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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
This is a real sedan, not a stripped-down economy car.
Edmunds' Inside Line
a plethora of options that could keep even the most jaded luxury refugee pleased
The navigation system is controlled by buttons on the steering wheel, which is less convenient than a touch screen.
you basically have a mini Mazda 6 for about $26,000
Car and Driver
The 2012 Mazda3 satisfies on several different levels. On the base SV and Sport models, you get a lot for the money. Touring models are probably the heart of the market, including most popular features (including, in 3i form, the new fuel-saving Skyactiv engine and transmission improvements), while Grand Touring cars are the "leather and navi" choices, for those who want more of a premium, loaded feel.
The base Mazda3 i SV sedan starts at just $15,200; it's the entry model, but includes air conditioning, a CD player, and quite a bit more than a base Civic, for example. You'll still need to step up to the Grand Touring model in order to get the Tech Package, which comes with rain-sensing wipers, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, and LED combination taillamps—and now includes blind-spot monitoring—and you can potentially load a Mazda3 into the $26k range.
Tech-savvy shoppers will be kept happy with Bluetooth standard on most models, along with steering-wheel audio and phone controls. We also recommend the available, bassy Bose Centerpoint audio system, which comes with Sirius satellite radio. However the only disappointment with either of the sound-system setups is the very basic display that can only accommodate a few characters for audio information.
The standalone options list is otherwise quite slim but includes Sirius satellite radio, an interior lighting kit, and fog lamps; i Touring models can be optioned up with a moonroof and Bose audio. Overall, Mazda expects the 2012 Mazda3 i Touring model to be the most popular in the lineup, totaling $19,245 with the manual transmission (including destination) and just over $20k with the automatic.
In Touring or Grand Touring trims, the 2012 Mazda3 can be had with some premium-car tech features; but it's surprisingly well equipped as a $16k basic commuter.