Why The 2015 Mazda 3 Is Our Favorite Compact Sedan

Front 3/4 view of the 2015 Mazda 3
The 2015 Mazda 3.
It takes a lot to stand out in a crowded field.  Take compact sedans. You've got Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Dodge Dart, Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Lancer, Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra.

And then there's the Mazda 3. Which, for our money, tops 'em all.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Mazda 3
2015 Mazda 3.
All of the other cars in the class have something to recommend them, but the Mazda 3 is a near-flawless package combining exciting styling, brilliant handling and strong fuel economy (30 city/41 highway, according to the EPA) at a competitive price: $20,645 for the Mazda 3 i 4-door Touring.

That base price gets you a 155 horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic, 16-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights and daytime running lights, variable intermittent wipers, heated power side mirrors with built-in turn signals, fog lights, premium cloth-trimmed sport seats, power windows and locks, keyless entry, pushbutton start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle, a backup camera, a seven-inch touchscreen display, an audio system with AM, FM, HDRadio, two USB inputs, Pandora, Stitcher, SMS text message delivery and reply, Bluetooth, cruise control, a trip computer, carpeted floor mats, an anti-theft engine immobilizer, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, tire pressure monitoring, dynamic stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, ABS, and a full complement of airbags.

Interior view of 2015 Mazda 3
2015 Mazda 3 interior.
Our tester added a cargo mat ($70), Soul Red Paint (an extra-charge item at $300), and the Technology Package (dual-zone climate control, a moonroof, a CD player and an upgraded Bose 9-speaker Centerpoint audio system with Sirius XM satellite radio for $1,600).  Bottom line, including $795 delivery, processing and handling fee: $23,410.  A fine price for that level of equipment.

There are faster compacts, but none with the handling of the Mazda 3. Combine that with those looks, features, fuel economy, comfort and quality and it's no surprise that the Mazda 3 retains its place on the list of TireKicker's Best Cars.

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