2012 Mazda MAZDA3: Fundamental Goodness
February 01, 2012
I like this car. It's that simple.
There's a certain fundamental goodness about the way Mazdas drive that's appealing to me. Nearly all of them offer it. Even this, the fuel-economy-obsessed compact hatch has built-in qualities that make driving it meaningful. It's steering, for example, feels like it was tuned. It's not just a product electro-hydraulic motion, but rather an integral component of a larger system. And it's one that contributes to the overall experience -- even in a slow car.
Also, its transmission, and I'm not the first to say this, is awesome. By locking up the torque converter quickly and offering sharp, immediate rev-matched downshifts, it makes the most of a minimalist powerplant. Nice.
Finally, it's a utilitarian hatchback that has, since November, twice achieved more than a 41 mpg average on a tank of fuel.
Hard to argue with that.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor