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
List Price Range
$13,900 - $22,795
Used 3 for SaleSee all for sale
Which 3 does Edmunds recommend?
We're partial to the hatchback for its cargo-carrying flexibility as well as its aesthetic appeal. Among the different trim level choices, the Touring trim presents a good balance of features for the price, plus it gets the more powerful engine. If your budget can stretch, the Grand Touring is a great pick that is eligible for a host of advanced safety features.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Mazda built its reputation on making driver's cars, and the 3 offers an excellent driving experience and rewarding handling dynamics. Some competitors offer more acceleration, and while the 3's transmission is well-behaved, it sometimes reacts more slowly than certain more modern units.
Mazda has done a good job balancing ride comfort with performance. The front seats are nicely molded and padded — aside from the too-aggressive headrests. While sound insulation has been improved over older models, the Mazda 3's cabin is noisier on the highway than some competitors.
The Mazda 3's interior is very easy to use and live with. Mazda thoughtfully designed the interior around the driver, though taller people might feel slightly out of place. The steering wheel lacks some reach adjustment, and the dash-mounted head-up display will be awkwardly low for some.
While the Mazda 3 sedan offers folding seats, easy-to-find LATCH points, and a number of small-item storage options, it falls behind the class leaders in terms of practicality. A handful of design issues also hurt the usability of some of these features.
The Mazda 3 offers an extensive list of technology upgrades. It certainly has one of the best infotainment units in the class (which Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration would only improve). However, some competitors with more recent refreshes have better-executed driver aids.
|Overall||7.9 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
David Tate ,03/22/2018
Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
After spending the past number of years driving large SUVs, I finally made the leap back into a smaller, sportier car. I’ve considered other smaller cars over the years, but none really piqued my interest for one reason or another. I wanted a driver’s car but wasn’t really wanting to pay a premium price. I also wanted a practical car but didn’t want to sacrifice performance and pure fun. For me, the Mazda 3 is a perfect amalgamation of what I’ve been looking for. It’s sporty yet refined, small but not minute, and practical but not boring in the least. It handles way better than anything in it’s price range. The fuel efficiency rivals some hybrid cars. The interior is flawless. The seats envelope the driver perfectly and lend a feeling of mutual comfort and secure fit. For the price, the engine is quick enough. Sure, I’d rather be in the 250 HP range, but that would require a compromise in aesthetics or a price increase of at least $15k. At this point, I’m extremely pleased with my purchase. Do your own research on this car and compare it to others in its price range and above. For pure driving experience and design, you won’t find anything comparable. Highly recommended. Update Oct 2020: still loving this car. It still drives as great now as the day I bought it. I ending up buying my daughter the CX 30 and she loves her car as well.
Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Just bought a 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback Sport and I cannot rave more about this car. I absolutely love it. I was looking for something affordable, reliable, and fuel efficient. In other words practicality was my number one concern and the hatchback delivers as promised. It has plenty of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. It supplies all that I mentioned while looking good and putting a smile on my face. The car has adequate power for merging on the highway and passing. It is also a blast to push through corners/curvy roads. The cars handles extremely well and the powertrain is eager to play while in sport mode. I consistently exceed the EPA estimates for MPG. I'll usually get around 29-31 MPG in the city and 39-42 mpg on hwy (with free flowing traffic going around 65 mph of course). Keep in mind this is all with an automatic. I was going to go for the 6 speed manual but I deal with LA traffic on my daily commute and could no longer bare it with a manual so I opted for the auto. If you're looking for something practical that isn't an appliance I would definitely recommend at least test driving the mazda 3.
Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
Just the right combination of performance, saftey, space and reliability. Its big enough to carry my gear but small enough to park easily in the city. I cant beleive I am getting well over 30 mpg in a 50/50 highway/local mix. Id buy it again in a heartbeat.
Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Was coming out of a C Class Mercedes and wanted a hatchback for less than 30K. My list of desired attributes was quite long, and the Mazda 3 checked every box save one, which I’ll get too later. The car is built for those who enjoy driving and that can’t be emphasized enough. Just sitting in the drivers seat informs you that everything is engineered with the driver in mind. Out on the road the engine is responsive, the steering direct, and the suspension is a sheer delight. The interior is beautifully designed and better than most anything at this pricepoint. Further, everything works as designed. The Bose stereo is quite nice and a must have. I got the premium package so every safety feature imaginable is on the vehicle. Most of these I didn’t have on my 2015 Mercedes. The blind spot monitoring is my favorite safety nanny, just disable the audio notifications or it will drive you nuts. After driving over 1600 miles I’m averaging a little over 31 mpg, which is quite nice for a car this sporty. The front seats are very comfortable and fit both me and my wife like a glove. The suspension is firm and with the 18 inch wheels you can feel some bumps. But on balance the ride is superb. My 89 year old mom is quite comfortable In either the front or the back. The only negative with the car is road noise, which has been documented quite well in the professional reviews of the car. I took 2 extended test drives to make sure it was acceptable as a daily driver. On most surfaces it is just not a big deal, and in fact compares favorably with higher priced cars. And understand, I was previously driving a Mercedes. But on concrete surfaces the road noise is definitely transmitted into the cabin. The overall positives of the vehicle far outweigh this one issue though. Drive for yourself and be the judge. For me, it’s a great car to drive and a steal of a deal in the compact class.
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.