Mazda’s 2016 Vehicle Product Line
Mazda’s 2016 lineup looks to build on the company’s strong performance and growth in 2015, delivering a small but balanced vehicle lineup designed to poach more customers primarily from the struggling Nissan and Honda markets. The Mazda3 and Mazda6 sedans, MX-5 sports car, CX-9 midsize SUV and the CX-5 compact SUV each get a new installment with new features. And this is the debut year for the Mazda CX-3, the company’s new model of compact crossover SUV that serves as a smaller alternative to the CX-9 and to last year’s CX-7.
The Mazda3 is designed to deliver a touch of sports car feel and handling in an otherwise sensible compact sedan package. The four-cylinder engine certainly won’t be mistaken for a sports car engine, but it is slightly more powerful than most engines in this market with a sport mode that gives it acceleration comparable to a six-cylinder engine. Under normal driving conditions the car is fuel efficient, quiet and handles very well. A 2.0 liter engine is standard, but an optional 2.5 liter upgrade is available.
New to the 2016 model is a standard rear view camera. Models at the Sport trim level and above also get a sunroof, automatic headlights and automatic washers standard. The SV trim level has also been dropped on the standard model to bring it in line with the Sport models, and the manual transmission is no longer available on the 3s Touring model.
The Mazda3 is available in both a four-door compact and hatchback design, and it is one of the faster and better-handling models in each class. It also has one of the more upscale interiors for these types of vehicles.
The Mazda6 is effectively a larger version of the Mazda3 sedan, stepping up from compact to midsize. It boasts the same better-than-usual acceleration and handling for its class that the Mazda3 is also known for. Though it comes with a four-cylinder engine, the sport mode gives it pickup more comparable to that of a six-cylinder. Yet the fuel economy remains above average, as well as the handling under normal driving conditions. Aside from the size, the significant difference between the Mazda3 and Mazda6 is that a manual transmission is available.
The 2016 model increases the size of the touchscreen to seven inches and adds an electronic parking brake as well as improved trim throughout the vehicle. The Grand Touring model now has LED headlights instead of xenon.
The MX-5 Miata
More commonly referred to as the Miata, the MX-5 is Mazda’s convertible sports car offering. The MX-5 is more about handling and attractive design than pure speed, packing the same four-cylinder standard engine with sport mode that the compact and midsize sedans have. However, the car is more of a pleasure to drive than anything else in the Mazda lineup and is definitely the pick for those looking for a roadster.
This is the first mass-produced MX-5 model since 2013, with the only other recent release being a limited edition 25th anniversary model run of 1099 units that came out in 2014. Changes to the car are therefore quite significant from previous models in its history. A two-liter manual transmission engine is standard, and boasts both improved acceleration and improved fuel efficiency from any previous incarnation of the MX-5. It also gets the seven-inch touch screen that is standard with the other Mazda models.
The Mazda CX-3
The CX-3 gives those shopping the Mazda brand a smaller SUV alternative. This is the second compact SUV from the company, complementing the existing CX-5 and the larger CX-7 and CX-9 models. It differs from the CX-5 primarily in being a subcompact crossover, slightly smaller but with slightly better handling and fuel economy.
The primary feature that this new model boasts is 31 miles per gallon with front wheel drive and 29 miles per gallon with all wheel drive. As with most other Mazda models, a four-cylinder engine is standard, but the CX-3 can only be had with an automatic transmission. The braking and handling both compare favorably to the major competitors in the subcompact SUV class.
The Mazda CX-5
The CX-5 is still considered to be a small SUV, but it’s a step up in size, leg room and cargo space from the subcompact CX-3. This is the point in the Mazda line at which the standard four cylinder engine stops being impressive in terms of acceleration, however. But those looking for a family vehicle will likely be fine with the trade-off of acceleration for increased interior space and the addition of new safety features like a standard electronic parking brake.
The Mazda CX-9
As with the CX-5, this is more about passenger and cargo capacity than it is about power. The standard engine is the stock four-cylinder in the 2.5 liter variant, but the extra half a liter isn’t really enough to make an appreciable difference in hauling all the added bulk. But speed and performance are not really what people in the market for a mid-size SUV are usually shopping for. Fuel efficiency for this vehicle size is decent at about 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 20 in city driving. It’s also among the quieter and better-looking of vehicles in this class, and the handling is on the better side as well.