2012 Mazda Mazda3 Long Term Road Test

2012 Mazda Mazda3 5-Door: The Silhouette of Artful Utility

August 09, 2012

2012 Mazda Mazda3 

You meet them all the time.

People come up to you and then with a puzzled frown they tell you some long and tangled story about trying to find a car to buy that will fit a dog/bicycle/television/jetski, but has to get 40 mpg and be no bigger than a lawn chair besides.

As always, people expect that the laws of physics can be suspended. It's kind of flattering, really. The car companies seem to make magic with stuff every day, so why not the laws of physics?

Can't be a crossover utility because they're too big. Can't be a station wagon because they're too old. Can't be a hatchback because they're too crappy. 

Fortunately, I am usually somewhere within sight of a Mazda 3 5-door hatchback (aren't we all?), so all I have to do is point and say, "There's the answer to your problem."

They tend to get the idea in an instant.  A nice people package, only with a long roof and square back so there's room enough to carry stuff.  Plus a little bit of towing capacity for recreational purposes.

I credit the Mazda 3 5-door for helping people embrace the wagonette-style car because it has always looked good, which is a big deal. But even more important, it has never tried to disguise its utility, so you could always understand its possibilities at a single glance. What the Mazda 3 5-door has is a look that vehicles as different as the Acura ZDX, Audi A7 and BMW X6 have tried to capture only to seem clumsy in comparison.

It's easy to get lost in the details of the Mazda 3's style, but the thing that makes it work as a piece of design is its silhouette. It combines art and utility in a way that makes you believe that the laws of physics can be suspended.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 13,075 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Mazda Mazda3 in VA is:

$144 per month*
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