Mazda 3 Hatchback: Models, Years, Specifications & More

The Mazda 3 hatchback has been an iconic compact car for Mazda since its introduction in 2003. The first generation Mazda3 replaced the Protege model and was offered as both a sedan and 5-door hatchback. Over four generations, the Mazda3 hatchback has evolved from an economy car focused on affordability, to a more premium sporty compact targeting driving enthusiasts.

As a hatchback, the Mazda3 offers the utility of a hatch/wagon body style in a compact package. This gives it an advantage over sedans in terms of cargo capacity and accessibility. The hatchback models also tend to have a more youthful, sporty image than the sedan. Mazda positions the 3 hatchback as the entry point to its “Zoom Zoom” lineup of driver-focused cars.

Though it started out as one of the more affordable options in the compact segment, the Mazda3 hatchback has moved upmarket over the years, with higher quality interiors and technology than past generations. It aims to offer a more premium experience on a budget compared to competitors.


The Mazda3 has gone through four generations since it was first introduced for the 2004 model year:

First Generation (2003-2009)

The first-generation Mazda3 was produced from 2003 to 2009. It was available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback. The styling was sporty and dynamic, with a hood that sloped downwards and a cab-rearward profile. Two gas engine options were available: a 2.0L with 148 horsepower, and a 2.3L with 160 horsepower in later models (Wikipedia). The interior featured sporty gauges and comfortable seats.

Second Generation (2010-2013)

The second generation Mazda3 debuted for the 2010 model year with refreshed exterior styling and new interior options. Sedan and hatchback body styles continued. Two new gas engines were offered – a 2.0L with 155 horsepower and a 2.5L with 167 horsepower. There was increased emphasis on fuel economy and driving dynamics during this generation (

Third Generation (2014-2018)

The third generation brought the Mazda3’s first total redesign. The styling adopted Mazda’s “KODO” design language with a more aggressive grille and body creases. Interior quality was improved with more soft-touch materials. Two efficient SkyActiv gas engines were available: a 2.0L and a 2.5L. A six-speed manual or automatic transmission could be equipped. This generation received strong safety scores and praise for driving dynamics.

Fourth Generation (2019-Present)

The current fourth-generation Mazda3 debuted for 2019 with an evolution of the KODO design styling. Sedan and hatchback body styles continue. Two SkyActiv gas engines are offered: a 2.5L with 186 horsepower or a 2.5L turbocharged with up to 250 horsepower in higher trims. The interior features an 8.8 inch infotainment screen and improved materials. Safety and driving dynamics continue to impress.

Body Styles

The Mazda 3 hatchback has been available primarily in two body styles over the years:

  • 2-door hatchback
  • 4-door hatchback

The 2-door variant provides a sportier, coupe-like profile and easier access to the rear seats. However, the 2-door hatch offers less overall practicality compared to the 4-door due to smaller rear door openings and more limited space in the backseat and cargo area.

The more practical 4-door hatchback features four full doors, providing easier ingress/egress for rear passengers. The 4-door hatch offers excellent cargo space and flexibility. Overall, the 4-door better balances sporty styling with everyday practicality and usability.

Mazda has offered both 2-door and 4-door versions across most generations of the 3 hatchback, giving buyers a choice between styling and practicality. More recently, Mazda has focused on the 4-door configuration to better compete with other compact hatches.


The Mazda3 hatchback has offered several engine options over its generations. The first generation, produced from 2003-2009, came with a 2.0L or 2.3L 4-cylinder engine producing 148-160 horsepower. In 2004, Mazda introduced the Mazdaspeed3 with a turbocharged 2.3L engine producing 263 horsepower (Wikipedia).

The second generation, from 2010-2013, had a 2.0L or 2.5L 4-cylinder making up to 167 horsepower. The Mazdaspeed3 continued with the turbo 2.3L producing 263 hp. Fuel economy for the 2.0L was around 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway (Mazda).

The current third generation offers a base 2.5L 4-cylinder with 186 horsepower or an available turbocharged 2.5L engine with 250 horsepower. Fuel economy is estimated at 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway for the base engine (Headquarter Mazda).


The Mazda 3 Hatchback comes with the option of either a manual or automatic transmission, depending on the trim level:

The manual transmission available is a 6-speed manual. This gives drivers the ability to manually shift through 6 different gears for optimized performance (Mazda USA).

For the automatic transmission options, there is a 6-speed automatic Skyactiv-Drive available. This technologically advanced transmission provides smooth, quick shifting between 6 gears. It comes with manual shift mode as well as sport mode on some trims, giving drivers some extra control (Mazda USA).

So in summary, the manual Mazda 3 Hatchback offers 6-speeds, while the automatic versions offer 6-speeds as well with the Skyactiv-Drive transmission.

Trims & Packages

The Mazda 3 Hatchback is offered in seven different trim levels over the years – 2.5 S base model, 2.5 S Select, 2.5 S Preferred, 2.5 S Carbon Edition, 2.5 S Premium, 2.5 S Turbo, and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus.

The base 2.5 S trim comes well equipped with features like a 7-inch infotainment screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, push button start, and advanced safety features. Moving up to the Select and Preferred trims adds larger wheels, leatherette seats, power driver’s seat, dual zone climate control, and other upgrades.

The Carbon Edition and Turbo trims add sporty styling elements inside and out as well as a more powerful turbocharged engine. The Carbon Edition also includes BBS 18-inch alloy wheels and red leather seats while the Turbo has a signature bright red leather interior.

The range-topping Premium and Turbo Premium Plus models come loaded with amenities like a 12-speaker Bose audio system, moonroof, leather seats, adaptive headlights, and more.

Popular option packages over the years include the i-Activsense Safety Package with advanced driving aids and the Premium Interior Package with leatherette upholstery and an 8-way power driver’s seat.

Safety Features

The Mazda 3 hatchback comes equipped with a range of standard and available advanced safety features across all generations.

Standard safety tech on the first-generation (2003-2009) Mazda 3 hatchback included dual front airbags, side-impact airbags, and anti-lock brakes (ABS) (Mazda USA). Available options were side curtain airbags and electronic stability control (ESC).

The second-generation (2010-2013) added standard traction control and brake assist. Options included a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross traffic alert (IIHS).

Current third-generation models (2014-present) come standard with more airbags, ABS, ESC, rearview camera, and smart brake support. Available advanced safety tech includes lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and more (Mazda News).

Infotainment & Technology

Mazda continuously upgrades the infotainment system in the Mazda 3 Hatchback with each new generation. The early models featured a basic radio and CD player, while later generations added touchscreen displays, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone integration, and more premium audio systems.

The current 2023 Mazda 3 Hatchback comes standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment display that runs Mazda’s latest Mazda Connect system. This includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, AM/FM radio, HD Radio, and a four-speaker sound system with automatic leveling (Mazda USA). Higher trims upgrade to a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system.

Available advanced technology features on the latest Mazda 3 Hatchback models include a heads-up display, navigation system, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD traffic sign recognition, and a wireless phone charger. Mazda continues to update its infotainment offerings to keep pace with tech-savvy buyers in the competitive compact hatchback segment.

Pricing & Reviews

The Mazda 3 hatchback has always occupied a premium position in the compact segment, meaning its pricing is slightly higher than rivals like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. When the 3rd generation model debuted for 2014, the starting MSRP was $18,695. For the current 4th generation, the base MSRP is $23,615 for the 2021 model year (Edmunds, 2022).

Despite the higher pricing, expert reviewers have praised the Mazda 3 for its engaging driving dynamics, upscale interior, and fuel efficiency. The hatchback offers cargo versatility over the sedan. Reviews consistently rank it at or near the top of the class. J.D. Power awards the Mazda 3 high marks for overall quality, appeal, and reliability. Owners report above-average satisfaction, especially with the exterior styling and driving performance (Car and Driver, 2022).

Future Outlook

The Mazda 3 has firmly established itself as a top contender in the compact car segment, known for its sporty driving dynamics, upscale interior, and sleek styling. As Mazda continues to refine and improve the 3, here’s a preview of what we can expect from the next generation model.

The next-gen Mazda 3 will likely debut sometime in the next 2-3 years. Mazda will aim to continue pushing upmarket, while still maintaining the car’s sporty character. Expect evolutionary styling changes to keep the exterior looking fresh. The interior will get more premium materials and perhaps new color schemes. Technology like a larger touchscreen and more advanced driver aids are also likely.

Under the hood, Mazda will continue offering SkyActiv gas engines optimized for efficiency and performance. However, a big change will be the addition of a hybrid powertrain option. Mazda has confirmed the next 3 will be offered as a hybrid, using similar technology as the CX-30 hybrid. This will provide improved fuel economy and allow the 3 to better compete with hybrid-powered rivals.

Overall, the Mazda 3 will continue holding its position as a top pick for a compact, fun-to-drive car with an upscale interior. The addition of a hybrid option and updated styling will keep it feeling fresh, while Mazda’s focus on the driving experience will ensure it retains the zoom-zoom spirit that makes the 3 so beloved by enthusiasts.

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