2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring

2017 Mazda Mazda3 GrandTouring MAINPHOTO
  • Handling & Performance:
  • Styling:
  • Fit and Finish:
  • Conveniences and comfort:
  • Gas Stats:
  • Pricing:
Overall:

2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring

Mazda’s “hot hatch” runs among the front of the pack

By Vince Bodiford

Mazda does a very good job of building a lot of excitement and fun into their cars. The “We build excitement” catch phrase once used by Pontiac now aptly describes what Mazda is up to. Across all Mazda lines, you’ll find a lot of fun and automotive whimsy that is hard to find today.

In this test, I found a big dose of “Zoom Zoom” built into the recently-refreshed 2017 Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-door sedan. This hot hatch easily runs among the front of the pack, which includes the likes of Volkswagen Golf and the venerable Subaru Impreza.

VEHICLE HIGHLIGHTS:

MSRP starting at $23,895, as tested $28,030.00
SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine.
SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual transmission.
Fuel economy estimates range from 25-mpg city to 33-mpg highway.

Vehicle Highs: A lot of fun for the money. Styling will stay fresh for a long time.

Vehicle Lows: A bit noisy inside at highway speed, mostly from the tires.

Vehicle Rivals (in the 5-door versions): Volkswagen Golf, Subaru Impreza, Chevy Cruz, Honda Civic.

DRIVING IMPRESSION

In Europe a sporty small hatch like this is called a “boy racer,” and the Mazda3 certainly fits that description, but it is more mature and well-mannered than the name suggests. Overall the car fits you like a glove, is easy and fun to drive, and really is at its best out on rural twisty country roads. Go ahead – take the scenic route in the Mazda3 – you’ll be glad you did.

Mazda3 is completely repackaged for 2017, adding even more value at all price points while refinement, elevated design and increased performance boost the fun for the hot hatch. All-LED headlights with auto leveling, the latter of which are now available in the Premium Equipment Package exclusive to Grand Touring models. New for 2017 are redesigned 18-inch wheels, which are available on Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Five-door models receive a redesigned rear bumper, which extends an upscale, monochromatic look to the lower valences that is emphasized by a lower and wider stance.

Mazda’s all-new G-Vectoring Control technology, standard across all trim levels, along with a six-speed manual transmission now available on the top-trimmed Mazda3 Grand Touring model with all i-ACTIVSENSE safety features available. Eight years in the making, the all-new, G-Vectoring Control technology uses engine timing to control chassis dynamics, leading to smoother, more accurate steering inputs resulting in greater confidence and control for the driver. Purely a software control system, GVC adds no weight and implements throttle input and steering angle
sensors, among other features, to decide when to reduce torque in an instant’s notice.

The 2.5-liter, four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G engine produces 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. When paired with the available (which we tested) SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic with i-ELOOP, it can achieve an EPA-estimated fuel economy up to 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway/31 mpg combined. Both engines are available with a six-speed SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual in addition to the automatic transmission, providing a sought-after option for purists.

An upgraded interior with enhanced storage space, materials, increased sound suppression and redesigned look and feel can be found on the 2017 model line up as well. Black leatherette is available on the Mazda3 Touring models; or a choice of black or parchment leather. The black leather interior features newly-adopted espresso-colored accents that add a touch of depth and enhance the overall quality of the cabin.

Mazda is including more safety features at more accessible price points to provide drivers and passengers with an enhanced peace of mind. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2017 Mazda3 as a “Top Safety Pick+,” having been subjected to a grueling array of collision and pre-collision safety evaluations. New for the 2017 test, Mazda3 also had to pass a headlight evaluation, which weeded out many competitors. Smart City Brake Support and Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert are now included in the mid-level Mazda3 Touring as standard equipment.

Mazda3 Grand Touring offers additional added value with a black metallic finish grille insert, LED fog lights and shark fin antenna. Inside, the GT comes standard with analog tachometer, digital speedometer, BOSE nine-speaker Premium audio system with Centerpoint and AudioPilot, full-color ADD, perforated leather-trimmed seats and SiriusXM satellite radio with a four-month subscription. For 2017, there are three new packages available for the Grand Touring trim level: The Premium Equipment Package comes with Bi-LED headlights with auto leveling, pivoting adaptive frontlighting system, LED combination taillights, LED daytime running lights, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters on the steering wheel (for the AT only), Mazda navigation system and auto-dimming interior mirror with Homelink.

The i-ACTIVSENSE Safety package bundles up a new group of safety technologies that add an extra layer of confidence for drivers and peace of mind for passengers. The package comes with High Beam Control, Lane Departure Warning System, Lane Keep Assist, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support and Traffic Sign Recognition. The i-ELOOP Package has been decoupled from the outgoing model packaging. The regenerative engine braking system and active grille shutters are sure to be appreciated by city-traffic drivers looking to make the most out of applying the brakes when needed.

THE VERDICT:

In your quest for a hot hatch, the 2017 Mazda3 Grand Touring needs to be high on your list of considerations. You could read volumes about this car for weeks, but everything you need to know about it is discovered in the first 5 minutes of a test drive – it’s a plain blast to drive. Great car.

For more information, see your local Mazda dealer, or visit MazdaUSA.com

Ezekiel Wheeler contributed to this report.
Remember – Life’s a trip, Enjoy the drive! Always buckle everyone up and obey all traffic laws. This test vehicle road tested by a professional driver in a controlled environment. Vehicle specifications are provided by manufacturer and deemed accurate at the time of publishing.

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