Fuel efficient, fun to drive, starting price of just $15,800. No wonder nearly half of all Mazda models sold in North America are the Mazda3, which has been racking up awards — the latest of which is as a “top safety pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), for achieving the highest crash safety rating in all four tests, front, side and rear impact, and the strength of the roof in a rollover. The safety rating applies to both the sedan and hatchback models.
The 2011 Mazda3 sedan is equipped with a powerful and fuel efficient 2.0-liter, four-cylinder 148 horsepower engine with 135 lb.-ft. of torque and an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 25 city/33 highway for the manual transmission, and 24 city/33 highway for the automatic. A larger 2.5-liter, four-cylinder 167HP engine is available for the 2011 Mazda3 sedan, but standard on the five-door model. The hatchback, with a starting price of $20,04, is rated at 20 MPG city and 28 MPG highway for the manual, and 22/29 for the automatic. Topping the line is the MAZDASPEED3 — the real zoom zoom — with a direct-injected, turbocharged 2.3-liter engine producing 267-hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque.
All 2011 Mazda3 models are equipped with a collection of class-leading safety features as standard equipment, including full-length side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Unusual in this price range are the additional safety features of “crushable” brake and accelerator pedal assembly, and a collapsible steering column.
- Best 2011 cars under $20,000: 2011 Kia Optima mid-size sedan
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All in all, the 2011 Mazda3 is a great little car, with great handling and fuel efficiency at an affordable price. And good looking, too.