Review: 2024 Mazda3 Sport

The fanciest trim of Mazda’s unique 3 Sport really impressed me.

Review and photos by Tom Sedens. There are always more photos at the end of my reviews.

Front Quarter

Pricing: 2024 Mazda3 Sport

Base price (Suna trim): $38,900

Options: none

Freight: $1,995

A/C tax: $100

Price as tested: $40,995


I previously reviewed a Suna trim CX-5, and loved it. I think this trim is going to end up being love-it-or-hate-it for most people simply due to the fact that it’s only available in one colour, and that colour is, in my opinion, quite subjective.

Front Quarter Turned



OK, so that colour is Zircon Sand Metallic and I find it very attractive. It gets a lot of attention, and mostly good. I don’t know how gracefully the colour will age, versus something that might be a bit less on trend, but for now, I really like it.

The Sport’s styling is also quite subjective. Any regular reader here will know I like my wagons and hatchbacks, and although this hatchback’s styling is certainly unique, I know it doesn’t resonate with everyone. There’s a lot of sheet metal on those rear quarters. But I love how this car looks. It’s low, sporty, swoopy, aggressive and clean from almost every angle.

Rear Quarter

All exterior lighting is LED, of course, with interesting lighting signatures front and back. Mazda gives the turbo-equipped models some nice meaty exhaust tips, which look excellent.

Perfectly-sized 215/45 tires are mounted on handsome black 18-inch rims to complete the visual package.




Dash Wide

The materials in the 3 are very nice, and do not feel entry-level. Plenty of soft-touch plastics and upholstered panels surround the driver and passengers and the Suna-exclusive terracotta and black leatherette seats are lovely to look at, combining different colours and textures for a visual feast. They are also heated, very comfortable and supportive. Specific to this trim is the terracotta stitching on the dash as well. The seats are heated and the driver’s side is powered with memory settings. 

Front Seats

As always, Mazda’s steering wheel game is strong – it’s perfectly sized, grippy and heated. The dash is a hybrid of analog instrumentation and a 7-inch centre screen, allowing the driver to choose a number of different displays.

Centered on the dash is a wide 10.25-inch screen that is controlled with a rotary dial on the console. Mazda puts some direct control hard buttons and a volume dial on the console as well. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wireless – CarPlay worked perfectly and lag free the entire week. Another nice touch – the screen works as a touchscreen when in CarPlay or Android Auto mode. It’s quite a reach to the dash, but the added functionality is appreciated.


The BOSE sound system is excellent. Comfort is compliments of a dual-zone climate control and there’s a standard sunroof overhead.

Bose Grille

There’s a wealth of driver assistance technology here – blind-spot monitoring, an excellent 360-degree camera with parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and a great heads-up display. It all works very well and never got intrusive.

Driver Asst Tech



Rear Seats

Here is the Mazda3 Sport’s most glaring weak point. If you need roomy back seats, this ain’t the car for you. It’s tight back there, and only children or smaller dogs will be happy for any length of time. My 13 year-old son’s legs pushed into the backs of the front seats all the time, and if the front seats are slid all the way back, it’s almost impossible to get adults into the back seats. In addition, there is a significant floor tunnel that any unfortunate middle passenger in the back will have to straddle.

There are no further attempts to make the rear seat space livable either – no heated seats, no charging ports, no air vents.

Rear Seats



There’s an open bin in front of the gear selector, where you’ll fine the wireless charging station. A storage bin sits under the armrest lid, along with two USB-C charging plugs. There is also a silly little change bin on the left underside of the dash –  it is unlined, so anything in there will just rattle around making it virtually useless.

The 3 Sport’s  569L trunk is relatively small – it feels narrow and shallow and you have to clear quite a high lip – although when you start stacking stuff, it does swallow up more than it first appears capable of. We were able to get the majority of a Costco shopping trip in there but if you start adding toilet paper or paper towel bundles, you’ll need to fold the rear seats down for a much bigger 1,334L cargo space.



Under the Hood

The Suna trim only comes with the upgraded turbocharged 2.5L inline 4-cylinder. It puts out 250 HP @ 5,000 RPM and 320 lb.ft of torque @ 2,500 RPM.

These numbers are when the engine is running on pricier 93-octane fuel. It runs happily and harm-free on regular fuel – the output drops to 227 HP and 310 lb.ft of torque, which is also nothing to sneeze at.

Engine Bay

Mazda is sticking with their tried and true 6-speed automatic transmission and the Suna trim comes with Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.1/7.5 L/100 km (city/highway).

Tail Light


The Drive

As is the case with almost very Mazda, this is where this vehicle excels. Nearly everything about the driving experience made me happy. The turbo engine happily trundles around town and practically coasts down the freeway – but when called upon, it provides a smooth tidal wave of power. It won’t snap your head back, but it delivers a beautifully linear acceleration experience that is more than enough in any driving situation.

Drivers View

I will never complain that Mazda’s transmission sticks with an extraordinarily low (by today’s standards) 6 gears. Because it does everything right. It shifts smoothly but quickly, it’s always in the right gear and it never feels like it’s missing something. A perfect example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – if anything, a couple of additional gears would help the fuel economy a bit, but it feels like there would be a compromise elsewhere. You can shift gears manually using paddles or the gear selector itself and there is a Sport driving mode, which feels more responsive and it holds on to gears longer.

Sport Mode

Mazda’s suspension wizards continue to work their magic here – the car remains hugely comfortable with a solid, firm ride and yet the car will attack corners and long curves with glee, staying flat and providing incredible handling ability.

Add to the mix the fantastic all-wheel drive system – I was thrilled with its traction capabilities, as we got a ton of snow during my time with the car. Not only does it scramble up competent adhesion on terrible road surfaces, it even allows for some fun – come around a corner with some throttle and the Mazda3 happily wiggles its tail and allows you to steer with its power. If you’re not into that sort of thing, it will remain completely civil under virtually all circumstances.

Awd Badge

Braking is powerful and easy to modulate. Visibility out of the car is decent with the exception of those rear quarters. You can’t escape the massive rear pillar – shoulder checking is impacted, but that and the high beltline of the car make parking in a tight parkade a bit of an adventure when backing up. The surround camera definitely helps.



As with most Mazdas I review, there are very, very few things to complain about.

I am a bit surprised that this, the top trim of the 3, comes with leatherette seats instead of real leather, especially considering that a number of the GT trims lower down the line (and cheaper) come with real leather upholstery.

For well over $40,000 with everything in, I would expect some more goodies for rear seat passengers – charging ports at the very least, and heated seats aren’t uncommon in the competition.

Door Panel


The Verdict

To say I loved this car is an understatement. I really, really loved it.

WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was middling. She loves how it drives and how it feels pretty high-end. She does not like the exterior styling.


I would love to own this car. It’s small, and if those limitations – particularly the back seat and the trunk – are deal-breakers for you, this is not the car for you. But I could live with those things easily and I loved driving this car. It looks great, it’s fun to drive, it’s well-built and should prove to be reliable.


Disclosure:  Vehicle was provided by Mazda Canada.

If you enjoyed this review, feel free to check out my other vehicle reviews under the car reviews tab at the top of my blog.

Dash Stitching Detail

Exhaust Tip

Front Quarter Turned


Hmi Controller Dial

Headlight Dark

Volume Knob