The chassis is a treat on the 2024 Mazda3 Sport GT Turbo AWD

Mazda has been hard at work developing a reputation for offering vehicles with a combination of exceptional driving dynamics and an upscale feel.

The smallest vehicle in the company’s lineup is the Mazda3, available in both sedan and hatchback format. In either case, the premium feel is evident throughout the cabin, and the fun-to-drive factor from the moment you use the throttle or steering wheel.

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The Mazda3 Sport is available GX, GS, GT and Suna trim levels spanning the $25,000 – $39,000 price range.

 

I spent some quality time with the Mazda3 Sport in GT Turbo, AWD trim.

Sport indicates it is the hatchback body style, turbo indicates it has the more powerful version of the 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine, and AWD takes the worry out of winter.

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The interior is a step-above in terms of both design and execution. The front seats are wide and supportive. The rears less so, slightly restrictive in fact.  The unique shape of the hatchback body may be easy on the eyes, but somewhat inhibits visibility to the rear quarters.

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Garry Sowerby

 

The hatch opens nice and wide to reveal a spacious area with a flat floor. The rear seats fold down to provide increased space.

The instrument panel and controls are driver-focused. Readouts are legible day or night and controls easy to decipher and operate with a precision unexpected at this price point. The 26-cm infotainment screen is nicely located and controlled by a knob on the centre console.

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Mazda Canada

 

I prefer this method as it allows you to keep your eyes on the road more than a touchscreen. That control though is located amidst a sea of piano-black trim that can show signs of wear more easily than a surface that is not so smooth.

 

The Mazda3 has been around for quite a while. It has proven to be one of the more reliable, trouble-free cars on the market.

The Mazda3 platform is also used for the CX-5 and CX-50 crossovers. The same strength and engineering that allows it to serve beneath the larger and heavier utes is the reason the Mazda3 has earned high ratings from the various safety agencies.

It also has an enviable reputation for being fun to drive. As you might expect from the folks who brought us the Mazda MX-5 (née Miata), the chassis is a treat and driving dynamics an obvious priority.

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Garry Sowerby

 

The majority of owners will neither care about or appreciate the dynamic abilities of this small and relatively inexpensive vehicle.

The sharpness and precision of the response to each input at the wheel or throttle can go unnoticed, for most. But for the few that enjoy the driving experience, these traits are usually found only in much more expensive vehicles.

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Mazda Canada

 

There is nothing particularly unique about the engine or transmission. The turbocharged 2.5-litre four produces an impressive amount of torque at low rpm. The six-speed automatic shuffles through the ratios as needed, and the AWD system apportions the appreciable power to each of the four wheels according to available grip.

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Mazda Canada

 

Not rocket science, but all work in perfect harmony, effortlessly and all but unnoticed in everyday use.

But if you are the type of driver who looks for the long way to the store or work, who finds an excuse for a Sunday drive on twisty back roads, the nuances of the Mazda3 Sport’s controls are rewarding.

The amount of readily available power impresses. No waiting for the turbo to spool up or revs to rise. The steering is crisp and well weighted, the ride firm, but compliant.

The Mazda3 has a loyal following for good reason. It offers style, exceptional driving dynamics and a grade-above level of refinement.

 

FACTS & FIGURES – 2024 Mazda3 Sport GT Turbo AWD

 

PRICE

Base: $38,900

As tested: $40,995 including freight

 

SAFETY

Advanced blind spot monitoring, distance recognition support, forward obstruction warning, smart city brake support, rear cross traffic alert, smart brake support front, forward sensing pedestrian detection, automatic levelling LED headlights, automatic high beams, front and rear park sensors, 360-view monitor

 

INFOTAINMENT

22.5-cm colour display, heads-up display, Wireless phone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two rear Type C USB ports, 12-speaker Bose audio system

 

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

18-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, automatic dual zone climate control system, leatherette upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat with memory, navigation system, off-road navigation system

 

SIGNIFICANT OPTIONS

none

 

MECHANICAL

Turbocharged 2.5 litre four-cylinder, 250-horsepower, 320 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel, 227-horsepower, 310 lb. ft. of torque, regular fuel, six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 10.8/8.7

 

DIMENSIONS

Length, 4,459 mm; wheelbase, 2,725, weight, 1,474 kg

 

COMPETITION

Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla Cross

 

2024 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD
Photo: Garry Sowerby

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