2021 Mazda3 Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Reworked lineup with new model series designations
  • New entry-level engine making 155 hp (Mazda3 2.0)
  • New turbocharged engine option making up to 250 hp (Mazda3 2.5 Turbo)
  • Standard Mazda Connected Services with free 3-year trial
  • New Premium Plus package exclusive to Mazda3 2.5 Turbo
  • On sale in the fall of 2020

Introduction - Find the best Mazda deals!

Mazda is making numerous changes to the 2021 Mazda3 lineup, expanding engine choices, adding new model series and trim designations, and debuting new infotainment and driving assistance technologies.

For the new model year, 2021 Mazda3 configurations include 2.0, 2.5S, and 2.5 Turbo in a choice between 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback body styles. This is how the Mazda3 lineup breaks down for 2021:

  • The Mazda3 2.0 is offered only with the 4-door sedan bodystyle and comes in a basic level of specification with front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission
  • The Mazda3 2.5S is available with standard, Select, Preferred, and Premium trim packages, and with front-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • The Mazda3 2.5 Turbo is offered in standard or Premium Plus trim, in sedan or hatchback body styles, and only with AWD 

2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Polymetal Gray

These changes effectively add five new versions of the Mazda3 for the 2021 model year, making it easier to find one that meets your budget and performance requirements. Unless you want a stick-shift in a sedan. That’s still missing in action.

Exterior Features - Find the best Mazda deals!

The big news for the 2021 Mazda3 is the new 2.5 Turbo version, but before we get to those details, it’s important to know how you can identify the other versions of the car.

For 2021, the Mazda3 2.0 Sedan and the Mazda3 2.5S both have 16-inch aluminum wheels, a matte-finish grille, LED headlights, LED running lights, and LED taillights. Starting with 2.5S Select trim, the car has more appealing gray 18-inch aluminum wheels and a gloss black grille. 

At the top of the lineup, the new Mazda3 2.5 Turbo sports black 18-inch aluminum wheels, gloss black exterior mirrors, larger exhaust outlets, and a rear-mounted Turbo badge.

Interior Features - Find the best Mazda deals!

Inside the 2021 Mazda3, black cloth seats are standard in the 2.0 and 2.5S versions of the car. 

Select and Preferred trim include leatherette and dual-zone automatic climate control, while leather is standard in the 2.5S Premium. A power sunroof is now included with Preferred trim, while the 12-speaker Bose premium sound system is exclusive to Premium trim and the 2.5 Turbo. Navigation is also a new standard feature with Premium trim.

The 2.5 Turbo has standard leatherette, reserving leather upholstery for the Premium Plus option package. Otherwise, the standard features list matches closely with, but is not identical to, 2.5S Premium trim. The 2.5 Turbo also adds unique chrome accents around the engine start button and for glovebox detailing.

Optional Features - Find the best Mazda deals!

As an option for the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo, the Premium Plus package equips the car with leather seats, a navigation system, a Homelink universal transmitter, a special front air dam, and a gloss black lip spoiler (sedan) or a gloss black roof spoiler (hatchback).

The 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus also debuts new i-Activsense safety technologies. They include traffic jam assistance with steering assistance at speeds under 40 mph, rear automatic braking, and a high-definition surround-view camera system. 

Under the Hood - Find the best Mazda deals!

Now serving as the most affordable version of the Mazda3, the 2.0 is equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 155 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. These figures are down 31 hp and 36 lb.-ft. from the 2.5S version’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. Every Mazda3 2.0 has a 6-speed sport automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, and G-Vectoring Control Plus.

Mazda3 2.5S models carry on with the same 186-hp and 186 lb.-ft. 2.5-liter 4-cylinder as before. This is the only engine that offers a manual transmission option, and only with Premium trim in the 5-door hatchback body style. Other versions have the 6-speed sport automatic and front-wheel drive. As an option, AWD is available for the 2.5S but only with Select, Preferred, and Premium trim.

The Mazda3 2.5 Turbo adds the same turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine you’ll find in the Mazda6, the Mazda CX-5, and the Mazda CX-9. Using regular 87-octane gas, it makes 227 hp and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. Feed the engine premium 93-octane fuel, and output figures rise to 250 hp and 320 lb.-ft. A 6-speed sport automatic and AWD are standard in this version of the car.

Mazda says that in this application the engine is calibrated specifically for the Mazda3. When asked how, a Mazda spokesperson said: “We made numerous hardware and software changes to the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo that help provide an ideal fit as well as smooth driving experience. Specific details of these changes [will be available] closer to the launch of the vehicle.”

Safety - Find the best Mazda deals!

Every 2021 Mazda3 includes standard i-Activsense, which is Mazda’s name for its collection of advanced driving assistance systems. They include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, a driver monitoring system, and automatic high-beam headlights. If you want blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning, you’ll need to upgrade to the 2.5S Select at a minimum.

Currently, the 2020 Mazda3 is a Top Safety Pick+ according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and earns 5-star ratings in every crash-test assessment conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Technology - Find the best Mazda deals!

Every 2021 Mazda3 includes the latest version of Mazda Connect, the company’s infotainment system. It uses an 8.8-inch display, but it’s not touch-responsive. Rather, the driver uses physical controls on the center console and steering wheel or voice commands to operate Mazda Connect.

In the Mazda3 2.0, it includes Bluetooth hands-free calling and music streaming, HD radio, two USB connections, and an 8-speaker sound system. A free 3-year trial of Mazda Connected Services and the MyMazda smartphone app is also standard, as well as a 6-month/2GB trial of Wi-Fi access. 

Upgrade to the Mazda3 2.5S in order to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Mazda3 2.5S Premium trim includes a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system with aluminum speaker grilles, navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and an Active Driving Display head-up projection system.

In the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo, the Bose sound system is standard, with navigation an option.

Mazda is the source of the information in this article. It was accurate as of July 8, 2020 but may have changed since that date.