You might say the Mazda3 is the sporty one. The other, other compact car. The machine designed for a more youthful and dynamic driver, not the sort after a Maud Flanders-grade compact, finished in beige, that’s planning to frequently clog up the fast lane on their way to bridge.

If you frequently employ a plug-in blanket to stay warm after supper and retire around 8 before passing out mid-Murder She Wrote, it’s probably not your sort of car. But if you’re like the increasingly demanding breed of compact car shopper who demands increased upscale feature content, design and tech for their dollar, you’ll probably want to give the new Mazda3 your immediate attention.

When it launched, the Canadian Car of the Year program, which sees new-this-year models arranged into categories and tested back to back against one another, saw the 3 take a big win after votes from several dozen auto reviewers were weighted and tabulated. The scores that helped push the 3 ahead of the pack included top marks for styling inside and out, perceived quality, ergonomics, convenience and entertainment features, and a landslide win for overall refinement. Other notable top scores in its testing category included those for cargo capacity, fuel economy and the all-important score for subjective value, that is, ‘bang for the buck’.

All said, shoppers in this segment after a machine that hits hard where the above attributes are concerned can take those scores as a collective thumbs up from a panel of Canadian auto reviewers.

So, there’s something Mazda just gets right about the 3 every time around, and the latest third-generation of the popular compact seems no exception.

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