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Weeklong Road Test: 2010 Mazda3 Is A Friend To All Families


2010 Mazda3

2010 Mazda3

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Although there is a less expensive four-door version of the 2010 Mazda3 that makes a sound buy as a first new car, there is just something about the outright utility and family friendly style of the Mazda3 five-door hatchback that makes it truly lovable. Starting at just $20,290 very well equipped, the Mazda3 five-door not only makes sense as a family hauler for older grandparents, couples with young children or people with a beloved canine companion but it also looks cool enough for the trendiest single urbanites.

Not many cars can pull of being able to wear that many hats but our 2010 Mazda3 Grand Touring sure manages it. The 2010 Mazda3 also features an irresistibly endearing happy face when viewed from the front and is one of the few vehicles on the market today with wide enough door apertures to help older (or just less coordinated) drivers get in and out. Add in one SUV rivaling 17 cubic foot cargo hold and you have the recipe for a vehicle that is without question the smartest budget family car on the market today.

Styling

Just think of the 2010 Mazda3 5-door as a Miata clothed in a more practical wrapper and you have a good idea of how good this car is. The exterior of the 2010 Mazda3 five-door hatchback is so perfectly proportioned it makes you wonder how a competitor like Subaru managed to make such a visual mess of the five door Impreza. The exterior design of the Mazda3 5-door looks good from every angle and it is easy to see why this Japanese manufacturer sells so many of these inherently likable sporty hatchbacks.

The interior of the 2010 Mazda3 five-door benefits from having just undergone a major redesign as the look is very modern and the material choices are luxury-car like in their quality. Our test vehicle was a fully loaded $25,490 Grand Touring model which boasted features like 10-speaker Bose audio, a navigation system, push button start, keyless-entry, power moonroof, 6-disc CD changer, a five speed automatic and some of the finest quality leather this side of $30,000.

But even if you don’t option you Mazda3 five-door to the gills, the soundness of the basic interior design package is still present. The steering wheel is perfectly sized and feels gloriously tactile in your hands. There are also controls for the navigation system, stereo, cruise control and standard Bluetooth on the steering wheel so you never need take your eyes off the road. But should you take a gander at the modernist-look and feel of the dashboard you will no doubt be impressed by its solidity, style and ease of use.

Performance

Mazda makes some of the world’s best four cylinder engines (where do you think they got Zoom-Zoom from?) and the 2.5 liter 167 horsepower/168 lb-feet of torque unit in the 2010 Mazda3s five-door is no exception. Remarkably smooth and quiet even when pushed to the rev-line, the Mazda always has ample power for passing situations even when equipped with the five-speed automatic.

During a week of test driving our Mazda3’s automatic transmission always shifted smoothly and downshifted at the appropriate times when more power was needed. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission with the 2010 Mazda3 five-door and if you can handle a third pedal Mazda does make some of the world’s best stick shifts. But you expect nothing less from a company whose tag-line is Zoom-Zoom.

Quality and Economy

This is one inexpensive to buy family hatchback that well and truly feels premium inside and out. It is sort of like the equivalent of a really practical Mini Cooper in terms of how fun it is to drive and the quality of materials that have been chosen. All of the doors close with that reassuring thud that buyers seem to love and the Mazda3 routinely ranks as one of the most reliable economy cars on the market today.

The 2010 Mazda3 five-door gets 22 miles city and 29 miles highway according to the EPA. During the test our 2010 Mazda3 returned an impressive average of 25 miles per gallon. Given the power on the hand and the size of the engine the Mazda3 five-door really is an economical car.


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