2014 Mazda 3 S Touring Sedan 2.5L from North America
Perfect for a city/highway sporty commute
It's a bummer that some of the best features are only available in the S GT trim, including radar cruise (although the S Touring has a radar in front, deactivated!), adaptive headlights, and rain sensing wiper. Also, if you want a non-black interior, the S GT is the only trim you will find that in.
But what is totally maddening is that you do *not* get automatic headlights on the $25K Mazda 3 S, something that even my 2010 Corolla base sedan had. You have to bump all the way up to S GT with tech package for that... I mean, seriously?
Also, unlike essentially every other automaker, Mazda *does not* provide any complimentary maintenance (oil change etc.) for the first 2-3 years :-(
The Mazda 3S sedan certainly feels very sturdy compared to my previous car, a 2010 Corolla, specially when taking sharp turns, changing lanes in busy traffic, or simply when a speeding tractor-trailer crosses you. The brakes are super responsive, and the acceleration is decent without the sport mode turned on, and superb in the sport mode.
With the 18" alloy wheels, thin tires, and sport tuned suspension, the ride feels very sporty (to be positive) or stiff (to be negative). But I guess that's a matter of taste. In rush hour (50-55mph) I average about 41 MPG. At off-peak freeway (70-75mph) or in local traffic (35-40mph), it is about 35 MPG. Very decent numbers for a 2.5L engine :-)
I cannot overstate just how cool and convenient the head-up display unit is. It lets you keep your eyes on the road while getting lane/turn instructions from the GPS, and otherwise simply track cruising activity.
Although the awkwardly placed GPS unit looks like an aftermarket addition, it is very easy to navigate with the knob and quick access buttons while driving, which is same as what the 2015 Audi A3 has. However, my Mazda 3 LCD touchscreen's display, as well as the infotainment features layout, both feel much fancier and easier to use.
The steering wheel mounted paddle shifters are awesome when driving on hilly roads, and the leatherette seats feel as soft as leather :-)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th September, 2014