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2009 Mazda MAZDA3

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2009 Mazda MAZDA3 Review

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It's now five years into the compact MAZDA3's run, and despite an all-new model on the way in 2010, demand remains high. The 2009 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 $15,000 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 2009 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 2009

Front side- and side-curtain airbags and ABS are added to the i Sport, while a remote trunk release button is added to the key fob of sedans with remote entry.

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 a rare 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.

2009 Mazda MAZDA3 Details
2009 Mazda MAZDA3 photo Interior

You can shop this segment until the cows come home and not find as handsome an interior as in the 2009 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
2009 Mazda MAZDA3 photo

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. Last year's makeover included 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 anti-lock disc brakes, dual remote-control mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, cloth bucket seats, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, tachometer, intermittent wipers, front side and side curtain airbags 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. Grand Touring models add a power driver's seat.

Optional Equipment

Options include a power moonroof, Bose audio, six-disc MP3/CD changer, heated leather seats, five-speed automatic transmission, remote engine start (automatic models only), 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 five-speed automatic with manual shift control is available but 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), 22/30 (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), 22/28 (automatic)

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2009 Mazda MAZDA3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 1238 Ratings for the 2004 - 2009 models.

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

204K Miles - and still driving strong

By on Saturday, July 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 204,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, cabin quality, reliable"

Cons: "Long term quality of paint job, A/C weak"

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

"Nearly 204,000 miles on my 2005 Mazda3 hatchback, and it's still going strong. It's low maintenance, starts every time you put the key in the ignition, has a high-quality feel to the cabin, stops when needed, I've never replaced the clutch, and I'm getting 30 mpg on every tank of gas. I do have a few suggestions for Mazda, however, given that this is the first Mazda I've owned among a long line of Toyotas: (1) paint job when new looks spectacular but goes dull and begins peeling in places around the 100K mark. (2) A/C is not nearly as powerful or effective as in the 6 Toyotas we've owned. (On a really hot day - 100F+ - it has to work hard to be fairly cool.) Heater is fine. (3) Headlights and fog lights seem to need replacing more frequently than my Toyotas have; (4) Carpet on driver's side is worn and has a hole in it because of my heel. It shouldn't. (5) Had to replace the lights behind the audio and controls. Lights were cheap, but labor was expensive. Should NOT be going out. However, it's been a great car, and I highly recommend it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Nothing but trouble

By on Friday, June 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great handling"

Cons: "All of the known issues"

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

"Bought this less than a year ago, within two weeks the MAF sensor went out. Shortly after that I started having issues with the AC compressor making noise, neither the dealership nor the extended warranty would replace it until it was completely broken. Now that its summer again AC doesn't work and need a new compressor. During all of this I have replaced the rotors twice and the pads three time to try and get the rear brakes to stop howling when reversing the car after it sits for more than an hour. Was told by the dealership that its normal. I am sure my neighbors love that sound every morning I back out of my garage. Cant adjust the rear camber so it eats through tires at an alarming rate. Just don't buy this car, honestly not worth the headache, read the forums and you will see the long list of issues this car has."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

One of the best cars I have owned

By on Monday, May 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fast, fun to drive, great handling, reliable"

Cons: "Can't think of any"

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

Taken 2015. It's 8 Years old.

"I love this car. I added the sports exhaust and cold air injection (factory) which boosted the HP to over 300HP. Turned 110 in 10.8 seconds in the quarter mile. It gets almost 30MPG on the freeway and around 22MPG around town. It handles like a race car, after you change the tires that it comes with. The suspension is hard, but light enough for the street. I've had it for 9 years and the only maintenance problem was a thermostat. The seats are comfortable and hold you in place. The paint hasn't faded even though it's a red car. Great car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Taken 2015. It's 8 Years old.

A pleasure to drive!

By on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,544

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 comfortable, practical, easry handling car."

Cons: "None."

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

"I have had this car for 4 years and only had the oil changed. I love the pick up, the smooth handling, comfort, stability and reliability. I love the convenience for hauling stuff to the beach, groceries, luggage or stuff from Home Depot. It is now 7 years old and I have no desire to replace it. I am 76 and owned many cars. This one is my favorite."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Great running vehicle 1 owner love the car

By on Saturday, May 7, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,800

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great car for 9 years"

Cons: "rusting / mufler tail pipe off, engine runs great"

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

"This car has new struts on front and back, new front breaks, needs rear pads, interior is like new, std 5 speed, larger engine, bose system, sun roof, only major issue is the rear quarter panels are rusting and in need of repair.Car has 4 summer/4winter tires."

1 person out of 8 found this review helpful

Best small car I have owned

By on Friday, March 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great value, sharp styling, dependable"

Cons: "None!"

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

"This Mazda 3 has been the most dependable, low cost vehicle I have owned. I have averaged 34mpg back and forth to work, and nearly 40mpg on long trips. No repairs or service issues have been needed, except for routine replacement of tires, brakes and 1 battery. The body and mechanicals have remained in remarkably good condition for a car driven 11 yrs through the salt & snow of northeast Ohio."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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