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Mazda3 2020 review: G20 Touring sedan

The Mazda3 sedan is considerably more sizeable than its hatchback sibling.

If you're after a small car that happens to be a sedan instead of a hatchback, Mazda's 3 range is surely worth a look. It's not exactly a traditional family car because of its size, but it will still work especially if you've got older children (who are out of baby seats!) and it functions perfectly as a second car, if you've already got a larger car or SUV in the garage.

I drove the Mazda3 G20 Touring which is in the middle of the range and costs from $30,590 for the automatic version. It's in competition with other small sedans such as the Toyota Corolla, Kia Cerato and Honda Civic, and also hatchbacks like the Hyundai i30 and Mazda's own 3 hatchback - as that is essentially the decision you're making if you've already decided on a small car.

Here's how it did over a week with my family.

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✅ How does it look?

While the new shape Mazda3 hatchback has a modern vibe, this sedan is not as swanky as it's hatchback sister. It feels fresh and looks good with a low profile and sleek, elongated headlight shape, but I still prefer the hatchback exterior to the sedan.

Inside feels quite bare, or should that be minimalist? (image: Dean McCartney) Inside feels quite bare, or should that be minimalist? (image: Dean McCartney)

Inside feels quite bare, or should that be minimalist? It's got a smooth, black curved dash that looks good and the leather steering wheel and gear selector add to the premium feeling. This Touring model has leather seats and will be easy to clean with kids. The centre console is nicely designed but I do think the screen would look better if it was incorporated into the dash rather than popping out at the top.

It still does feel quite stark, which probably felt fresh a few years ago but now looks too stark. Or it's minimalist! Depending on how you see things.

The Mazda 3 G20 Touring costs from $30,590 for the automatic. (image: Dean McCartney) The Mazda 3 G20 Touring costs from $30,590 for the automatic. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How does it drive?

It's a nice, smooth drive in the Mazda3 with not much to complain about but nothing to write home about either.

This model has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, so it's good to get up hills and cruise along highways. I was driving the six-speed automatic model, but there's a six-speed manual for $1000 less, if that's what you prefer.

This model has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, so it’s good to get up hills and cruise along highways. (image: Dean McCartney) This model has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, so it’s good to get up hills and cruise along highways. (image: Dean McCartney)

The steering is good and it handles well around corners. It's not the most incredible car to drive if you compare it to more expensive categories, but in this price bracket it works well and is one of the better vehicles to get around in.

As a second run-around car it's great because it's easy to park with a good reversing camera and the size means it fits neatly into most car parks. There's no battle with the steering wheel if you're trying to squeeze it into a small park, either.

It’s a nice, smooth drive in the Mazda3 with not much to complain about but nothing to write home about either. (image: Dean McCartney) It’s a nice, smooth drive in the Mazda3 with not much to complain about but nothing to write home about either. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How spacious is it?

By all accounts this car fit our family of four perfectly fine, though it doesn't have the ideal amount of space for a family, it is certainly doable and it also depends on how big your family is.

I was comfortable in both front seats with enough leg and headroom and it has enough space for the taller members of my family. The kids were happy in the back seats with enough room between them that they didn't feel cramped, though you can't get a third child seat in there, it's not that kind of car.

  • The boot in the Mazda3 sedan is much bigger than the hatchback version. (image: Dean McCartney) The boot in the Mazda3 sedan is much bigger than the hatchback version. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It has 444 litres (VDA) cargo capacity compared with the hatch’s 295L. (image: Dean McCartney) It has 444 litres (VDA) cargo capacity compared with the hatch’s 295L. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It’s big enough to fit the bulky CarsGuide pram and you’ll have room leftover for groceries and schoolbags too. (image: Dean McCartney) It’s big enough to fit the bulky CarsGuide pram and you’ll have room leftover for groceries and schoolbags too. (image: Dean McCartney)

I fit easily in the back seat at 161cm and it doesn't have the sloping roofline of a hatchback so I think taller people might find it more comfortable to sit in the back seat for long journeys, as it definitely lets more light in than a hatchback.

The boot in the Mazda3 sedan is much bigger than the hatchback version, with 444 litres (VDA) cargo capacity compared with the hatch's 295L. It's big enough to fit the bulky CarsGuide pram and you'll have room leftover for groceries and schoolbags too.

I fit easily in the back seat at 161cm and it doesn’t have the sloping roofline of a hatchback. (image: Dean McCartney) I fit easily in the back seat at 161cm and it doesn’t have the sloping roofline of a hatchback. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

There is keyless entry on this G25 Touring model. The front seats are 10-way power adjustable. There is a head-up display in the windscreen that shows your speed and the speed limit in the area you're driving which is super convenient.

You'll find two cupholders in the front, a spot for keys and a phone and a large centre storage bin for this size of car. There are also bottle holders in each door. Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest and also rear air vents, which is a nice plus in this segment.

There are bottle holders in each door. (image: Dean McCartney) There are bottle holders in each door. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How safe is it?

There are seven airbags in the Mazda3 that cover the driver and front passenger and include side curtain airbags that cover the windows on the back row.

It comes standard with the full run of advanced safety including auto emergency braking (AEB) which works in forward and reverse, rear cross- traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

I was comfortable in both front seats with enough leg and headroom and it has enough space for the taller members of my family. (image: Dean McCartney) I was comfortable in both front seats with enough leg and headroom and it has enough space for the taller members of my family. (image: Dean McCartney)

If you spend an extra $1500 for the Vision Technology pack, you'll also get a 360-degree surround view camera, a more advanced cruise control system, driver monitoring tech, front cross-traffic alert and front parking sensors.

You'll find two ISOFIX points and three top-tether points to fix kids car seats in safely. The Mazda3 scored the maximum five stars when it was tested by ANCAP in 2019.

✅ What's the tech like?

The Mazda3 range now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which means you can plug in and be instantly connected to your phone's main apps.

The multimedia screen, however, is not a touchscreen - it's controlled by a rotary dial controller just behind the gear selector. It works very well and is easy to navigate but a touchscreen is always preferable, I think.

It's covered by Mazda's five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and servicing is required every 12 months/15,000kms. (image: Dean McCartney) It's covered by Mazda's five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and servicing is required every 12 months/15,000kms. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The Mazda 3 G20 Touring costs from $30,590 for the automatic. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.1L/100kms, and my colleagues at CarsGuide have seen real world usage of 8.0L/100km in typical driving in the past.

It's covered by Mazda's five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and servicing is required every 12 months/15,000kms.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.1L/100kms. (image: Dean McCartney) Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.1L/100kms. (image: Dean McCartney)


The Wrap

The Mazda3 G20 Touring sedan is a good small car that can be used for a family either as a main car if that's what you prefer and also works really well as a second family car. It looks good, with a simple and stylish interior, drives well and has good safety and technology.

I gave it a family rating of 7.6 out of 10. My kids gave it the same, they like the colour and the rear air vents.

Likes

Advanced safety
Value for money
Rear air vents

Dislikes

Not particularly exciting to drive
Media isn't touchscreen
Not as attractive as the hatch

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$30,240

Based on new car retail price

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