It’s been almost three months since the 2015 Mazda3 Sport GT arrived in our garage, and we’ve had the chance to really put it through its paces. It’s now served many roles, from a practical commuter to a chase car for rolling shots of other testers. I’ve spent a good amount of time with it myself, and I’ve made a few observations that help it stand out to me.
Firstly, Mazda’s new infotainment system with HMI Commander is phenomenal. Like all other computer-based systems, this one has its occasional glitch, but is overall a fantastic setup and easily the best in its class. The controller is very responsive and the system works quickly. The navigation system is a bit agitating in that it doesn’t let you use the touchscreen while in motion, but it redeems itself quickly because it actually displays red light cameras. This is something I’ve only seen before in smartphone applications; never in factory units.
The clutch and shifter on this Mazda are a dream to use. This summer marked Toronto hosting the Pan Am Games, an event that essentially brought our city’s traffic and highway system to a standstill. I live in the heart of downtown Toronto, and had to face gridlock no matter what time of day I tried to navigate through the city, so I had the perfect chance to put the Mazda3 to the test. I had countless other testers come and go from my garage during this time, and my left knee was quite tired, but the little Soul Red Mica hatchback was always welcoming and never left me tired. Unless I had some sort of physical restriction that stopped me from driving stick, I don’t see any reason to opt for the optional automatic transmission.
High intensity discharge headlights – they are an absolute godsend. Most high-end cars produced nowadays have them, and mainstream options such as the Toyota Corolla are transitioning one step further and offer LED headlights as standard equipment across all trim levels. Mazda offers LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, and HID low-beams.on the Mazda3 GT. The lighting quality is great, and saved my behind when they lit up a deer on a back road well past midnight. Thanks to a good mix between the great lighting and my reflexes, both Bambi and the Mazda escaped without a scratch.
The trunk space in the Mazda3 is also something to speak about. We had a Nissan Juke in the garage at one point, and we noticed that the size of the Mazda’s trunk was nearly double. I took the Mazda3 up for a golfing trip to Deerhurst, ON and it swallowed up a weekend’s worth of gear including clubs, a cooler full of food and drink, and luggage for four people. This is worthy of serious praise for a compact hatchback.
Lastly, a gizmo that more automakers need to implement is the self-locking feature offered by Mazda. Everyone offers an intelligent key, but the Mazda3 has the ability to lock the doors after you’ve (with the key on your person) left the vehicle. Upon closing the driver’s door, the car emits one “beep” to let you know that it’s about to lock, and as you take a few steps away, it lets out another “beep” to confirm the action. Not only do you never need to take the key out of your pocket, you don’t even need to touch a button to lock the car. It’s important to note that this is only available on the GT; lesser-priced GS and GX models require the key fob to be used to lock and unlock the car.
On the downside, the base model Mazda3 can be had for under $20,000, and there are very small things that we’re discovering that reflect the fact that the car is built to that price point. For instance, there is no one-touch close on the power sunroof. Granted, base model cars do not come equipped with this option, but one-touch open and close are essentials for me.
We’re just about halfway through our test and there are no issues to report. The car now has just over 6,000km on it, and it’s behaving beautifully. Our 2015 Mazda3 Sport GT does everything we ask of it and just keeps on giving generously. Fuel economy over this mileage is a frugal 8.0L/100km on regular 87-octane fuel. Continue to check back every couple weeks to see what adventures our Mazda3 has been on!