2018 Mazda 3 Review
Pros & Cons
- Sporty and confidence-inspiring performance
- Some high-end features are unique to this class
- Top crash test scores
- Interior quality exceeds expectations
- Ride quality can be a little stiff with optional 18-inch wheels
- Cargo capacity ranks below the class leaders
- Road and wind noise is noticeable at highway speeds
- Less interior storage than rivals
Which 3 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating7.9 / 10
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.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Mazda 3 as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.
2018 Mazda 3 models
The five-passenger 2018 Mazda 3 is available as a sedan or four-door hatchback. Both body styles are offered in 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's 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 instrument panel display, 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.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Mazda 3 Sedan Grand Touring (2.5L inline-4 | 6-speed manual | FWD).
Since this test was conducted in 2017, the current Mazda 3 has received no significant revisions. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Mazda 3.
|Overall||7.9 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts like the 3 models:
- Smart Brake Support
- Warns if a front collision is deemed imminent and automatically applies the brakes if you don't react in time.
- Lane Keep Assist
- Alerts the driver if the car begins to drift out of its lane and performs steering corrections if the driver does not.
- Advanced Blind-Spot Monitoring
- Alerts the driver if a vehicle is approaching or lurking in your blind spot and chimes if you signal for a lane change in that direction.