Pressing the engine start button ignited a decent sound from the SKYACTIV 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine out of its dual chrome exhausts.
Grabbing onto the steering wheel inspired confidence right off the bat. Being perfectly shaped for nine and three driving, it makes its sporty intentions clear.
Although on paper the engine appears to be slow with 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque, the Mazda gets going with ease and didn’t really leave me wanting more power. Achieving 30-mpg city and 40-mpg highway, my poor college student wallet was also happy.
Steering the car was light but very precise – making it very fun to drive around the curvy country roads off campus. With the handling encouraging you to take on turns faster and faster, my speed started to climb above the speed limit without me noticing. At a glance, the speedometer is hard to read and requires too many seconds of focus to gauge your speed.
As a compromise to the great handling, the ride felt similar to the suspension on my mountain bike; not overly firm but not exactly comfortable – although I’d sacrifice the ride for handling any day.
My test car came standard with the “Blind Spot Monitoring,” a little light in either of the side mirrors that illuminates if a car is in your blind spot. If you put your turn signal on and someone is in your blind spot, an audible alarm will sound, which saved my butt from hitting the car next to me on several occasions.
Sitting in the backseat isn’t too bad. Although it’s no limousine in the back, three average sized college students could squeeze in the back with little discomfort.
Behind the backseat is a nicely sized trunk that measured to be two North Face backpacks deep, four and half wide and one and half tall.
All things considered, the 2015 Mazda 3 impressed me with all the tech features and sporty characteristics crammed into its relatively small body. It may not be Katy Perry, but as far as cars in this price range go, the 2015 Mazda 3 is the closest thing to her.