2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan: Nice ‘N Easy Quick Spin Review

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD: a sport sedan as mellow as fine wine served in Soul Crystal Red Metallic at $34,170

The 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium is your ticket to rekindle an automotive romance—a compact car with luxury-grade aspirations. 

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium on Soul Crystal Red Metallic

Attuned to a level of mellow crooned best by Frank Sinatra, the Mazda3 Turbo Sedan proves “Nice ‘n’ Easy” does it every time. 

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium priced at $34,170

The sibling to the 5-door hatchback doesn’t rely on forced induction 2.5-liter Skyactive G powerplant, six-speed automatic transmission or suspension to tear through corners and stomp on other high performance sport compacts when the light turns green.  Instead, Mazda down speeded the engine (2,300 rpm at 72 mph) to a hushed murmur; rushing things would be a crime.  And its developers made the necessary stops along the way toward upscale mobility.

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium trunk lid badging

Mazda asks a modest $34,710 for the Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan with standard all-wheel drive.  There’s a color head up display (HUD) with blind-spot warning markers.  The 3 Turbo‘s chief calling card is its handsome if tight interior. There is the smooth grained padded dash top, stitched vinyl-clad fascia with soft treatments on front and rear door cards—even the armrest’s sides and bottoms are pliable.  Perforated metal grilles cover door loudspeakers.  The center console features knee soothing saddle padding.  There is a funky slide then back tilting center armrest.  Under it are USB power points.  The ”A” pillars are cloth covered. 

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium LED adaptive front headlights & Angel Eyes DRLs

The vehicle’s ride is compliant, although you’ll notice some highway thumps.  Road noise is suppressed, though.  There are economies.  For example, the right front throne has manual adjustments without height, tilt or lumbar—no rear seat face vents, power outlets or seat heaters either.  The trunk’s rug is basic, but the rear lid’s underside is covered. 

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium rear directionals mimic ND MX-5 Miata

Fuel economy in the 3 Turbo is hardly stellar at 25 miles per gallon. Engine durability isn’t as proven* as some other four-banger stalwarts, but has likely improved since the powertrain was first introduced on the Mazda CX-9 SUV (engine head cracks reported to NHTSA on 2016-2020 builds) . This vehicle’s horsepower is 227 with regular fuel, 250 fed premium.

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium transverse 2.5L turbo DOHC I-4 mill + 6-speed automatic gearbox

*Mazda’s engine warranty isn’t robust; my readers report they’ve paid more than $500 to mend their three-year-old cars with cracked cylinder heads even though their odometers indicated fewer than 66,000 miles.  Mazda’s rep says the powertrain warranty expires at 60,000 miles.    

The Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan‘s instrument panel combines analogue and digital motifs.  The analogue-style gauges symmetrically flank either side of a virtual speedo with info screen.  You can add economy data including average/instant mpg to the speedo’s zone.

Mazda’s driver interface includes an infotainment screen with a center console remote Command rotary controller and four switches:  back, navigation, audio and home.  While HD radio channel changing is tedious, I gained a newfound appreciation for slick-clicking controls after driving the Golf R, Lexus UX and Genesis GV70.  These latter three, which employ touch-sensing gadgetry, make simple secondary operations, such as adjusting seat heating, as cumbersome as using a vending machine while twirling a Hula Hoop.  Adhering to the principle of keeping it simple, the Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan serves up it its butt warming through at-a-glance buttons in the climate control array.

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium minimal switch & contrast colored soft padded cockpit

Knurled metal edges surrounding the Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan‘s 8.8″ inch media display center console rotary command controller and the adjacent audio volume knob look classy. Better yet twisting either imparts precision clicks not unlike aperture ring action on a classic Nikon camera lens.  Climate controls buttons, while smartly arranged, are a bit on the Chiclet size of the spectrum.

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium 2nd Row occupant treatment

The Mazda 3 Turbo comes standard with most of the modern battery of advanced driver safety. Curiously Cruising & Traffic Support (formerly Traffic Jam assist) active lane keep centering, which can also resort to forward vehicle tracing, operates only at speeds below 40 mph. For highway speeds lane-departure prevention is strictly Level 1.5 suggestive, with a audible / vibration warning followed up only by a subtle steering opposite nudging once at the lane markers. Mazda’s philosophy for at speed motoring seems to focus on blind spot warning, reduntantly shown in the gauge cluster and HUD, as well as a hyperactive adjacent vehicle lane change warning.

For all the available subtle thrust of under the Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan bonnet, braking and handling are decidedly more aimed at grand touring adequacy.  Steering, equipped with meatier weighting, lacks sharp response at the limits. Adopting a torsion beam semi independent rear suspension for cruising smoothness brings out occasional mid corner tail twitch. An unplanned evasion maneuver around a raccoon carcass revealed the culprit: the timid tire tread tenacity.

The Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan, bottom line, is a sincere dose of entry level compact luxury on the QT.  It brims with a soulful mellowness of Ol’ Blue Eyes standard.

2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Sedan AWD Premium is the mellowed sport compact

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