Here’s some quick consumer advice: If you were considering buying one of those “premium” AWD compact sedans like the Audi A3 Quattro or the Mercedes CLA250 4Matic, don’t you dare, because the 2019 Mazda3 AWD is a far better car than either. And you can have one for under $25,000. Not only does the little Mazda have an interior far nicer than any of its actual competitors, it also drives better than almost all of them, and it’s prettier than any car at this segment has a right to be. (I’m talking about the sedan here, not the Mazda3
In short, if you need all-wheel drive but hate the idea of a wasteful, copycat SUV, or if you want a compact sedan and don’t want your friends to think you’re in a rental car, buy a new Mazda3. Got it? Good. That was easy.
But for those of you who want to know how the Mazda3 AWD became so special, I need to give you some background information. Specifically, I need to tell you about my friend John, because we all have a friend like John, and Mazda is like John.
It gets even better when you’re driving. The steering is sadly devoid of feedback, but it’s so precise you’d be forgiven for suspecting McLaren had done its hardware. Its weight builds up naturally, and significantly, in corners. The brake pedal seems wooden the first time you press it, but teaches you that everyone else’s pedals are neither linear nor progressive.
The 2019 Mazda3 is exactly what happens when you focus on the important things. This is a spectacular little car to look at, sit in, or drive.
Oh, and the touchscreen is gone because Mazda thinks it’s distracting. (The company is right, whether we care to admit it or not.) The fuel economy isn’t class-leading because Mazda refused to compromise the driving experience. (Hallelujah and amen.) The second gas gauge? Well, it’s because Mazda wanted a graphical representation of remaining fuel range. Shockingly, it turns out that looks just like, umm, a gas gauge.
Oh gee, my buddy John just walked right out into traffic without looking either way. But it was because he was lost in thought about using galvanic skin-response sensors to protect people from accidental drug overdoses. Now how can you get mad at a guy like that?