Base Price: $18,945
Price as Tested: $25,390
MPG City/HWY: 30/40 
Engine: 2.0 Liter I4 
Power: 155hp, 150lb-ft 
Drivetrain: FWD

In our generation, there are many beautiful women. Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Kate Upton ­– the list goes on. But, these women aren’t exactly attainable.

Luckily, the new 2015 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring 5-Door I picked up at Crippen Auto Mall has the celebrity looks with an affordable price tag.

My test car had a beautiful “Soul Red Metallic” dress on ($300) that really accentuated its curves. At the front, the Mazda has a big prominent grill that leads into the swooping headlights. With the hatchback version, it comes with a big ol’ Kim Kardashian booty in the back with thin sporty tail lamps.

Opening the door with the standard (on the i Grand Touring trim) “Advanced Keyless Entry System,” the key-fob never left my pocket.

Inside, I immediately felt like I was in a bigger car than its exterior appearance suggested. With my test car’s standard sunroof and an iPhone 5’s worth of headroom, the cabin had a very airy feel.

Not only was I surprised about the size of the cabin, but also how well it was appointed. Black leatherette surfaces with red accent stitching on the seats, steering wheel, shift knob and center armrest, I felt like I was in a car well above my test car’s $25,390 price tag. Almost everything oozed quality. Every button had a nice weight to it. Every knob had a nice click and heft. It made me forget the reality of my poor college student status.

Elevating the high-class feel was the crisp graphics on the 7-inch touch-screen display. Although the screen is at the perfect height to quickly glance at while driving, using it as a touch screen requires a lean forward which can be somewhat difficult to pull off while driving.

To combat this, there is a “Commander Control” knob in the center console behind the gear selector to control all the entertainment, communication and navigation functions on the screen.

Connecting my phone was fairly easy. Making calls to my momma via the voice commands was seamless. The Mazda’s Bluetooth also enabled me to stream my music without having to dig out my Apple Lightening cable. My music sounded especially great out of the nine Bose speakers in the cabin – perfect for blasting loud enough to drown out my horrible singing voice. With my phone connected, I also had access to my Facebook and Twitter feeds – because missing out on a notification could be tragic.

Opening the center armrest revealed a nice storage space along with two USB ports and an AUX jack

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. 

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Crippen Auto Mall
8300 W Saginaw Hwy, Lansing, MI 48917
(517) 627-8411