Is The 2020 Mazda3 More Than Just A Pretty Face?

Mazda is once again going against the Volkswagen Golf (which just got a brand-new generation), Ford Focus, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Opel/Vauxhall Astra and other compact hatchbacks with the fourth-gen Mazda3.

Visually, it looks like an evolved version of its predecessor – and that’s a very good thing, because it’s still one of the best looking (if not the best looking) cars in the class.

The interior is very nicely put together, with plenty of soft-touch plastics and leather in upper trim levels. The infotainment system lacks a touchscreen functionality, but it’s very easy to control, even on the move, thanks to the rotary dial.

Also Watch: 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback Guns For The Segment’s Top Spot

Now, as nice as it may be at the front, the rear passenger compartment is not flawless. Achieving that elegant silhouette on the outside has eaten up some of the space, so in terms of knee- and headroom, it’s going to be tricky to sit two tall occupants, while trying to fit three is an even bigger challenge. Other downsides are the small windows that contribute to a claustrophobic feel and the lack of air vents and USB ports.

Even with the 1.8-liter SkyActiv-D diesel engine, which puts out 116 PS (114 hp / 85 kW), paired in this case to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 2020 Mazda3 feels chilled and refined, although you will have to press that gas pedal hard from time to time if you want to make quick progress.

Still, handling is one of the compact Mazda’s strong points, encouraging drivers to attack corners at high speeds. The ride quality is neither the best nor the worst in the class, but we’ll let the reviewer take it from here and guide us through the other aspects of the new Japanese hatchback.


  • charlotteharry57

    This is a Eurpoean-based article, but here in the US, reviews have been middle-of-the-road. The last comparo is saw with the 3 in it had it dead last vs. the Corolla (2nd) and the Civic (1st). Reviewers bemoan the dynamic edge loss due to the beam rear suspension and the high price for what you get.

    • Grumpy

      After abusing all 3. (Corolla and civic as rentals, and the mazda as a loaner)
      The new 3 inspires more confidence on corners than the last gen. The last gen 3 has significantly more body lean on corners and awd on the new provided better grip on acceleration in the wet. I had a corolla(last gen) rental for a week and after driving it for one day i went back and had it changed. It was unbearable to drive. Wonky suspension, gutless power-train, cheap interior. It was a very bland and dull experience. The civic on the other hand was leaps better than its predecessor. Handles good, and inspired confidence behind the wheel. Interior was decent (not as good as the mazda), but i can see why it is either first or second or tied with mazda. The civic is big on the inside and can actualy fit 4 adults. Yes the mazda is smaller, but i think it makes up for that with a well designed interior and driving dynamics.

    • Kitty Pourquoi

      I think Europeans have higher standards for C-segment hatchbacks. So I find it odd that you mention that. The Mazda3 is praised everywhere for looks, interior quality, driving dynamics, price/equipment ratio and that fantastic manual gear box. Also the infotainmentsystem is good these days. Only downfalls: lack of torque for the 122hp SkyActiv-G, old fashioned automatic and interior space

    • Kitty Pourquoi

      I never understood why in the US you need a big 2.5 engine in a small car. What I’ve seen when I was there you don’t really drive fast..

    • Adam

      The Civic is always first but only in the USA. It’s unloved pretty much everywhere else and rightly so.

  • Arct1c

    “pretty” face.

  • salamOOn

    yes, its pretty safe pretty face.

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    But the infotainment SHOULDN’T be easy to use on the move.

    And what’s with the Mazda Tree?
    Is this a new model for Ireland, like?

    • Julien Lachemoi

      The easier it is to use the less time you have to spend looking at it to change radios, music, etc.

      • Loquacious Borborygmus

        You do that when you get in BEFORE you start to drive.
        People seem to think they have a given right to take their eyes off the road for entertainment in a car.

        • Julien Lachemoi

          While I agree everyone should “play” with their infotainment only when stopped we have to be realistic and acknowledge that is simply not what most people do, and in that case it is better to design a way for them to use their infotainment in a quicker and thus safer way.

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            I don’t deny your truths but we humans surely are generally a dumb species.

          • Julien Lachemoi

            More than fun we are lazy.


    • Kitty Pourquoi

      OKEY THANKS FOR SCREAMING! I think the hatch looks questionable on pictures but in real life the whole car/design makes sense


  • MarkoS

    As before, it is all going to come down to personal preference for the buyers. It looks like Mazda has surpassed VW on interior fit and finish. For the USA, we will be seeing more Mazda 3’s on the road.

    • javier

      lol ,sales are on the downtrend, we might not see the mazda 3 period

      • WVWZZZ

        It’s already for sale in USA

  • Cle_Clowns_fan

    I don’t get all the love for the looks of the Mazda3. It’s kinda ugly. The interior is strange too. The shape of the dash screams 80s. Why all the love!?

    • Dredd2

      Why all the love!?” cos it looks good.

    • Matteo Tommasi

      The dash screams ergonomy, which is what all the new cars have lost in favour of 100 screens in unusable positions.

    • Matt

      I agree with you. I think it’s a distinctive, unique design but I don’t think it’s well resolved (from some angles it’s flat-out ungainly) and it will date quickly. The interior is quite nice though.

    • I have to say that your aesthetics is not great. It is a very beautiful modern car.

  • Dennis James

    Not sure where the “pretty face” comes from. From the side, it looks like a pooping dog.

  • javier

    thing is gross and slow

    • Ben

      Slow, yes, but gross? Stop it.

      • Alduin

        It’s pretty f’ing ugly TBH.

  • sidewaysspin

    Those headlights look like insect wings. I like the car but is also really weird at the same time, only looks good in certain configurations like grey with black wheels and such, but the interior looks very high quality.

  • Merc1

    Why can’t Mazda give their cars real engines? It’s disgraceful to have to well designed cars and then give them gutless engines.


    • jonas demuro

      Yes, they really need more than 2 and a half engines at Mazda to make things more interesting for buyers. They really need a smaller turbo engine to replace the current 2.5NA. I wonder why they can’t turbocharge their 1.5NA or 2.0NA engines, which would be a great fit for many of their vehicles.

  • Bash

    Its beautiful, my only comment would be on that extra wide kinda bland C-Pillar.

  • Alduin

    This is the ugliest hatchback I’ve ever seen. The sedan is alot nicer. This thing is a bloated pig with terrible blindspots. The sedan is great and if Mazda put IRS in this thing it would’ve been a hit but sadly Mazda cheapened out and out a torsion beam rear axel instead. Dumb.

    • WVWZZZ

      Clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about because a properly done torsion beam is often better than a half-baked multilink rear end. Only two bushes to focus the development work on vs 20, and people forget that a torsion beam twists so is very much semi-independent. It’s not a solid axle like a truck

  • I was a bit skeptical about the hatch’s styling but it really looks good in person, especially in that gorgeous red hue.

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