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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 1176 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

i love my mazda. (zoom zoom)

By on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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: "stylish look and affordable."

Cons: "no cons from this happy mazda owner."

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

"I am very pleased with my mazda 3. overall I am a happy mazda customer. I would definitely recommend."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fast little car!

By on Friday, May 16, 2014

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "torque, interior, overall body shape"

Cons: "Clearance to ground."

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

"I don't regret for one moment buying this car, except for the clearance. I live in Iowa, we get a lot of snow, and this car has a hard time getting through big drifts. I love the turbo! This car is so fast! The interior is beautiful, like a cock pit. The dashboard lights are all in red, so cool at night. I always get people asking me what type of car it is, and it's so cute. Thumbs up on this one."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

The best car I ever owned

By on Tuesday, May 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 170,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "reliable, good gas mileage"

Cons: "low profile tires wear out sooner."

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

"For all the miles I've put on this car, all I have had to do is change oil and balance and rotate the tires. besides the regular "check up" maintenance."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Love My Mazda

By on Thursday, May 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value,easy and fun to drive"

Cons: "Needs more outlets, including USB"

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

"I bought my Mazda3 brand new in 2005. It has been a great car! I am thinking of buying a new Mazda3 in the next year or so."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great for the $

By on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Got new Lexus

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Very Reliable. After 135k miles, I felt comfortable enough to sell this car to my brother without fear that it was going to fall apart on him. The car has is fun and feels like a much more expensive sports car. It has tight sharp handling and decent pick up for a car I only spent $18k on in 2005. In the years I owned it the only things I have ever replaced were things that normal wear and tear required. I would recommend this car to anyone who is looking for a reasonably priced vehicle but doesn't want to cut too many corners on performance."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Very good practical hatchback

By on Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,100

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Versatile, good size, comfortable"

Cons: "Roadnoise, Back seats dont lay flat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"When we purchased our Mazda3, we wanted the hatchback because we have three dogs. It has been a great practical car that has served us well. Not overly sporty, not overly dull. Even with the dogs, the interior has held up well. However, there are many many scratches from dog nails on the back bumper from them jumping in. We had to replace the alternator last year, the mechanic said that's a common issue with these cars. I went into Mazda dealership to check the alignment of the tires, they said the tires were all but perfect, but they noted that the engine mount was almost completely cracked so that needed to be replaced last year as well. I wish there was a little more ground clearance, when parking the bumper almost always scratches on the parking curbs. I don't like how much road noise there is, and it bugs me that the back seats don't lay flat, especially when the dogs are in the car. Overall it's been a reliable car which has done everything that it promised. Current MPG is around 22."

2 people out of 2 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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