Home Mazda 2021 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium Plus – quick and snappy drive

2021 Mazda3 Turbo AWD Premium Plus – quick and snappy drive


2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus AWD

A week or so before ‘snow/ice-mageddon’ here in central Texas we spent a week testing the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo w/Premium Plus Package AWD sedan.  It came in a Machine Gray Metallic finish with a tailored Black interior accented by White Leather seating.

Exterior elements on our 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Package AWD sedan included Black Metallic Grille, Rear Trunk Lid Spoiler, Adaptive Front Lighting with Signature LED Headlights, Automatic On/Off Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights and LED Tail Lights, Rain-Sensing Wipers and Dual Power Side Mirrors w/Turn Signals and 18-inch Black Finish Alloy Wheels mounted with P215/45R18 tires.

The new 2.5 Turbo in the Mazda3 takes this baby from just ‘peppy’ (naturally aspirated power plant) to downright ‘quick and snappy’.  With horsepower boosted from 186 to 250, this Mazda3 sedan has come from driving fun to a driving delight.

Inside, up front, the cockpit dimensions say ‘small’ but the ergonomics of the design deliver a very comfortable experience for the driver and front passenger.  In the rear, the slope of the roofline (more to the coupe style) limits head and leg room in the rear seats.  Small folks probably ok, but adults – not so good. 

As long we are mentioning the tight rear seating, the cargo space in the trunk is just 13.2 cubic feet.  If you do not need that second row for seating, use the space for cargo (we would).  

In quick summary, we found 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Package AWD sedan a very delightful drive, nicely equipped and well-priced for the segment.

The MRSP on the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo w/Premium Plus Package AWD sedan is $32,450.  With delivery, our test Mazda3 2.5 Turbo sedan priced at $33,890.

Premium Plus Package

Our test 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo – as noted – is configured with the Premium Plus Package that adds the Black Rear Lip Spoiler, Auto Dimming Exterior Mirror, Leather Seats, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, 360-degree View Monitor (this one is really good) , Mazda Navigation System, Traffic Jam Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Cross Traffic Braking and Rear Smart City Brake Support.

Power and Drive Train

Under the hood of our 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Sedan, the new SkyActiv 2.5L Turbocharged engine gives it a serious power boost depending on your fuel choice.

Yes, the new 2.5L Skyactiv-G Turbo power plant produces variable horsepower based on octane of the fuel used.  In plain language, 87 Octane-Regular fuel delivers 227 horsepower with 310 lb.-ft. of torque.  Spending a little bit more for 93 Octane-Premium fuel and the horsepower jumps 250 with 320 lb.-ft.of torque.  We are going to assume that Mazda sent us this test unit loaded with 93 Octane fuel.

The turbo is mated to the Mazda Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission w/Sport Mode and Paddle Shifters that delivers the power to the i-Activ AWD drive system (standard on all turbo Mazda3’s).  

The AWD is coupled with Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus feature that monitors – what Mazda calls ‘vertical wheel load’ – and actively adjusts torque distribution between front and rear wheels for optimum handling.


The Mazda3 2.5 Turbo w/Premium Plus Package AWD boasts an upscale interior with premium like materials and stitching accents around the interior.  In design and function, all elements are simple and straightforward – all of what you need and none of what you don’t.

The White leather seating in our Mazda3 was stunning – especially when accented by the black interior with metal accents.   Seating is very supportive – just right for a big and tall driver like ourselves.  The driver seat is powered, heated and has adjustable lumbar support.

We noted that a driver seat tilt adjustment feature (along with the tilt and telescoping steering column) enables seat adjustment mitigating any expected head or shoulder room discomfort.   

Of note also is the center console which has the functional elements (shifter, Multifunction Commander Controller and cupholders) placed forward for easier access by driver and passenger.  That coupled with a longer armrest is a plus for the taller driver.

The Rear Seating is a 60/40-Fold Down – think cargo space.  But, if you have a couple of passengers, the integrated Armrest and Cupholders are nice.

Other elements included Moonroof with one-touch open, Automatic Dual-Zone Climate Control, Leather-wrapped Steering Wheel and Shifter and Steering-wheel-mounted Audio and Cruise controls.

Technology / Infotainment

The 2021 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Sedan is well equipped with useful and convenient technology and infotainment systems

The Mazda Connect Infotainment system features an 8.8-inch wide Center Color Display operated through the rotary Multifunction Commander Control (MCC).  Note the Color Display is not a touch screen. The MCC is the input device.  It takes a little getting used to, but is pretty intuitive.

We also noted that the Mazda Connect system – very helpfully – has an Owner Manual embedded.  When the digital instrument display presents an alert or other concerning information, it also provides a link to the manual for the driver to access for immediate information on the severity of the issue and steps to take to resolve. Nice feature.

Audio in the Mazda3 Hatchback Premium is a strong point.  The Hatchback Premium is equipped with a Bose Premium 12-speaker Audio system. In the confines of the smaller cabin and its exceptionally quiet ambiance, this system is impressive.

Functional elements include AM/FM/HD and SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone and Audio Streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Dual USB Ports and a 12V Power Outlet.

Safety / Driver Assist

We like a vehicle that has an effective blend of safety and driver assistance/convenience features.

Our 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Sedan was equipped with a bright and crisp Windshield-projected Active Driving Display and Driver Attention Alert that delivers a bold visual warning on the digital instrument display along with an alert tone.  We found it a bit ‘sensitive’, but once we learned its program – we were able to keep responses to actual driver distraction events. 

Driver information is provided through a crisp analog-themed seven-inch digital instrument display.  It is configurable by the driver to enable focus on information important to their driving style.

Other elements included Mazda Radar Cruise Control w/ Stop and Go, Rear View Camera, Blindspot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Automatic High Beam Control, Four-wheel Disc Brakes with Brake Assist and Smart Brake Support, Electronic Parking Brake, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control and Tire Pressure Monitoring.

2021 Mazda3 Line up

The 2021 Mazda3 Sedan comes in several trim levels.  Read more about all trim levels of the 2021 Mazda3 Sedan HERE. 

The 2021 Mazda3 Hatchback also comes with the 2.5L Turbo. Learn more about the 2.5 Turbo Hatchback HERE.  

KEY DATA (2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo w/Premium Plus AWD Sedan

  • Model:                                        Mazda3
  • Trim:                                           Premium Plus
  • Segment:                                   Compact Car
  • Seating:                                      Five
  • MSRP:                                         $32,450              
  • As Tested:                                  $33,890  (delivered)        
  • Engine:                                       2.5L SkyActiv-G Turbo
  • Horsepower:                             227/250 @5,000 rpm – 87/93 Octane Fuel
  • Torque:                                      310 @ 2,000 rpm/320 @ 2,500 rpm – 87/93 Octane Fuel       
  • Transmission:                            Skyactiv Drive 6-speed Automatic w/Sport mode
  • Drive System:                           i-Active AWD w/G-Vectoring
  • Wheel size                                 18-inch
  • Fuel Economy                           23/32/27 mpg    city/highway/combined
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