2013 Mazda 3 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Feb 27, 2013
  • Larger screen for navigation system and USB port added to i Sport trim for 2013
  • SKYACTIV-G powertrain more readily available
  • More standard features on base model
  • Upgraded safety features for 2013
  • Available as sedan or hatchback


Now in its second generation, Mazda's MAZDA3 is available as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback; both seat five. Mazda's proprietary SkyActiv powertrain was introduced to the upper trim levels of the MAZDA3 in the 2012 model year and is now standard on all but the base model. The MAZDA3 is generally regarded as an economically priced compact sport sedan, and its main competitors include the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, and Volkswagen Golf. The MAZDA3 is available in i SV, i Sport, i Touring, i Grand Touring, s Touring, s Grand Touring, and the powerful MAZDASPEED3 trim levels. Models with Touring trim are available as hatchbacks.

Exterior Features

The base model has a standard 5-speed manual transmission (5-speed automatic transmission is optional) and16-inch steel wheels. Higher trim levels add features such as upgraded wheels, 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, voice command system, emergency notification, remote keyless entry, power locks, upgraded wheels, power moonroof, halogen fog lights, rear spoiler, and bi-xenon headlights. Colors include White, Silver, Medium Gray, Darker Gray, Black, Iindigo, and Dark Red.

Interior Features

Standard interior features on the base trim include air conditioning, power windows, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, sound system with AM/FM radio, CD player, and MP3 decoder. The i Sport adds cruise control and a USB port, while the i Touring trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition, push-button start, 6-speaker audio, Bluetooth capability, rear-seat center armrest with cup holders, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The i Touring trim adds leather upholstery, illuminated mirrors, as well as other features. The MAZDASPEED3 features black leather upholstery. The MAZDA3 sedan has 11.8 cu. ft. of trunk space. The hatchback has 17 cu. ft. behind the seats and 42.8 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded.

Optional Features

Many features that are standard on the upper trim levels are available as options on the lower tri levels. The MAZDASPEED3 offers a comprehensive technology package; it and other trim levels have optional interior lighting kits and premium paint colors, as well as upgraded floor mats and wheel locks.

Under the Hood

The base level power plant is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 148 horsepower and 135 lb.-ft. of torque. The i Sport, i Touring and i Grand Touring trim levels feature a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder SKYACTIV-G powertrain that delivers 155 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. The s Grand Touring trim upgrades to a 167 horsepower engine, and the MAZDASPEED3 has a 263  horsepower, 2.3L DISI turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with VVT and a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission.

Fuel Economy

Estimated fuel economy for the base engine is 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined with the manual and 24/33/27 with the automatic transmission as rated by the EPA. The 155 horsepower engine delivers 28/40/33 in a sedan with automatic transmission and 27/39/31 with manual transmission, while the hatchback makes 28/39/32 and 27/38/31, respectively. Numbers for the 167-hp engine are 20/28/23 with manual transmission and 22/29/25 with automatic. The MAZDASPEED3 makes 18/25/21.


Standard safety features include front side and side curtain air bags, antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, brake assist. Blind-spot monitoring and adaptive front lighting are optional. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, the 2013 MAZDA3 received a 4-star overall rating (out of 5 stars). In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the MAZDA3 hatchback and sedan each received across-the-board "Good" ratings--the Institute's highest rating.


Mazda's new proprietary SKYACTIV-G technology features a family of direct-injection gasoline engines with an increased compression ratio of 14:1. To reduce the risk of engine knock at high compression, residual gas is reduced by using a 4-2-1 exhaust system, employing a piston cavity, and optimizing fuel injection. Combustion duration is shortened by intensifying airflow, increasing injection pressure, using multi-hole injectors, and having a piston cavity.

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