The Mazda3 may be the automaker’s smallest car, but that doesn’t mean it’s missing out on the driving dynamics the automaker is known for. Available as both a hatchback and a sedan, it kicks off at under $21k (plus destination) and looks like it should cost significantly more. Regular models get a 2.0-liter engine and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Mazda keeps delivering for enthusiasts, with the option of a manual transmission if you prefer. There’s also the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo, dropping the 2.5-liter turbocharged gas engine under the hood for a big uptick in power. Figure on 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, as long as you pump it with 93 octane fuel.
AWD in the Turbo is standard, as is a high level of standard kit inside, and a fairly restrained exterior styling treatment. It might not look like a hooligan, but from behind the wheel there’s a whole lot to like, particularly since you don’t sacrifice practicality in the process.
2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo: