2020 Mazda 3

#16
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$21,500 - $27,900
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7.2

Overall Rating

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2020 Mazda 3 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: March 25, 2020
Aaron Smith's image

Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist

Mazda has smartly placed this car in the market. The engineers at Fuchu, Japan have worked really hard to ensure that the Mazda 3 remains the most powerful car among its Asian rivals like the Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra. Moreover, Mazda has also scored big in terms of safety with this sedan. The 2020 Mazda 3 Sedan has become an instant favourite among small car lovers due to its exceptional driving dynamics along with its mature design.

 

See detailed review »

Pros

Good-looking overall design

Great ride comfort

Muffled, well-trimmed cabin

Engaging user interface

Cons

Low on cabin space

Low outward visibility

What's New?

Optional driver assist features are now standard.


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$21000

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

130 mph

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

horsepower

186 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

186 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent Front Suspension

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.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

26/30/35 mpg

ev range

343.2 mi.

highway range

462 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

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

8.2

Exterior

7.0

Safety

7.0

7.2

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Mazda 3 Base

Base

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

$21,500


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $21,500 MSRP (26/30/35) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5L, 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
30 combined

$22,700 - $24,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Select Package 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $22,700 MSRP (26/30/35) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Select Package 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $24,100 MSRP (26/30/35) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

 2020 Mazda 3 Preferred Package

Preferred Package

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

$24,200 - $25,600


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Preferred Package 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $24,200 MSRP (26/30/35) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Preferred Package 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $25,600 MSRP (26/30/35) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

 2020 Mazda 3 Premium Package

Premium Package

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

$26,500 - $27,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Premium Package 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $26,500 MSRP (26/30/35) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Premium Package 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $27,900 MSRP (26/30/35) 186 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.5L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.2

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-litre 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

 

8.2/10
Interior

 

7.0/10
Exterior

 

7.0/10
Safety

 
 
 

2020 Mazda 3 Features

7.0/10

The Mazda is available in four trims with a standalone engine and 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 $23,895 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

In addition to or replaces Base feature with:

In addition to or replaces Select feature with:

In addition to or replaces Preferred feature with:

 

16-inch Alloys

18-inch aluminium-alloy wheels

Power sliding-glass moonroof with one-touch-open feature and interior sunshade

Distance Pacing Cruise Control

 

Clear-lens Halogen Headlights

Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry

Bi-LED headlights and taillights arrangement

Door Mirror Memory

 

Body-Colored, Dual Folding Power side Mirrors

Body-coloured folding, heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals

Black metallic finish front grille

Digital Signal Processor

 

i-Activesense Driver Assist

A dual-zone automatic climate control system

Bose 9 speaker surround sound system with Centerpoint 2 and AudioPilot 2

SiriusXM AM/FM/HD Satellite with Seek-Scan

 

Adaptive Cruise Control 

Variable heated front seats

Black metallic finish front grille

Voice Activated Radio

 

Blind-spot Monitoring

Leather-Finish Interior

Full-colour Active Driving Display

Fully automatic Headlights

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. All Mazda 3s come six-speed automatic comes as an option with the same Front Wheel Drive (FWD).

The 6-speed automatic transmission puts up a strong performance. The sport setting is brilliantly tuned for maximum attack. 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.

2020 Mazda 3 comes with 6-speed Automatic Transmisssion

Talking about the shifting-plant, the ride appoints a 6-speed automatic transmission panel in order to rush these ponies to the front or all wheels. 

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

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 the 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-centre 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 suspension 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-litre engine which adds a double-layer capacitor, grille shutters and a variable-voltage alternator which enables regenerative braking and lightens the electrical load of the engine, which makes it really efficient in stop-and-go traffic.

Model

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Honda Civic Ex-L 

Kia forte EX IVT

Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

MPG (City)

24

32

30

24

MPG (Highway)

32

36

40

33

MPG (Combined)

27

42

35

38

All four cars have impressive fuel economy rates with minimal differences.  The Honda Civic seems to be a shining star among all the rivals.

2020 Mazda 3 Interior

8.2/10

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. 

Driver’s position offers 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

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

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

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. The maximum cargo volume that can be achieved is 47.1 ft.cube with the rear seats folded.

2020 Mazda 3 offers the greatest in class cargo volume  

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 of 14.9 cubic feet. The Hyundai comes next with 14.4 cubic feet, and then the Toyota with 13 cubic feet of volume. Quite evidently as mentioned earlier, the Mazda has the least cargo volume of 12.4 cubic feet.

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

2020 Mazda 3 Exterior

7.0/10

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

Highlights of the exterior design

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
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Front Grill
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Front Grill
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Headlight
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Headlight
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear Light
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Rear Light
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan 3rd Quarter View
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan 3rd Quarter View
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Side View
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan Side View
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan rear 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. 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

2020 Mazda 3 Competition

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. 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. 

2020 Honda Civic Ex-L

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. 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 Hyundai Elantra ECO DCT

 

2020 Mazda 3 Final Verdict

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.