Mazda3 The Mazda3 is a sporty sedan that will ensure you not only get to where you’re going safely, but with a smile on your face.

This 5-person 4-door sedan, also available in 5-door hatch, costs around $25,000 starting out – though the version I drove had optional accessories that bumped the price up to $26,335.

For that price, you get quite a bit of car and a 5-Star overall crash safety rating.

Safety features abound in the car, with driver assisting systems such as dynamic stability, traction, and hill launch assisting systems and airbags for all the passengers. The hill launch worked marvelously well, even on Cherry Street in downtown Seattle.

Those in the front seats will be pampered with dual climate control and heated seats for driver and front-passenger.

The backseats were very roomy, big enough for my knees with a few inches to spare, though there’s no heated seats in the back.

With Bose 6-speaker sound system, you’ll be set to listen to all your tunes in bumpin’ style. The best music-based  features is the Bluetooth-Pandora radio – set up your cell phone to connect to the car and each time you enter, your tunes will auto start. No push button needed for that one!

Though there is a push button to turn the car on, because keys are so last century.

Mazda3 (13 of 20)A push-to-start ignition brings to life a 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder engine that gets around 184 horsepower with 185 ft-lbs of torque.

The miles per gallon from the Mazda3 is quite good, too. In the city I averaged around 30 miles per gallon, while on the road trip to Deception Pass, I got around 45 mpg by using the cruise control most of the way.

Combined with the marvelous 6-speed manual, this car gives drivers simple driving pleasure every day. The ‘Zoom-Zoom’ mentality of Mazda is clearly defined in the Mazda3.

Even though the car weights nearly 3,000 lbs, it gets up and goes like a much lighter car. The cornering in the Mazda3 is also stable and fun – meaning that you can enjoy the drive, no matter the distance or driving conditions.

The leather-trimmed sports seats keep you comfortable on longer hauls and warm on short ones. The interior feels very high end, with white stitching on all the leather bits, and bits of carbon fiber in the door panels and steering wheel.

The optional items included the Soul Red Metallic paint color ($300, but very well worth it!), scuff plates for the door sills ($125), the navigation system and Sirius satellite radio (no charge for either).

One item that’s not an option, but seriously super cool, is the pop-up heads up display (HUD). While HUDs are becoming standard, this one still makes one feel like a starfighter. (Note: The HUD will make you want to emit strange ‘pewpew’ sounds at slow cars in front of you.)Mazda3 (1 of 20)

The HUD pops up when starting the car, letting you know that you’re ready to go – miles per hour right in your frame of view so no more speeding.

Which is a great idea. Because it’s quick. Seriously quick.

The tuning of the SkyActiv engine is just superb.

All in all, the Mazda3 was a great vehicle. The bits and bobbles made it feel like a higher end car without the higher end price, and the engineering and care taken in the details makes the Mazda3 a pleasure to drive.

Deanna Isaacs the owner, editor-in-chief and lead journalist at The Auto Reporter. She graduated from the University of Washington's Communication department in 2014 with a BA in Journalism. She enjoys sports cars, working on her classic two-seaters and long drives where she can annoy the husband. You can reach Deanna Isaacs using the Contact Us form: