The $36,000 Mazda 3 Turbo Hatchback showed me that SUVs aren’t always the answer

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.Tim Levine

  • I’ve tested the 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo hatchback and found it to be fun to drive, great-looking, and practical.

  • It proves that not everyone needs an SUV, even though it is the most common type of vehicle.

  • The top Mazda model that lent me came to about $36,000. Slot starts around $23,000.

It was in 1938 when Henry Ford’s patron, Jedediah T. Hatch, first created his eponymous hatchback—a smaller vehicle with a foldable cargo door, which would become a more popular alternative to the regular sedan for decades to come.

Hatch, of course, will die before his invention really begins. But his legacy lives on in icons like the Volkswagen Golf, named after the favorite Hatch Ball.

Eight decades later, at a time when hatchbacks are becoming unfamiliar in favor of longer SUVs, I pay my respects to the old, forgotten innovator by testing the 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo Hatchback.

Well – none of this is true. Except for the last part.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.Tim Levine

Mazda lent me a better Mazda 3 slot last month, and it was a delicious soup of stylish looks, driving pleasure, and cargo ability. I felt the $36,000 Premium Plus version punched well above its price tag with amenities like leather seats; leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel; Satisfactory grips and a handy display that displays important information such as speed and blind spot status on the windshield.

The car was great, but it also saddened me. Hatchbacks have been going extinct in the US for years, but I didn’t really understand what we had to lose until I lived with the Mazda sports car for a week.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.Tim Levine

Just in the past few years in the US, Kia has phased out the hatchback version of the Elantra, Honda has stopped selling the fan-favorite Fit, and Toyota has canceled the Yaris. Ford stopped selling sedans and hatchbacks altogether, spelling the end for the Fiesta and Focus. This is just a small sample.

Automakers pivoted toward selling an increasing variety of SUVs (often called crossovers), which replaced sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons as the ride of choice for most Americans. In 2021, crossovers and larger SUVs made up nearly 55% of light vehicle sales. Regular cars made up just over 20%, down from half in 2013.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.Tim Levine

The unfortunate thing is that a hatchback like the Mazda 3 can do just about everything a small crossover can. In some ways, he can do these things a lot better.

The Mazda 3 is full of fun to drive, especially when switched to Sport mode. Acceleration is fast thanks to a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that makes 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Steering is generally accurate and confident. There are high-performance crossovers out there, but physics coupled with a hatchback like a 3-lower center of gravity lends itself to better handling and sportier driving.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.Tim Levine

Hatchbacks also tend to have better fuel economy than small SUVs, while being practical and roomy. I had no problem tossing several duffel bags, backpacks, and beach chairs into the cargo area of ​​my Mazda 3. The Mazda 3’s hatch is by no means huge, but fold the rear seats down and it can swallow a lot of Ikea space.

The high ride height is one of the main selling points of crossovers, giving drivers a better view of the road. Point taken – some people might like it.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.Tim Levine

However, even on the sprawling (and downright funny) highways of Southern California, I couldn’t find myself pining for a better vantage point. While you can’t rely on driver assistance technology exclusively, the Mazda 3’s suite of safety features gives you a good sense of what’s happening in surrounding traffic. (One knock on the Mazda 3 slot: It has some pretty big blind spots.)

Plus, how often does a crossover owner really go off-road and take full advantage of all that extra ground clearance?

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.

Mazda 3 turbo hatchback 2022.Tim Levine

Much like the parent whose teenage son has come home from Derek’s house with “allergies” a few times, I’m not mad because everyone loves SUVs these days. I’m just disappointed. Sports hatchbacks like the Mazda 3 Turbo bring so much to the table that crossovers generally don’t, and it’d be sad to see them go.

Fortunately, the hatches most prized by car enthusiasts seem to hold. Volkswagen discontinued the regular Golfs for the US, but ruled out the GTI and R versions. Hyundai scrapped the three-door Veloster after 2021, but the Veloster N still kicks in.

So the best hatches – including the Mazda 3 Turbo – might have a chance yet.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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