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Eric's Autos: 2022 Mazda3

Eric Peters on

Economy cars used to be just that. They got good gas mileage -- and they didn't cost you much.

The 3 is more than just that.

It is economical and enjoyable -- especially the hatch because of its very strong (for the class) standard 2.5-liter engine and the available manual transmission to go with it. This engine likes to rev -- peak horsepower is achieved at 6,000 RPM -- and the manual gives you full control over it.

On the downside, outward visibility is not-so-great in the hatch; the side glass is short relative to tall doors, while the hatchback shape narrows the view to the rear. The view of the outside world from inside the sedan is much better, in part because there is more side-glass area (especially concerning the rear door glass, which there is more of than the driver/passenger side door glass) and the larger rear glass.

At The Curb

It's nice to be able to choose the suit that ... suits.

The hatch offers more practicality -- more than three times as much space for cargo (47.1 cubic feet) than the sedan (13.1 cubic feet) at the price of some visibility -- per above comments.

The hatchback layout not only offers more space but it opens up the space available; the opening is wider. You can use the entirety of the car's interior to fit things that would never fit in the sedan.

On the other hand, if you don't need the extra space - and prefer not to pay for it - the sedan's got you covered. The increased visibility's free, too.


The Rest

This "economy" car comes standard with rain-sensing wipers, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, remote vehicle monitoring and an eight-speaker stereo rig. There was a time -- and not so long ago -- when you had to buy a Cadillac or a BMW to get such equipment.

You can also get multistage heated leather seats, adaptive headlights that follow the curves of the road and a 12-speaker audio system.

The Bottom Line

It's a shame about the limited availability of the manual -- but green lights as far as just about everything else!


Eric's latest book, "Doomed: Good Cars Gone Wrong!" will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


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