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2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - One of the Remaining Great Cars

We tested the 2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium and found it is a rare gem.

Cars have been experiencing death by a thousand cuts now for about two decades. There are still a few great cars left, and the ones that remain are now almost entirely built by Asian and European brands. Mazda’s Mazda3 is a five-passenger compact hatchback or sedan. We tested the hatchback, which is our hands-down favorite, and the one most buyers drive home in. This is a vehicle we know well and had requested some time in. Thanks to Mazda's outstanding support, we were able to have a chance to review the 2024 Mazda3. 

2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - What’s Its Purpose?
The Mazda3 turbo is a driver’s car for those who don't want to buy the almost identically-priced subcompact CX-30 crossover. The Mazda3 handles better than the CX-30, but otherwise, they are fraternal twins with identical powertrains and nearly the same interiors. One would buy a Mazda3 because it is more fun to drive.

2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - What’s It Cost?
We tested the top-of-the-line Mazda3, and its price is just under $40K, depending on color and whether the buyer opts for the appearance package. You can get a car called a Mazda3 for about $27K new, but it has almost nothing to do with this fully loaded turbo version. 

2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - What’s the Powertrain?
The Mazda3 turbo has 310 lb-ft of torque and well over 200 hp. This is delivered to the wheels by a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system. This is a gem of a powertrain. However, a tall first gear makes starting off a bit dull unless you opt to engage Sport mode. This vehicle would have benefited from about two additional gears. Still, it’s the best in its segment by far. The torque is delicious, and if you nail it, it really scoots. 

2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - How’s the Ride?
The Mazda3 we tested drove splendidly. The ride is compliant over most normal roads and handling is sporty. On back roads in the mountains of New Hampshire, this car really comes alive and is a joy to drive. 

2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - How’s The Infotainment System?
The top trim gets a large screen, which is nice. We are not fans of the rotary mouse to control the main screen. There are some things we would like to see that are not there, such as a tire pressure readout for each wheel. During our week of testing, the wireless Android Auto worked flawlessly, except that one needs to enable it each time. Auto start didn’t work for some reason. The head-up display is fantastic and easy to adjust using the menus. 

2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - What Makes It Special?
The Mazda3 is special in that it is a very refined and premium hatchback. This is a car to compare to Audi and Acura. It also sports a spare tire under the rear cargo floor. You don;t see that in a sporty premium car very often.

2024 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium - Conclusion - A Hidden Gem
The Mazda3 is a hidden gem. The top trim has almost every luxury feature one can name, a refined composure, and is very fun in all situations. If subcompact crossovers are not your thing, this is the best alternative made today. 

Image of 2024 Mazda3 by John Goreham.

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can connect with John on Linkedin and follow his work at our X channel. Please note that stories carrying John's by-line are never AI-generated, but he does employ Grammarly grammar and punctuation software when proofreading.