By Asian Journal Auto Editor,

For 2020, the Mazda3 comes off a 2019 revamp. Much loved for its sporty looks, and sprightly performance, the new Mazda3 arrives as either a hatchback or a sedan with a host of improvements. The new platform is both stiffer and lighter than before for better handling, and there is a new interior with improved technology. And whilst most of the Japanese and Korean competition veer crazily from one styling trend to another, the Mazda offers a non –polarizing design that is sleek curvaceous, not at all boring, and will age well.

Powertrains offering include the latest version of Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter I-4 with cylinder deactivation making 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, or the 2.0 liter four cylinder Skyactiv offering 155hp and 150lb-ft torque. There is the option of either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Also, of note, is the availability of the Mazda3 with the option of the Mazda3 with the i-Activ AWD system for the first time?

We tested a 2020 Mazda3 AWD GT model with the  SKYACTIV-G 2.5L four-cylinder engine with Cylinder Deactivation, Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission, G-Vectoring Control Plus, 18″ alloy wheels. As standard features included such items as: LED lighting leather-trimmed upholstery, power adjustable driver’s seat (10-way, includes lumbar support), heated rearview camera (wide angle), meter-set with 7″ LCD display. (Proximity and ignition), navigation system and automatic dual-zone climate controls

We also had the Premium Package ($2,300), which included: 18″ alloy wheels (light grey high lustre finish), leather-trimmed upholstery, Smart Brake Support Rear (SBS-R), Smart Brake Support Rear Crossing (SBS-RC), rear parking sensors, navigation system, windshield-projected colour Active Driving Display (ADD), SiriusXM® Satellite Radio exterior mirrors linked with memory seat function, exterior mirrors with reverse tilt down function, and piano black front grille. The All-Wheel Drive was a $1,700 add-on, along with the Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint at $450.

The cabin’s new design is a step up from the previous model. Fit and finish is excellent with premium materials and thoughtful design throughout. The Premium package option model delivers outstanding leather seating and trim that would not be amiss on premium German cars! The dash features an 8.8-inch infotainment display situated higher up and set angled towards the driver. The new “Commander” control knob on the center console, for the infotainment system is more intuitive and has quicker responses. The new design is much appreciated for less eye distraction. In front of the driver is a configurable screen showing a speedometer, fuel economy information, or active safety info. Premium models get a proper head-up display. The cabin also features specially designed seats and ergonomics that are supremely comfortable on long drives, the front cabin is roomy enough, although it’s a squeeze to fit three large adults in the back. The hatchback has 20.1 cu ft. of luggage area behind the rear seats, expanding to 47.1 cu ft. when those seats are folded down.

The stiffer construction means a much quieter cabin and it all carries an air of luxury befitting a much more expensive vehicle. On the road, the 2020 Mazda3 AWD version doesn’t gain any extra ground clearance, but does not disappoint in offering the extra grip in slippery conditions. The AWD system is weighted so some amount of power is always going to the rear wheels when required. The AWD system was certainly capable of fast reaction times when slip is detected. A distinct advantage with its superior grip and well balanced torque delivery with the help of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus stability control system – which uses an imperceptibly light drag on the outside front brakes to aid in cornering On the engineering front Mazda3’s move from a multilink to a torsion beam rear suspension – which Mazda says it has engineered 78 percent stiffer rigidity aids in the ride.  Despite the softer ride, the Mazda3 still remains fun, sporty and engaging to drive. The 2.5-liter L4 Engine never runs out of steam and is a lively willing performer. Not a lot to complain about, fuel economy is rated at 9.2 city and 7.0 Highway L/100km. The new 2020 Mazda3 AWD will offer drivers of all stripes a fun-to-drive sporty family car that will put a smile on everyone’s face. Appealing to both value for money seekers and driving enthusiast, highly recommended.

2020 Mazda3 GT AWD: Base priced from $26,500. Price with options and delivery $32,700. More info at