The Mazda 3 is Mazda's zippy four-door family sedan or five-door hatchback available in a wide selection of trim levels. All models come standard with a hefty number of safety features, with even the basic level providing impressive features. The base models still provide plenty of Mazda's trademark zoom-zoom" sensation. Fully-loaded models offer a surprising amount of performance accompanying impressive styling. Savvy car buyers on a budget will definitely want to give the Mazda 3 a test drive.
The Mazda 3i is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 135 pound-feet of torque and a horsepower rating of 148. Buyers can choose from the standard five-speed manual transmission or opt for the five-speed automatic which is available on all models except for the 3i SV. For more power, Mazda enthusiasts are excited about the 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine. This sportier engine produces 168 lb-foot torque with 167 horsepower. The standard transmission for cars with this engine is the six-speed manual, but a five-speed automatic is available. Fuel economy is impressive in all Mazda 3 models. The 4 cylinder, 2.0 Liter, manual transmission hatchback offers 25 miles per gallon in the city and up to 33 miles per gallon on the highway. Other models have similar ratings. The vast majority of Mazda 3s are assembled in Hofu, Japan. Parts for the Mazda 3 are produced primarily in China, with more and more production taking place in Iran.
Mazda introduced the Mazda 3 in 2004. Its handling, performance and styling made it an immediate hit with consumers. However, the safety rating of the initial Mazda 3 received less than stellar ratings. This was quickly rectified when Mazda made six airbags standard. The Mazda 3 received only minor facelifts over the next few years. In 2009, the second generation Mazda 3 was introduced with a restyled exterior and a dual exhaust. It is slightly larger than earlier models.
The Mazda 3 is available with either an "i" or an "s" trim package. A 2.0L engine comes in "i" models while the more powerful 2.5L sits in the "s" models. For luxury, the Grand Touring model adds touches one might not expect in a compact car. Leather seats and power driver's seat are a nice addition. Rain-sensing windshield wipers, steerable active bi-xenon headlights and dual-zone climate control come as standard equipment on the Grand Touring models.
Even though still relatively young, the Mazda 3 has won its share of awards. The 2010 Mazda 3 was named "Best Mid-Compact Car for Value Retention". The 2011 model has been named a "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the institute's highest award. The Mazda 3 provides Mazda's exceptional handling in style.
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