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2021 Mazda 3 Sedan Review - Price, Features, Specifications, MPG and Rivals Comparison

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Shivendra Garg

Automotive Content Creator

September 17, 2020 at 05:13 AM

The 2021 Mazda 3 continues to be powered by a 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G inline-four engine and gets AWD as an option on most of its variants. But it also adds a new 2.0L Skyactiv-G engine and a turbocharged version of that 2.5-liter engine that makes 250 hp to the line-up. The Mazda 3 sedan gets standard Mazda Connected Services and in-car Wi-Fi Hotspot. It reshuffles and adds new features to the various packages on offer too. The 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo sedan will start at an MSRP of $29,900 and get distinctive features like a larger exhaust pipe, and black wheels and side mirrors.

2021 Mazda 3 Sedan Highlights:


In the model year 2019, Mazda introduced its completely redesigned Mazda 3 line-up. Then next year, both the Mazda3 hatchback and sedan were updated yet again with a full suite of modern driver assistance features as standard across the range. Come 2021, Mazda has once more introduced a bunch of impressive upgrades for its smallest sedan.


Read More on Mazda 3 Sedan:


This compact sedan is currently in its fourth generation and will be carrying over structurally unchanged for 2021. But mechanically it's getting two interesting updates that will expand its driving potential. Both the FWD and AWD configurations are here to stay for 2021 and the completion also remains the same with the likes of Honda Civic and Kia Forte fighting it out.

What are the Prices and New Features of the 2021 Mazda 3 sedan?

Mazda has a simplified trim line-up for all its offerings, with the base trim being the entry point and subsequent packages carrying forward its feature listing higher up the table. So with the introduction of a new smaller 2.0L engine, the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan will most probably retain its pricing from 2020. So expect the Mazda 3 equipped with the 2.0L engine to be priced from $21,500 and the 2.5L non-turbo engine equipped model to start from $21,700.

In fact, the major upgrades for 2021 are the ones under the hood, with two new engines joining the line-up. That efficiency-oriented 2.0L naturally aspirated unit will replace the current base engine. The other engine is a 2.5L turbocharged unit that is focused on performance and will get added features for improved driving dynamics. The automaker has priced the 250 hp turbo-four equipped 3 sedan at $29,900. Various new features inclusive of the engines in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan are:

  • Two new engines - a 2.0L naturally aspirated unit and a 2.5L turbocharged unit
  • Standard Mazda Connected Services with 3-year trial
  • In-Car Wi-Fi with 6 months of 2 GB trial data
  • Reshuffled features in Preferred and Premium packages

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What are the Engine updates in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan?

The 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan will continue with its SkyActiv-G 2.5L Naturally Aspirated inline-4 motor generating 186 hp and 186 lb-ft torque. But it will now be joined by 2 new engine options. A new SkyActive-G 2.0L NA inline-4 motor that is rated at 155 hp and 150 lb-ft and will be focused on efficiency. The other is a thrilling SkyActiv-G 2.5L Turbocharged inline-4 unit that produces 250 hp and 320 lb-ft.

All of these engines will be coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission that has been perfected with Mazda's SkyActiv technology for a balanced palette. But the drivetrain options will change with the 2.0L unit being coupled to an FWD configuration only. In comparison, both the 2.5L motors will get FWD and AWD. But if you opt for the 2.5-liter turbo-four with the AWD, the automatic unit becomes a compulsion.

Models

2021 Mazda 3 Sedan (Expected)

2020 Honda Civic

2020 Kia Forte

MSRP

$21,700

$22,250

$20,490

Engine

2.5L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.0L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.0L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

CVT

CVT

Power

186hp@6,000rpm

158hp@6,500rpm

147hp@6,200rpm

Torque

186lb-ft@4,000rpm

138lb-ft@4,200rpm

132lb-ft@4,500rpm

0-60 MPH 

8.1 sec

8.2 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile 

16.0 sec

16.3 sec

16.3 sec

Top Speed 

131 MPH

119 MPH

129 MPH

Otherwise, a six-speed manual is also in the cards for the FWD Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Sedan. As far as its driving dynamics is concerned, it will not differ much from that of the 2020 model. This compact sedan is a joy to drive and with the new turbocharged unit slated for 2021, it will be the most eager to get off the line as well.

What kind of MPG figures will the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan offer?

Since there seem to be no changes in the standard mechanical components of the 2021 Mazda 3, its MPG figures will remain unchanged too. The standard 2.5L NA unit will continue to provide 26 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. It is mediocre considering the buzz of its SkyActiv technology and engine deactivation doing rounds, which should help improve the figures much more.

We believe that this is also the reason Mazda is introducing the more sober 2.0L Naturally Aspirated unit for 2021. It will help improve the MPG figures at a standard sacrifice in performance for the more conservative bunch. And for the turbocharged unit, we guess that as finally, the Mazda 3 is getting a turbo-kit, the MPG figures might be less of a transition as compared to its NA counterpart. The fuel tank capacity, again, is retained at 13.2 gallons.

Models

2021 Mazda 3 Sedan (Expected)

2020 Honda Civic

2020 Kia Forte

MPG (City)

26

29

27

MPG (Highway)

35

37

37

MPG (Combined)

30

32

31

Fuel Capacity

13.2 gallons

12.4 gallons

14.0 gallons

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)

343/462/356 miles

360/459/397 miles

378/518/434 miles

The 2.5L NA inline-four equipped Mazda 3 AWD’s combined MPG figure is rated at 28 which is not so inspiring as well for the segment. The Kia Forte shares similar MPG figures with the Mazda 3, but its bigger fuel tank helps mask the difference, and thus, provides for a better driving range. Ironically, the Honda Civic which has the best MPG figures of this bunch suffers due to its smaller fuel tank.

What are the Interior updates in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan?

The 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan gets its interior layout carried over mostly from 2020 along with a few subtle additions of previously optional features. It still retains the tag of having the most premium interior layout in the compact sedan segment and gets numerous luxury creature comfort options across its trims. Sure, the second row could feel cramped to taller folks but there is no shortage of space up front.

Even the visibility upfront is unhindered but the sloping roofline, high rear deck and thick rear pillar obstruct visibility outback. Mazda has got the rear visibility covered as a host of sensors and backup camera keep a check on the surroundings. The base trims are still laden with black cloth upholstery and can be upgraded to leatherette upholstery in the Select Package and leather upholstery in the Premium Package. 

Models

2021 Mazda 3 Sedan (Expected)

2020 Honda Civic

2020 Kia Forte

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

First Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.0/55.7/42.3

39.3/56.9/42.3

38.8/56.1/42.2

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.3/53.5/35.1

37.1/55.0/37.4

37.5/55.3/35.7

Trunk Capacity

13.2 cu-ft

15.1 cu-ft

15.3 cu-ft

Mazda 3 Sedan has the least cargo volume which restricts its usage by a lot. Both other compact sedans, Honda Civic and Kia Forte have significantly larger boots. It is the Honda Civic which leads the segment in terms of cabin space and has the most spacious second-row seating. Mazda has sacrificed a lot of its cabin space for its sleek and radical exterior design language. Various creature comfort features in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan are:

  • Start/Stop Push Button
  • 8-way driver adjustment seats
  • 60/40 foldable second-row seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and seats
  • Power sliding glass moonroof
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control system
  • 12-volt power outlet

What are the Infotainment features in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan?

The most notable update the 2019 Mazda 3 got was the inclusion of an 8.8-inch infotainment unit as standard across the range of this compact sedan. That unit gets carried over as a standard addition across the larger line-up for 2021 as well. However, is placed a bit far off from the reach of the driver which can make things uneasy when driving solo. Two new standard speakers are added for 2021 which now bumps it to a total of 8 speakers.

The infotainment screen is still devoid of touch functionality, which is weird at this point. All of the competitors, and even cheaper rivals, have a full-fledged touchscreen infotainment unit in 2021. The 3's setup can be operated only with the use of a console-mounted rotary knob. It is responsive, quick, and has a wisely laid-out interface for a surprisingly easy experience. Various infotainment features in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan are:

  • 8.8-inch infotainment system
  • Mazda Connect Infotainment System
  • 8-Speaker audio system with HD Radio
  • Optional 10-speaker Bose Sound system
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming

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What are the Exterior changes for the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan?

Mazda 3 Sedan got tweaked headlights and taillights, longer hood, short trunk, tastefully swooping sculpts, and grille that leaned forward than usual in its last generation upgrade that was executed in 2019. This design refresh became such a huge hit that it won the World Car Design of the Year award in 2020. So, it makes little sense for Mazda to tinker on such a praised design language.

Its premium design has set the benchmark in the segment of compact sedans and this four-door is about eight inches longer than the five-door hatch and appears more sophisticated, instead of sporty. But its twin exhausts not only look good but also sound invigorating. The addition of the new turbocharged 2.5L engine will add a few sporty styling clues for the Mazda 3 Sedan which will mostly be confined to the front and rear bumpers.

Models

2021 Mazda 3 Sedan (Expected)

2020 Honda Civic

2020 Kia Forte

Curb Weight

3,071 lbs

2,847 lbs

2,707 lbs

Length

183.5"

182.7"

182.7"

Width

70.7"

70.9"

70.9"

Height

56.9"

55.7"

56.5"

Ground Clearance

5.5"

N/A

5.3"

Wheelbase

107.3"

106.3"

106.3"

Even the 2021 Honda Civic is going to carry over mostly unchanged from the 2020 model, except for some exterior design upgrades. But none of the competitors in this segment are cut out to match the level of drama and appeal that is present in the Mazda 3 Sedan. A subtle update to the front grille is that it is now shaded in a matte finish instead of a complete gloss layout. Notable exterior features of the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan are:

  • LED headlamps and taillamps
  • LED DRLs with Auto On/Off headlamps
  • 16/18 inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Matte-finish front grille
  • Power sunroof
  • Black wheels
  • Black side mirrors
  • Black rear spoiler

What are the Safety feature updates in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan?

Mazda played the safety card on its 3 sedan and hatchback models in 2020. It was also when Mazda made its i-ActivSense Driver Assist feature standard across the range of 2020 Mazda 3. Consequently, IIHS acknowledged this compact sedan with its most prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award. All of this will remain unchanged for 2021 as well.

An impressive feat that Mazda has inculcated in its 3 Sedan is that all of its trims, including the base, are equipped with an impressive bunch of safety features that are absent in most of its well to do rivals as well. As we go up the trim table, Mazda also provides various active safety and driver assistance features including Active Driver Display and Adaptive Front-lighting System. Notable safety features in the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan include:

  • Blind-spot Monitoring
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Mazda Connect Emergency SOS
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Automatic Emergency Braking

When will the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan Launch and is it worth the Buy?

It has been announced that the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan will be going on sale in the US by fall of 2020. But the automaker is still silent on its pricing which will be revealed as we near the launch date. But with the introduction of the smaller and efficient 2.0L motor, we expect the starting prices to remains unchanged from 2020.

The 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan will be worth the buy if you are opting for the most fuel-efficient 2.0L unit equipped trims or the most mental Turbo 2.5L unit equipped ones. But if you are in the market for the naturally aspirated 2.5L unit from last year, then we suggest you look in the pre-owned space, as you can get your hands on some pretty good deals.


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2021 Mazda 3 Sedan Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Mazda Axela?

The Mazda 3 is a compact car manufactured by Mazda which is sold as Axela in Japan. The moniker is a combination of the words "accelerate" and "excellent". It was introduced in the early 2000s and is a more beefed-up version of the Mazda 3.

What is SkyActiv in Mazda?

Skyactiv technology aims to enhance every aspect of driving a vehicle. Be it an excellent fuel economy or enhanced performance, the SkyActiv technology is used to engineer every aspect of driving dynamics. From chassis design to engine and transmission technology, it is a smart way of how Mazda looks to make the driving experience much more involving.

Is Mazda 3 getting a turbocharged engine?

Yes, Mazda is introducing a 2.5L turbocharged engine for both the Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan. It is rated at an impressive 250 hp and 320 lb-ft and comes coupled to a 6-Speed Automatic Transmission and will have AWD as standard.

Is Mazda 3 Sedan AWD?

The 2021 Mazda 3 comes standard in an FWD configuration when coupled to either the 2.0L or 2.5L naturally aspirated engine. But an optional i-Activ AWD system is available for all the trims except the base.

Is Mazda 3 Sedan reliable?

Mazda just like all of the other Japanese counterparts doesn't compromise on reliability and it has been showcased in all of its offerings. The Mazda 3 sedan is no different and provides for easy-going consumer experience. J.D. Power Report has rated the Mazda 3 with an overall score of 78 out of 100. Apart from this, the 2021 Mazda 3 Sedan also provides with a wholesome warranty package that includes:

  • Basic Coverage Warranty of 3 year/36,000 mile (whichever is earlier)
  • The Powertrain coverage lasts of 5 year/60,000 mile (whichever comes first)
  • 24-hour roadside assistance lasts of 3 year/36,000 mile (whichever comes first)
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