2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Hatchback

Superbly impressive with intriguing edge
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
July 17, 2021 Updated: July 17, 2021

For 2021, the 2 top-end Mazda 3 models are powered by a SKYACTIV-G 2.5L turbo engine that delivers 227 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 310 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm on 87-octane fuel. With 93-octane gas, the power output shoots up to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, although peak torque arrives slightly higher at 2,500 rpm. The engine is paired with SKACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and sport mode, which transfers power to the i-ACTIVE AWD system.

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The 2.5 Turbo was introduced for the 2021 model year. (Courtesy of Mazda)

2.5L turbo Mazda 3 with AWD achieves a mileage rating of 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for a 27 mpg combined average. When you put together a high torque engine with all-wheel drive, you are offered a refined performance that can become a smooth and confident driving experience. The front suspension is re-tuned with stiffer springs and dampening to maintain the same ride control with the addition of the turbo.

One of the driving assist features I really liked was the full-color Active Driving Display, which essentially a HUD that projects the vehicle speed, blind spot warning, and other key information onto the windshield. This feature allows the driver to process information faster and enhances driving safety by keeping eyes on the road ahead.

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A clean back design that complements the front. (Courtesy of Mazda)

Inside the cabin, Mazda 3 Premium has quality features like heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, matching leather-wrapped shift knob, and 7-inch instrument cluster display that complement the frameless back mirror and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The beautiful interior is accentuated by the 8.8-inch color center display with large multi-functional command controls. Mazda has integrated the display seamlessly into the car’s dashboard design.

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Front dash with the 8.8-inch display and control panel. (Courtesy of Mazda)

Push button engine start gets you going quickly while the power driver’s seat with power lumbar support provides personalized comfort. 60/40 split fold-down rear seats with armrests provide rear passengers comfortable as well as luggage space utility.

The rearview camera and the auto-dimming rearview mirror improve the visibility to what is behind. Quality lighting like LED taillights, daytime running lights, and auto on/off headlights also add to the safety decorum in the vehicle.

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Center console with gear selector and infotainment system command dial. (Courtesy of Mazda)

There are twenty standard safety and security features listed on the Mazda 3, which, remarkably, includes Lane Departure Warning, Lane-keep Assist, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go, and a rearview camera. The Premium Plus trim further adds Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, 360-degree View Monitor, Traffic Jam Assist, and Blind Spot Monitoring, among other things. All are part of the $33,900 MSRP.

The way the studio entertainment system is laid out makes it easy to operate the Bose 12-speaker premium audio system which is an extraordinary package supporting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio, and Bluetooth hands-free phone plus audio streaming.

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A clean back design that complements the front. (Courtesy of Mazda)

Mazda 3 has a remarkable NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating. The AWD hatchback also earned straight 5-star score throughout all Frontal Crash, Side Crash, and Rollover categories. This was just amazing. First I’d seen this year.

Mazda 3 is principled and spirited. Even when just cruising speed, Mazda 3 has ample amount of torque on tap. The driving experience was smooth, yet powerful, whether on open straight roadways or tight city streets.

Warranty
3 years/36,000 miles New Vehicle Warranty
5 years/60,000 miles Powertrain Warranty
3 years/36,000 miles 24/7 Roadside Assistance

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.

Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey