With all the mechanical issues on the little Honda CR-V finally sorted, it was time to send the little SUV off to paint. That, of course, means that I’ll be without a car for a few days. Luckily, however, I’m one of those cool blogger guys, and the good people at Mazda were more than happy to “set me up” with one of their 41 MPG 2016 Mazda 3 Skyactiv sedans for the week. Here’s how that went.

Just a quick disclaimer: a lot of what you’re about to read happened a few months ago- while I was waiting for my Honda CR-V project to come back from the body shop. In the meantime, baby #3 arrived and took me away from writing for a few weeks. So, as you read about “waiting for my Honda to come back from paint”, just know that the guys at Chicago Dipped move much more quickly than my publishing schedule might make it seem.



2016 Mazda 3 Skyactiv | First Impressions

2016 Mazda 3 - Skyactiv - Reviews

When the 2016 Mazda 3 got dropped off, I honestly can’t say I was impressed with the car’s styling. It didn’t have the muscular proportions of its bigger brother, for one thing- and it didn’t have the tiny, playful, puppy-dog stance of its Scion-badged sibling, either. It was just “a car”. Sure, it was decent-looking and pleasantly swoopy, but it’s probably not going to win over Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic buyers on looks, alone.

Once you start up the Mazda’s Skyactiv 4 cylinder engine and get under way, however, it becomes clear that the Mazda 3 is no plain-Jane also-ran!

Mazda equipped my tester with its 185 HP Skyactiv G 2.0 liter 4 cyl. engine mated to a 6 speed manual overdrive transmission. It’s a nearly perfect pairing, and felt significantly snappier than any entry-level sedan has any right to (Zoom-zoom, indeed!).

In addition to providing quick acceleration and a sporty feel, the 2016 Mazda 3 is rated at 41 MPG. I didn’t actually verify the computer’s 40+ MPG self-assessment, though, because after nearly 300 miles of driving I still showed nearly a quarter tank when the Mazda people came to take it back. (!) Suffice it to say that I see no reason to doubt Mazda’s fuel economy claims.


2016 Mazda 3 Skyactiv | Final Thoughts

The 2016 Mazda 3 is the sportiest of the compact sedans. That’s what Mazda presents it as, and “sporty” is what Mazda does best. The car is noticeably more fun to drive than the subjectively roomier and more comfortable Corolla. And, while the 3 probably won’t be able to match the Corolla’s fuel economy or resale value, the Mazda will be able to serve as a sufficient small-family hauler with nearly as much effectiveness as the Toyota.

So, which one would I buy?

Much as I absolutely love Love LOVE the driving dynamics of the Mazda 3, I can’t quite shake the feeling that the Toyota is the better car. Maybe it’s the “Why would you ever need a hybrid!?” fuel economy of the Corolla or the ease with which it can be “hyper-miled” that won me over- but while I loved driving the Mazda 3 all week I honestly couldn’t say I ever considered buying one.

Which is too bad, really. Because, if I ever do buy one, I’m sure that there has never been a more fun way to get 40 MPG out of a car than from behind the wheel of a 2016 Mazda 3.


Original content from Gas 2.