With comprehensive refinement and sophisticated driving manners, the Mazda 3 is one of the nicest compact cars in its class. Available as a hatchback or sedan, the Mazda is a richer-feeling alternative to rivals such as the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. In our testing, its responsive four-cylinder engine proved frugal on the highway, and both body styles maintain Mazda’s commitment to driver engagement. While the 3 doesn’t offer a high-performance model, it’s always agile when the tarmac curves and comfy when the road gets rough. An excellent infotainment system and standard driver assists place the 2020 Mazda 3 among the best compacts out there.
Every Mazda 3 comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 186 horsepower. While a manual transmission is offered on the hatchback, all-wheel-drive versions and the sedan have an automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive can be had with the automatic. Down the road, Mazda intends to debut the company’s new Skyactiv-X four-cylinder engine that employs compression-ignition technology to save fuel. While every 3 responds quickly to gas-pedal inputs, none are particularly quick, and Mazda doesn’t make a performance-oriented version. Instead, both the hatchback and sedan have a refined ride quality and feel composed on straight and twisty roads.