Review and Test Drive: 2020 Mazda Mazda3

By Jonathan Spira on 12 August 2020
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Mazdas are always welcome guests in our fleet.  No sooner did we turn in a Soul Red Crystal Mazda6 than a Polymetal Gray Metallic Mazda3 appeared in our driveway.

Several years ago we looked at the Mazda3, which was the third generation of the successful compact line that made its debut in 2003.  The fourth gen Mazda3 sedan and hatchback were both unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show and appeared in dealer showrooms in early 2019.

As I’ve noted in other recent Mazda reviews, all of the Mazdas we’ve driven had a clear form of DNA that made them a Mazda.  It’s hard to instill a particular set of attributes – a car’s soul if you would – across a range of cars. Some automakers, most notably BMW, do it well. As for others, in some cases you’d think each car model came from a completely different parent.

More so than ever, the cars have a familial look to them, thanks to Mazda’s Kodo design language, first introduced on the Shinari concept car in 2010. Kodo is something the automaker says is intended to serve as an expression of natural energy. Mazda’s head of design, Ikuo Maeda, said at its debut that Kodo was intended to give the small carmaker’s cars “a new sense of presence and purpose.”


Open the door and you find the Japanese equivalent of Scandinavian minimalism.  Rich, soft materials abound.  A glance at the dash reveals a large (8.8”) central display placed in a manner that recalls the interior design of a certain Bavarian automaker.

The comfortable leather-trimmed sports seats have eight-way adjustment on the driver’s side with a two-position memory, and the cabin features numerous amenities including a generously sized sliding moonroof, and two USB audio inputs that don’t charge devices. While I’m always wary of ordering red leather seats, these were more elegant maroon than red and the color tastefully continued onto the top of the dashboard and the door panels.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the 2020 Mazda3

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