It’s hard to be many things to many people, but the 2019 Mazda3 is able to pull it off with the 2019 Mazda3. Available as a sedan or hatchback, the 3 has a nice cabin, a fuel-sipping 4-cylinder, an appealing design and an attractive starting price. When you have all that going for you, it’s easy to see why the Mazda3 is such a popular car.

I’ve got to admit I’m more a fan of the sedan than hatchback, but both deliver the goods when it comes to comfort, performance and fuel economy. And, although this may be a bit of a random observation, I’ve always thought the paint shop at Mazda is the best around. Sedan trims include base, preferred and premium, while the hatchback versions very by option packages.

The 2019 Mazda3 Hatchback was my test car for the week, and I enjoyed my time in it. The powertrain was responsive, handling was confident, and the cabin was first rate.

All Mazda3s are outfitted with a 2.5-liter Inline-4 hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 6-speed manual transmission is available on the hatchback. The engine develops 186 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque. AWD is offered in most models.

The cabin comfortably seats five, especially in the front bucket seats. Back in Row 2, a pair of adults will be comfortable, but three adults would be more comfortable if one of them was a kid. Headroom in front was 38 inches, which was fine for my 6-foot-1 frame. My head touched the headliner in Row 2, which has 37.2 inches of headroom because of the sloping roofline. Legroom in the back row is 35.1 inches, which would a bit cramped if it weren’t for the concave front seat backs. Overall, though, this is a quality cabin that is comfortable and beautiful, one of the strong features of the 3.

Another strength is the way Mazda allows drivers to govern the car’s infotainment and vehicle systems. It’s a breeze in the 3, unlike some cars that require a college degree to decipher. Logically arranged and intuitive to use, the controls are refreshingly easy, while still embracing most of the latest technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The display screen sits tall on the center stack where it should be, and it’s governed by a controller knob surround by just four buttons. A heads-up display system is a great feature, and the Bose 12-speaker sound in my test Mazda3 was terrific. USB connectivity is available on the center stack as well as the center console, where there’s also a 12v outlet. Mazda puts its optional wireless phone charging system in the console rather than in a tray at the bottom of the center stack.

On the road, the 2019 Mazda 3 handles nicely with precise and linear steering. The 4-cylinder engine should be enough to satisfy most drivers. The car has almost no body lean in aggressive cornering, and braking was excellent.

You can get into a 2019 Mazda3 sedan for less than $22-grand, and even the top end trims are priced competitively. My test 2019 Mazda3 hatchback with the premium package started at $28,900 and it had all the bells and whistles. Included were LED headlights and taillights, navigation and SiriusXM Satellite radio, a moonroof, power heated front seats with memory, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and dual-zone air.

The 2019 Mazda3 gets 5 stars in the government’s crash tests, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick, giving it the top score of “good” in all but headlights, which were rated “acceptable.”

The 2019 Mazda3 has a range of standard and available sophisticated safety technology like blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, lane departure and lane keep assist systems, automatic emergency braking, anti-lock brakes and a full complement of airbags.

Whether you’re looking for a sedan or a hatchback, the 2019 Mazda3 is an affordable, comfortable and safe option.

2019 Mazda3 Premium Package

Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder

Horsepower/Torque: 186/186 lb.-ft.

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Price: $28,900 ($31,335 with options & freight)

EPA Mileage Estimates: 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway/27 mpg combined

Estimated Highway Range: 422 miles