Following rumors from an inside source in June, and a bit of mild confusion with Mazda’s Mexican branch earlier this week, Mazda of North America has officially released details for its 2021 Mazda 3 lineup. You won’t find many surprises here, but if you’re in the market for a compact Japanese hatch in the next year, here’s what we know for sure about Mazda’s offering.
As expected, you’ll have two additional engines to choose from in the 2021 Mazda 3, one on either end of the power spectrum. The 155-hp 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine slots at the bottom of range, and the 227-hp, turbocharged 2.5-liter unit will power the top-tier, all-wheel-drive Turbo model. The existing 186-hp, 2.5-liter engine continues in the 2.5S mid-range models, which also benefit from a handful of technology and interior upgrades.
Previously, only Mazda 3 sedans were available with Mazda’s Select trim, which adds more luxe features like blind spot dual-zone climate control, leather steering wheel and shift knob, and black leatherette seats, plus a blind spot monitoring system. Now, hatchback customers can have a slice of the upscale fun—if they really want to go all-out, there’s still the Premium trim level with an upgraded Bose sound system for the interior and black 18-inch rims on the outside.
That Premium trim, paired exclusively with the 186-hp 2.5-liter engine, remains the only option for buyers who want a stick-shift Mazda 3 … and are willing to spend close to $30K to get one. The top-tier turbocharged model adds a healthy dose of power—227 hp on 87 octane, and 250 on 93—but is exclusively offered with Mazda’s six-speed automatic.
To assuage your disappointment, however, Mazda has stuffed turbo models with the glitziest options from the Mazda 3 range. Yes, you’ll be tugging on paddle shifters, but you’ll get a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and little chrome bits around the cabin, plus a moonroof, heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, and those fun Bose speakers. The blind-spot monitoring system comes standard, along with a suite of other computer functions to chime at you and help preserve your safety.
Mazda opted for subtle exterior cues to differentiate the Turbo model. You’ll get the same 18-inch black aluminum wheels as the Premium trim, whether you opt for the turbocharged sedan or hatch, along with black heated rearview mirrors and a couple TURBO badges. The sedan gets a glossy black front grill and what Mazda’s calling a “sleek lower front bumper decoration.” Ooh la la.
Spring for the range-topping Premium Plus package and you’ll get tweaked front fascias on both hatch and sedan, and some gloss black spoilers for each (roof-mounted for the hatch, trunk-mounted for the sedan). The extra glam is complemented by leather interior, navigation, and the full range of Mazda’s safety technology.
Mazda won’t announce pricing until a later date, but we’re expecting the turbocharged models to start at or above the $30K mark, since the current range-topping, all-wheel-drive Premium-equipped model starts at $29,845 with destination.
What say you? Are you tempted by Mazda’s updated 2021 compact, or turned away by the lack of a Mazdaspeed model?