The 2018 Mazda 3 continues the tradition of being a fun car to drive, no matter where you are headed. The newest Mazda 3 handles a curvy road with confidence and zip. Drivers can choose the sedan or a hatchback, as well as from two engine choices matched with either manual or standard transmissions. New for 2018 is standard emergency braking and dark aluminum wheels that give it a unique appearance. The safety suite, with features like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, is now available as an option, which it has not been before. Mazda introduced the G-Vectoring Control technology last year, and perfected it for this year, making it one of the more fun cars to drive.

The hatchback and sedan version both have the same trim levels, which are Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. The Sport trim has 16-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, seven-inch display screen, rearview camera and low-speed emergency braking. It has a six-speaker sound system. The hatchback has a spoiler and alloy wheels. The sedan version offers blind spot monitoring and upgraded interior. The Touring trim has all that and adds 18-inch alloy wheels. It has dual climate control, leather upholstery, as well as heated front seats. The Grand Touring version adds LED lighting, sunroof, upgraded display of gauges, and a nine-speaker sound system. A premium package adds automatic high beams, heated steering wheel, and a navigation system.

The 2018 Mazda 3 comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pushes out 155 horsepower and 150 foot-pounds of torque. The top two levels get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 184 horsepower and 185 foot-pounds of torque. The smaller engine will get 28-38 miles per gallon, and the larger one is rated at 24-34 miles per gallon. The manual transmission lowers the fuel efficiency by a mile or two per gallon. With the six-speed manual transmission, you feel very much in control, and that adds to the fun of driving the Mazda 3. The six-speed automatic is smooth and keeps the driving fun. There is hardly any dropoff with the automatic transmission. With manual shifters available, you can hold gears in manual mode. All Mazda 3 cars are front-wheel drive equipped. It is listed as a compact car but is a little bigger than most compacts, just barely smaller than a mid-sized sedan.

The Highway Transportation Safety Association gave the Mazda 3 its highest five star rating, and it received the highest rating from the insurance industry as well. It earned a superior rating with its ability to avoid a 25-mph collision. Automatic braking and forward collision warning as standard equipment add to its safety ratings. Options for blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assistance also make it a good safety choice. Mazda's unique control system makes it fun to drive, but it also a safety feature, helping it stay on those curvy roads better and keeping the ride stable. Electronic stability control is part of that system, and add some standard traction control, and you have a great handling car that you will love on tight curvy roads. It has easy to use anchors for child seats as well, so it is fine as a family car. It is not likely to roll over, but it has side airbags that will automatically deploy should that happen.