After a long stint in the body shop, our long-term 2020 Mazda3 hatchback needed to make up lost time and miles. I handed the keys over to staff photographer Jade Nelson, who has been keeping our handsome hatch pretty busy in the last month or so, not only for photo shoots, but as a parts hauler for his new (to him) E36 BMW M3.
His biggest haul was a new set of wheels. Would our Mazda3 be up to the task? The thought of stuffing in four 18-inch wheels initially made me nervous with thoughts of scuffs to the 3’s fancy red leather trim and rear bumper, but thankfully this set was still new in the box. Additionally, our car was spec’d with the optional bumper guard that not only adds a layer of protection, but its brushed metal finish gives the rear end a more polished and premium look. It’s also just $100, making it a no-brainer.
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Jade initially hoped to fit two wheels in the cargo area and two in the back seat, but the space between the wheelwells wasn’t quite wide enough. So to get everything to fit, he needed to fold down the rear seats, allowing him to take advantage of the Mazda3’s 47.1 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s slight better than the Civic hatchback’s 46.2 cubic feet, but tighter than the Volkswagen Golf’s cavernous interior at 52.7 cubic feet. The Mazda’s sharply raked hatch likely chipped away at valuable space, but would you look at it? The stylish rump is totally worth it.
Although most of us agree on the Mazda3’s good looks, one staffer has taken issue with the center storage bin, which he claims is awkward to access. Opening the lid is a two-step process—you must first slide it back a few inches before lifting it open. According to Mazda, this moves the lid’s pivot point to a more ideal spot, which shortens the distance needed for your arm to lift open the lid. Yes, awkward at first, but easy to get used to. That said, the lid is a tad loose when closed and will click when your arm is resting on it. Hoping Mazda can tighten this up during my next service visit.
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Read more about our long-term 2020 Mazda3:
- Update 1: Sights and Sounds
- Update 2: Takes From Tahoe
- Update 3: Snow Encounter
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