The 2018 Mazda 3 isn't the quickest car in its class, but it is the best to drive. The Mazda 3 doesn't have the biggest cargo capacity in its class either, but it will certainly hold a whole lot of stuff. This is a clear case of the raw numbers not telling the entire story.
Inside and out, the Mazda 3 is attractive, and plenty of elements give it a more upmarket appeal. On the road, it's not just competent; it's actually entertaining and sporty to drive. Even if you're not into performance, this translates to a feeling that the car will respond to emergency maneuvers with confidence and ease.
In the competitive budget-conscious compact sedan and hatchback class, the 2018 Mazda 3 is a rarity for exceeding expectations and delivering far more than its price would suggest. We bore this out in a yearlong test of this car's current generation as well as subsequent evaluation of newer variants. You'd be remiss not to have it on your short list.
trim levels & features
The five-passenger 2018 Mazda 3 is available as either a sedan or four-door hatchback. Both body styles are offered in either Sport, Touring or Grand Touring trims.
The Sport trim is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (155 horsepower, 150 pound-feet of torque). The Touring and Grand Touring models get a 2.5-liter engine (184 hp, 185 lb-ft). A six-speed manual transmission is standard for all Mazda 3s, with a six-speed automatic available as an option.
Standard Sport trim features for the sedan include 16-inch steel wheels, remote keyless entry, keyless ignition, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, the Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, low-speed forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, emergency telematics, and a six-speaker stereo with two USB ports. The hatchback adds the upgrades of alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.
The sedan is eligible for the optional Preferred Equipment package that adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, upgraded upholstery and a rear-seat armrest with cupholders.
The Touring trim includes all of the above, along with 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat and heated front seats.
At the top of the range, the Grand Touring model gains LED exterior lights (headlights, foglights and taillights); a sunroof; a digital speedometer; an upgraded display in the instrument panel; leather upholstery; a nine-speaker Bose surround-sound system; and satellite radio. To this, the Premium Equipment package adds adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, a heated steering wheel, paddle shifters (for the automatic transmission), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and braking for higher speeds, and a traffic sign reader.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.