The venerable Mazda 3 recently offered one the widest range of models in its segment, but it has been significantly cut back with its most recent update.
You can no longer get the Mazda 3 with a manual transmission, nor with a mild-hybrid powertrain. The entire range is now automatic-only and the two petrol engines on offer are non-electrified.
With these changes to the Japanese carmaker’s small hatch and sedan, the base asking price now starts beyond $30k for the first time. The Mazda 3 range now starts at $30,320 before on-roads for the G20 Pure, and extends to $42,320 before on-roads for the G25 Astina.
Beyond this, Mazda has also made some upgrades to the 3’s in-car tech. A larger 10.25-inch screen is available across the range, and certain variants gain wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a wireless phone charger.
I famously called the current-generation Mazda 3 one of the best-looking new cars you can buy in one of our recent team op-ed stories, but does this update make you want to consider it over a similarly sized and priced SUV?
The Mazda 3 range now starts just over the $30,000 threshold thanks to the most recent update that saw the cheaper manual variants get the axe locally. It now starts at $30,320 before on-roads for the G20 Pure hatch and sedan.
Our tester is the mid-spec G25 Evolve SP variant that now starts at $34,520 before on-roads, $1410 more than it was pre-update. It’s the cheapest variant with the more powerful 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine.
The car came with the optional $2000 Vision Technology Package that now adds a larger 10.25-inch screen, as well as a surround-view camera, Cruising & Traffic Support, driver monitoring, front cross-traffic alert, and front parking sensors. It was also finished in Soul Red Crystal metallic paint, which costs an extra $595.
This brings the total amount of our tester to $37,115 before on-road costs, or $41,570 drive-away for Victorian buyers (each state has slightly different taxes). Hatch and Sedan versions are the same price across the board.
Mazda 3 pricing:
- 2024 Mazda 3 G20 Pure: $30,320
- 2024 Mazda 3 G20 Evolve: $31,870
- 2024 Mazda 3 G20 Touring: $34,520
- 2024 Mazda 3 G25 Evolve SP: $34,520
- 2024 Mazda 3 G25 GT: $38,420
- 2024 Mazda 3 G25 Astina: $42,320
Similarly priced rivals include:
All pricing excludes on-road costs, unless specified
In the SUV world, this price will get you a small SUV including the likes of the Hyundai Kona N Line ($36,000), Kia Seltos Sport+ 2WD ($35,800), Mazda CX-30 G20 Touring ($37,210), Nissan Qashqai ST+ ($37,890), Subaru Crosstrek 2.0R ($38,490), and the Toyota Corolla Cross GXL 2WD ($37,730), among others.
If you were waiting to see if there are any earth-shattering alterations with this update to the Mazda 3’s interior, think again.
Walking up to and hopping into the Mazda 3 can be quite a mission. I always forget how low to the ground the car is and find I sometimes need to contort myself to climb in. This is even worse when I need to get back out.
The seats in this G25 Evolve SP tester are finished in a trusty black fabric upholstery that have an inoffensive design and look like they’ll stand the test of time.
The driver’s seat is surprisingly electrically adjustable in 10 different ways, which I wasn’t expecting given it has fabric upholstery. There’s also electric lumbar adjustment, as well as two-position memory.
The seat itself is deliciously comfortable and somewhere I can sit for longer journeys and not get overly fatigued. There’s plenty of bolstering to hug you in, and the seat goes quite low.
It’s not surprising that the majority of the interior is also largely black, given the Evolve SP trim is a sporty blacked-out variant. This means however, the cabin is a little dark and monotonous.
Up front the Mazda 3 looks pretty upmarket given its price point and similarly priced competitors, with plenty of soft-touch plastics and materials in your line of sight. If you reach down lower you’ll find the inevitable harder, scratchier plastic.
Ahead of the driver is a buttery soft leather-wrapped steering wheel that has a thin, triangular shape to the rim and is a joy to hold.
The buttons and switches on the steering wheel have been given a matte black look with this latest update, however their addictively clicky nature is retained. There aren’t any mushy buttons in the cabin whatsoever!
Behind the steering wheel are a set of analogue dials for the revs, temperature and fuel gauge which sandwich a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster that has a circular physical element built into it for the speedometer.
There isn’t much content displayed inside this circular element. You’re able to have a classic needle for the speedometer, show the average fuel economy, or a driver assistance readout.
One of my favourite parts of the Mazda 3’s interior is a head-up display comes as standard no matter what variant you pick. It’s crystal clear and shows all the critical information you need to see while driving, including a digital speedometer.
Now to the centrepiece of this update, the Mazda 3 is now available with a larger 10.25-inch Mazda Connect infotainment system. It’s even a touchscreen, although you need to be stationary, in park, and also have the electric park brake on in order to actually use this functionality.
In order to get this larger infotainment system in the Mazda 3 G25 Evolve SP you need to opt for the $2000 Vision Technology package that also adds an array of extra safety equipment. Only the G25 GT and G25 Astina get the bigger screen as standard.
If you don’t go for the optional Vision Technology package you’ll score the carryover 8.8-inch Mazda Connect infotainment system instead.
Regardless of which screen you get, while driving you need to interact with the screen using a classic rotary dial with shortcut buttons flanking it. This takes a little bit to get used to, but once you do it’s actually quite simple. Not actually touching the screen also means there won’t be as many smudgy marks.
The screen itself has plenty of processing power, which means it boots up quickly upon startup and new pages load quickly.
Another highlight of this update is the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available in addition to the regular cabled versions of both. You need to get the G20 Touring or above to take advantage of wireless smartphone mirroring.
For my entire time with our tester I used wireless Apple CarPlay with my iPhone 12 Pro Max and had no connection issues whatsoever. This was genuinely surprising because the majority of the cars I drive that offer wireless smartphone mirroring typically cut out temporarily in one way or another.
This is helped by having a wireless phone charger, yet another new feature in the MY24 Mazda 3, that actually works. The only letdown was my phone kept on overheating which is typically a sign of misaligned wireless charging coils.
The Mazda 3 G25 Evolve SP comes with satellite navigation as standard that sounds great on paper, but is actually a real pain to use in practice due to the rotary dial. Trying to type points of interest takes forever as you need to scroll back and forth heaps of times.
Under the infotainment screen I’m glad to see the slick climate control setup with the physical knobs and buttons has been retained. It’s super compact and a joy to interact with.
Something to note is due to the cupholder placement, if you put a larger water bottle in there, the climate controls can sometimes get blocked.
The centre console is absolutely plastered in piano black, which thankfully in our tester wasn’t too scratched yet. It wouldn’t take long to get all dusty and grubby though.
One of my least favourite parts of the Mazda 3’s interior is its centre console lid. You first need to slide the lid back before lifting it up, which feels a little awkward. Under the lid are a set of new USB-C ports which replace the USB-A ports.
Moving to the second row you realise how much the overall user experience is geared towards people in the first row.
The seat and plastics are still soft but there is absolutely no space at all. At a leggy 182cm I absolutely cannot sit behind my own driving position. Thankfully there’s just enough headroom.
In terms of second-row amenities there are rear air vents, and a soft fold-down armrest with cupholders. There are no USB ports for rear passengers.
The Mazda 3 Hatch’s boot measures in at 295 litres, which doesn’t great on paper, but is completely fine in practice. It’s not huge and you shouldn’t really expect it to be.
There really isn’t much to the Mazda 3’s boot besides a singular light on the left-hand side. There are no hooks for bags or netted sections.
Thankfully there’s a space-saver spare tyre, though a proper full-size unit wouldn’t go astray. It is however better than a can of goo or nothing at all.
The Mazda 3 now only available with two different engines, following the axing of the two mild-hybrid engines with this latest update.
Our G25 Evolve SP tester is powered by a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine producing 139kW of power and 252Nm of torque.
This is mated exclusively to a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission with drive sent to the front wheels only. The previously available six-speed manual option was axed with the 2024 update.
The Mazda 3 hatchback with the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine has a claimed combined fuel consumption of 6.6 litres per 100km. Over almost 1000km of largely rural highway driving I was actually able to beat the claim and achieve an indicated average of 6.5 litres per 100km.
All Mazda 3 models now come with cylinder deactivation, as well as engine idle stop-start. G20 and G25 models require minimum 91 RON regular unleaded petrol and have 51-litre fuel tank.
Starting up the Mazda 3 feels very familiar and almost homely. It revs quite high initially at around 1500rpm, but eventually dials it back after warming up in a minute or two.
Our G25 Evolve SP tester with its larger 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine has plenty of power from a standstill. You’ll be keeping up with traffic with no worries at all.
If you push the throttle a little harder you’ll easily pull ahead of the cars at the lights, which is always great fun.
The Mazda 3 now only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission as all manual-equipped variants were axed with the latest update. Thankfully the automatic transmission is one of the slickest on the market.
The six-speed transmission does flare the revs when it needs to, but for the majority of the time it keeps them down as low as possible to minimise fuel consumption. There’s also enough torque to maintain the low revs.
I’d love for the transmission to have an extra ratio or two because at some points the car revs a little bit like it has a continuously variable transmission (CVT). I’m thankful however it doesn’t shift up and and down gears aimlessly.
Thanks in part to Mazda 3’s compact dimensions, it feels super easy to park. The steering is a little heavy at lower speeds though, and the hatchback’s C-pillar is super thick which considerably reduces visibility.
Our G25 Evolve SP tester came with the optional Vision Technology package that adds a surround-view camera, front parking sensors, and front cross-traffic alert, among other features. You don’t get these as standard unless you step all the way up to the flagship G25 Astina.
The Mazda 3’s suspension tune errs on the firmer side which isn’t horrible, but something to keep in mind for people considering this car. You can feel almost every bump you go over, but the car is never uncomfortable.
I attribute part of this firmer ride to the tester’s 18-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in low-profile 215/45 R18 tyres.
On pimply urban roads you can hear and feel the Mazda 3’s suspension doing a lot of work to suppress what it can. Over speed bumps the car’s torsion beam rear suspension can also slap a bit, which doesn’t feel very pleasant.
Dialling up the speed and the Mazda 3 rewards you with great driving dynamics that verge on being sporty. It almost yearns for more power.
Speaking of more power, in North America the Mazda 3 is available with a 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, however both are off the cards in Australia.
At around 80km/h the engine’s cylinder deactivation is most apparent. You can feel through the accelerator pedal that there’s a bit of an unbalanced thrum coming from the engine bay. This makes sense as the engine is running on just two cylinders rather than the full four.
The cylinder deactivation only really works when travelling along a flat road with light acceleration, as letting your foot of the accelerator causes the engine to disengage and pushing the throttle a little harder causes the other cylinders to fire into life.
At proper highway and freeway speeds, the Mazda 3 is an incredibly good cruiser. I was able to get some really low fuel economy numbers (~5.5 litres per 100km) on one particular trip which I was quite chuffed with.
On country roads the suspension gets a little unsettled on much like it does on super pimply urban roads.
I have to mention that I absolutely hate how every Mazda I drive has a magnified driver’s side mirror, which significantly impedes visibility. I found I had to do really serious head checks when doing lane changes to actually ensure there wasn’t a car in my blind-spot.
On the safety front, the Mazda 3 G25 Evolve SP is fully loaded. As I mentioned above, our tester came with the optional Vision Technology package that also adds Cruising & Traffic support, which is Mazda-speak for lane centring and traffic jam assist.
This system actually works really well on clearly marked highways and freeways. It does however start to lose its way on regional and rural roads where the markings aren’t quite as clear. In these scenarios I chose to switch it off and properly steer the car myself.
The adaptive cruise control system interacts fantastically with other vehicles. What I mean by this is when cars merge into your lane on the freeway it doesn’t slam on the brakes.
While it works well in regard to other cars, the cruise control does get quite confused with hills. It’ll really slow down when approaching a hill and then pick up too much speed when going down.
It feels a lot more natural to take control in these situations.
Mazda 3 G25 Evolve SP highlights
- 18-inch black metallic finish alloy wheels
- Space-saver spare wheel
- Black side mirrors incl. memory, reverse tilt-down function
- Auto-dimming driver’s side mirror
- Automatic LED headlights
- Halogen daytime running lights
- LED tail lights
- Rain-sensing window wipers
- 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster
- 8.8-inch Mazda Connect infotainment system
- Head-up display
- Wired, wireless Apple CarPlay
- Wired, wireless Android Auto
- Wireless charger
- Satellite navigation
- DAB+ digital radio
- 8-speaker sound system
- Two USB-C ports
- Dual-zone climate control
- Electric park brake
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Illuminated front vanity mirrors
- Keyless entry and push-button start
- Leather-wrapped gear selector
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Black cloth upholstery with red accents
- 10-way power driver’s seat with memory
The Mazda 3 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating from 2019, with scores of 98 per cent in adult occupant protection, 89 per cent in child occupant protection, 81 per cent in vulnerable road user protection, and 76 per cent in safety assist.
Standard safety features include:
- Autonomous emergency braking (forward, reverse)
- Lane departure warning
- Lane keep assist
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Traffic sign recognition
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Reversing camera
- Rear parking sensors
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Dual front, front-side and curtain airbags
- Driver’s knee airbag
Vision Technology Package* adds:
- Surround-view camera
- Cruising & Traffic Support
- Driver monitoring
- Front cross-traffic alert
- Front parking sensors
- 10.25-inch Mazda Connect display (standard on G25 GT)
The Vision Technology Package is standard on the flagship G25 Astina.
*$2000 on G20 Pure, G20 Evolve, G20 Touring, and G25 Evolve SP; $1500 on G25 GT
The 2024 Mazda 3 is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
This update has seen the Mazda 3 move to longer 12 months or 15,000km service intervals (up from 12 months or 10,000km).
2024 Mazda 3 service pricing:
|1 year or 15,000km||$334||$341|
|2 years or 30,000km||$530||$536|
|3 years or 45,000km||$414||$414|
|4 years or 60,000km||$530||$536|
|5 years or 75,000km||$334||$341|
Although it mightn’t seem like the Mazda 3 has received much of an update from the outside, it now receives a range of interior convenience features that add a modern touch.
I’m sad to see the option of a manual get axed from the Mazda 3 local line-up, but I do like this update brought the availability of a larger infotainment screen, wireless smartphone mirroring, as well as a wireless phone charger.
The Mazda 3 still retains its sleek and upmarket looks, especially in hatchback guise, and is still also an absolute hoot to drive. I wish we got the availability of the turbo engine in Australia though, because the car is essentially begging for more power.
The mid-spec G25 Evolve SP forms as the pick of the range if you’d like the cheapest variant that gets the larger and more powerful 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. It’s also quite rare that a car has fabric upholstery and an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat.
I know the Mazda 3 G25 Evolve SP would be the variant I’d personally opt for, but I’m also really enamoured with the burgundy leather that comes in the flagship G25 Astina.
Something that sticks in my mind, however, is most buyers are now looking for a high-riding crossover or SUV instead of low-riding passenger cars.
Mazda already has a solution for this in the form of the related CX-30 which is currently outselling the 3 – which would be your choice?
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