Mazda is rolling out updates for its 2021 lineup and bringing two additional engine choices to the table for its handsome Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback. While these engines may be new to the Mazda 3, we don’t expect either to be newcomers to Mazda’s larger lineup. For 2021, Mazda seems content with a bit of powertrain option shuffling; it’s stopped short of bundling its manual gearbox and most potent four-pot into an enthusiast-special Mazdaspeed variant. Here’s what you can expect from the 2021 Mazda 3 lineup.
According to a source that spoke with Hagerty, and as first reported by Jalopnik, the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine will join the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine currently offered in the Mazda 3. Most likely, Mazda plucked the new engine option for the Mazda3 directly from the Mazda 6 and CX-9; our source states that it will offer 227 hp when fueled with 87 octane and 250 when fueled with 93 octane.
While most enthusiasts will be excited to see a turbocharged engine back in the Mazda 3, our source says there will not be a Mazdaspeed model for 2021. Instead, the turbocharged engine will appear in a Premium Plus trim paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Premium Plus will join the currently-available Select, Preferred, and Premium trims alongside a 100th Anniversary edition also due for 2021.
A 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated engine is also slated for the 2021 Mazda 3. Since our source says this four-cylinder is rated at 155 hp, we expect it to be a carryover of the SkyActiv-G unit Mazda’s used in the past. As before, you’ll be able to spec either front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive, and the turbocharged 2.5-liter will likely be available with either configuration.
While we mourn the absence of a dedicated Mazdaspeed variant, Mazda’s smooth-shifting six-speed manual will mostly likely stick around—though restricted, as now, to the hatchback variant and paired with the 186-hp, naturally aspirated 2.5-liter. Could another turbocharged option be on the way to fulfill homologation requirements for Mazda’s TCR entry? Probably not. Though the Mazda 3 TCR will use a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, it won’t be a Mazda-developed unit. Instead, the race car will use the EA888 engine sourced from Volkswagen.
We reached out to Mazda to confirm these findings but they only stated that they “have not announced any details for the 2021 Mazda3.”