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2008 Mazda MAZDA3

Overview
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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 Review

By

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 1187 Ratings for the 2004 - 2009 models.

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

Love my blue Mazda 3!! So much fun to drive!!

By on Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive and reliable!!!"

Cons: "Can be a bit more expensive to fix."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We love Mazda and our Mazda 3 is by far my favorite car ever!! I have so much fun driving it and love its sporty look. It has so many extras including a spoiler and 4 wheel disc brakes. It has been a super reliable car and we would definitely buy another one. I like this body style much better than the newer models so I am happy to have an older one. I highly recommend this car!!!"

Mazdaspeed3 is the next generation muscle car.

By on Sunday, August 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000

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: "Fun to drive, fast, great value, good in the snow"

Cons: "Suspension noises, needs wider tires w\the power."

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

"This is a great driving car. I've had mine since new and it now has 101,000 miles after seven years of fun. I have added some "bolt ons" to increase horsepower. This car looks, sounds and drives absolutely awesome. The only negatives that I've seen is a clunking with the suspension which has been fixed at the dealer, but it was pricey. The clutch, rear brakes, transmission, engine, etc are all still original after seven years of spirited driving. I couldn't be happier!"

A fun-to-drive commuter car

By on Thursday, August 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, good MPG, good A/C, decent stereo"

Cons: "Little room in the rear seat, no mp3 player, noisy"

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

"I bought this car used with 92000 miles on the odometer. I don't drive that much but I think I know enough now to write a review. I have a Mazda3 i version with a manual transmission. First of all, it's fun to drive. I find myself looking for reasons to hop into this car and go somewhere. The manual tranny adds to the fun, I guess. Shifting gears is smooth and clean. Sometimes I have a little trouble engaging the reverse gear but nothing major. I have been told the clutch is worn so maybe I'll have to replace it soon. The ride is firm but not unpleasant. It certainly feels like a sporty little car. Mine doesn't have anti-lock brakes so I have to be careful :) Fuel economy is good - I average about 27 mpg mostly around town with occasional highway driving. I fill it up once every couple of weeks and one fill-up is about 35 dollars. The car accelerates well but you have to keep the engine in the 3000-4000 rpm range. It's a little sluggish around 2000 rpm. Steering is precise and the car handles great. A/c works great in hot Texas summer weather. The stereo sounds good but there is no mp3 decoder. However, there is an AUX jack so I can use my portable mp3 player. The car is a little too noisy for my liking, especially at high speeds. On a highway in 5th gear (top gear), the engine revs around 3000-3200 rpm. Noise dampening is not good. But I forgive these little transgressions given that it's fun to drive and the stereo sounds good. The trunk is big enough but the rear seat is not good for tall people. The front seats are very comfy if you add lumbar support. I am 6'4" and I find space in the driver's seat more than adequate. The interior is black cloth and looks very classy - much better than what I saw in Corollas and Civics of the same age. I cannot comment on reliability since I have not fixed anything yet. I should probably replace the clutch and struts soon but they are most likely original so they have lasted 94000 miles and are still OK."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I love this car!

By on Monday, August 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000

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

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

"Bought in 2005 with 12 miles on it. Best car in pice range for sure! Have had a few try to buy it, lol....not happening :) Will own until it is a piece of scrap. If you are lucky enough to come across one that is in good condition buy it cause they will be a small car collectors item! Everyone likes them!"

8 people out of 18 found this review helpful

keeps going and going

By on Monday, July 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 246,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"i bought this car with 8,000 miles on it(2004). the car now has 246,000 miles . i had not one problem with this car runs like a champ it only had one tune up witch was replacing the plugs only that was done around the 200,000 mile mark. still have not replaced the belt no need to at this time nothing wrong with belt no wear, no missing teeth ,no cracks so for it looks great.this car is a little beast just keeps going and going . change oil to full synthetic after the 100,000 miles.since then just gas and go........"

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

At 100,000 miles....

By on Friday, July 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

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: "very reliable, sporty, handling, gas mileage"

Cons: "I really cant find"

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

"I have not had a single maintence issue with this car! It even has theoriginal brakes it performs almost as good as the dayi bought it new. Excellent handling in emergencies, sporty, and safely gotten us from point a to b in a large city. What more can u ask for out of a $14,000 base price car? Reviewed is a Maxda3 Sedan 4 door manual transmission no power locks or windows. KEEP BUILDING CARS THIS RELIABLE SPORTY AND SAFE MAZDA. I LEFT HONDAS F9R THIS AND COULDNT BE HAPPIER. Honda was great in the 90's but have since become equipped with cheaper parts in my opinion. And I think the customer reviews reflect that Maxda3 and 6 are the kings now."

1 person out of 1 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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