Mazda’s 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Sedan is one of the best small sedans on the market today. It offers a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with a whopping 320 lb-ft of torque low in the rev band. It pulls like a diesel, and then revs like a gasoline sports sedan. The engine is one of our favorite gas engines among any brand. That torque is put to the ground using Mazda’s all-wheel-drive system which means no torque steer and no slipping in wet or wintery conditions. Mazda nailed this powertrain.
Inside, Mazda’s level of refinement continues to make premium brands, two of which start with A, seem like a terrible value. Mazda offers all of the amenities most luxury brands offer, but for half the price. So what’s the catch? What are these two reasons not to buy a 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Sedan. Simply put, they are the Mazda CX-30 and Mazda3 Hatchback with the exact same powertrain setup this small sedan has.
If you are that person who still wants a sedan, this is the one. Go buy it immediately. However, you will be passing up on an almost identical-feeling vehicle with more cargo space. The Mazda3 Hatchback offers 20.1 cu ft of cargo volume compared to the 13.2 the sedan has. Interior passenger volume is the same.
Related Story: Mazda CX-30 Crossover- Is It Big Enough?
The Mazda CX-30 is a crossover. Sort of. It’s really a very similar vehicle to the Mazda3 Hatchback, but with a bit of a different body construction. One we think is Mazda’s best-looking vehicle overall. It also adds 2.5 inches more ground clearance and a higher ride height that won’t have you looking up into the wheel wells of F-150s as they pass you. Does it handle “worse” than the sedan? Nope. Mazda injected it with the same Zoom Zoom magic.
Both the CX-30 and Mazda3 hatchback cost about $1,200 more than the as-tested $34,090 our test Sedan had. Remember these are the top trims. If you have a budget under $30K, Mazda has a lot of good options. However, the really great ones are the “Turbo Premium Plus” ones with include all-wheel drive. Buy that sedan if you must, but remember, someday a few years or a decade from now you may be selling or trading that car, and the number of people that want to buy a used sedan compared to a crossover will be much smaller. Maybe the small up-front price difference won’t really be any different if you take that into consideration?
Let us know in the comments below why you still love small sedans with itty-bitty trunks. Your opinion and arguments may sway our thinking.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin