By on July 8, 2020

mazda

Mazda appears to have embraced a two-pronged strategy to generate interest in its redesigned-for-2019 3 hatchback and sedan. For the coming model year, the automaker plans to add two engines to the lineup — one a potent, uplevel offering designed to give enthusiasts the oomph they so desire; the other, a returning cast member that never went away north of the border.

After this latest move, Mazda may well be out of options for luring eyes and wallets.

Yes, as previously reported, the Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine will join the Mazda 3 lineup for 2021. The turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, already optional in the CX-5 crossover and 6 sedan, appears in the Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo. Offered in sedan or hatchback guise, the new models pair with the brand’s i-Active all-wheel drive system and six-speed automatic transmission, setting a new ceiling for the 3’s range.

Power amounts to 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque on regular gas, or 250 hp and 320 lb-ft on 93 octane go juice.

Riding atop blacked-out 18-inch wheels, the two Turbo models carry an array of standard safety and convenience content, among them: power moonroof, leather-wrapped everything, interior chrome trim, a head-up display, LED lighting, and an i-Activsense suite of driver-assist features (radar cruise control with stop-and-go, adapting front lighting, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping, lane departure warning).

From the outside, Turbo models can be spotted by their trim-specific badging, larger tailpipes, and blacked-out grille. The Premium Plus Package can be added to festoon the 3 with even more goodies (and added price), but the cost of all this remains unknown for now. Clearly positioned as the pinnacle of the trim ladder, the Turbo twins arrive before the end of the year.

In Canada, starting price for the Mazda 3 Turbo is $32,900 before destination — a $2,400 increase from the top-flight GT AWD sedan. Hatch variants bump the price by another grand.

But the new turbo engine is only half of the story here. For 2021, Mazda saw fit to throw buyers of lesser means a bone, returning the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine to the fold as the base unit in front-drive models. Rated, as before, at 155 hp and 150 lb-ft, the 2.0L provides a cheaper stepping stone into the model, perhaps allowing Mazda to reclaim the U.S. buyers it lost when it went 2.5L-only for 2019.

As mentioned before, Canadian customers never lost this option. While the engine lineup has changed drastically in the U.S. for ’21, the availability of a three-pedal setup hasn’t — a manual transmission remains available only to buyers of the front-drive Premium Package hatchback. In the now mid-range Mazda 3 2.5S lineup, the hatch now offers the Select Package previously offered only on the sedan, boosting content and upgrading the car’s wheels to 18-inchers.

Non-turbo models should start rolling into dealers next month, with pricing announced closer to that date.

[Images: Mazda]

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47 Comments on “2021 Mazda 3: More Power If You Want It, Even Less If You Can’t Afford It...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Does Canada have common emission regs with the US, or do vehicles have to be certified to a different set of standards?

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      We use California standards in Canada. There’s supposed to be 13 other US states in on the same deal.

      I predicted that the new 3 turbo would be C$37K here on TTAC yesterday, so $33K for the sedan is great. Goodness knows what the Preemy Plus package is though. For our 73 cent dollar we get a deal. A GTI runs the same sort of pricing here for the old Mk 7 model but it’s FWD, and the packaging is awful in the 4 door for me due to the A-pillar placement and awful egress. They’re giving $3K off on the old GTIs at present — whoopy do. If I’d wanted one or a Jetta GLI I’d have got one a year ago instead of the 6 turbo.

      S I have the 6 turbo – lovely engine and transmission, so-so IRS. If I like the new 3 turbo sedan, I may ditch the 6 because I’m old and can afford to and I’m not going to live a whole lot longer. AWD is what’s missing from the 6 and it’s obvious, although it can be fun too. Lovely car overall though. The regular 3 AWD is a pussycat to drive and boring.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        $33k CDN also gets you to the second (“Sport”) tier of the WRX. The Mazda is “nicer” but the Rex is a known quantity. Also: is Mazda Canada still charging extra for the popular colours?

        Also: the last of the Mk7’s will be an easy sell, the all-touch-interface of the MK8 is not well received.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      We use California standards in Canada. There’s supposed to be 13 other US states in on the same deal.

      I predicted that the new 3 turbo would be C$37K here on TTAC yesterday, so $33K for the sedan is great. Goodness knows what the Preemy Plus package is though. For our 73 cent dollar we get a deal. A GTI runs the same sort of pricing here for the old Mk 7 model but it’s FWD, and the packaging is awful in the 4 door for me due to the A-pillar placement and awful egress. They’re giving $3K off on the old GTIs at present — whoopy do. If I’d wanted one or a Jetta GLI I’d have got one a year ago instead of the 6 turbo.

      So I have the 6 turbo – lovely engine and transmission, so-so IRS. If I like the new 3 turbo sedan, I may ditch the 6 because I’m old and can afford to and I’m not going to live a whole lot longer. AWD is what’s missing from the 6 and it’s obvious, although it can be fun too. Lovely car overall though. The regular 3 AWD is a pussycat to drive and boring.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    It’s Mazda Week again here at TTAM. Three days in a row: July 6, 7, and now 8. I hope someone is being compensated adequately by Mazda for this.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    No IRS for the turbo?

  • avatar
    ajla

    What if they put the 2.5T in the Miata?

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    It’s rather unclear in the text above: will the return of the 2 liter also bring a manual? Will there be a new three sedan with 2 liter and manual?

  • avatar
    spookiness

    A bit late and probably won’t make much difference, but the 2.0 will probably sell more sedans if it is priced and optioned right. Potentially more cost- and MPG- competitive with sedan competitors in that class. I had a 06′ hatch with the 2.3, but always thought the earlier generations of the Mazda3 with a 2.0 and well-equipped was kind of the sweet spot in terms of features, performance, economy. My 2.3 hatch was great, but would have selected it with a 2.0 if that were available. The performance difference wasn’t that big in my daily life and I would have prefered extra MPG. The 2.0 in my 2 Proteges and my truck were all bulletproof, never used any oil, never any issues.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I always wanted that 2010 – style hatch… with 2L. But when they finally made them with 2L, it was only with that half-skyactive 2L. I wanted regular 2L. Time proved – I was right. That non-skyactive 2L is the best small engine mazda made. No problems at all.

  • avatar

    That base 2.0 will feel like a punishment. The base 2.5 was already low on power for the weight of the car, and the smaller displacement means what, 25ish less horses?

    The 2.5t should be offered in front-drive guise, because that’s the one you really want.

    At the event for the new 2.5 3 last year I said it needed more power, and their response was that it had enough, and someone seeking more power would buy a 6.

    • 0 avatar
      g978

      Rubbish, how can a 186hp compact car even be considered to be low on power? This had more power than any other compact car outside of the So, type R, GTi, N etc. I don’t see you complaint about the top selling Corollas or Civics, which demonstrate that large power is not the bee all and end all.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      I dunno, the 146 HP 2.0L Sky-G in my CX-3 AWD (3000 lbs) doesn’t feel so bad.

      For a basic commuter car, 155 hp should be plenty for 3000-3300 lb Mazda3.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > That base 2.0 will feel like a punishment. The base 2.5 was already low on power

      As a Canadian, I feel like I’m missing something. It feels to me that in every forum that I drop in, the Americans seem to be driving at higher speeds than us, or at least it seems like that because they have such high expectations of how much horsepower a car should have.

      • 0 avatar

        Selling a car as premium compact and not econobox commuter (their words) raises the price and my expectations.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          Corey, there was a nuanced debate when the Skyactiv engines of 2 and 2.5 came out a few years back. Most people preferred the bigger one, but there was a decent number of reviews that saw the value of the 2.0 – but only with a stickshift. Besides, these cars are rather light. Your statement equating the 2.0 liter with “punishment” is a gross exaggeration, in my humble opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      Can’t agree. I’d take the 2.5L N.A. engine from Mazda over the 1.5T from the civic or the 2.0L in the Corrolla any day, all day. It was perfectly adequate in our 2016 CX-5 which is even heavier than the mazda 3. The VW turbo detuned options might be slightly better.

      Mazda 3: 186 hp / 3100lbs
      Civic: 174 Hp / 2900 lbs
      corolla xse: 169hp / 3100 lbs

      I’m not see anything out of line here, at all. The 2.5T rips the front wheels off my Mazda 6. It would be worse on the Mazda 3. AWD is needed for all that torque.

      • 0 avatar

        Power and weight are relevant, but so is torque and how the transmission handles it all.

        Plenty of hot hatches have 250hp and front-drive. If the chassis can’t handle it then it isn’t well-engineered.

        But apparently everyone’s about less power and base models today, so what do I know? Premium Mazda cuts base power, 10/10 per commenters.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “and their response was that it had enough”

      Mazda gonna Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel J

        2014 was was the last year the WRX in hatch was made. Somewhat still relevant since I see many running around.

        I mean the whole The whole point of being AWD is that there aren’t many options and Mazda fills that hap. Heck, there aren’t many options in FWD. If we look at similar HP, we got the GTI, Civic type R and Veloster n line.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Not sure if it applies anymore, but last time I drove them, I preferred the 2.0 over the 2.5. At least back then, it revved quicker, and seemed to have less excessive flywheel. Less weight in front, in a vehicle layout which have too much of it as it is, is also always a good thing.

  • avatar

    This will create some sale issues for the 3 with regard to the 2.0 for a year or two.

    Why buy a new 2.0 when a used 2.5 has more power, is otherwise exactly the same, and is cheaper?

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “2.0L provides a cheaper stepping stone into the model, perhaps allowing Mazda to reclaim the U.S. buyers”

    Yes. Agree. This is the main reason of the downfall. But it will not return people like me. Because I also want MT and J-VIN

    Hatch has MT+J-VIN… but at what $$$?? I am too cheap to pay that for Mazda3

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      When I get back in the car market, I would like a 2014-2018 Mazda 3 hatch, but unfortunately, I would have to go with a used version. The current 3 seems OK, but doesn’t grab me. I like the exterior and interior styling less than before, and the price has grown.

      I am interested in the Scion iA, even though it’s a little small … but that is getting discontinued. Oh well.

      Nobody seems to buy the things I like, and then they get discontinued. The odd thing is, this seems to happen in other areas besides car shopping. Is it just me?

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