aerodynamic hatchbacks rate 26/35/30 mpg.

Model

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

MPG (City)

27

32

30

24

MPG (Highway)

36

36

40

33

MPG (Combined)

30

42

35

38

All four cars have an acceptable fuel economy with considerable differences.  The Honda Civic seems to be a shining star among all the rivals while the Kia Forte takes the second spot with 35 mpg combined.

2020 Mazda 3 Interior

8.0/10

The Mazda 3 features one of the best interior design and comfort. It is the simplicity of the interior that makes it so good. It can accommodate 5 people easily with rear seats having some height restriction. It’s also easy to get in and out with wide door openings and high head clearance. 

The cabin is extremely silent and filters most of the road and wind noise, talking about the engine noise, well that’s something you’ll be the least familiar with if you drive a Mazda 3. 

2020 Mazda 3 boasts of one of the quietest cabins. 

The driver’s seat offers a 6-way adjustment feature to settle in and the ergonomics of pedals are just in the right position which makes driving enjoyable. The cockpit offers good visibility except for the area around bulky C-pillars.

The rear seats are little cramped and it may get tight for taller people whereas the fronts seats have ample amount of legroom and thigh support.

Model

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front(Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.0/55.7/42.3

37.6/57.0/42.3

38.8/56.1/42.2

40.3/56.2/42.2

Rear(Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

37.2/53.4/35.1

37.4/55.0/36.0

37.5/55.3/35.7

37.3/55.3/35.7

The ride also offers a great deal of space to all its passengers. It can easily accommodate 5 people and the seats offer unmatchable comfort. The swooping roof-line, however, takes its toll on the rear headspace but overall, the ride feels comfortable even for long hours. 

Interior Features

  • Tilt-telescopic electric power steering with audio and cruise controls
  • 4 way manually adjustable passenger seats
  • Split-folding rear seatback
  • External temperature display
  • 1-touch power windows
  • Trip computer
  • Rearview camera
  • Interior air filtration and rear ventilation ducts

Also, Read: Why Mazda 3 has got the best interior in its class?

What's there to keep you entertained?

All the trims of the Mazda 3 come with a 7-inch touch infotainment display using Mazda connect. The graphics are crisp and the interface is easy to use. It also features a heads-up display showing relevant information. 

The infotainment screen of the 2020 Mazda 3 is crisp and responsive. 

The range-topping GT variant gets an updated display in the instrument panel and a digital speedometer.

The features of the infotainment system are listed below : 

  • 6 total speakers
  • USB connection
  • Auxiliary audio input
  • AM/FM radio
  • Bluetooth audio and phone
  • Voice command

How much cargo can it carry?

In its boot, the 3 gets a decent amount of cargo space in the compact car segment with 20.2 ft.cube of total volume. There is no available storage space in underfloor as spare tire sits there. 

2020 Mazda 3 offers the greatest in class cargo volume  

The maximum cargo volume that can be achieved is 47.1 ft.cube with the rear seats folded. It offers the greatest in class cargo volume with rear seats down. 

Model

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

Cargo Volume With Rear Seats Up

20.2

25.7

23.2

14.4

Cargo Volume With Rear Seats Down

47.1

46.2

N/A

N/A

The Kia Forte tops the list with the maximum cargo storage capacity. Quite evidently as mentioned earlier, Mazda 6 takes the third spot while the Hyundai Elantra takes the last spot.

2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Steering Wheel
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Dashboard
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Gear stick
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Power Window
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Infotainment System
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Seats
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Front Seats

2020 Mazda 3 Exterior

9.0/10

The entire lineup of the Mazda 3 is handsome with the added sharpness to its athletic lines with beautifully balanced aesthetics for a greater presence on streets than other cars. The dimensions are not too small or not too big, keeping it a middle segment compact car.

The exterior shell of the 2020 Mazda 3 is minimal and elegant. 

The Mazda 3 leads the league in terms of ground clearance, which lends this ride an ideal sedan profile, which is not going to tremble before crossing those potholes or a not-so-tidy street.

Model

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3255

2976

2903

2857

Length (in.)

175.6

177.9

182.7

181.9

Width (in.)

70.7

70.7

70.9

70.9

Height (in.)

56.7

56.5

56.5

56.5

Ground Clearance (in.)

5.5

5.1

5.3

5.3

Wheelbase (in.)

107.3

106.3

106.3

106.3

Track Width (in.) F/R

61.2/61.4

60.9/61.5

61.5/62.0

61.5/61.9

Some of the prominent exterior features of the 2020 Mazda 3 Sedan are:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Self-leveling LED headlamps
  • Keyless entry
  • Power sunroof
  • Black metallic finish front grille
  • Roof-mounted shark-fin antenna
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Front Grill
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Headlight
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear Light
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan 3rd Quarter View
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Side View
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan rear View

2020 Mazda 3 Safety

7.0/10

The 2020 Mazda 3 offers a loaded suite of active safety features, which earlier were optional but now have been made a standard across all the trims. The 2020 Mazda 3 received a five-star crash-test evaluation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and it was labeled a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

These results show that the Mazda 3 holds up pretty well against accidents. Some of these features are: 

  • i-Activesense Driver Assist Feature now Offered as a Standard Across All Models
  • Blind-Spot Monitoring 
  • Lane-Departure Warning 
  • Lane-Keep Assist 
  • Adaptive Cruise Control 
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Low tire pressure warning
  • MazdaConnect Emergency SOS
  • Forward collision warning system
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • LATCH

2020 Mazda 3 Competition

8.2/10

Mazda 3 vs Honda Civic Ex-L

The Honda Civic might be the greatest but definitely the priciest option of the segment, with a sticker price of $24,337. The ride houses a 1.5L I4, which can fabricate 174 hp along with 162 lb.ft. of torque. 

2020 Honda Civic Ex-L

The ride can accomplish the 0-60 sprint in 7.5 seconds and requires 15.5 seconds to cover the quarter-of-a-mile distance, which are the second fastest figures of the lot. However, the Civic emerges as the indisputable king of the fuel economy arena, with a combined MPG figure of 42. 

Mazda 3 vs Kia forte EX IVT

The Kia Forte is the fastest set of wheels you can get in this budget. Fitted with a 2.0L I4, the Kia Forte churns out 147 hp along with 184 lb.-ft. Of torque, but don’t let these figures deceive you. The Kia Forte sprints from 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, which is the fastest among all. 

2020 Kia forte EX IVT

Mazda 3 vs Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

Priced at $21,050, the Hyundai Elantra is the most reasonable offering in the class. The ride gets a 2.0L I4 under its hood, which can generate 128 hp along with 156 lb.-ft. Of torque, which is the lowest among all its rivals.

2020 Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

The ride takes 8.3 seconds to achieve the 60 MPH mark and needs 16.4 seconds in order to cover the quarter-mile distance, thus making it seem like a crawler in front of its competitors. 

2020 Mazda 3 Final Verdict

7.0/10

A well-placed interior, advanced safety features, striking design, and great handling performance offered at an economical price, the Mazda 3 forms a perfect package of comfort, safety, and performance. But, if you are looking for a comfortable cruiser and money doesn't bother you much consider Honda Civic before buying. 

2020 Mazda 3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which are the different trim levels on a Mazda 3?

The 2020 Mazda 3 comes in four trim levels - Base, Select, Preferred and Premium trim, ranging from $21,500 for the base variant to $26,500 for the top-trim. An AWD setup can also be fitted for a price hike of $1,400 on top of the MSRP.

Does it come in the AWD setup?

Yes, an AWD setup can also be fitted for a price hike of $1,400 on top of the MSRP.

Is there a hatchback variant for the Mazda 3 as well?

Yes, there is a hatchback variant which comes with the same engine but offers a 6 speed manual in the top trim.

 

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