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2008 Mazda MAZDA3

Overview
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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 Review

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It's now four years into the compact MAZDA3's model run, and demand remains high. The 2008 Mazda MAZDA3 continues to attract buyers, due to its attractive styling, impressive array of standard and optional features, good fuel economy and sporty handling. Few economy cars have enough style to sit beside an Audi A3 and look right at home, yet the MAZDA3 can do just that, and its starting price at slightly over $14,000 places it within the reach of most compact car buyers. The MAZDA3 is available in two body styles, with the four-door sedan offering two four-cylinder engine choices: A 2.0-liter or 2.3-liter. The five-door hatchback is available only with the larger engine. Both models are notably popular with drivers young and old, poking a big hole in the commonly-held belief that Americans won't buy hatchbacks.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're shopping for an economical small car that can be nicely equipped for around $18,000, check out the 2008 Mazda MAZDA3. Sharp styling and road-hugging handling are standard, as is a long list of uncommon options such as DVD navigation and Bose audio.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're searching for maximum passenger space, the MAZDA3's rear-seat legroom won't impress. Though no wimp, the 2.3-liter engine can't compete with the high-powered turbocharged engines from Subaru, Volkswagen and MINI.

What's New for 2008

Mazda makes front side-impact and side-curtain airbags standard on s Sport models.

Driving the MAZDA3

Driving Impressions We found the MAZDA3's handling to be simply superb, with incredibly tight steering that responds instantaneously to input. As we joyfully wound our way over a serpentine road, we were...

instantly reminded of other great compacts that evoked the same emotional response. Even though the MAZDA3 is a front-wheel-drive car, it exhibits very little torque steer. The secret ingredient for a faster, more thrilling MAZDA3 is the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine of the s trim level. Though it has only 12 more horsepower than the 2.0-liter, the 2.3's low-end torque helps the MAZDA3 accelerate effortlessly. The optional automatic transmission features a quick shift from first to second gear for a faster response, making even steep hills no threat to rapid acceleration.

DVD-Based Navigation Unit
The MAZDA3's optional DVD-based navigation unit is an unheard-of feature in a car in this price range.

Hatchback
Who says Americans don't like hatchbacks? The new hot hatches are gaining converts for their looks and versatility.

2008 Mazda MAZDA3 Details
Interior

You can shop this segment until the cows come home and not find as handsome an interior as in the 2008 Mazda MAZDA3. A racy three-pod instrument cluster, red dash lighting and long list of standard and optional features make the MAZDA3 feel like a high-priced sports sedan. Front-seat occupants will find head- and legroom generous, although the passenger's seat does not offer adjustment for either lumbar support or height. The five-door model allows you to lug around bulky items that would not easily fit in the sedan's trunk. Two features missing from an otherwise well-planned interior are a rear hatch release switch and a retained power feature, the latter necessary to operate the power windows after the key is removed from the ignition.

Exterior

The MAZDA3's scorching exterior could easily have been penned by BMW or Alfa Romeo. The strong lines denote its performance abilities and look particularly attractive on the sporty five-door hatchback. A new front end features a revised grille and headlamp treatment with a large rectangular air intake and, on s trims, integrated rectangular fog lights. Sadly, heated exterior mirrors are still not available. The s models feature a multi-spoke wheel design that mimics the wheels of the CX-7 crossover SUV.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The entry-level MAZDA3 i features a 2.0-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes, dual remote-control mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, cloth bucket seats, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, tachometer, intermittent wipers and 15-inch wheels. The s four-door sedan and five-door hatchback include a 2.3-liter engine, air conditioning, illuminated remote keyless entry, fog lights, dual power mirrors, power locks, power windows, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels. All versions with the 2.3-liter engine have Dynamic Stability Control with Traction Control as standard equipment.

Optional Equipment

Options include a power moonroof, Bose audio, six-disc MP3/CD changer, 17-inch alloy wheels (Grand Touring), heated leather seats, five-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes (ABS), remote engine start (automatic models only), front-side and front/rear side-curtain airbags (standard on s Sport), auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and a DVD-based navigation system.

Under the Hood

The base 2.0-liter engine works just fine in this car when competing with similarly-sized engines from Ford, Toyota, Honda and Kia. Performance driving is more enjoyable with the larger 2.3-liter engine, which offers more low-end torque but also consumes more fuel. A new five-speed automatic with manual shift control is available only with the 2.3-liter engine.

2.0-liter in-line 4
148 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
135 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/32 (manual), 23/31 (automatic)

2.3-liter in-line 4
156 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
150 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 22/29 (automatic)

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 1197 Ratings for the 2004 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Great Touring Sedan

By on Thursday, December 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,926

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, very fun to drive, great on gas"

Cons: "it does not steer itself"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This vehicle has been a great performer in handling and reliability. No mechanical difficulties in six (6) years followed regular maintenance schedule. Quality is well above expectations for a vehicle in this price range. Very satisfied with this vehicle. I have found Mazda vehicles to be long lasting, reliable, safe vehicles. I have owned six (6) mazdas 4 new and 2 previously owned and loved them all! Highest mileage was one with 257 thousand miles on same timing belt. A Mazda 6, still ran like a top."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Just purchased this car a month ago as a work car

By on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 141,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great styling, comfortable, handling, economical"

Cons: "no heated mirros"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Just purchased about a month ago as a work car due to the weekly miles I am required to drive. Purchased it used, it is an 07 and had 139k on the odometer. It is the 5 door hatchback with the 2.3 and a 5 speed manual. The car is fantastic to drive, I travel all back roads and this things makes getting to the office fun. Have put almost 3k on it in the first month and not a problem yet. I did like the fact that this was a one owner car prior to me purchasing it, these days that really says something about a vehicle. Car looks great, and I get a lot of compliments on it when I drive it. So far I am averaging right around the 31mpg mark, but it could be better since I like to drive it with a spirited attitude. Love this car so far, with the hatchback, we seem to always be in it nowadays, whether I am heading out of town for an RC Car race or trips to the grocery store, the Mazda is being well utilized!"

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Cute little Car

By on Thursday, October 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 149,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "decent price, reliable"

Cons: "dull interior for the base model"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I bought this car used for about $11,000 when taxes and fees were all said and done. I've owned this car for two years and have only had one mechanical problem with it , a sensor ended up going on the car and of course had to get that replaced which costed me about $350. so far so good with reliability. the only thing i'm not to crazy about with the Mazda3 is the comfort and design of the interior, My Mazda3 is just the standard base model so it only has cloth interior, standard engine etc. it does get me from A to B though, i do a lot of city driving and at times long distance driving. I find the drive isn't as smooth as i'd like it to be but maybe that's just the fact that it's an older car. all and all the Mazda3 is a great car for the average city driver."

13 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Immaculate and Low mileage

By on Thursday, October 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive/premium sound system/clean/reliable"

Cons: "No regrets w/ this car"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Beautiful sporty ride!

"This car has only one owner. Very dependable, low mileage, new battery, shocks and alignment. This car is very clean and has been garage kept. Negotiable. Exceptional vehicle!"

13 people out of 28 found this review helpful

Beautiful sporty ride!

Amazing Car for Value, Price, and Fun Factor

By on Monday, October 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 198,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great price, fun to drive, economical, space"

Cons: "not usa made"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I've always been a truck person, I've got stuff to move and need space for the dogs. I needed a commuter car and bought the Mazda 3 Hatch and haven't been disappointed! Tons of space, and its fun to drive! I've owned both the regular Mazda3 and the MazdaSpeed3. The speed is stupid fun, fast, and a fraction of the cost for cars similar to its speed and torque. Never had any major mechanical issues, and my Mazda3 is at 198,000. Regular maintenance of course, what you would expect for a car with that many miles. Still gets great MPG. I highly recommend the manual. Better MPG and more fun to drive! Fast when it wants to be, but if you need instant speed after the green light opt for the MazdaSpeed3 Turbo."

11 people out of 23 found this review helpful

the best car for the money in 2007, hands down.

By on Sunday, October 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "all"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Nothing close at the same price point. I was amazed I got this quality of a car with easily manageable payments. I am a "biggest bang for the buck" type to start with and this was the definition of that term. Did a lot of my own maintenance but it was all routine, oil changes, brakes, filter replacements, etc., no major expenses at all with 92K of mostly (80%) highway driving."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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