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Car Reviews

2024 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus Review: The Ideal Daily Driver?

Today I’m taking you on a ride with me in one of the most exhilarating vehicles I’ve had the pleasure of test driving: the 2024 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus hatchback. Believe me when I say, it’s been a week filled with pure driving joy, and I’m stoked to spill all the details of my adventure behind the wheel.

2024 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus
2024 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus

Let’s keep this review fair, short, and concise, and get to the point on everything. But as usual, we’re going to start here with my acceleration test and see how the performance of this vehicle is with the 2.5 L turbo.

Acceleration and Performance

2024 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus Acceleration and Performance
2024 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus Acceleration and Performance

Now, I can’t tell you exactly what octane fuel is in this engine, but with regular 87, this engine puts out 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque via a standard all-wheel-drive system. Quite impressive for a compact hatchback like this.

If you do put premium 93 octane, this engine should be good for about 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. When you put your foot down and it downshifts a gear, this thing gets up and scoots pretty darn good for what it is. So, it is quite impressive the overall acceleration, although I would say it’s not quite as high performance or sharp feeling as something like a Volkswagen GTI or a Hyundai Veloster N.

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Vehicles in that category are certainly much more performance-oriented, whereas this car I think is a fantastic and very powerful Grand Tour or GT compact hatchback.

Color Options

Once again, just to reiterate, the vehicle I’m in is a 2024 Mazda 3 Premium Plus turbo hatchback finished in the red exterior here with the black leather interior.

Now, there are several different color combinations available. You can get everything from a black interior to a bright red leather interior, white exterior, and a bunch of different grayscale colors on the outside.

I really do like a lot of the color combinations that Mazda offers within their lineup. But anyways, getting back to this car, it is a fully loaded version of the vehicle. The Premium Plus trim adds a lot of nice equipment for just a couple of thousand more dollars over the standard turbo pricing.

Exterior and Interior POV

There’s a lot of features and options inside of this vehicle that one might not expect from a vehicle in this category. With that being said, it does come at a pretty hefty price tag of just over $33,800, as seen. So again, I’ll get to how I feel about the value proposition a little bit later in this video.

Driving Dynamics and Visibility

Driving Dynamics and Visibility
Driving Dynamics and Visibility

But just to start off with some of the driving dynamics, visibility, overall ergonomics, this one being a compact hatchback sits a little bit lower to the ground obviously than that of some of Mazda’s subcompact or smaller SUVs such as the CX 30, which I would argue this vehicle actually somewhat competes against.

It’s just a matter of if somebody wants the higher ride height and the more SUV-type of feel versus this vehicle which sits lower and is more of a compact true hatchback.

Now, what comes with a traditional hatchback like this one is you are going to feel like you are sitting much closer to the ground than that of an SUV, but that does not hinder visibility really much at all inside this vehicle.

As I have great forward visibility over the hood, believe it or not, this is actually one of the few vehicles that I get in and I actually had to raise the seat up just a little bit because it sat so low inside the vehicle. I wanted to get just a little bit more visibility over the dashboard and the gauge cluster hood in front of me.

You do have door-mounted mirrors which help with outward visibility on the sides of the vehicle, although the A-pillars are a little bit on the chunkier side.

So, depending on the angle that you are turning and what size vehicle you’re looking for out of your left or right-hand side, the A-pillars can get in the way just a little bit, but to me, it’s not really a big deal.

The biggest visibility issue I have with this vehicle is going to be towards the rear of the vehicle, specifically the large C-pillars on the left and right-hand side, and the rear hatch glass is a little bit on the smaller side, just the shorter side as well. But I would say that’s kind of a very minor issue in comparison to maybe your blind spots with those C-pillars.

Luckily, this vehicle comes with blind spot detection, which integrates extremely well with the heads-up display as well as of course gives you the little indicator on the side view mirrors, so that helps out a lot.

And I would say as long as you’re confident in driving with visibility that’s not optimal per se, this does have somewhat of a coupe-like feel to it given the beltline and the roofline is fairly close to each other, not a huge difference in height there.

Is it a issue?

I would say it’s really not an issue for many people out there but I could see a few people complaining about certain aspects of the visibility. Now outside of that, in terms of the Interior feel, ergonomics, and everything in that department, this car feels like a premium mainstream brand, borderline luxury with what they’ve equipped and appointed the Interiors with.

Of course, you have the leather seating Services, nice soft-touch door panels throughout, with a slightly different texture up top. Leather stitching with the accent brown color on the door panels matches very nicely here on the seating surfaces. The technology inside the cabin is pretty high-end for a vehicle in this segment once again, with a partially digital gauge cluster, 10.25-inch infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Of course, I’ve already mentioned the heads-up display in front of the driver, which is fairly configurable. Dual Zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and most of Mazda’s current driver assistance Technologies, including the low-speed traffic assist, which works I believe below 40 mph. It will do Lane centering as well as the adaptive cruise control and everything like that.

Above 40 mph, it turns into more of a lane-keeping assist system with the radar-based adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, etc.

What it lack’s?

What it lack's?
What it lack’s?

I just think there is a little bit shortfall in terms of some of the driver assistance technology, not so much the infotainment system and stereo system here on the inside, when it comes to some of the shortcomings and performance of those items.

Now, heading into my rough section of pavement, this is a perfect transition into the ride quality and driving dynamics. I’ve heard a lot of other people out there say that this vehicle rides on the rougher side, and I would absolutely disagree with that statement 100%.

I think you need to compare this vehicle to other compact hatchbacks and not SUVs that may still compete, such as the CX-30. SUVs are generally going to be tuned a little bit softer, just more of a compliant ride where hatchbacks that sit a little bit close to the ground not only might have a little bit less suspension travel but might just be tuned more for that segment of vehicle.

Comparing it with 2019 Elantra GT N Line?

I actually own a 2019 Elantra GT N Line, and this vehicle that I’m driving right now is actually going to be softer than that vehicle in the suspension department. This vehicle actually has a torsion beam rear suspension, whereas my Elantra GT N Line has a multi-link independent rear end, which should affect driving dynamics a little bit.

But just in terms of the dampers, spring rates, and everything like that, this vehicle to me feels just a little bit softer than my personal vehicle. So, I don’t think the Mazda 3 actually feels like it rides rough at all. I think over broken pavement it does a fairly good job. You are going to feel things inside the cabin a little bit more just because of the segment Mazda was aiming for in the target audience of this vehicle.

But I think it actually rides very comfortably and I think it’s a great grand tour daily driver that you can either drive across the country with relative comfort or around town with broken pavement, without much issue. So, I actually really do like the suspension tuning and think it rides just about right for what I would want in a vehicle like this.

Now, when it comes to some of the handling and other dynamics, this comes with regular all-season tires. I’m not sure if they’re categorized as high-performance all-season necessarily, but I think the tire will likely be the limitation in terms of going around corners and doing spirited driving in that regard.

I really haven’t noticed any major complaints or issues with the torsion beam rear suspension, which I have owned in a torsion beam suspension car before many, many years ago, and I didn’t like the way it drove. This vehicle, I’m happy to report, whatever Mazda has done with it in terms of the dampers and the overall design of it, I think it works quite well in this car. I haven’t had any instances where I thought it was the major downfall to the platform or chassis as a whole. So, I really think they did a good job with that, no major complaints there.

Thoughts on engine

Thoughts on engine
Thoughts on engine

The engine itself actually sounds quite aggressive and quite throaty, which I was not expecting driving this vehicle. Going into it, I was pleasantly surprised by the engine noise inside the cabin; it is quite satisfying. Putting your foot down, it just sounds very, very good.

Now, I will say I think the one drawback to this powertrain setup is going to be the six-speed torque-converted automatic. For normal everyday driving, I’ve had actually no complaints. I think the six-speed does a pretty good job. However, when you start to want to hustle it around corners and drive it in a more spirited manner, I think that is where the six-speed really shows its traditional design of being a torque-converted automatic and maybe a little bit older of a design.

It’s a little bit of a slushbox, a bit hesitant to downshift. The shifts themselves are going to be a little bit on the slower side compared to things like maybe a newer torque-converted automatic or even a dual clutch. I’m glad this vehicle actually does not have a dual clutch. For most people looking for a smooth, refined daily driver, the six-speed automatic is going to be adequate. I think it might be the weakest link in the powertrain, though. It would be nice to have maybe an 8-speed with a slightly quicker shift and a newer updated design, but overall, the six-speed does a job fairly reasonably well.

In terms of interior cabin noise, this has actually been another aspect where I’ve been very happy to report that it’s fairly refined and quiet on the inside. The biggest noise I hear is from the road noise or the tire noise. Wind noise is very isolated; you don’t hear a ton of wind noise even on windier days. Of course, you can shut the manual sun shade up top that will eliminate just a little bit of additional wind noise coming in through the standard sunroof on this particular vehicle.

I would say it’s pretty typical compact, semi-luxury noise levels here on the interior. It’s not enough to be annoying on longer road trips, but it’s also not a high-end $50,000 to $60,000 interior volume level, such as that of the CX-90, which I do have reviews of here on the channel. That vehicle is certainly going to be a little bit quieter on the interior, but I think this vehicle, for what it is, does quite well.

Now, turning onto my normal on-ramp here for the interstate, I put the vehicle in sport mode. The transmission automatically downshifts.

Downshifts and this vehicle, even with these standard all-season tires, handles pretty darn well. Got held up here by an Altima in front of us, passing power very good too. I will say, though, when it comes to the power output, it almost feels like this car has less power than the specs actually perceive on paper.

I think it dies off a little bit at the upper end of things, but really in the midband, around 3 to 4,000 RPM, you’re going to get peak torque out of this engine and it definitely pulls when it’s lower in the rev band. Now go ahead, setting the cruise control, simply push the button here, activate the lane centering.

I think this is one of the minor complaints again I have about Mazda’s driver safety systems, just the overall performance. Now, it is a hands-on system, so it will nag you quite a bit to keep your hands on the steering wheel. It is a torque-sensing design, so you do have to kind of twist the steering wheel just a little bit to let the system know that you are paying attention out on the roadway.

The adaptive cruise control aspect works very well, much like that of a radar-based system. I actually did have an instance earlier this week where it was snowing a wet, heavy snow and the system at the front of the vehicle actually got covered up enough to where it disabled not only the radar-based cruise control but cruise control altogether.

At one point, the camera system also became obscured, and it shut basically all driver assistance technologies down as a whole. So, I would say that is a little bit of a concern, given how quickly that happened on basically a 15-minute drive. About 10 minutes in, it got obstructed and the system seemed to disable all cruise control together.

Another point to make and touch on here that is very valid and something I’ve noticed with my about 5 days with this vehicle thus far is not only the fuel economy but also the fuel tank size of this vehicle.

How’s the fuel economy?

This vehicle has a 12.7-gallon fuel tank, which at roughly the EPA figures that this vehicle is estimated at, you’d be probably lucky to exceed 300 miles on a regular basis around town and out on the interstate.

I would say, maybe low 300s in a best-case scenario, but going off an average MPG figure, I would say 280 might be what you get before you need to fill up the tank once again.

I would say that is a little bit of a drawback because personally, even my vehicle, my Elantra GT N Line, has a 13.2-gallon tank which at least is a half a gallon bigger and gets slightly better fuel economy than this vehicle that I’m driving right now.

My overall thoughts on 2024 Mazda

Now, over my week with it, I haven’t had a good MPG tracking figure. I have driven it a little bit spiritedly and didn’t reset the actual fuel economy figures, but it is rated at 23 City and I believe 31 Highway. This isn’t a terrible rating given this vehicle does come with an all-wheel drive system as standard.

I guess we’ll get into my final thoughts and opinions in terms of the value of this vehicle. Just to go over some of the points I made, the technology on the interior works fantastic. It has a great audio system, great premium materials, and many of the features that one would expect.

Although, I would like to see ventilated front seats at this price point and stature of the vehicle. It has a great engine with great power, although the six-speed automatic is kind of iffy. It works well in most applications, but not so much for the spirited type of driving.

Adaptive cruise control works great, but the lane centering or lane steering assist systems are a little bit spotty, hit or miss, not the best. This applies to most Mazda vehicles I’ve been in.

Now, we get into the price point. Like I mentioned, this vehicle as stickered is just over $38,000 including destination. It’s a little bit high and a little bit hard to recommend

Now, would dealers be able to negotiate on that price point? Probably, given this is maybe a lower volume vehicle for Mazda. But, you know, at $38,000 you can get the CX-30 pretty much fully loaded as well.

For $38,000, you get a very, very well-equipped Mazda CX-5, with or without the turbo engine, depending on what you want in terms of features and options and the trim level there. Those are just going to be either slightly larger vehicles or substantially larger vehicles that are also SUVs, which a lot of people out there want and desire.

Now, that brings me back to the point of this one being a hatchback and a fairly premium hatchback at that. It kind of doesn’t compete with the run-of-the-mill options from Toyota and Honda.

But, I also wouldn’t say it competes with some of the German vehicles that are more performance-oriented, including the GTI and the Golf R. Of course, we no longer have the Kona N, which somewhat would be loosely wrapped into this category as well.

So, I think it’s kind of in a world of its own at a price point of its own for what you’re getting in terms of the Grand Tour feel of this vehicle. It’s certainly not a sharp performance hatchback like the Mazdaspeed 3 was back in the day, but also not a sluggish base model, entry-level hatchback whatsoever.

Although you can get the standard 2.5L naturally aspirated in the Mazda 3 hatch as well for substantially less money. So, I think I would totally recommend and drive this vehicle on a daily basis if it was maybe just a few thousand less, closer to that $35,000 price point fully loaded as seen here.

Now, of course, you can get the turbo at that price point, but you’re going to be missing some of the nicer premium options and features that are part of the premium plus that this particular one has. So, I think that is pretty much going to do it for my overall driving impressions and review here of the 2024 Mazda 3 Premium Plus turbo hatch.

Now, this vehicle has been around since the 2019 model year in its current iteration, and 2021 was when they added the turbo engine option. So, I am a little bit surprised at this point that we haven’t heard any rumors or mumblings of a refresh or an all-new generation.

But I would expect to see that over the next year or two or some more details about a potential timeline on when that would happen. If you’re looking at a Mazda 3 Turbo hatch, I would highly recommend at least stopping into your local dealership, test-driving one, looking at it, and considering it on your list of smaller hatchbacks.

I still think this is a versatile vehicle. It has a decent amount of space on the inside. I can sit behind my driving position—I’m about 5’9″—and can sit behind myself fairly comfortably in the back seat with about an inch or two to spare in legroom.

But again, it is going to be a little bit on the smaller side.

I really don’t see the appeal of sitting up just a few inches higher just to get an SUV and increased ground clearance. I think this is fine as it is and certainly gives me the driving feel that I am looking for in a vehicle like this.

So, you guys have to let me know your thoughts and comments down in the comment section below. Do you guys own or have looked at a hatchback Mazda 3? The sedan is an option as well if you want the sedan with either engine option, which is also offered in turbo all-wheel drive.

Or, is there another vehicle in this segment that you’d be interested in? Would you rather take a CX-30 or a Mazda 3 hatch like this one for roughly the $38,000 to $39,000 price point?

That is probably the most interesting comparison, given that Mazda has two vehicles nearly identically priced, but one is more SUV-like and one is more hatch-like. I think it’s great that they offer it, but I could see the same buyers cross-shopping each of those two vehicles within the lineup and cannibalizing sales off from one another just a little bit.

Conclusion

But let me know all that down in the comment section below. If you guys enjoyed this post and or found it helpful, hit that like button at the top.

Huge thanks to Mazda for sending this vehicle out for me to test and review for a week. I could see myself recommending a Mazda 3 hatch to a lot more people than prior to this week, given I’ve really not had any hands-on time with this particular vehicle.

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