I was provided with a week long test drive of the Mazda 3s Grand Touring 5-door featured in this post, courtesy of DriveShop. This post has not been monetarily compensated. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own.
I had the opportunity to drive the 2016 Mazda3s Grand Touring 5-door for the past week. Or, you could say I had an opportunity to go “zoom zoom”. The Mazda3s is a sporty looking car. The 5-door hatchback model that I drove was Soul Red Metallic with an almond interior.
The 2016 Mazda3 has been named a Car and Driver “10Best” Three Years in a Row. It earned an overall 5-Star safety rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and scored very well in all crash tests. The Mazda 3s Grand Touring has a good number of safety features, including Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Hill Launch Assist, ABS with EBD & Brake Assist, Advanced Dual Front Air Bags, Front Side-Impact Air Bags, and Front & Rear Side Air Curtains.
Under the hood I found a 184 hosepower Skyactiv 2.5l DOHC 4-cylinder engine. Remember how hatchbacks used to look very straight or angular in the back? Say good bye to harsh angles because they are no more. The back of the Mazda 3s is just like the rest of the car – very streamlined. I always wonder how gas mileage will be impacted when I can get some nice speed out of a car. No need to worry about gas mileage in the 3s, with one tank being good for about 350 miles. The vehicle is rated for 31 mpg combined (or 27 city and 37 highway) and has an estimated annual fuel cost of $1,450.
Getting into the car I found that there was ample head, stomach and leg room in the front compartment.The sporty two-tone seats were very attractive, although I personally would never get light-colored seats. The heated front seat warmed up quickly, easing some discomfort I had in my back after a particularly long day. (That’s why heated seats are great year round, by the way.) The steering wheel, shifter and brake handle were all wrapped in leather.
The 3s I drove was loaded with technology. Some controls can be accessed from the steering wheel, others from the 7-inch touchscreen color display located in the infotainment system. The system lets the driver chose their entertainment from a variety of sources including AM/FM, CD, SiriusXM satellite, and a couple of apps such as Pandora.
Instead of a touchscreen, the Mazda 3s I drove featured a knob with a button built in, which made it really easy to navigate both menus and the navigation keyboard. The integrated navigation, communication and entertainment modules are all very easy to use. Connecting my phone to bluetooth only took the press of two buttons. Navigation was very intuitive, making it easier to input your destination. Plus, the navigation system can also help you find local points of interest as well as local hospitals and police.
The feature that I found the most fascinating was the Active Driving Display. This little “screen” lives inside a recessed well in the dashboard. While the car is moving it unfolds itself to create a small clear screen. While in motion, the driver can see both the speed they are going as well as the next steps in navigation. You can calibrate the text to suit your height within the controls. It’s very futuristic. It made me think of holograms because it doesn’t intrude with your line of sight and it just pops up out of nowhere. It’s really neat!
The car can technically hold five people but I would say that in my opinion that would only work if three of them were children. Three grown teens or full-size adults in the 60/40 split back seat just doesn’t work, particularly if either of the two people up front are tall. I tried. As far as the seating in the back goes, it’s comfortable. My youngest is 16 and on the very small side and he fit back there very comfortably. My oldest is 6 foot tall and 20 and he felt a bit cramped. The middle of the back seat has an arm rest with a built in cup holder that folds down.
Two things I did notice about the back seat that I didn’t love. There was no charging port. And more importantly, there was no vent for heat or air. I have found that vehicles get too warm when they are full if there is no vent.
Storage in the back of the 3s is decent. It’s not a full size vehicle, so you shouldn’t be surprised that it can’t hold things the size of coffins. It can easily manage a day’s haul from the grocery store or mall, or a couple of suitcases or even a full-size baby carriage. And if you need to transport something larger you can fold down one or both pieces of the back seat.
I was quite pleased with the performance of the 3s. The hatchback really does go zoom zoom! The 6-speed automatic transmission handled well on straight, curvy and hilly roads. The car got up to speed pretty quickly and drove nicely at higher speeds of 60-75 mph. There was a minimal amount of road noise, giving me the opportunity to really enjoy the Bose sound system.
This 2016 Mazda 3s Grand Touring 5-door has an MSRP of $26,495, as I drove it $30,270. The vehicle comes with a 60 month/60,000 mile Powertrain and 36 month/36,000 mile Bumper to Bumper warranty, as well as 24-Hour Roadside Assistance. The car would be a good choice for singles, couples, commuters and some families.