Mazda3 Carbon Edition: Every Feature You Get Standard (And Does It Have AWD?)

The fourth-generation Mazda3 went into production in 2019, Mazda's vision of a compact family car that didn't sacrifice driving enthusiasm along the way. The Mazda3 Carbon Edition, however, is a much more recent addition to the line-up. Announced in late 2021, and joining the model year 2022 Mazda3, it picked up where similar trims of the Mazda 6, CX-5, and CX-9 left off.

Unlike a limited-edition trim, the Carbon Edition has become a mainstay of the Mazda3 range. Most noticeable is its Polymetal Gray Metallic paint job, the color coming as standard where usually it would be a $395 option on other Mazda3 trims. Matching black metallic wheels are standard, too.

While the looks might suggest otherwise, the Mazda3 2.5 S Carbon Edition doesn't actually get any more power than other cars with Mazda's base engine. It's the familiar 2.5-liter naturally aspirated SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder, with 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, combined with a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing for the 2023 Mazda3 2.5 S Carbon Edition kicks off at $28,200 (plus $1,065 destination).

A solid set of standard features (with some omissions)

All Mazda3 hatchbacks get LED lights front and rear, rain-sensing wipers, folding power side mirrors, a rear roof spoiler, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and keyless entry. There's also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on an 8.8-inch infotainment display, two USB inputs, HD radio, and a 7-inch gauge cluster display. The base 2.5 S trim has 16-inch alloy wheels; all other trims have 18-inch wheels.

The Carbon Edition falls in the middle of the Mazda3 trims, better-equipped than many, but lacking the full array of features that some more expensive versions of the hatchback deliver. You don't get the Signature headlamps of pricier trims, but you do get contrasting black side mirrors rather than body-colored, plus a power sliding moonroof. Inside, there's dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats, with 8-way power adjustment for the driver.

The audio gets an upgrade, with a 12-speaker Bose setup replacing the 8-speaker Mazda-branded system on lower trims. The steering wheel and gear selector are leather-wrapped, and the sports seats get red leather trim. However, features like SiriusXM, navigation, paddle shifters, a head-up display, and a heated steering wheel are reserved for Mazda's more expensive trims.

All-wheel drive is an option on select Mazda3 trims

While not everybody needs all-wheel drive (AWD) in their compact hatchback, there's no denying that the added traction can be a big selling point, particularly in cold weather states where snow and ice are a seasonal challenge. The Mazda3 doesn't come with AWD as standard, and the most affordable trims — the 2.5 S, 2.5 S Select, and 2.5 S Preferred — are all front-wheel drive. However, the Mazda3 2.5 S Carbon Edition is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions.

You'll spend $1,400 to add AWD, and it's worth noting that there's a slight impact on the car's overall fuel economy. The front-wheel drive version of the Mazda3 is rated for 26 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. The all-wheel drive version sees the highway rating drop to 33 mpg, and the combined rating to 29 mpg.

AWD is also available on the Mazda3 2.5 S Premium, though only on cars with the automatic transmission. Opt for the 6-speed manual, and that's front-wheel drive only. Both the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo and the 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus — each of which come with the automaker's excellent turbocharged 2.5-liter engine and an automatic transmission — are all-wheel drive by default, with no front-wheel drive option.