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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A gray 2020 Mazda 6 is shown parked after visiting a Mazda dealer.

6 Mazda Models That Enthusiasts and Consumers Alike Adore

Are you browsing around for a Mazda dealer? When you go to one, you will see that there is a large variety of Mazda models to choose from. These vehicles are all solid options, and they are all pretty popular with consumers. You will be hard-pressed to find a ‘bad’ Mazda. There are, however, a handful of Mazda models that auto enthusiasts and average consumers alike completely adore. Every model year, they garner a good amount of attention from reviewers and owners, getting hailed for their respective strengths.

Mazda manufactures cars that are fun to drive but also oriented toward practicality. They are more budget-friendly than most of their competitors, and you get the peace of mind that comes from brand reliability. Handling, steering, and strong powertrains give Mazda vehicles a lot of on-the-road character, but there is even more to these vehicles that warrants a more in-depth look.

As you browse through our inventory of new and used Mazda vehicles, consider the following six models that seemingly everyone adores. Some have been around for a while; others are a bit newer. Either way, Mazda makes vehicles that the average consumer can enjoy, but that auto enthusiasts will also positively delight in.

A red 2023 Mazda3 is shown parked on a street.


The Mazda3 is one of Mazda’s most popular vehicles, and for a slew of good reasons. Newer Mazda3 models get somewhere between 27 and 31 miles per gallon combined, depending on which configuration you purchase. This five-seater model has a total of seven trim levels to choose from, with the Select Hatchback with front-wheel drive being the most popularly selected. Yes, that’s right––this car comes as either a sedan or a hatchback.

The Mazda3 is powered by a 2.5L SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder engine. There is an optional 250-hp 2.5L Dynamic Turbo Pressure version of this engine reserved for the line-topping 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus trim level. However, the base engine gives enough power (191 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque) for it to feel quite spunky. All-wheel drive is equipped on the higher trim levels.

Inside, the Mazda3 has a lusciously designed cabin with cushy, well-padded, supportive seats in both rows. If you need to make a long drive, the Mazda3’s seats hold up for hours. Of course, Mazda outfits the Mazda3 with plenty of attractive features. You can enjoy the comfort provided by the dual-zone automatic climate control system and use smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep yourself informed and entertained.

Mazda CX-9

Although it will be phased out with the Mazda CX-90 as its replacement in 2024, the Mazda CX-9 has long been a staple of the Mazda line-up. The CX-9 is a three-row SUV that, when it becomes the CX-90, will offer even more interior space for third-row occupants.

On the CX-9 (and on the CX-90), an all-wheel drive system is a standard issue. The CX-9 is powered by a 2.5L Dynamic Turbo Pressure engine that generates a max power output of 227 hp (or 250 hp on 93 octane fuel) and 310 lb-ft of torque (or, with 93 octane fuel, 320 lb-ft of torque). This makes for quick acceleration speeds and superbly secure handling dynamics. The steering has a spot-on vibe, bringing enough feedback to your hands through the steering wheel. This leads to an increase in driver confidence in how the CX-9 performs.

Again, design is something that Mazda nails on this vehicle. The CX-9 has a refined but ultimately athletic exterior design and the cabin is given a premium appearance, even starting on the base trim level. The higher up you go in trims, the more luxurious things get. The line-topping trim even offers Genuine Santos Rosewood inlays and Nappa leather trim on the first and second rows of seats.

The CX-9 is loaded with standard driver aids, too. A rear-view monitor, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and smart brake support are some of the included driver assistance features. Higher trims add on a driver attention warning and a 360-degree surround-view monitor. These features are becoming more sought-after and add a lot of value to the CX-9.

A blue 2023 Mazda CX-50 is shown parked near a lake.

Mazda CX-50

Despite being so new, the Mazda CX-50 is already making quite a splash. With a combined fuel economy of 25-27 MPG, the CX-50 is an SUV that combines power and efficiency. You can take your pick from a whopping ten trim levels and two engine options. The base 2.5L 4-cylinder engine generates 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.5L Twin-scroll Turbo 4-cylinder puts forth 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Given that there isn’t a major price difference between the two, many buyers are able to justify upgrading to the twin-scroll turbo engine for the extra boost of power.

One thing that stands out about the CX-50 is how oriented it is toward off-roading performance. The CX-50 comes with standard all-wheel drive and Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (also known as Mi-Drive), which gives the vehicle Off-Road and Sport modes. The six-speed automatic transmission has a manual shift mode.

The CX-50 looks nothing short of luscious inside, with attention paid to smaller details. Mid-way through the trim level line-up, you can find a panoramic sliding-glass power sunroof. The variants with the turbo engine equipped have paddle shifters for an additional touch of luxury.

Mazda CX-5

As one of the most affordable Mazda models, the CX-5 is a prime pick among buyers because of how illustrious it looks inside and out. The CX-5 embraces the Mazda Kodo design philosophy, drawing your attention with a sleek body sculpture. The front grille helps the CX-5 stand out from the crowd, and it can be equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels for a chic and imposing look.

The CX-5 is a highly-rated vehicle when it comes to safety. The IIHS and NHTSA both give the CX-5 high accolades for its crash test performances and slew of standard and available advanced driver aids. Even the base trim receives lane departure warning, advanced smart city brake support with pedestrian detection, and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.

The CX-5’s suspension is tuned for comfort, which makes any daily commute easier to get through. While it is designed as an athletic SUV, it lacks the excessive firmness that some of its competitors give off. Bumps and other road irregularities are rapidly dispatched so that cabin occupants can simply relax.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is known for its sporty nature and luxury looks––all without the luxury price tag. The MX-5 Miata is designed to, as Mazda puts it, feel like an extension of yourself. This is done by creating sharp steering and handling capabilities, giving you control over the vehicle so that you can avoid becoming fatigued while driving.

Handling stands out as being a true highlight of the Miata. The unique thing about this car is that Mazda evenly distributes the vehicle’s weight even when there is a human being behind the wheel. Mazda wants buyers to feel completely comfortable in the Miata, and nailing the weight distribution makes the little two-seater Miata extremely aerodynamic.

While some buyers will be tempted to upgrade to the Miata RF, the traditional convertible-style Miata has mass appeal. The price feels like a real bargain, given how luxurious this little vehicle looks. It is also more fuel-efficient than luxury segment competitors, with its 29-30 MPG in combined driving.

a red 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata is shown driving on a highway.

Mazda CX-90 PHEV

Last but certainly not least, we have the Mazda CX-90 PHEV. While it is a lot like the CX-90, the CX-90 PHEV is the plug-in version that can accommodate up to eight passengers inside its comfy cabin. It also boasts up to 3,500 pounds in a max towing capacity when properly equipped, making it a rather ruggedly athletic plug-in hybrid.

Power comes from the pairing of a 2.5L engine and 68 kW electric motor. Together, this creates a system output of 323 hp. The i-ACTIV AWD system is rear-biased, and the two higher trim levels include Towing mode with the MI-DRIVE mode system.

Worried about how long you’ll need to recharge the battery? The CX-90 PHEV is able to recharge quickly. A Level 1 120V AC charger requires 6 hours and 40 minutes to charge up to full, but a Level 2 240V AC only needs 1 hour and 30 minutes to get the job done. Thus, you can easily charge this vehicle back up while you are at home or work. Of course, since this is a hybrid, the gas engine will take over if you run out of battery while driving.

Which Mazda Is Right for You?

Finding the right Mazda requires some research since every driver has unique needs. However, the ones listed above are some of the most widely loved among buyers. They all have various strengths, so what you get will depend on your specifications. No matter which Mazda model you choose to buy, you are making an investment from which you get a lot of value. Whether you opt for a gas-powered, hybrid, or electric Mazda, you will get a lot of power, utility, and versatility.

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