2015 Mazda3 Grand Touring

Gets you where you want to go as fast as you want to go
February 16, 2015 Updated: February 16, 2015

My test model this week is a Blue Reflex Mica Mazda3 S 5-door Grand Touring sedan, with an almond interior. Thanks to its SkyActiv-G 2.5 L DOHC 4-cylinder engine producing 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, the mighty Mazda can get you where you want to go as fast as you want to go.

You’ll save money too, since the Mazda3 averages 29 mpg (26 in town and 35 on the highway) for a savings of approximately $2,000 in fuel costs over a five-year period compared to most brands. Annual fuel cost is estimated at $1,800, but if gas prices keep plummeting, it could actually be less.

The Mazda3 s Grand Touring rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, and offers such luxury touches as rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated power side mirrors with turn lamps, halogen fog lights, moon roof with one touch open, and leather-trimmed sport seats.

Safety and security features are also first-class.

Advanced Keyless Entry System, push button engine start, auto-dim home-link rearview mirror, and 60/40 split fold-down rear seats are other special features. So is the leather-wrapped steering wheel, gearshift knob, and brake handle. Automatic on/off Bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights, a glossy black grille, and body-colored rear hatch spoiler add to the Mazda3’s sporty look.

Safety and security features are also first-class, with a 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty; 36-month and 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and anti-theft engine immobilizer are also included. Dynamic stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, brake assist, and numerous air bags add to the safety features that garnered a 5-Star safety rating from the U.S. government.

The infotainment system features a 7-inch touch screen, multi-function commander control, rearview camera, navigation system, 9-speaker premium Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio with AutoPilot noise compensation technology, Pandora, HD Radio, Sirius XM Satellite radio, and all the other technology such as Bluetooth hands-free phone/audio, cruise control and trip computer, plus steering wheel mounted controls.

Active Driving Display is a head-up display system that projects a minimal amount of important info such as speed, navigation, and alerts at the bottom of the windshield so that you can keep your eyes on the road.

Surprisingly, the MSRP for the Mazda3 S 5-door grand touring model is only $25,545. The manufacturer had added an appearance package that included a rear bumper skirt, side sill extensions, door mirror caps, and cargo mats, adding $1,750 to the total price.

With destination charges and added options, the MSRP for the lively Mazda3 was still only $28,385. So it’s really no wonder the Mazda3 remains Mazda’s best-selling brand!

Jo Ann Holt is a journalist and car columnist based in Dallas and a member of the Texas Automobile Writers Association (TAWA).