IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2012 Mazda3 today was named to the "10 Best Back-to-School Cars of 2012" list by Kelley Blue Book's www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new and used vehicle information. Mazda3 also is listed by KBB.com as one of the "10 Best Sedans Under $25,000" and one of the "10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 of 2012."
According to the editors of Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, Mazda3 earned a top ten spot because "available in sedan and hatchback forms, even the most affordable four-door version of this well-finished compact comes with a respectable measure of Mazda's Zoom-Zoom character, impressive safety features and a utility-enhancing 60/40-split-folding rear seat."
"A global winner for Mazda, the Mazda3 continues to find itself on Top 10 lists with its attractive combination of style, safety and value," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "Also, thanks to its SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY components, Mazda3 offers one of the highest EPA-rated fuel economy ratings in the compact car segment."
The 2012 Mazda3 starts at $15,200 MSRP and is available with four powertrains on either four- or five-door styles. Models equipped with SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY boast a segment competitive 40 highway miles per gallon (MPG) on the sedan and a class-leading 39 highway MPG on the hatchback, both when equipped with the SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. All 2012 Mazda3 and MAZDASPEED3 models are equipped with a high level of standard safety features and are recognized as a "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Vehicles were chosen based on several factors including being available for $16,000 or less according to Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price, which is calculated as the average price paid by others in a shopper's area based on actual transaction data updated each week.
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website, www.kbb.com. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as government agencies. For more information on KBB.com's 10 Best Back-to-School Cars list, including full editorial commentary and rankings, please visit http://www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-news/top-10/best-back-to-school-cars-2012/.
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and b-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.
 SKYACTIV is a registered trademark of Mazda Motor Corporation (MC).
 Starting price is manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest trim level. MSRP does not include $795 destination charge (Alaska $840), title, taxes, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary.
SOURCE Mazda North American Operations