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2020 Mazda3 Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Mazda Mazda3 Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Base vs Select, Preferred & Premium

What 2020 Mazda3 Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The Mazda3 first came out in 2004. The car did fairly well in the market in its early years, and it has really made a splash in recent years with its fourth generation, which was made available in 2019.

The 2020 Mazda3 feels fresh and sleek. It comes with a capable engine, and several driver-assist features have become standard in the 2020 model year.

As a compact vehicle, the sedan has two rows of seating. Front leg room is up to 42.3 inches, and most will feel fine with 38 inches of front head room. Since the leg room in the back is only 35.1 inches, it would feel extremely cozy with three people in the back. However, two would certainly feel comfortable back there. The trunk has 13.2 cubic feet of capacity. While it's not the roomiest of spaces, the 60/40 split-rear seat can be folded down to accommodate larger items.

One advantage of driving a compact car is in its efficiency. The front-wheel drive models get an estimated 26/35 (city/highway) miles per gallon. When equipped with all-wheel drive, fuel economy only drops slightly to 25/33 miles per gallon. Powering everything is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with advanced direct injection, capable of generating 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque.

The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It does well in terms of power delivery at various speeds. What the Mazda3 has that makes a difference in its handling is G-Vectoring Control Plus. This is part of the second-generation of G-Vectoring technology that allows engine torque to adapt to steering inputs. As the car turns, a light braking force can be applied to the outer wheels to boost stability. This is all done effortlessly, so all the passengers will notice is the smooth ride.

Another advantage is the price point of the Mazda3. The base Mazda3 sedan starts out at just over $20,000, and when fully decked out, the vehicle still falls considerably below the $30,000 mark. This guide will let potential buyers learn more about how the 2020 Mazda3 trims compare against each other.


Compare the 2020 Mazda3 vs Select Trim Levels.  What is the difference?

The standard Mazda3 sedan comes with a full array of LED lights, including headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights. What's nice about the headlights is that they can automatically turn on and off depending on how much light is detected. A similar feature is that the windshield wipers can sense rain and will activate when necessary. Other exterior features include 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a matte front grille, and power side mirrors that are body-colored.

On the Select, those same features are included with a few changes and/or upgrades. First, turn signals are integrated into the side mirrors so drivers on either side of the car can see them. The front grille has a gloss black finish, as does the front lower bumper decoration. The Select rides on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels that are noticeably bigger than the standard ones.

Inside the base model, the seats are trimmed with cloth, and all headrests are adjustable. Given the somewhat smaller quarters, this little element can improve comfort, especially on longer road trips. The Select has leatherette-trimmed sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. On both models, there are various storage compartments in the doors, front seatbacks, and center console. Only the Select has a rear center armrest that has cup holders for convenience.

To control climate, the upgrade in the Select is that it has a dual-zone automatic climate system versus the single-zone system in the regular sedan. The standard model has a push button start and remote keyless entry, and the Select has the advanced keyless entry system. With this high-tech system, the key fob can stay safely secured in a pocket or bag. A driver can simply approach the vehicle and press the door request key to unlock the car. The same is true upon exiting; the door button just needs to be pressed in order to lock the vehicle.

Both models have good technology packages, though the Select is a step up since it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. This is a major selling point for consumers who love their tech. The standard sedan and Select models both have an eight-speaker system and Bluetooth capability for hands-free calling.

MAZDA Connect is the name of the car's infotainment system. It comes with an 8.8-inch center display that can play HD and Pandora radio. The system can accept certain voice commands and help drivers send and receive text messages. Two USB audio inputs are included.

Mazda shines in the safety department. Not only do both models come with an array of air bags and five three-point safety belts, but they also come with many advanced driver-assist features that are often associated with higher-priced vehicles. For instance, they have systems that can alert drivers when they're veering out of lanes and can correct steering when necessary. The Mazda3 has a standard rearview camera to help with backing up, a feature that will alert drivers when their attention is waning, and adaptive cruise control that can alter speed when other cars slow down. Further, blind spot monitoring and automatic braking, which Mazda calls Smart Brake Support, can work to cut down on accidents.

The only option on the standard sedan is that it can come in Snowflake White Pearl at an extra cost. The Select (and the higher trims) can come in that type of white plus Machine Gray and Soul Red Crystal metallic paints, all for an additional cost.

All-wheel drive is not available on the Select, but it is on all of the other trims. This may be an important point for those drivers who may occasionally drive in adverse conditions.

Compare the 2020 Mazda3 Select vs Preferred Trims.  What is the difference?

On the exterior, the Preferred is mostly the same as the Select. The Preferred has a shark fin antenna for a more streamlined style, and its power side mirrors have memory positioning so different drivers can quickly set things up to their liking.

Inside the cabin, there are several differences. The Preferred has an overhead console that has a compartment that's perfect for holding sunglasses, and its front visors come with lights for better visibility.

Bigger changes can be noticed with the seating. The Preferred gives people much more control of their seating position, as it has an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with the ability to memorize two different positions. The front seats in the Preferred are heated, which is a huge plus in the winter.

Additionally, the speaker system gets upgraded to a Bose 12-speaker configuration with Centerpoint 2 and AudioPilot 2 technology for enhanced audio quality. Out of these two trims, only the Preferred comes with the ability to play SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Otherwise, the Select and Preferred trims have the same features, including in the safety category. Rather than seeing this as a detriment, this can be seen as a benefit, as it shows how much the Mazda3 comes with as part of its standard package.

Compare the 2020 Mazda3 Preferred vs Premium Trim Levels.  What is the difference?

On the Premium, there is the addition of a power sliding-glass moonroof. It can be easily opened with the touch of a button, and it comes with an interior sunshade to block out the light on hot days. The headlights on the Premium have more style to them, as Mazda put in signature LED headlights and taillights to help the car stand out on the roads. Likewise, the wheels are upgraded in that they are aluminum alloy with a bright finish; the wheels on the Preferred don't have that same shiny finish.

For the driver and passengers, the Premium comes with leather instead of leatherette. This may not make a big difference to all, but it can be a selling point to those with finer tastes.

In terms of the driving experience, the Premium comes with a unique opportunity get paddle shifters. These shifters let drivers manually shift gears up or down as opposed to letting the automatic transmission do all the work. Many performance-minded drivers like having paddle shifters there so they can have better control over their speed transitions. It's important to remember that the paddle shifters don't need to be used, though, as the car will do just fine if left to do the work on its own.

A technological addition to the Premium is that it has a full-color Active Driving Display projected on its windshield. This strategic placement encourages drivers to keep their eyes on the road rather than looking down under the dashboard for information related to things like speed and fuel.


Which Trim to Choose?

Overall, the Mazda3 is definitely a car to consider if anyone is looking into buying something that feels more expensive than what its price tag may otherwise indicate. It's a compact car that feels light on its feet, and it has a respectable engine. Since it lacks any potential engine upgrades, performance really doesn't factor into what type of trim a buyer ends up getting. The only exception is that paddle shifters come only on the Premium.

It's the little things that will affect a consumer's decision as to whether to purchase the standard sedan, the Select, Preferred, or Premium. Technology is fairly standard, though the standard model doesn't have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the Preferred is the level at which the Mazda3 starts coming with a Bose 12-speaker sound system. The Active Driving Display on the Premium is a cool element, even though it might not make a huge impact on the driver.

Safety is another category in which there aren't many options. That's a good thing, as all of the driver-assist features that can keep an extra eye on the road on behalf of the driver are included on all trims. Mazda made a calculated decision with this, and it will likely pay off since some comparably-priced vehicles don't have the same safety package.

This leaves exterior and interior details as what mainly differentiates Mazda3 trims from one another. A potential customer will have to decide whether he or she wants cloth, leatherette, or leather seats, as well as how much he or she prefers to have power-adjustability in the driver's seat. It can be nice to have a memory function on the seat and mirrors, but single drivers won't need to worry about this. The Preferred level is where heated seats come as standard features.

When all is taken into consideration, it appears that the Preferred seems to be the best buy. It has some high-end elements - to include heated front seats, a driver's seat that is power-adjustable, and the Bose sound system - that enhance the quality of its cabin. It doesn't have the moonroof and signature lighting that the Premium has, but its relatively lower price point may minimize this difference. In the end, one has to decide how much he or she wants those extra features.
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