BY H. THROTTLE
About the last best car driven this year is suddenly challenged by an even better one. The Mazda3 all-wheel drive with a 2.5L turbo engine creating 227 horsepower is a leading contender for my selection as “Car Of The Year,” at least so far this season.
In addition to the turbo engine, sports mode, all-wheel drive, the price of this Japanese gem is a very attractive $34,015.
Along with the “Machine Gray Metallic” paint and sinister police car styling and appearance, this four-door sedan has a perfect five-star safety rating in every category, something rarely seen on highway safety ratings. Mazda’s credo is “Feel Alive” and one can stay alive driving this all-around safety rated Mazda3.
Final assembly is in Hofu, Japan with a Japanese engine, transmission, and labor that radiates quality and engineering. The turbo engine performs perfectly with the “Skyactiv” versatile transmission with paddle shifters to select gear choices for our Colorado mountain highway drives.
This cleverly designed sedan moves like a sports car riding on black 18-black alloy wheels. With the performance comes all-wheel disk brakes with smart brake support. The Mazda radar control has a “stop and go” feature remembering your speed. The other safety features include driver braking alert and active driving displays of traffic speed signs.
An active fuel gauge shows instant fuel consumption and miles to refueling. The power train produces an average of 27 mpg. and has a 60-month, 60,000 miles warranty.
The interior is attractive with a white padded dash and center console area. The Bose premium sound system features 12 speakers with crystal clear sound and easy steering wheel controls. There are two center UBS ports.
Rear seating has stingy leg room but a spacious back seat area with 50/40-seat fold down feature. The trunk is large and spacious for luggage and golf clubs. A rear air spoiler rests atop the trunk signaling this car has something special in speed and acceleration.
Additional features include heated seats and outdoor mirrors, and leather wrapped steering column and gear shift knob. The center console dial adjusts radio selections along with home page selections.
Overall this is a very well-balanced vehicle, loaded with safety cameras, the latest safety equipment, and multiple air bag locations leading to that very high safety rating score.
Adding up all the features, options, bells and whistles, this is not only a great car, but has a very attractive all-wheel drive package price. Mazda is on the march with this very competitive package.