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Review: 2024 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback Premium Plus

In the realm of niche compact hatchbacks, the 2024 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback Premium Plus AWD can hold its own, disrupting the norm dominated by the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and the Hyundai Elantra GT N-line. Closely positioned against the Volkswagen GTI, Mazda’s offering seeks to redefine standards in its class. The AWD edition’s MSRP is $36,650, while our fully loaded one comes in at $38,410. 

From the exterior, the Mazda3 is easily recognizable. With the aggressive stance from its 18-inch wheels to the sleek body lines, signature blacked-out grille, and LED headlights, one might say it looks more stylish than any other hot-hatch. I almost want to call the exterior elegant because of just how clean it looks. Ours is optioned in the Machine Grey Metallic paint to make it look even sharper. Enhancing its stylish design, the Mazda3 features a rear hatch spoiler giving added stability at higher speeds, accentuating the performance-oriented yet casual vibe of this hatchback.  

Review: 2024 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback Premium Plus

Under the hood lies a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, churning out 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque with premium gas, propelling the Mazda3 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. It’s not the fastest thing in the world, but it still feels zippy! Fuel efficiency stands at a respectable 26 mpg combined, augmented by Mazda’s i-Activ AWD system. On the road, it maintains its reputation for sporty handling, courtesy of its SkyActiv platform and responsive steering. While the switch to a torsion beam rear suspension may slightly impact extreme handling, it strikes a good balance between sportiness and comfort. Despite some turbo delays, its cornering prowess makes it a joy to navigate through traffic. Always had trouble parking? Fret not, the nimbleness of the Mazda3 makes it a breeze to fit into any parking spot! Especially if you decide to use the 360-degree cameras hidden throughout the exterior. As you climb to highway speeds, you’ll appreciate the virtually non-existent wind noise, giving you a serene driving experience for those who prefer quietness on the road. Being able to throw this vehicle around when making turns makes it even more fun to drive. Thanks, AWD system! 

Inside, the Mazda3 features premium materials throughout, with soft-touch leather surfaces and stylish red accents. Sporty but not over the top. The heads-up display was a smart choice, Mazda! No need to avert your eyes to change songs or see how fast you’re going. Unfortunately, the rear legroom is a bit of an issue. If you’re over 6ft, good luck getting comfy back there. You could argue that the cargo area compensates with fold-down rear seats, catering to more practical storage needs, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a hatchback. In technology, the new 10.25-inch infotainment display was a nice upgrade from previous years. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide familiar technology many of us are used to. I really enjoyed the adaptive cruise control and heads-up display. It helped me get better in-tune with the vehicle, which made the driving experience seamless. As an audiophile, I’m very picky when it comes to sound systems. I can easily say that the premium Bose sound system delivers an unparalleled listening experience. Not only were my ears happy, but my body too, thanks to the deep bass vibrations coming out of all 12 speakers. Sure, the inside is a bit cramped, and doesn’t feature any rear chargers or AC vents, but the Mazda3 somewhat makes up for it with its technological features. Comparing it to the GTI, the Mazda 3 offers a more refined interior and the added advantage of an AWD system. 

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In my opinion, Mazda has hit the perfect balance between luxury and output! For someone looking for a more refined hot hatch, the 2024 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback Premium Plus AWD stands as a compelling choice. You get versatility, sportiness, and comfort. With pricing starting just above $30,000 and reaching close to $40,000 for fully loaded models, it offers a premium driving experience without compromising on affordability. Whether cruising through city streets or tackling winding roads, the Mazda3 is just plain fun. 

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