Mazda 3 a Premium Subcompact

CHATHAM, Mass. – I am happy whenever I get the chance to review a Mazda, so when a fresh subcompact 2024 Mazda 3 Hatchback Turbo Premium Plus arrived prior to a road trip to Maine, I was thrilled.

The pint-sized five-door provided more than enough space for my partner and my stuff for the 60-hour sojourn, while the comprehensive array of equipment provided outstanding comfort and entertainment.

New for 2024 are gloss-black aerodynamic rear roof spoiler and front air dam. The advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), which Mazda calls i-Activesense, are upgraded with the addition of Rear Direction Base Safety which includes smart brake support-reverse and smart brake support-rear crossing traffic.

Powertrain provides the zoom, zoom

The Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo engine provides the go for several of Mazda’s models including the Mazda 3 Turbo Hatchback. This 2.5-liter, four-cylinder twin-scroll turbocharged engine pumps out a maximum of 256 horsepower and 320 pounds feet of torque (when using 93-octane premium gasoline; fill the tank with 87-octane regular lowers the output to a still robust 227 hp and 310 lbs.-ft.).

This power translates, according to Car and Driver, into a subcompact hatchback which can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds.

I felt this power whenever I needed to pass slow-moving traffic on I-95 or make a quick maneuver around congestion in downtown Portland, Maine. But no matter how hard I pushed the Mazda 3 Turbo, the fuel economy was an impressive 30.2 miles per gallon, bettering the federal Environmental Protection Agency rating of 26 mpg in overall operation (23 urban, 31 highway).

A six-speed automatic transmission, with steering-column-mounted paddle shifters, backs up the Skyactiv engine and the i-Activ all-wheel drive (AWD) puts the power to the wheels which need it the most.

Chassis enhances overall performance

This is a subcompact which wants to be a sports car, a Mazda trait. The chassis pieces are straight-forward with the company’s engineers doing their magic on the tuning.

The hatchback’s platform consists of a well-tuned MacPherson-type strut front suspension with stabilizer bar and a well-located torsion-beam rear suspension. Black metallic 18x7J alloy wheels wearing P215/45R18 all-season tires as well as housing the power-assisted, anti-lock braking (ABS) system’s four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated rotors in the front, solid ones in the rear).

Aiding these hardware pieces are dynamic-stability control, traction control and SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS: G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) to enhance the vehicle’s handling characteristics.

The GVC Plus detects the driver’s steering operation (during a turn), then calculates optimal engine torque which it communicates with the engine. The result: the Mazda3 Turbo hatch drives as if it anticipates your every move.

This is a car which handles as well as it accelerates, providing an overall very satisfying driving experience.

The ADAS list is long

The i-Activesense ADAS suite is comprehensive. In addition to the Rear Direction Base Safety features, the roster includes Mazda Radar Cruise Control with stop and go function; Smart Brake Support; Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist; Automatic High Beam Control; Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert; Traffic Jam Assist; 360º Surround-View Monitor, and front and rear parking sensors.

A cozy, well-equipped interior

The interior of the 2024 Mazda 3 Hatchback Turbo Premium Plus, as the name indicates, comes with a cabin filled with premium features, amenities and conveniences.

Brick-red leather covers the five seating surfaces, the fronts featuring three-level heating (the driver’s is also power adjustable with two-person memory). The leather-wrapped steering wheel also has heating for cold winter days, but during my week, I was glad the two-zone automatic climate control system’s air conditioning was up to the task of combatting the summer heat and humidity I encountered.

A 10.25-inch dash-mounted display provides the heart of the infotainment system. Controlling the system is a large console-mounted rotary knob, flanked by a smaller one (audio volume) and buttons (to bring up standard navigation, audio or home screens as well as one to go back one screen).

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a 12-speaker Bose® Premium Audio system are part of the Premium Plus package.

Also, part of the top-of-the range package is Mazda’s Active Display, a comprehensive heads-up display. The customizable windshield display contents can include vehicle speed, posted speed limit, road-sign, blind-spot warnings, lane-departure warnings, front-collision warnings, navigation information and audio information).

A lot of car for today’s drive

The 2024 Mazda 3 Hatchback Turbo Premium Package Plus remains a favorite and a solid subcompact premium value. It delivers a nice balance of performance and efficiency, including both fuel efficiency and value with a sub-$39.000 all-inclusive price.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.