2017 Mazda 3 Hatchback

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You won’t find the truth about our fondness for this car in the performance numbers from our track test. The naturally aspirated engine offers linear acceleration and pairs so well with the smooth clutch and crisp gearbox that the 3’s lack of urgency off the line comes as a mild surprise.This one needed 7.4 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph,only 0.1 second quicker than a Mazda 3 we tested last year with the base 2.0-liter engine and a six-speed manual.

The 13.6 seconds this 3 took to accelerate from 30 to 50 mph in top gear (a test designed to replicate a passing maneuver without a downshift) was the slowest of any 2.5-liter stick-shift Mazda 3 we’ve tested—in the real world, the driver would ordinarily shift to a gear or two lower (as automatic transmissions do in this same test),but that doesn’t change the reality that this car was 2.1 seconds slower than our long-termer in performing the task.


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