The compact sedan market remains one of the most competitive in Canada, with a bevy of interesting options available to consumers.
One of the most popular models remains the Mazda3, which is offered as both a sedan and sporty hatchback.
It has an affordable starting price of $24,200 for the base GX model, but the sedan variant is also offered in GS and GT trims, which is the one we drove recently. It was outfitted with the optional turbo engine for a final price of $39,695.
Opting for the turbo engine also adds things like 18-inch black alloy wheels, jet black exterior mirrors, larger exhaust outlets and a gloss black front grille, as well as turbo badges on the trunk.
There are two available engines on the Mazda3 and while the base engine is surely enough for most consumers, for a little more fun, the automaker has an available turbo engine.
The 2.5-litre Skyactiv 4-cylinder turbo engine can produce up to 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque when you opt for premium fuel in the tank. Regular gas will lower the engine’s output slightly.
It’s a peppy and fun engine, and in such a small vehicle delivers plenty of fun.
The fuel efficiency estimate on the turbo is 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres, while my returned average was 10.2 L/100 km.
Exterior: The Mazda3 is already a nicely-designed vehicle in my opinion, but the extra touches of the GT Turbo make it even more appealing. The extra black touches – wheels, exterior mirrors, and grille – really pop against the white exterior. Oddly, you have to pay an extra $300 for the privilege of having that white paint. I was a little surprised at that one.
Interior: The interior features a very clean layout from Mazda, with minimal buttons and dials in the centre stack thanks to the fact many of the controls are activated by the dial in the centre console.
Our tester was outfitted with the optional Garnet red leather surfaces, and while some red can be overwhelming, I found that the tone of this one was such that is elevated the cabin to a more luxurious feel.
In addition to looking good, the front seats are also comfortable, while rear occupants have decent leg and headroom as well.
Infotainment: While I was generally happy with the overall use of the infotainment system, the lack of touchscreen ability for the 10.25-inch display was a little disappointing.
While I can appreciate the use of the rotary dial in the centre console, I believe making the screen touchable would enhance the overall functionality.
That said, the GT turbo features other niceties like satellite radio, wireless device charging, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Drive: With the extra power from the turbo engine, the Mazda3 GT Turbo is quite a fun sedan to drive around town with.
Mazda has a history of producing fun to drive vehicles and the sporty turbo-powered Mazda3 is no exception.
The steering feel is excellent, and it handles itself quite well. The suspension does a decent job of isolating the cabin from most of the rocky roads out there, but it can still get a little bumpy at times.
Overall, though, a very enjoyable drive around the city in the Mazda3.
Conclusion: The Mazda3 is a good-looking sedan that has proven popular with consumers despite the push to more crossover and SUVs. In the GT Turbo form, that fun quotient gets taken up another notch thanks to the additional power, but also the extra styling cues that give it a more distinctive appearance.
There’s a lot of competition in this segment, especially from perennial best-sellers, but the Mazda3 – especially in the GT Turbo format – should be on your list if you are shopping for a fun, sporty sedan.
2024 Mazda3 GT Turbo
Price as tested: $39,965.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo/ 6-speed automatic
Power/torque: 250 horsepower/ 320 lb-ft of torque (with premium fuel)
Fuel (capacity): Regular or Premium (48 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 8.8 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 10.2 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/Unlimited km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta
Website: Mazda Canada