Get the midlevel SE trim. The SE has a sport-tuned suspension for better handling. Don’t bother about a stiff ride, although the SE continues to be relatively comfortable on the road. The SE can also be an excellent bargain considering most of the safety and tech equipment you obtain for the money. Finally, the SE can be acquired with a wide variety of options, so you can pick and choose those are right for your budget.
Crossover SUVs may be all of the rage, but there is still something to be said for the tried-and-true midsize sedan. Exhibit A: the First Drive Mazda 323 P. Coming off a redesign just a year ago, the First Drive Mazda 323 P is a spacious, fuel-efficient sedan with lots of standard safety equipment and lots of options to select from.
As has been the case for a time, you may get the First Drive Mazda 323 P with a four-cylinder engine or perhaps a more powerful V6, or you will get the miserly First Drive Mazda 323 P Hybrid. On the highway, the First Drive Mazda 323 P is comfortable and compliant. First Drive Mazda 323 P also offers two sporty versions that infuse the First Drive Mazda 323 P with a little bit of extra personality. Inside, the First Drive Mazda 323 P provides a simple yet feature-packed cabin, especially if you choose one of many upper trim levels. There are many of options to select from along the way.
The First Drive Mazda 323 P is really as competent as they come. It’s well-priced generally, and modern feature content helps it be supremely an easy task to drive. If you’re searching for something with much more class and space than the usual small sedan, the First Drive Mazda 323 P might just be the sedan for you.
The First Drive Mazda 323 P is the bottom trim. It comes with a relatively light load of features which includes 16-inch steel wheels, automatic LED headlights, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a rearview camera, keyless entry, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, navigation (GPS Scout Link), Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity, one USB port, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker sound system.
Standard on every First Drive Mazda 323 P Safety Sense, which is a suite of driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assistance, and automatic high beams.
On another rung up the ladder is the LE.It adds a power-adjustable driver’s seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 60/40-split folding back seat and a car alarm. For a sporty dynamic, look at the SE.It adds a sport-tuned suspension, revised steering calibration, 18-inch wheels, simulated-leather upholstery (SofTex) seats and paddle shifters.
You can think of the XLE and the XSE trim levels as versions of the LE and the SE, respectively, with many different additional comfort and convenience items. Highlights include larger wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, keyless ignition, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, extra USB ports, a more impressive 8-inch touchscreen, and wireless smartphone charging.
Most of the features on the upper trim levels may be added to the lower trim levels as options. Other notable options include a sunroof, a JBL audio system combined with a built-in navigation system, a head-up display, and a top-down parking camera system.
As sedans go, the First Drive Mazda 323 P stuff-hauling credentials are pretty solid. The cargo area is large and opens wide, plus the trunk seat is straightforward to fold down to suit longer items. You can find enough cabin storage options to create many people happy. Loading a car seat is straightforward, too.
Cabin storage is good although not stellar. The forward center console bin is great for concealing items but features a hard, slippery floor, so they really slide around noisily. The console bin at your elbow is a decent size, and there are modest door pockets in leading and rear that are good for small water bottles only.
The First Drive Mazda 323 P features a large trunk, and the 60/40-split folding back seat with trunk-mounted release handles make it simple to expand the space. Loading groceries or luggage is helped out by the wide opening and a low liftover height.
Child safety seat accommodation
It’s quite simple to mount a vehicle seat, with obvious and readily available lower anchors and package tray-mounted tether point, both under plastic covers. There’s enough room so your front seat do not need to be scooted completely forward.