2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP Sedan Review
Price & Equipment:8
Performance & Economy:8
Ride & Handling:8
Interior & Practicality:9
Service & Warranty:8
What we like:
  • Quality feel in cabin surpasses rivals
  • Entertaining and fun chassis
  • Loaded with standard equipment
What we don't like:
  • 2.5L engine needs revving to perform
  • Interior could be more practical
  • Short 10,000km service intervals
8.2DiscoverAuto Review:

In this modern age of SUVs and cars getting larger and more complex, the idea of a small sedan almost seems foreign. But it isn’t, thanks to manufacturers like Mazda, Hyundai and Toyota who still have small sedan offerings. Even with its premium push, Mazda hasn’t forgotten about its Mazda3 sedan, which was renewed for a new generation a few years back. We’ve driven the hatchback and came out impressed, so what about the sedan? We tested the 2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP sedan to find out.

Sedans have no doubt lost a lot of sales thanks to SUVs, but surprisingly, there are still quite a few on offer for you to choose from. While many have left the segment, Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Toyota and Skoda still all make smaller sedans – even Mazda offers a tiny sedan in the form of the Mazda2. As we keep discovering every time we have one, they make great family cars and should be on your test drive list. 

Price & Equipment: 8/10

Priced from $32,490 plus on-road costs (around $36,500 drive away), the 2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP sits pretty much in the middle of the local Mazda3 range. As such, it’s well equipped with 18-inch black alloy wheels, LED lighting (albeit with dated halogen daytime running lights), auto lights (that cannot be switched off in dark lighting, bravo Mazda!) and wipers, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, keyless entry and start, auto-folding and auto-dipping (but not heated) mirrors, a 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory functionality, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, digital radio, an eight-speaker sound system, a rear centre armrest, paddle shifters and two USB-A ports. 

Safety kit is extensive and includes seven airbags, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, rear auto braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, a reversing camera with rear parking sensors, a heads-up display, auto high beam, driver attention monitoring, tyre pressure monitoring, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality. 

For an extra $1,500, automatic transmission buyers can choose the Vision Technology pack, which includes a 360-degree parking camera, lane trace assist, front parking sensors, front cross-traffic alert and extended driver monitoring. 

Colour options include the no-cost ‘Sonic Silver’, ‘Deep Crystal Blue’, ‘Jet Black’, ‘Snowflake White’, ‘Platinum Quartz’ (gold) and for $595 extra, ‘Soul Red Crystal, ‘Machine Grey’ and our test car’s ‘Polymetal Grey’. Black cloth with red stitching is the sole interior option. 

Closest competitors to the 2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP sedan are the Toyota Corolla ZR sedan (priced from around $38,000 drive away), Hyundai i30 N Line sedan (around $37,000 drive away) and the Subaru Impreza 2.0i-S sedan (around $36,000 drive away). 

In this company, the Mazda’s value is reasonable thanks to its extensive standard safety equipment that competitors struggle to match. The Impreza comes with more kit like a sunroof and leather upholstery with heated front seats, while the i30 N Line is comfortably sportier and the Corolla has a nine-speaker JBL sound system, though only single-zone climate control. Swings and roundabouts, then. 

Performance & Economy: 8/10

Under the bonnet of the 2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP Sedan is a 139kW/252Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that’s matched to either a six-speed manual or like our test car, a $1,000 optional six-speed automatic. The engine has been used in Mazda products for the past decade and it’s quite familiar – it’s reasonably punchy, offers pretty good drivability and even features cylinder deactivation tech for supposedly better fuel economy. 

It’s unusual in 2022 in that it does not feature any form of turbocharging. In fact, its 2.5-litre displacement is quite large in the segment, especially when the more powerful i30 N Line is almost a litre smaller at 1.6L (though it is turbocharged). It sounds good, but in reality, it is a touch slow and the i30 feels noticeably quicker. But the Mazda3 is also quicker than the Corolla, and it’s significantly faster than the slow Impreza, so we think it provides a nice balance. We do wish the Mazda3 turbo – which uses the same 2.5L turbo petrol as the CX-5, 6 and CX-9 – would come to Australia, as it would provide even more punch from behind the wheel. 

The six-speed automatic transmission is excellent and quite intuitive. While it tries to get into the highest gear possible for better economy – as many transmissions do these days – a slightly harder touch of your foot makes it downshift. Being a torque converter transmission, it doesn’t suffer the low-speed fumbles of dual-clutch autos – we’re looking at you, i30 N Line sedan – while it’s also not rubbery like a CVT automatic that you’d find in both the Corolla and Impreza. 

The claimed fuel consumption for the Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP is 6.5L/100km on a combined cycle – versus 6.8L/100km in the i30, 6.0L/100km in the Corolla and 7.2L/100km in the Impreza – and in mostly urban driving, our average was 8.2L/100km. The Mazda3 features a 51-litre fuel tank and it can use 91RON regular unleaded.

Ride & Handling: 8/10

The new generation of Mazda3 shocked a few of us in the automotive media world by ditching independent rear suspension, which had featured in Mazda3s/323s since the 1980s. While car makers like Peugeot do a really good torsion beam set up, Mazda ditching independent rear suspension (IRS) in an age when the latest Toyota Corolla actually gained it, seemed like a backwards step for those who enjoy driving. 

So what’s the ride quality like in person? In our opinion, it’s totally fine – but both the i30 and Corolla offer a better mix of ride and handling. The 3’s rear suspension tuning in particular is a touch firm, and the difference in firmness between the front and rear is noticeable. 

Thankfully, like previous generation Mazda3s, the new model is great to drive. Its handling is excellent, with great grip, good feel through the steering wheel and excellent balance from the chassis. It’s a car that combines a reasonably comfortable everyday ride with desirability to be taken out for a Sunday morning drive, much like the iconic MX-5. 

The road noise levels in the current shape Mazda3 are thankfully much lower than the last generation car, and generally top the class. The visibility isn’t as great, but the subtle tuning of the safety systems makes you feel safe from behind the wheel. 

Interior & Practicality: 9/10

When the current generation Mazda3 was released, we were very impressed with how high the interior quality was, as well as the excellent ergonomics and tech integration. A few years on, all of those compliments remain and for those reasons, we think the Mazda3’s cabin is best in the segment. 

Quality inside the new generation Mazda3 is excellent and there’s rarely a surface that isn’t covered in a soft touch material. The dashboard, door tops (in both rows), centre console, and seats are all covered in lovely soft materials, while the switchgear is nice to touch as well. The Mazda3’s cabin is a big step over rivals for quality – in particular, the plasticky i30. 

It’s a reasonably practical cabin as well with a big centre box, medium-sized cupholders and a tray ahead of the gearbox, reasonable door bins and a reasonable glovebox as well. 

Centre of the cabin is an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment system with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation and digital radio. It’s not a touchscreen, which annoys some, but the slick controller wheel between the front seats is easy to use. The graphics are sharp, the sound system is solid and while we’d love to be able to touch it to use it, the just revealed CX-60 allows touch control for wireless smartphone mirroring so we have no doubt that it will be available on the Mazda3 in the future. 

The back seat of the Mazda3 sedan is reasonably spacious, unlike the tight rear seat of the hatchback, and features air vents, door pockets, one map pocket and a centre arm rest with cupholders. The soft plastics from the front carry over to the rear – very rare in itself – but we’d like to see charging ports and another map pocket as well. Two six footers will be totally fine in the back seat, though fitting three people across is not the best idea – an i30 sedan has a noticeably roomier rear seat, despite the sloping roofline. 

The bootspace of the Mazda3 sedan measures in at 444-litres – only 30L less than the larger i30 sedan – with a space-saver spare wheel underneath the boot floor. The rear seat split folds 60:40 for more space, but in typical Mazda fashion, that’s it – there are no hooks, nets, etc for owners to further secure their valuables. A few more practical solutions would go a long way. 

Service & Warranty: 8/10

Like other new Mazda products and competitors listed, the 2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty with five years of roadside assistance. This warranty length matches all rivals, though the Mazda is unique in featuring roadside assistance for the warranty length – Hyundai will give you five years roadside assistance only if you service at a dealership, Subaru gives you one year and Toyota gives you none at all.

The Corolla is the clear service price winner as over five years/75,000km, it costs just $1,025 ($205 per service), whereas the Impreza costs $2477.60 to service over five years/62,500km ($664 per service). The i30 N Line and Mazda3 fit between those two rivals for service cost, though they are less convenient thanks to shorter 10,000km intervals – the i30 costs $1,495 ($299 per service) and the Mazda3 costs $2,010 ($402 per service). This places the Mazda as one of the more expensive models to service – and with shorter 10,000km service intervals – though it has five years of roadside assistance as standard.

The 2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP Sedan DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.2/10

The 2022 Mazda3 G25 Evolve SP sedan is big proof that the small sedan segment is still alive and that more people really should be buying them over SUVs. It’s excellent quality, reasonably practical, pretty good to drive, well equipped, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to service and reasonably sporty from behind the wheel. It also looks great, with much more presence than some rivals and like Mazda’s other current offerings, offers a sense of mature class throughout. 

It’s not perfect, of course. The 2.5-litre non-turbo engine goes reasonably well but you really have to punch it to get the most out of it. The cabin is reasonable practical, but more clever touches like boot hooks and rear charging ports would make it even better. The infotainment system is easy to use, but it’s not a touchscreen yet. Finally, its short 10,000km service intervals add cost and complexion when rivals like the Corolla cost less to maintain and need servicing less frequently. But overall, we think the Mazda3 sedan is a great car and it deserves higher sales.

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