2012 Mazda Mazda3 Long Term Road Test

2012 Mazda Mazda3: Bells, Whistles, Etc.

March 27, 2012

 2012 Mazda Mazda3

I'm a big fan of loaded small cars, and as such I dismiss those who used to say "Why would you pay so much for a Chevy Cruze when you could get a Hyundai Sonata for the same price? It's a bigger car! Bigger is better!"

I don't want a bigger car. I like smaller cars, but I'd still like all the bells and whistles you can get on bigger ones. That's a main reason why I got a Jetta VR6 years ago and it's the reason my wife (then-girlfriend) opted for a '07 Mazda 3s Grand Touring. Our long-termer is also a Grand Touring, albeit in 3i guise that includes the SkyActiv engine.

Mrs. Riswick's 3 s came with then-rare-for-the-class niceties like xenon headlights, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers leather upholstery, heated seats, an iPod jack and a Bose sound system. Our 2012 Grand Touring with the Tech pack includes all that and adds/supplants it with currently-rare-for-the-class adaptive xenon headlights, eight-way power seats, a compact navigation system, a Bose surround-sound audio system and five-level heated seats. We don't have auto climate controls, but the 3s Grand Touring does and adds dual-zone capability.

If you value a car's size above getting lots of stuff, that's nice. But I'll go the other way on the trade-off scale. 

James Riswick, Automotive Editor 

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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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