A tale of two cities {Detroit + Ann Arbor} with the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring sedan #DriveMazda

*Disclosure: I received the use of a vehicle for a week in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

This past week, I was able to try out the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring sedan, and it was definitely a great week to have this vehicle. Last Friday through Sunday, we got about 9-12 inches of snow, and the Mazda3 handled it like a champ.

Note the lack of snow - this is why I always take pictures when I first receive a vehicle!

This is the second Mazda vehicle I was able to review, the first being the 2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD back in October, so I am semi-familiar with Mazda vehicles at this point. Although the interior is sometimes a little smaller-feeling, they are fun and zippy to drive, and the Mazda3 Grand Touring was no exception.

Last week was very busy for me, and I started off my week with the Mazda3 by seeing Finding Neverland in Detroit, at the Fisher, which was a fun show.

Lots of trunk space

The next day, I headed to Detroit for a foodie event at Wahlburgers, and finished my day with a screening of Fifty Shades Freed. The day after that, I chauffered my coworkers and I to Rugby Grille, in Birmingham, for Birmingham Restaurant Week. 

That Saturday, I went to Ann Arbor to see Joshua Bell, at UM's Hill Auditorium, and we also had dinner at Frita Batidos. The next day, I drove to Emagine Novi to see 12 Strong, and after that we had an early Valentine's Day dinner at Black Rock, in the same plaza. 

That was a LOT of driving, and by the next Tuesday, when I had to give the car back, I still wasn't running on empty, which impressed me—I had about 1/8 of a tank left. The Mazda3 has an average fuel economy of 30 mpg, which includes 27 mpg in a city environment and 36 mpg on the highway.

The Mazda3 has a lot of cool features that I liked. Much like the Mazda CX-3, it had the "hologram" type thing that comes up while you are driving, and it tells you how fast you are going, as well as the speed limit on that road. I also really liked the cruise control feature that slows down or speeds up based on if there are any cars in front of you or not—this is extremely helpful with highway driving.

The Mazda3 is a little smaller than my personal car, but there was a decent amount of space in the front. It also comes with heated seats and a heated steering wheel, which was perfect for our snowstorm last week. I also appreciated its snow tires, as it made driving in the snow a lot easier.

Unlike the Mazda CX-3, there's a little more room for cupholders and such in this car, which was nice. I had a slight issue when I tried to find the cigarette lighter for my fast charger—I thought maybe the car didn't have one—but it's located inside the console below the cupholder area.

You also have a lane departure warning system, as you can see here, which you can turn off if you like, but I find it helpful—the car will beep if you go over the lines. (no idea how it knows this, but definitely useful!)

The car also came equipped with AM/FM radio, as well as Sirius Satellite radio, which you get a 4-month trial of with the Mazda3 Grand Touring.

I can't think of anything negative to say about this car except that I wish there was a tiny bit more room in the front. I always try sitting in the backseat, too, just to try it out, and with the driver's seat pulled up a bit (I'm 5'5"), there was plenty of room; however, if you have a tall driver or front-row passenger, it might be a little squished for backseat passengers.

Very sporty interior. This was after the snow ...

The 2018 Mazda3 4-door Grand Touring sedan starts at $24,195, with the Sport edition at $19,145 and the Touring at $21,140, a fair price for such an efficient car, in my opinion. The specific Mazda3 that I drove this week retails for $27,070, because of its Premium Equipment Package (includes the radar cruise control, heated steering wheel, lane departure warning system, etc.), and other add-ons.

Have you ever driven a Mazda? If so, how was your experience?

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