The sporty, compact Mazda 3 (known as the Axela in Japan) has been making a splash ever since it was unveiled in 2003 for the 2004 model year. It is based on the Ford's C1 platform along with the Ford Focus, Volvo S40, and Mazda 5. The Mazda 3 is available as both a sedan and hatchback, and comes in a variety of trim levels. Trim options include the i SV, i Sport, i Touring, s Sport, and s Grand Touring. The “s” trims are the higher level trims. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard on most variations of the Mazda 3, but a 5-speed automatic became optional, as well (except for the 3i SV). Engine configurations also depend upon the model. The Mazda 3i is powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine (148 horsepower) while the Mazda 3s is equipped with a 2.5L inline 4-cylinder (167 horsepower) and a 6-speed manual transmission (a 4-speed automatic option was initially offered, as well).
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