2017 Mazda Mazda3 Expert Review

4.5 Overall Score
Performance 4.6 Comfort 4.3 Styling 4.6 Value 4.4

Editor's Overview

The 2017 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback break the mold for compact cars and set new standards for the segment. Fuel-efficient and a blast to drive, the Mazda3 is a reasonably priced small car filled with high-end features, a handsome interior and offers an advanced set of safety and driver-assist features more commonly found on high-end luxury cars.

You'll Like The 2017 Mazda Mazda3 If...

The 2017 Mazda3 compact sedan is the kind of car that satisfies many needs. It can be a frugal economy car, yet still satisfy the most demanding enthusiast. A sleek exterior is matched by a handsome interior, with plenty of cutting-edge safety and convenience features from which to choose.

You May Not Like The 2017 Mazda Mazda3 If...

Mazda’s Mazda3 for 2017 isn’t big on rear-seat legroom, at least not when compared to the Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra or Toyota Corolla. Those seeking AWD will have to look to the CX-3 crossover SUV, or a Subaru such as the Crosstrek or Impreza.

What's New

For 2017, the Mazda3 sees some shuffling of features, trim names and packaging, as well as a modest exterior and interior makeover. G-Vectoring control is made standard, as is an electronic parking brake, while cars equipped with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv engine and automatic transmission receive a Sport Mode function.

Interior Features

The Mazda3's cabin isn't the roomiest in the segment, but it's among the best in layout. The well-shaped front seats keep driver and passenger snug. All models now feature Mazda Connect -- a dash-mounted 7-inch touch-screen display and control dial between the front seats. Other dials and buttons for climate and audio are also intuitive and easy to use. Rear-seat legroom is on the low side, but there’s still room for two average-size adults, three in a pinch. All models have 60/40-split-folding rear seats for further versatility. Mazda3 hatchbacks boast over 47 cubic feet of room with seats folded.

Exterior Features

Whether as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, the 2017 Mazda3 has knockout styling. The versatile Mazda3 hatchback is noteworthy for a design that should win over those who usually don't equate hatchbacks with beauty. Up front, the Mazda3 for 2017 is revised slightly, with a more streamlined grille and headlight treatment, new side-mirror design and, on Touring and Grand Touring models, new 18-inch wheels. The hatchback receives revised styling at the rear, as well. The sedan features a deep trunk with a wide-opening lid, while the 5-door hatchback’s liftback gate makes it easier to load long or bulky items.

Driving Impressions

Thanks to Mazda’s innovative Skyactiv powertrain and chassis design, the 2017 Mazda3 is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient. You’ll have to rev the engine high to get the most from its limited power, but the Mazda3’s precise steering, finely honed suspension and strong brakes assure a good time once up to speed. Unlike the VW GTI or Ford Focus ST, the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback don’t sacrifice a smooth, comfortable ride at the altar of great handling. The 6-speed manual is one of the best in the industry and is matched in efficiency and fun by the 6-speed automatic with manual mode. The Touring 2.5 and Grand Touring’s 2.5-liter engine offers a bit more power with only a few miles-per-gallon sacrifice at the pump. Although we understand why everyone is moving to an electronic parking brake, this is one car we’d prefer keep the manual pull-handle type.

Pricing Notes

The 2017 Mazda3 Sport compact sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting right around $18,700, while the Mazda3 Sport hatchback starts just under $20,000. These starting prices are higher than a base Toyota Corolla and Kia Forte, but remain in line with the Honda Civic. The 2017 Mazda3 Grand Touring sedan pushes the price to $24,000, with the 5-door adding another $750 to the bottom line. A fully loaded Grand Touring will come up just shy of the $30,000 mark. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Mazda3. We predict the Mazda3 will hold its value well in coming years, but not quite match that of the Subaru Impreza, Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.

Notable Equipment

Standard features for the entry-level 2017 Mazda3 Sport include electronic parking brake, the Mazda Connect infotainment system with 7-inch screen, 6-speaker AM/FM/HD Radio audio with USB input and Bluetooth phone pairing and audio streaming, rearview camera, push-button start and cruise control. If you go one trim higher, the Mazda3 Touring adds features such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, Smart City Brake Support, 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, halogen fog lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and Leatherette seating. Grand Touring models bring a power sunroof, Bose audio, head-up display and leather seating.

Notable Options

The Sport sedan’s Preferred Equipment package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers and more. The Touring’s Popular Equipment package brings the Bose 9-speaker audio system, a rear spoiler, shark-fin antenna and a power moonroof. Touring and Grand Touring trims can be equipped with the iActivsense Safety suite (see Favorite Features), while the Grand Touring offers the i-Eloop regenerative-braking system (automatic-equipped models only) and the Premium Equipment package that adds self-leveling HID headlights, adaptive front lighting, heated steering wheel and navigation.

Favorite Features


A large color LCD screen permanently affixed to the dash pad displays controls for the phone, audio, apps and optional navigation. Control is managed via an easy-to-reach-and-operate rotary knob on the lower console, just like some of the finest luxury brands, and it comes standard.


The 2017 Mazda3 includes a suite of advanced safety options including high-beam control, lane-departure warning system, lane-keep assist, Mazda radar cruise control with Smart Brake Support and Traffic Sign Recognition. Better yet, Mazda offers these systems with either the manual or automatic transmission.

Under the Hood

The 2017 Mazda3 offers two engine choices, both with a Skyactiv pedigree. The Sport and Touring use a 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes a healthy 155 horsepower. The 2.5-liter found in the 5-door Touring and both model Grand Touring variants, cranks out 184 horsepower. While the 2.0-liter is a capable performer, it trades a measure of enthusiasm for better fuel-economy numbers -- 37-mpg highway and 28-mpg city with the 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5-liter won’t stretch a gallon of gasoline quite as far, but notably amps up the car’s sporting character. Manual-transmission lovers will love the fact that Mazda offers an excellent one in both the sedan and hatchback, and with both engines. All Mazda3 models are front-wheel drive.

2.0-liter inline-4

155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

150 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/37 mpg (manual), 28/37 mpg (automatic)

2.5-liter inline-4

184 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm

185 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy:

Sedan: 25/34 mpg (manual), 27/36 mpg (automatic), 28/37 mpg (automatic w/i-Eloop)

Hatchback: 25/33 mpg (manual), 26/35 mpg (automatic), 27/36 mpg (automatic w/i-Eloop) Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

Editors' Notes

The 2017 Mazda3 breaks the mold for compact cars and sets new standards for the segment. Fuel-efficient and a blast to drive, the Mazda3 is a reasonably priced small car filled with high-end features, a handsome interior and offers an advanced set of safety and driver-assist features usually associated with high-end luxury cars. With better handling than a Toyota Corolla and sleeker styling than a VW Golf, the 2017 Mazda3 covers a lot of different bases. On the flip side, the Corolla and Hyundai Elantra have more interior room, the Honda Civic gets better gas mileage while the VW GTI offers more power. Need better traction in winter? The Subaru Impreza comes with standard all-wheel drive (AWD).

Road Test Video Reviews

2017 Mazda Mazda3 Owner Reviews

130 Reviews
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The dual temp control is nice because you can set it to what you like.

2017 Mazda Mazda3

I have had this car for a little over a year and put about 5000 miles on the car and have had no issues with it. The car performs well under normal conditions. Although I have found out that since the car is lower to the ground than the previous cars I have owned before (SUV) I noticed in heavy rain hydroplaning is pretty common. In snow my car handles well and haven't noticed any unusual problems. The comfort in my car is good I have noticed that if I am driving for more than 2 hours without breaks my butt does get a little sore. I love my heated seats, GPS, dual temperature control. I also love that my car has the controls on the steering wheel so I do not have to take my eyes off the road to change the station on the radio and of course when the radio gets too repetitive I can turn on Bluetooth and listen to the music off of my phone. Another amazing feature that this car has is hands free talk, when people call me when I am driving it comes up on the screen in the car and I can use the control knob in the center council to answer the call and drive legally. Some states you cannot talk on the phone and drive but this allows me too because I will have both of my hands still on the wheel. Also on my navigation it tells me where the nearest gas stations and restaurants are and I use that a lot while I travel back and forth to home. Overall I love my car and wouldn't want to trade it in anytime soon it has for sure been my best car.

- Rachel M

I named it Derek because I am often annoyed by it.

2017 Mazda Mazda3

Seat is not very comfortable (neck support is awkward). Noisy cabin when going above 55. Sounds aggressive when I step on the gas so some idiot tries to race me every other day. I think anyone above 5'6 would fit in tight in driver's seat. I have the grand touring model so nice sound quality and does have decent trunk space. Interior is good. Hard to find a nicer interior at this price point. The door handle interior area does pick up smudges and scratches. I haven't even taken off the clear plastic off around the drive stick to prevent scratches. Some of the chrome finishes will help randomly blind you when the sun hits it (worst idea). I feel the car tends to overheat or it could be due to how I drive. Even a year in, there's an intermittent burning smell that cannot be from the engine sealant to protect during shipping as customer svc told me. Also, auto setting for headlights always utilizes high beams. The headlights only is weak. Auto will turn both on blinding everyone and causing road rage from other drivers.

- Grace H

Mazda3 is a great economical car with nice mpg, and lots of features.

2017 Mazda Mazda3 Grand Touring

I love my car, although I do wish that it was awd (the new 2019 mazda3 is awd!). Also, the sensors are sometimes wonky, and will turn on randomly when it is very cold, or very sunny, and the automatic brights will turn on. The performance is great, it is zippy when it needs to be, and gets great gas mileage (I can usually go close to 400mi on one tank of gas). The seats are comfortable. This car comes with a Bose sound system, backup cam, and gps, which has been a lifesaver as I live in an area that does not have reliable cell service, so navigating without a satellite gps can be tough if I do not know where I am going. Also, one small downside, the car has large blind spots, luckily, the mirrors are equipped with lane assist, which alert me if a car is in my blind spot. Very helpful!

- Ai S

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