Car Review: Mazda 3 sedan moves upscale for 2020

Compact sedans need not be basic transportation anymore: After a week with the 2020 Mazda 3 sedan, I was impressed with the company’s take on what a compact sedan can be.

The vehicle is small sedan that’s more luxurious than most with a higher-dollar interior that puts others to shame.

I drove the top-of-the-line Mazda 3 with the premium package, which means you pick your color and just about everything comes standard.

The seats are comfortable, the materials top-notch and there is a lot of nice detailing used throughout the cabin.

The navigation and audio system are controlled with a large knob on the center console, and it takes time to gets used to — unless your other vehicle is from a German luxury brand.

The Mazda 3 also offers a pleasant driving experience and it tends to be more fun to drive than other small sedans.

While it’s not a powerhouse, the four-cylinder engine moves the Mazda 3 adequately — just not very quickly.

But the handling is where this car shines: It never beats you up and seems to be even more forgiving than the previous Mazda 3.

The enjoyment comes when you hop off the highway and onto a twisty road, where you can really push the handling to the limit.

The all-wheel drive is a big plus for the compact sedan, so it’s not only fun in the twisties.

This sure-footed Mazda 3 is also a good year-round car, eliminating the need for a heavier crossover.

Pros

  • Small sedan or hatchback with AWD
  • Luxurious interior without the high price tag
  • Comfortable ride; handles well on back roads

Cons

  • Back seat leg room isn’t as generous as other compact sedans
  • Vision out the rear is limited due to the high trunk lid
  • Manual transmission is no longer offered

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