2021 Mazda 3: More Power If You Want It, Even Less If You Can't Afford It
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.
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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?
"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