Should You Take the Mazda 3 Off Road?

The 2022 Mazda 3 can handle the busy city streets, but it wasn’t designed to endure severe off-road conditions.
Written by Mariza Morin
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The 2022
Mazda 3
has a powerful engine with athletic handling that can easily dominate city streets, but it wasn’t designed for serious off-roading escapades. 
When you think of tough off-roading vehicles that can handle plowing through rough terrain, seldom does a sedan or hatchback come to mind. It’s probably no surprise that the latest Mazda 3 models are best equipped for zipping through paved roads—taking them off-road could case damage to the underbelly of your vehicle. 
So what does make a good off-roading vehicle? Don’t worry, we have the answers here at
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for car owners. We’ll go over vital specs like ground clearance and torque, along with some off-roading alternatives to the Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback. 
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Can the 2022 Mazda 3 go off road?

It would not be advised! Starting at $24,115,the 2022 Mazda 3, which comes in a sedan or hatchback, is more suitable for paved city streets, and perhaps smooth dirt roads at the most. If you’re interested in traveling to the great unknown, you should opt for an off-road SUV instead. 
Let’s dive into what you should look for when considering an off-road vehicle and how the Mazda 3 doesn’t exactly stack up. 

Ground clearance

When it comes to off-roading, ground clearance—or the distance between your vehicle’s chassis to the ground—is one of the most critical components to think about. The 2022 Mazda 3’s ground clearance stands at 5.5 inches off the ground, which doesn’t make it an ideal candidate for off-roading adventures. 
Generally, you’ll want a ground clearance of at least 8.8 inches or higher for the best off-road experience. A higher ground clearance will prevent damage to the undercarriage of your vehicle when driving through rough terrain. Unfortunately, the Mazda 3 greatly misses the off-roading mark by 3.3 inches


If you’re looking to go off-road with your vehicle, this feat would require enough power at a low speed. Hence, a low-end torque or high amounts of torque at lower rpm is a must when venturing off the beaten path. 
The base Mazda 3 2.0 sedan comes equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that gets a maximum torque of 150 @ 4000 RPM, while the Mazda 3 2.5 S features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 186 @ 4000 RPM. These options don’t provide enough power for off-roading!
At the highest end, the Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo comes standard with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a maximum torque of 310 @ 2,000 RPM. If you have to go off-road, the highest Mazda 3 trim provides enough power, but a sedan or hatchback with such low ground clearance is still not ideal for serious off-roading trips. 


The 2022 Mazda 3 comes with 205/60R16 tires. These are standard all-season tires that offer much-needed traction when driving through various weather and road conditions. But if you’re going off-road, you really need
all-terrain tires
for added stability on rough terrain. 


For intense off-roading adventures, you’ll need an all-wheel drive vehicle to handle the rough roads ahead. And unsurprisingly, all 2022 Mazda 3 models come standard with front-wheel drive—which is not recommended for driving into parts unknown. 


Off-roading is all about angles:
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle your vehicle can ascend without conflict 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle your vehicle can descend without conflict
Usually, you want a minimum angle of at least 20 degrees for light off-roading. But the approach and departure angle data are not even available for the 2022 Mazda 3, which tells us that the sedan or hatchback definitely wasn’t designed with off-roading in mind. 

Off-road rating: Don’t Try It

Where does the 2022 Mazda 3 stand on
super-technical DIRT rating system? Here’s how we break it down in the table below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
Based on the specs above, the 2022 Mazda 3 receives a D rating—which shouldn’t come as a total shocker! Drive your sedan or hatchback through the busy city streets, or to the national or state park parking lot at the most, but leave the intense off-roading trips to well-equipped SUVs like the
Toyota RAV4 TRD Off Road
or the
Jeep Wrangler

The best alternatives to the 2022 Mazda 3

Preferably, you’ll want to go with a tough SUV or pickup truck for the best off-roading experience. But if you’ve decided that paved roads are for you, here are some alternatives to the 2022 Mazda 3:
Best fuel-efficient alternative
2022 Honda Civic
With 33 city/42 highway mpg, the Civic will help you save more money at the pump compared to the Mazda 3.
Best value alternative
2022 Hyundai Elantra
Though the Elantra is almost $2,000 more than the Mazda, it comes with many standard features and a long warranty that make it a great value.
Best safety alternative
2022 Toyota Corolla
The Corolla comes with a host of standard safety features like a rearview camera, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and so much more to keep you safe on the road.
MORE: Cheap off-road trucks
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Whether you decide to stick with the Mazda 3 for daily commuting or go with a beastly off-road vehicle for the adventure of your life, don’t forget about getting the best coverage to protect yourself no matter where you go. And car insurance comparison super app
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