2015 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring Handsome Beast>

Every time Mazda makes an adjustment to its mid-range Mazda 3 four-door sedans and five-door hatchbacks, they just keep getting more and more delectable. The 2015 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring four-door front-wheel-drive sedan is a handsome beast filled with every desire one could have.

Dressed in Titanium Flash Mica (an almost edible-looking deep brown) with near-white almond and black leather interior, the S Grand Touring version of the Mazda 3 is a perfect vehicle for a drive from Long Beach to Las Vegas for the NHRA race and SEMA show. In a less-than-comfortable car, that haul can be an ordeal, but this Mazda is more than up to the task of transporting one human, one Chihuahua, one suitcase, two photo backpacks, assorted bags and wine carriers with which to gift our host and hostess for our near-week stay. After four hours behind the wheel (each way) I can tell you there was zero discomfort for my legs and back – which isn’t always the case.

Mazda equips its upper-level “3” sedan and hatch with Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder direct injection engines that make 184 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3250. Redline is a hefty 6500 rpm, but never reached during our week together. This model is available with either 6-speed manual or automatic transmission; ours has the paddle- and floor-mount shiftable automatic which also comes with sport function (for more fun). Even with 3018 pounds curb weight, the Mazda 3 is willing, able and happy to get out of town. “This thing scoots,” said a friend who went for a ride.
Suspension is MacPherson struts front and multilink rear with stabilizer bars at both ends of the car. Awesome all-wheel disc brakes handle brain-dead Las Vegas traffic easily and the electric power steering on this lively sedan is one of the more precise I’ve been able to sample. Mileage is rated at 29/40/33 mpg using regular fuel; we were never able to achieve those numbers, even using cruise control throughout our travels. Mileage for this trip, from the 13.2-gallon tank was in the low-30s, which was quite acceptable considering the mountain crossings.
As I ran my hands over the Mazda 3 S Grand Touring, I noted the seams are extremely consistent and closures are exacting – which means it’s very, very quiet inside this sedan. That allows the audio system to make its own statements, with full satellite radio and a CD player at the base of the central stack; nine Bose speakers give the cabin an orchestral ambience.

Not only are the 2015 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring models handsome, well appointed and spirited to drive, they’re also safe, having garnered five-star ratings for frontal, side and rollover crashes. The sedan feels extremely safe over the road but that’s primarily due to its excellent driving capabilities, more than its passive safety attributes (though those are complementary).
This particular 2015 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring – the absolute top of the line – has a list price of $29,685. That includes the lush cargo mat, scuff plates at the door openings and a technology package that includes the I-Eloop regenerative engine braking system, lane departure warning system, Mazda radar cruise control, smart city brake support, forward obstruction warning, active grille shutters and high beam control.
Everything else, from the 215/45R 18-inch Dunlop tires riding on twinned five-spoke light alloy rims, leather seating, one-touch back power two-way sunroof, satellite radio, rain sense wipers, Bi-xenon headlights and fog lights (all auto-controlled), rear deckled spoiler, 7-inch color display, dual-zone climate control, steering wheel controls (phone, trip computer, audio), proximity doors, pushbutton start, heads-up display… all the things we find so important and necessary today are included at this price!
With 96.4 cubic feet of passenger volume, the Mazda 3 s Grand Touring four-door sedan is a roomy and comfortable cabin. While there is no dedicated air-flow for backseat occupants, they do have a fold-down armrest with cup holders to complement those in all four doors. The folks that sat in the back had no complaints. Neither did the plethora of “stuff” brought along for the ride as there’s 20.2 cubic feet of hidden trunk cargo space with the back seats up and an excellent 47.1 cubic feet with them folded (never needed to use that 60/40 fold). There is a spare tire under the trunk floor and the mat Mazda charges for, has excellent carpeting.
There are so many things to like about this sedan, from its elegant looks to its spirited performance in all aspects of daily driving. It’s a sweet ride everyone can enjoy.

By Anne Proffit