2020 Mazda3 Hatchback: no excuse for boredom

Every time we do a review, I should follow the protocol and get myself shaved, dressed, and drink a cup of coffee to bring my energy to you. But today was different. This 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback looks so good that I thought nobody would even notice me not following the protocol.

“This is the car that makes you smile every time you see it.”

The secret ingredients

The lines, the paint job, the smiling front grill. Hide the logo on the wheel and… It looks Italian and reminds me of Lamborghini Urus in a smaller package with Ferrari taillights. This car starts from $23,700 base MSRP, and that’s something that should definitely stop you from driving boring cars since the excuse “I can’t afford that” is no longer valid.

I think Mazda keeps getting other manufactures in the classroom where they teach how to bring the best value and make it look good. Plus, they don’t forget about people like me and still offer manual transmission if you like to pedal the car your own way. Under the hood of the 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback, you will find a 2.5L 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine that offers 186. Wait, what? Yes, 186 hp and 186 lb-ft. That’s how Mazda is making my job simple, so I don’t need to remember a bunch of numbers.

Now, pay attention to details. This car has cylinder deactivation that you will normally see only in bigger engines, and that’s how they get up to 35 miles per gallon on freeways. Within the past week of having AWD configuration, we’re still getting about 30MPG on average.

We had a chance to drive it along the US-1 and even during the night. It’s got really bright adaptive front headlights that turn left and right when you’re going through the curves, and it has an automatic high beam as well as a heads-up display.

Tech perks

When it comes to technology, you’ve got “My Mazda app” that has remote start, vehicle finder if you forgot what street you parked it at, and health status (oil, tire pressure, time for service). The available 12-speaker Bose premium audio system is not just a set of speakers, it’s a good quality sound designed and engineered with Mazda for this specific cabin. Again, small details make it perfect. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, excellent layout on the big wide 8.8-inch screen that’s right now mounted lower on the center panel without obstructing your view, like we used to see it in Mazda’s before.

Paired with “analog” gages, the 7-inch speedo screen looks quite stylish. All of the interior elements are very well-designed, and nothing here feels dated or “taken from another vehicle,” which is also quite rare in the automotive industry nowadays. The 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback proves yet again that you can ask more even when you buy something inexpensive for your daily use.

Mazda Connect infotainment system has a big knob that you would use to control the infotainment system. It’s not Lexus or Acura where things get complicated with a touchpad, and while you’re driving, it’s almost impossible to use it. Here you get simplicity at your fingertips that work. Well done, Mazda!

Do you or anyone you know reads the owner’s manual when buying a new car? If you buy Mazda3, I would suggest you read it because you can dial in every little detail. Let’s say, you want to have all the doors open when you grab the door handle? It’s right here. Or you want to flash your turn signals three times when you touch them? Here you go! This car is all about the driver, and you get a ton of settings to make sure you have it the way you like it.

Driving experience

Fun fact: the heads-up display shows you speed signs based on the camera that’s mounted behind this mirror. It does the job on freeways but not really good when it comes to “curve speed signs,” and several times, I did see “50 MPH” on the heads up display after passing a 25 or 30 MPH curve speed sign. Why we’re talking about this? I feel like Mazda is secretly telling you, “Hey, you can do it!” If you’re a good driver, you will see Mazda’s message when driving this 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback.

To be honest, it feels like a 4-seater Miata on steroids. First 10 minutes of driving, you feel like it’s running on a set of coils when you take some sharp corners hard, but as soon as you hit the freeway and drive 60-70 miles per hour, it’s comfortable and smooth. No adjustable or electronically controlled suspension, but it feels like it. Getting this car with AWD, my only wish would be to have a little bit more power since Mazda3 hatch can handle it.


By this point, you’re probably wondering if there is anything I don’t like in this car? Yes. Firstly, active safety features are not the best in business when it comes to Lane-Keep Assist, especially after seeing the new Kia vehicles. Secondly, it’s not really holding the line while turning. It’s more making “a bare minimum input” to correct instead of trying to “keep you in the lane”. There’s definitely some room for improvement but something that I can live with. They did an excellent interior. If they find how to make those lower door panels better and still keep the price at the same level, it will make this 2020 Mazda3 absolutely perfect.

Let’s sum up what we’ve learned today. This what we always wanted. Family Miata, with only one issue – can’t drop the top down. It drives, it looks, and it’s affordable. Every time you look at it, you’ll be smiling. When we do car reviews, we keep the car for a week, and that’s quite rare when I would say, “can we keep it a little longer”? That’s how good this 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback is. If you think to buy one, there is absolutely nothing that should stop you.

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About The Author

Dennis Bindarau While changing the world of information, Dennis manages to find time for reviewing the newest cars and bikes, and also travel. He likes coffee, morning walk, and winter (spoiler alert: one of these is not true).

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