Review: 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD – Part 2

IMG_0774.JPEGThis is the 2.5 L Skyactiv-G 4 cylinder engine that powers the Mazda3 Sport GT AWD. It puts out 186 horsepower and 186 pound feet of torque. Now this engine combined with a 6 speed automatic transmission will move this Mazda3 Sport GT AWD with authority. It’s not head snapping fast. It’s more like the speed builds in a wave fast. Which means that if you’re looking for hot hatch levels of performance, this may not be the hatch for you. (Though Mazda could make this a hot hatch by taking the 2.5 L turbo engine that they use in a variety of other Mazda products and drop it into this vehicle and call it the MazdaSport3. Hint. Hint.) But having said that, You’ll have no problems passing transport trucks, merging onto the highway, or anything else that requires torque and horsepower.

The six speed transmission that’s mated to this engine is well sorted and always seems to be in the right gear to power all four wheels. In fact the iActiv AWD system is one reason in my opinion that the Mazda3 GT AWD is able to get the power to the road. It constantly monitors the road and shunts power to where it is needed. Not to mention it will assist in keeping you shiny side up when driving in inclement weather. The system worked transparently and without drama during the week that I had the Mazda3 as it rained a couple of times during the week and I always felt confident driving this vehicle.

As for handling, I have to say that I was impressed with the handling that was on offer here. I found the handling to be very sharp and responsive, and I perceived it to be a step up in some ways from the 2019 Mazda3 Sedan which I test drove recently. When I pinged my contact at Mazda about this, he assured me that this wasn’t the case. It turns out that the tuning between the sedan and hatchback are the same. However cars with AWD have slightly different rear springs and dampers to make it feel the same with the added weight. But that’s the only difference.

Mazda also brings G-Vectoring Control Plus to the table as it helps you to carve corners like you’re on rails. And the steering is sharp and direct. I will also give Mazda credit retaining a lot of road feel in the Mazda3 Sport so that I could feel what the car was doing. The only catch to that is that on rougher roads, the Mazda3 Sport might not be your cup of tea as the vibrations from hard bumps may turn you off a bit. You might want to include some rough roads on your test drive to see if you find this to be an issue. But having said all of that, Mazda really has done a great job with the suspension in the Mazda3 Sport and I would suspect that if handling matters to you, you’d be taking the hatchback in a heartbeat.

The brake pedal is firm but easy to modulate. The accelerator pedal is easy to modulate as well. In terms of fuel economy, I am currently getting 8.4 L per 100 KMs which is great as I am driving in city and highway traffic, most of which is in rush hour, and I am making no attempt to drive in any way that saves fuel because this car is so much fun to drive. I suspect the fact that it comes out of the box with cylinder deactivation technology which allows the Mazda3 Sport to run with 2 cylinders under light load has something to do with that.

Tomorrow I will discuss the interior which can be described in two words: Class Above. Tune in tomorrow to find out why.

 

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