2023 MAZDA MAZDA3 HATCHBACK TEST DRIVE FOR TOP SPEED BY STEVE HAMMES 2023 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback The Mazda3 has the hot hatch look but, until recently, it was all for show. With the introduction of turbocharged power starting with the…
The 3-row CX-9 is Mazda’s largest vehicle with seating for up to 7. But this generation is now in its 7th model year and though there’s much here that I still like Father Time is taking its toll.
If you’re like me you generally stray from popular trends instead preferring individuality and exclusivity in your purchases. And that doesn’t mean having to spend lavishly; it simply reflects your desire to not follow the herd. Case in point; the CX-9. 265,000 Americans decided to buy a Toyota Highlander last year and rightfully so…it’s an excellent, family-friendly 3-row SUV. But you like stuff not everyone else has and Mazda sold only 35,000 of these in 2021 and it’s not because it can’t compete with the top-sellers it’s just an underdog story from a small Japanese automaker. Now, I’m not here to tell you it’s better than the competition – it has some interior packaging and feature faults for sure – plus it doesn’t offer and powertrain choices – but if you have to check the license plate before getting into your SUV in the store parking lot just to make sure it’s actually yours, the CX-9 is an intriguing alternative. The styling and the drive are my favorite parts of the CX-9. It still looks amazingly sharp and this Soul Red paint is incredible.
Mazda makes some of the sharpest looking vehicles on the road today, but their SUVs are too pretty to get dirty and so they’ve been missing out on the off-road craze. Introducing the 2023 CX-50; a longer, better looking and only slightly more expensive CX-5 with higher ground clearance and improved towing capability. All-wheel drive now comes standard on all Mazda crossovers and SUVs and this one also includes off-road and towing modes for improved performance. Pricing starts at $28,025 for the base S trim and tops out here at $43,320 for the top-of-the-line Turbo Premium Plus. Mazda says they’ve “extended this vehicle’s capability to enable drivers to venture further into the outdoors and various terrains” but let’s be honest; the CX-50’s ruggedness is mostly about its looks, putting a new twist on Mazda’s stylish Kodo design language.
The CX-30: a tweener from Mazda that immediately became their most compelling model. But who doesn’t like a little more power, right? Well, that’s exactly what Mazda has delivered here with the new CX-30 Turbo; a car that’ll take you back to the Zoom-Zoom days. Adding the turbo simply makes a good car even better. It’s just a higher level of fun we used to expect from every Mazda with a real willingness to pull and an agile chassis. Now, it’s all still coated in that Skyactiv programming which replaces the raw, organic nature of a hot-hatch but if you’re looking for a little more spice from your small crossover the CX-30 will certainly do the trick.
This CX-30 with the Premium Plus Package is as high as you can take it. In this sultry Soul Red with the white/brown leather interior combo it has a near Volvo-level presence. And for the $36,000 asking price Mazda isn’t holding back much; there are adaptive LED front lights, a power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, a 360 degree camera with higher resolution, navigation and sat radio, a sharp head-up display with traffic sign recognition, and a host of new driver assistance features such as traffic jam assist that will help with the driving below 40mph, auto high beams, and rear cross traffic alert with brake support. It’s a complete package that leaves you wanting for very little.
The Mazda3 has the hot hatch look but until now it was all for show. Introducing the 2021 2.5 Turbo with standard all-wheel drive providing the oomph this car desperately needs. A car I’ve previously been ambivalent about has been given renewed life with a turbocharged engine. Feed it premium gas and it’ll reward you with 250 horsepower. That’s a huge 72% gain compared with the non-turbo 3 and it peaks much sooner. The top trim Premium Plus model which adds real leather, navigation, a 360 degree camera with real button, traffic sign recognition, and myriad other driver assistance features. Plus, you get the front air dam, gloss black roof spoiler and larger tail pipes. As tested, you’re looking at $34,820. The cost of the turbo and all-wheel drive adds about $3,000. Mix in all-wheel drive and big torque output and suddenly the 3 is a very entertaining drive with plenty of hot hatch spunk and a loveably safe toassability. Where Mazda comes in strong is in the driver assist arena where auto high beams, Traffic Jam Assist, driver attention monitor and rear cross traffic alert. The new turbo 3 hatch is the most fun I’ve had behind the wheel of a Mazda in some time and with this engine in the new CX-30 Mazda will really be making hay.