Mazda has a sure-fire contender in the hot hatch market with its 2022 3 Hatch Turbo. This Premium Plus Edition test model we had is a blast to drive, handles well and has the looks to boot. It has more horsepower than some of its German competition and won’t set you back nearly as much in the pocket book.
Our test model was in the slick-looking polymetal gray metallic paint with a sharp red interior.
Under the hood of this Mazda 3 Hatch Turbo we find a potent 2.5-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that’s good for 250 horsepower (on 93 octane) at 5,000 rpm and up to 320 lb-ft of torque (on 93 octane) at 2,500 rpm — combine that with a curb weight of a mere 3,383 lbs, it’s a recipe for a car that really scoots well. Look for 0-60 times around 6 seconds and a limited top speed of 130 miles per hour.
Power is delivered to all four wheels by way of a slick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. You can expect to see its fuel economy range at 23 miles per gallon around town and up to 31 on the highway.
The 18-inch black alloy wheels look sharp and are a great contrast to the gray paint color.. Mazda equips it with P215/45/R18 all-season tires. 4-wheel disc brakes are standard.
While the interior and infotainment system are starting to look a bit dated, it’s still stylish enough for this market segment and its price. Call me old-school but in a day of digital gauge clusters, it’s a bit refreshing to see actual analog gauges.
For some reason, Mazda is still tied to Bose for its audio systems and that’s rather unfortunate, you’ll find far superior-audio fidelity from this car’s competitors that use either JBL or Harman Kardon. The audio playback is good and features Bose’ centerpoint speaker for better staging, however, it lacks the punch and clarity we’d like to have in this car.
Driver aids in this Premium Plus edition include adaptive cruise control, auto high-beams, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert with smart braking, and frontal collision alert with smart braking.
Mazda has made use of some high quality materials inside — most every surface is soft to the touch and there’s a simplistic feel to it that’s rather refreshing that still feels a bit up-scale. The leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob help add to the more upscale look and feel.
The front seats are comfortable, however, only the driver’s seat has a memory feature and lumbar support. Both are heated. We’d love to see Mazda show the front passenger some more lovin’ in future models.
There’s a great deal of legroom and headroom for rear passengers, as long as you’re not sitting in the middle. Both of the main rear seats are roomy and comfortable enough for most adults on shorter excursions or even moderately longer trips. Additionally, the steering wheel is also heated.
In the safety department, there are a ton of features. Including, front side-impact airbags, front and rear side curtains, traction control, ABS, dynamic stability control, smart braking and a tire pressure monitoring system.
On the road, in day to day driving, is there the Mazda 3 Hatch Turbo really shines. It feels so adept on the road it’s as if it’s beckoning the driver to push it harder. The engine unleashed a nice little growl, the tires hook-up great on dry asphalt and the lack of extreme body roll help instill a lot of driver confidence.
At the end of the day, Mazda has really put together a very attractive, more potent and more value than the competition so if you’re in the market for a hot hatch, you absolutely owe it to yourself to book a test-drive.
There is a standard 5-year / 60,000 mile warranty on the powertrain and a 3-year / 36,000 mile warranty bumper to bumper. Pricing for the 3 Hatch Turbo starts around $32k but ours optioned out came out to $35,810.