The 2019 Mazda 3 is available for the first time with an optional all-wheel drive (AWD) on the sedan and hatchback models, which expands its appeal to nationally dispersed fleets, especially with drivers located in Snowbelt states.
I recently had an opportunity to test drive the AWD Mazda3 hatchback equipped with the Premium trim package. While test driving the Mazda3, I pictured myself as a company driver when assessing the vehicle. While behind the wheel of the Mazda3, I catalogued my driving impressions and later researched the engineering that was responsible for my reactions.
Most employees drive in urban environments and want an engine that can provide a quick burst of power to navigate within traffic or to merge onto fast-moving freeways. The 2019 Mazda3 checks off this box with its peppy and responsive Skyactiv-G 2.5L four-cylinder engine that can generate 186 hp.
The Mazda press literature provides a more in-depth explanation by citing the engine’s optimized intake ports and piston shape, along with split fuel injection and a coolant control valve as the key contributors to its higher levels of dynamic performance and fuel economy.
Another area I focused on during my test drive was the i-Activ AWD, which has been around for a while in the Mazda CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9 crossovers. The i-Activ AWD is a sophisticated system that uses all the sensors in the car to understand what the road surface condition to determine the best traction. For example, when the windshield wipers are on, the car knows it’s raining. Similarly, the Mazda3 simultaneously monitors steering effort. If steering takes less effort, it is another sign that the road is slippery.
When driving the AWD Mazda3 I was impressed by its sure-footed grip and its quick, almost effortless handling of a variety of driving situations. There is an impressive degree of engineering that makes this happen.
Again, referencing the Mazda press literature, it explains that i-Activ AWD adds four-wheel vertical load detection and that it works in harmony with G-Vectoring Control Plus to control torque distribution between the front and rear wheels. This engineering results in quick responsiveness to driving inputs and sure-footed handling, regardless of the driving situation.
A Comfortable Mobile Office
As a company driver I am going to spend a lot of time seated in my company vehicle, so comfort is paramount. This is another box I checked off with the all-new Mazda3, but, again, there was a lot of science employed to make this happen. When referencing the Mazda literature, I learned that the seats were designed to firmly support the pelvis in an upright position so my spine maintains a natural S-shaped curve.
This seated posture is the same posture your body assumes when walking. According to Mazda, by moving the pelvis and spine to maintain balance, the body absorbs input from the road surface and stabilizes the head. Because this posture requires no extra exertion to support the body, the seats help occupants feel less fatigue, allowing them to experience a greater degree comfort on longer drives. From my real-world test drive, I can attest that this is the case, but now I know the reason why.
2019 Mazda Mazda3 Specs
- Engine: 2.5L I-4 (186 hp, 186 lb.-ft.)
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic (with Sport mode)
- All-wheel drive: Optional AWD on all trims
- Cargo space: 20.1 cu.-ft.