The Mazda 3 Ditches Its Entry-Level Engine, Gains More Power and Better MPG

After a year with our long-term Mazda 3, we determined is was just about good enough to make you reconsider that Volvo or Audi you’ve been eyeing, which is a testament to the quality materials and enjoyable drive the 3 offers. The updates for the 2023 Mazda 3 are relatively minimal, but cover the entire range with price increases, an improvement in efficiency, and a new base trim level.

The 2.0-Liter Is Gone, New Base

Mazda has offered the base 3 model with a 2.0-liter engine good for 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque, offered with either front- or all-wheel drive and only available with an automatic transmission. But now that relatively weak engine has been nixed from the Mazda 3 trim lineup, replaced by the familiar but recently “enhanced” naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G motor previously included on higher trims. That means the base 3’s power inherently increases for 2023, now making 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque.

Included in the base model, and standard on all Mazda 3 trims, is Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus system, i-Activsense safety tech including radar cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, driver attention alert, and high-beam control, as well as three years of complimentary Mazda Connected Services and a three-month trial for the in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.

Also standard across the lineup is an 8.8-inch infotainment display, push button start, remote keyless entry, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, rain-sensing wipers, black cloth seats, two USB ports, an eight-speaker audio system, automatic LED lights, and the base car comes on 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels.

MPG Improves

The “enhanced” 2.5 engine is not only more powerful but also more fuel efficient in non-turbo guise now. Mazda claims it’s updated the cylinder deactivation technology to make the engine more efficient “in specific operating conditions.” The naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter I-4, in those unnamed specific conditions, now returns 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and a combined 31 mpg. The more powerful Turbo version retains its EPA-estimated 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined.

Prices Go Up

The base model upgrade from the 2.0-liter motor to the 2.5-liter comes at a higher price, jumping up $450 to now start at $23,615 for the FWD sedan, including the $1,065 destination fee. The Select Package model jumps $500, the Preferred and Carbon Edition both jump by $450, the Premium model is a whopping $1,700 more, breaking 30 grand now, and the 2.5-liter Premium Plus model goes up by $550 to top out at $35,065 including destination and before options. Hatchback models are $1,000 more than the sedan version in trims where the option is offered, and the only manual trim, the 2.5 S Premium Package hatchback, is $550 more and now starts at $30,215. The new hatchback ships this fall, and the new sedan models will ship this winter.

Mazda 3 Pricing Breakdown:

Model

Drivetrain

Sedan

Hatchback

Mazda3 2.5 S

FWD

$22,550

$23,550

Mazda3 2.5 S Select Package

FWD

$23,950

$24,950

Mazda3 2.5 S Preferred Package

FWD

$25,550

$26,550

Mazda3 2.5 S Carbon Edition

FWD

$27,200

$28,200

AWD

$28,600

$29,600

Mazda3 2.5 S Premium Package (6MT)

FWD

$29,150

Mazda3 2.5 S Premium Package

AWD

$29,400

$30,400

Mazda3 2.5 Turbo

AWD

$32,450

Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus

AWD

$34,000

$35,300

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