Mazda has a tradition of building entertaining small cars, and the Mazda 3 fits right in with its sharp handling and engaging nature. But it's also a practical, affordable runabout that's available as either a sedan or a handy four-door hatchback. A Mazda 3 of any vintage is worth consideration, but the 3's interior quality has improved dramatically over time. Likewise, fuel economy has emerged as a real strength in recent years.
Introduced in 2004, the Mazda 3 has always been one of those cars that feels a little bit special when you get behind the wheel. Some shoppers might find the ride too firm, but if you like to drive, you'll probably take a shine to this compact Mazda. Passenger room is the same in the sedan and hatchback, but the latter offers more cargo room. If fuel economy is a priority, note that 2012 and later models benefit from updated engine technology that helps the car return significantly better mileage.