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July 8, 2024

Review: 2024 Mazda3 2.0 HEV Fastback

Launched in the Philippines in 2019, the Mazda3 is a hold out in a world overfilled with crossovers and SUVs. The carmaker could have simply thrown in the towel and concentrated their efforts on the CX-30—the Mazda3’s crossover sibling. However, realizing that there are a few who remain dedicated and loyal to sporty handling, lower riding passenger cars, they’ve instead re-oriented it make it the best iteration of the Mazda3 yet.

It’s hard to believe that the Mazda3 has been around for roughly five years now. Launched in the Philippines in late 2019 as a 2020 model, it’s successfully withstood the test of time. More than just its timelessness, it remains a thing of beauty; a sight to behold. Despite being a more regular sight on local roads, it still commands your attention that no car in its class could match. It won the World Car Design of the Year in 2020, a feat it could very well still achieve in 2024.

Of course, there have been updates, but as far as the casual observer is concerned, they’d go by unnoticed. The wing grille’s finish is now different, as is the insert. Then, there are the “heart beat” signal indicators and gray metallic 18-inch wheels.

The biggest change is found under the hood where the Mazda3 is now available with a 24-volt M Hybrid System. Though Mazda insists that “M” here means, “Mazda,” it could also very well mean, “Mild Hybrid,” because that’s what the system really is. Like every other mild hybrid setup, the electric motor’s there just to provide added low-end grunt, and here it does 6.9 horsepower and 49 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the small lithium-ion battery takes some load off the Skyactiv-G engine by powering the onboard electrics. And yes, apparently, it’s classified as a Hybrid as far as its OR CR’s concerned.

Electrifying the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine hasn’t fundamentally changed the Mazda3’s driving feel. On paper, the HEV’s supposed to have better pull—it makes 9 horsepower and 13 Nm more than the ICE—but that’s simply negated by the additional 20 kilograms of mass. Still, it’s an eager and refined powertrain, perfectly suited to provide a level of excitement during daily drives. The addition of electric assist did alter the Mazda3’s powerband, subjectively. It’s noticeable as a momentary vacuum in the power delivery (usually experienced at partial throttle acceleration) when the electric motor hands over the propulsion duties to the combustion engine.

When it comes to fuel economy, the Mazda3 is a mixed bag. It cannot match true hybrids, especially in stop-and-go traffic where the M Hybrid system’s figures drop as low as 6.94 km/L. It does better in light traffic, clocking in at 12.95 km/L, before settling to 10 km/L for a 7-day mostly-urban average. Disappointingly, these figures are comparable to the non-hybrid version.

Others tend to gloss over this, but the Mazda3s’ ride has also been improved with some suspension tweaks. Compared to the 2020 version which has some difficulty riding over long expanses of corrugated surfaces (the C5 truck lane comes to mind), the 2024 tuning is way more pliant thanks to revised damper settings. Better yet, the smoother ride hasn’t affected its precise steering. The handling, too, seems to utilize body roll to give it a sense of feel and involvement like the Mazda MX-5. Oh, and additional sound deadening “nodes” have already made a quiet cabin even quieter.

Regarding the cabin, the Mazda3 continues to school every other compact car in terms of fit, finish, and refinement. Not a single button or stalk is out of place. Everything is well-built and intuitive—form and function, minimalism and efficiency—form a cohesive whole. Controls all continue to be physical in nature, but are all hidden in plain sight as not to look like an eyesore. Functions in the Mazda Connect system are not more than two menus deep, and even so, pictograms and explanations in Plain English make them immediately understandable. For 2024, the screen’s been enlarged from 8 to 10.25 inches, while also adding wireless Apple CarPlay, a wireless charger, and USB Type C inputs.

For 2024, Mazda Philippines has dropped the red interior color in favor of an all-black one with dark brown stitching. This has swung the pendulum from sporty to classy, befitting Mazda’s new market positioning. Of course, the use of darker hues has made the already cocooning cabin feel almost claustrophobic, especially for those seated in the back These passengers will also have to content with fighting over knee and headroom which are in short supply in the Mazda3.

The steering wheel offers a wide range of adjustment and together with the highly supportive seats, is posture-perfect, making driving an entirely fatigue-free affair. For the HEV, the front passenger seat loses its height adjustment, but that’s probably because of the lithium-ion battery’s placement. The low driving position and thick C-pillars may conjure up images of terrible blind spots, and to some degree, there are (especially at the three-quarters back), but the wide mirrors and frameless rearview mirror do help minimize them. Front and rear sensors, and a high-resolution 360-degree camera also help in tackling tight situations. Though the sensors tend to be sensitive, the audible alerts can, thankfully, be switched off.

Priced at P 1.79-million, the Mazda3 HEV Fastback (Mazda parlance for the hatchback) doesn’t come cheap. But it’s also way more loaded compared to anything else in its class. 360-degree camera aside, it has adaptive LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, sunroof, and the full Mazda i-Activsense ADAS suite which bundles radar-based active cruise control, blind spot monitoring, front and reverse smart brake support, front cross traffic alert and driver monitoring system.

At the end of the day, the Mazda3 sees itself fighting in multiple fronts with compact crossovers being its biggest threat. Yet, by embracing a more personal positioning—a rarity in the compact car class—the Mazda3 presents itself as the choice for the few. Not everyone will see the value of going for a hatchback or sedan nowadays. And even those that will, the majority will not go beyond the hygienic values of space, practicality, heck, even resale value. But those that do will see the Mazda3 for what it is: a car that’s engineered to be an emotional choice.

2024 Mazda3 2.0 HEV Fastback

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Bottom Line
Pros Head-turning looks, unbeatable fit and finish, improved ride.
Cons Fuel economy's poor for an HEV, claustrophobic interior, blind spots.
TL;DR A very personal and emotional choice considering its price.
Year Introduced 2020 (Refreshed: 2022, 2024)
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Compact Hatchback
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 155 @ 6,000 (164 combined)
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 200 @ 4,000 (213 combined)
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~91
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 6.94 km/L @ 12 km/h,
10 km/L @ 18 km/h,
12.95 km/L @ 24 km/h
Fuel Tank Size (L) 50
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,460
Width (mm) 1,795
Height (mm) 1,440
Wheelbase (mm) 2,725
Curb Weight (kg) 1,368
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electronic, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Bridgestone Turanza T005A
215/45R18 W (f & r)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 36 all (partial)
38 front, 42 rear (full)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Advanced Driver Assist System Front Cross Traffic Alert
Front Cross Brake Support
Rear Smart Brake Support
Rear Cross Brake Support
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keep Assist
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Blind Spot Monitoring
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Driver Monitoring System
Driver Attention Alert
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Adaptive
Fog Lamps None
Light Operation Automatic
Wiper Operation Rain-sensing
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Manual
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, w/ Armrest
3rd Row None
Sunroof Yes
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 7-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold, Auto-dimming (Driver's Side)
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual, w/ Rear Vent
Audio System Stereo
USB Type C
Wireless Charger Yes
Infotainment Display / Size 10.25-inch
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless)
Android Auto
# of Speakers 12, Bose
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Just buy the non-HEV version and save Php300K

    1. I completely agree. This new Mazda 3 doesn't bring anything new to the table with that higher srp. Uly is right. Buying this will be an emotional decision.

    2. Non HEV version of the Mazda 3 lack ADAS and other good features

  2. I like Mazda but IMHO they need more r&d in the engine dept. Skyactiv x is a failure, rotary is overhyped and now even the basic mild hybrid doesn't make sense. No wonder they will use Toyota hybrid. Hopefully they can put it all together because the interior is already upmarket.

    1. In fact, Mazda and Toyota's fellow Japanese marque Nissan previously used Toyota's hybrid system for its North American market-only Altima sedan two in a half decades ago, Nissan's now-outlawed CEO Carlos Ghosn at that time believed that use of hybrid in Nissan cars were not in his interest so he decided to develop the Leaf whose hardware is found in the Kicks today, while Mazda is already gaining from Toyota's parts bin for example - given the controversy surrounding Toyota over Daihatsu would mean that Toyota selling off Mazda to Nissan may consider that the latter would use the former to replace its slow-selling Infiniti luxury brand... (But as given the said problems in Mazda, then if they were sold by Toyota to Nissan, most Mazda cars would switch to Nissan hardware that is also shared with Mitsubishi - hence the current-generation Outlander - and the Japanese carmaker's French master Renault.)

    2. Their mild hybrid doesn't make sense at all. I really don't get why Mazda's doing it.

    3. Its meant originally for European markets

  3. I have one of the 1st batches from late 2019. Going almost 5 years now and I still look back at it everytime I park. Haven't encountered any issue yet. Going back, or even today, I would still pick this as my car. Life is short to choose a boring crossover that most people don't really need.

  4. A boring crossover can bring you places carry more things like camping gear and souvenirs that your exciting small hatchback cannot do. Have fun pretending to be vestappen on our crowds streets. Vroom vroom

    1. Not everyone is a fan of camping. Why camp when you can book a nice hotel room which most people do. As for souvenirs, most will just be useless junk inside your home.

  5. Sporty handling that is what people go to when you only have 155hp. A modern ppv diesel will be able to keep up with your "hot hatch"

    1. Mazda 3 mild hybrid hatchback is way more fun to drive and quicker than Fortuner and Terra

  6. I agree Mazda 3 with torsion beam drives slightly better than a solid axle suv.

  7. Mazda 3 should just borrow the hybrid tech of dnga yaris cross. Exterior and interior can be easily made better by any manufacturer but engine tech needs a lot of r&d that is where Toyota spends money on not the fancy pancy lazada tech

    1. I guess if Toyota were buying stocks in Ford, then I may realize that it would also have the latter to reunite with Mazda since there were better times for Ford with Mazda, for examples it was Mazda who've supplied its hardware to Ford in exchange for developing the Ranger pickup truck that Filipinos know it today - while similarly it was also Mazda who ended up supplying its technology to Ford for building the EcoBoost engine that led to series of factory defects even as of today. (So I think a tie-up between Toyota and Ford may not revive the latter's longstanding relationship with Mazda, but also I think both Toyota, Mazda and Ford would have most of its cars to be built on Suzuki hardware just like Volkswagen does mutually with Audi, Skoda and SEAT...)


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