2012 Mazda3: Sporty, sleek, and safe!

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"Mazda3 4 Door"

That’s the Mazda3. Like it?

I love it. Like love love.

I got a chance to drive it for a week and it was…well, it was just heavenly. Then “they” came to pick it up and I think I might have held onto the key a little too tightly when I was handing it back. *sigh*

Let’s see…where to begin, where to begin. I should mention I have never, ever even been in a Mazda in my entire life (that’s kind of a long time, in fact). I actually made a list of pros and cons so I wouldn’t forget anything. There might be too many pros to mention (at least in detail), but I’ll do my best. Well, for starters, I love the sharp, sleek design of the Mazda3. And the interior is just as sharp and sleek, with leather seats…

"Mazda3 Leather Interior"

The seats are supple and super comfy. And they are ample. They were a little warm because, well, at times, it was 90+ degrees outside, so until I got the car chilled with the very cold A/C, my legs would tend to get sweaty and stick to the seats. That’s not a design flaw, obviously…it just is what it is. It’s leather. So I’m not sure that’s even a con. Hmm. Oh, speaking of the seats, there are two features I just have to point out… 

"Mazda3 Powered Seats"

That might not look like a big deal but, let me tell you, the 8-way power driver’s seat? Simply a delight. There is just NO way you cannot be comfortable in these seats. As I said, the seats themselves are comfortable and roomy, but they glide back and forth and up and down and all around (OK, not all around, but you get the idea) at the slight touch of a button. Love it. Then there’s…this:

"Mazda3 Heated Seats"

Heated. Seats.

Heated seats. That might not blow your hair back, but it sure does it for me. I’m cold, all the time. Like I have a comforter on my bed in August cold (true story). So, heated seats in a car? Simply marvelous.

Speaking of blowing your hair back, the Mazda3 is one quick little car. It has a 2.0L engine and 155 horsepower. It’s as smooth as glass, folks. I absolutely loved driving this car.

Let’s see. What else, what else…oh, the steering wheel (leather-wrapped, mind you) is genius. It features audio, cruise, and Bluetooth controls right at your fingertips, an excellent safety feature and convenient. But it’s not overwhelming at all, which is just as important.

"Mazda3 Steering Wheel Controls"

I also love the layout of the dash, which is pretty high-tech. It features, well, all this…

"Mazda3 Dashboard"

Now, wait til you hear this. For the sake of full disclosure, I do not drive a stick. Like cannot drive a stick. I don’t know why, so don’t ask…and don’t judge me. It is what it is. However, the Mazda3 has a 6-speed sport automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Like such:

"Mazda3 Manual Shift Mode"

Funny story: I didn’t realize this feature was present (or even existed, for that matter), and when I took it out for a spin for the first time. After all, I’m not one to read instructions…because I don’t need no stinking instructions! So, wouldn’t you know it, I put it into manual mode and basically took a crash course (don’t worry, I didn’t actually crash) in how to drive a car with a manual transmission. I only drove around the block, so it’s not like this was a major calamity or anything…plus I like to think of myself as somewhat intelligent and quick-thinking, so I figured it out in no time.

And…I loved it! In fact, I enjoyed driving stick so much (no clutch, of course), that I found myself driving manual about half the time I was behind the wheel! The old adage is correct…you truly are more in control with a manual transmission. At least, it feels as though you are. But, I digress. The bottom line is: This feature is simply fabulous. Love, love, love it!

Moving on…I loved the in-dash navigation system to pieces. When you start the car, you are greeted with this, which is pretty cool:

"Mazda3 In Dash Navigation System"

And, as you can see, you can change the system’s language to Spanish or French. Then there’s this…

"Mazda3 Navigation System"

The navigation system is simply amazing. But moving on…the Mazda3 also has a 265-watt Bose Centerpoint 10-Speaker Surround Audio System. This is a stereo system that just rocks. It also rocks Sirius XM satellite, if that’s your thing. It’s totally my thing.

I should also mention that roominess of the front seat. I am 5’8″ and W is 6’2″, and we had plenty of room — including leg room — in the Mazda3. The backseat was not quite as spacious, but that was at least partially due to how far back the front seats were.

"Mazda3 Backseat"

As you can see, it also has an armrest with two cupholders, which is a great feature…especially since this is more of a “grown-up” car. That’s how I view it, anyway. Another great feature? It’s a 60/40 split rear fold-down. Which makes the already ample trunk even more accommodating…

"Mazda3 Trunk Space"

I don’t think that I could fill this trunk even if I put in a week’s worth of groceries. To be honest, I think I could easily get two weeks’ worth of groceries in the trunk. Let’s just say it’s big. We have other amazing Mazda3 features to discuss.

There is so much that I just loved…the moonroof, the perimeter alarm (nice touch!), and the rain-sensing windshield wipers. Yes, rain-sensing windshield wipers. Yes, they’re amazing. Oh, oh, oh! The Blind Spot Monitoring System! Are you kidding me? Why doesn’t every car have this? It’s simply brilliant! I also love this:

"Mazda3 MP3 Compatible"

Ya know, for your mp3 player? That’s a look inside the front console, which features a 12V power outlet. My only real issue with the Mazda3 is that the door panels aren’t super roomy, nor is the glovebox. To be fair, I think the only reason this is an issue is because I tend to accumulate so much “stuff,” that I just need a lot of space.

"Mazda3 Glovebox"

It would be a great disservice to the Mazda3 to not mention its fuel efficiency or its safety features, so without further adieu….the EPA fuel economy estimates for this car are 28 mpg City and 40 mpg Highway. That’s fantastic! As far as its environmental performance, it scores a 9 (with 10 being the cleanest) on both the Global Warming Score and the Smog Score. The Government Safety Ratings are as follows:

  • 5 stars (the highest possible) for driver safety in a frontal crash
  • 4 stars for passenger safety in a frontal crash
  • 4 stars for front seat safety in a side crash
  • 2 stars for rear seat safety in a side crash
  • 4 stars for risk of rollover in a single-vehicle crash

Needless to say, the 2012 Mazda3 was named a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"2012 Mazda3"

The Mazda3 comes with a 36-month/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty as well as a 60-month/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. You also get 24-hour Roadside Assistance and Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer, both of which are dandy little features, should you ever need them. It also has a Remote Keyless Entry System with Panic Mode and Trunk Release.

"Mazda3 Remote Keyless Entry"

In case you’re still wondering, I love this car. It provides comfort, control, speed, and all the features you could ask for (and possibly even more!)

Zoom zoom, folks….zoom zoom.

"Mazda Zoom Zoom"

The Mazda3 4-Door starts at $15,200.

I was not compensated for writing this review. A big thank you to Mazda for allowing me to test drive this spectacular Mazda3 for a week. My opinions are 100% honest and 100% mine.

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  1. Joshua Hicks says

    Great review! You have an excellent way of making the vehicle reviews you do entertaining, personal, and yet still very informative!

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