Alex and Kase get to play with a 2022 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD Turbo – and see if it’s the last of a dying breed.
Only available with all-wheel drive (AWD) and a six-speed automatic, the 2022 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD Turbo makes 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. It is effectively, a premium small car that drives like a much more expensive vehicle. In fact, if you hid the Mazda logo from an average consumer, they might mistake it for something German.
Oddly, Mazda only lets you get a manual transmission if you get a top-of-the line model. By the way, that’s without AWD – and without the turbo. Did I mention that you can’t get the sedan with a manual transmission either? And – even IF you get the manual version, it’s not an enthusiasts’ ride. All Mazdas handle well, especially the AWD Mazda3, but they lost their tenacious zeal for a more relaxed appeal.
We still think that Mazda pricing makes their cars less appealing. While they are nicer to behold, and drive, the $36,010 on our 2022 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD Turbo is boarding on Audi A3 territory. I recall, Mazda tried pushing the whole luxury image-thing way back with the Mazda Millenia in the mid 90s, and it didn’t do well.
Perhaps the main issue for Mazda (at least, in this market) is the they are perceived as a value oriented automaker, much like Subaru and even Toyota. Having nicer looking car, one that’s great to drive, still doesn’t make up for the pricing, and some of the old tech.
Old tech and new tech?
Some find the old six-speed automatic transmission a bit archaic. It’s still equipped with an eight-inch infotainment screen, which looks smaller than it is. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard, but other app-based options are limited.
On the other hand, the driving tech is impressive. The AWD system is quite advanced. With Mazda’s “Predictive” traction/AWD setup, it magically switches on before you realize you need it. It also has G-Vectoring Control. That system uses the Mazda’s brakes to reduce power, and to optimize vertical load when turning into a corner. It makes it handle even better on dry surfaces.
Despite having a torsen-based rear suspension (it’s not that simple – you can read more about here), handling doesn’t feel compromised. It’s well planted, and still rides fairly well on the highway. Some would call the ride “European stiff” on the rough stuff. Still, it’s never uncomfortable, or uncomposed.
Check out this video and see what Alex and Kase think about this ride!