2020 Mazda3 Hatchback GT AWD
With or without AWD
- 관리자 (firstname.lastname@example.org) --
- 29 Nov 2019
By James Park
All-wheel-drive system has its advantages. Thanks to torque delivered to all four wheels, an AWD car launches quicker and it can also be more stable during fast corners.
However, the system adds weight that negatively impacts fuel economy. It also does not make the car stop any faster. So take with grain of salt any claim that equates AWD as panacea for safe winter driving. Instead, drivers should invest in the set of decent winter tires.
That said there’s no denying the growing demand for AWD. This is no real problem for the manufacturers. They can sell more vehicles at higher price. Consumers, however, should seriously consider if it’s worth the extra cost.
Nowadays, most higher-end vehicles sold in Canada come with AWD as standard option. Not as common in mainstream brands and in the compact sedan segment, only the Subaru Impreza hitherto stood out for its AWD capability.
Not anymore. The all-new for 2019 Mazda3 has joined the fray and offers AWD option as it attempts to distinguish itself from the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra – the segment’s best-sellers.
Exterior wise, the new Mazda3 does not look all that different from the previous iteration but closer examination should reveal not so insignificant design changes as narrower headlights and more scooped out side panels.
Compared to sedan, the hatchback departs more significantly from the previous design, but its rump looks bigger and the thick C-pillar hampers with visibility. From inside, it can feel a little claustrophobic.
The car’s interior is familiar yet much improved. Mazda’s clean and minimalist approach carries to the new model but the layout of infotainment system appears to be better executed and the steering wheel design has also changed. However, letters on the chrome buttons are hard to see.
The head-up display equipped cars no longer project info onto the cheap-looking plastic panel but onto the windshield itself, as it should.
The wider infotainment screen is now controlled only by the command dial located behind the gear-shift lever. It is bit slow and less intuitive but it supports both Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
The hatchback models cost about thousand dollars more than their sedan counterparts. The base GX hatch with manual transmission starts from $21,300 before taxes and the usual fees. The GX is front-wheel-drive (FWD) only and makes do with 2 litre naturally aspirated engine good for 155 horses and 150 lb-ft of torque.
The GS and the top-of-the-line GT models get 2.5 litre normal-breathing four-cylinder with maximum 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of twist. These models can be ordered with so-called ‘i-Active’ AWD. Unlike many systems that kick in after a wheel starts to slip, this smarter version anticipates slippage and acts proactively.
The GT model provided to this writer comes with $4,450 worth of options including AWD, head-up display, dual-zone auto climate, Bose audio, heated leather seats, heated steering wheel and so on to push the price up to $31,500.
Standard safety equipments as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise, smart brake support, etc are present and counted for.
In order to save cost, the new Mazda3 gets rear torsion beam in place of the previous model’s multi-link system. However, this does not seem to affect the handling and the new car displays the expected verve associated with Mazda3’s maneurability. It is still a fun-to-drive car.
However, because of the added weight, the GT hatchback sips little more gas than the FWD sedan this writer drove earlier this year.
Rightly or not, the new Mazda3 with AWD provides what many customers want, while maintaining its usual poise and handling characteristics. Either sedan or hatchback, there’s much to like about this car. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)
2020 Mazda3 GT AWD Hatchback
As tested: $31,500
Engine: 2.5 litre four
Power: 186 hp/186 lb-ft
Transmission: 6 spd auto
Fuel: 9.8 litres per 100km (city), 7.4 litres (highway)
Best: AWD handling
Worst: AWD fuel economy
Competition: Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Kia Forte Five
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