Rhode Island adventure with the Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-door #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.

I was in Rhode Island for the past week visiting family—my parents and I are originally from Massachusetts, and my dad's side of the family still lives in RI, and my mom's in MA. I stayed with my aunt and didn't want to have to rely on her for rides, so I was very fortunate to be able to review the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-door while staying there.

Almost everyone I met up with over the past week remarked on how good looking this car is, and I'd have to agree. The exterior was a Deep Crystal Blue Mica color, and it was both sporty and stylish.

This is the 4th Mazda car I've reviewed, and maybe one of my favorites. The 5-door in its title refers to the fact that its a hatchback—however, I was surprised at how roomy the hatchback area was. There's also a privacy shield to cover anything you might leave in there, which was nice.

Because I was unfamiliar with the area—previously, when we've visited the East Coast, my aunt or parents have always driven—it was super helpful to have the Mazda traffic sign recognition feature, which told me the speed on every road as well as if any stop signs were coming up. It also told me how fast I was going. The highway speed in Rhode Island varies from 55 to 65, so I had to watch my speed ... in Michigan our highway speed is 70.

Rhode Island is not a big state, but my aunt lives on the northern side of the state and my cousins live on the southern side, so I was regularly driving 40-50 minutes one-way. Despite all my North to South trips, I still had a little over 1/8 of a tank of gas after an entire week driving this car—very impressive! The car's average MPG is 30, which includes 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

The car comes with navigation, which was definitely useful—otherwise I would have been using Google Maps on my phone all week—as well as AM/FM radio, Pandora, and Sirius XM. This one unfortunately didn't have the Sirius XM trial on it, so I used the FM radio stations and Pandora.

One of my favorite features of this car were definitely the adaptive cruise control, which is now a must for me whenever I will purchase a new car—it's so nice to have on the highway. The car also has a 6-way power driver's seat, and you're able to adjust the seat forward, backwards, and even upwards, height-wise.

The passenger seat does not have this, and my aunt (who is 5'0) couldn't see much past the dashboard; that's about the only negative thing I can say about this car.

The cigarette lighter (for my high-speed charger) wasn't hard to find in this car, which was nice. The car also had a moonroof, though it was so hot out this week that I didn't use it (I mostly blasted the A/C instead).

When I initially turned on the Mazda3, it gave me a range of 380 miles, which is excellent. Later in the week it said my average mpg was 28.8, which is proportional to the 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway rate that I mentioned previously.

The car also will beep at you if you cross over the lane lines, which is a helpful feature; if you don't like this feature, however, you can turn it off by pushing the button to the left of the steering well, as pictured above. There's also Blind Spot Monitoring on the side mirrors—if someone is in your blind spot, the side of the mirror will light up orange.

Would I purchase this car? Absolutely. Mazda makes a great car, and I've enjoyed all four of its models that I've now driven. This one was probably the sportiest of the four—and has a Sport Mode, actually, though I didn't test that out—and I love that it has premium features, but for a reasonable price.

The 2018 Mazda3 Hatchback starts at $19,345 (Sport model), $21,890 for the Touring model, and $24,945 for the Grand Touring (this car). The MSRP for this particular vehicle was $27,720, because of the premium equipment package (includes Smart Brake Support, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, and Traffic Sign Recognition), which was very useful to have when driving on unfamiliar roads.

Have you ever driven a Mazda3? If so, how was your experience?

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