"I have owned the mazda protege/3 series for over 21 yrs now, 5 cars, never had ANY mechanical issues other than routine maint. which I always keep up with. I run full synthetic oil after 1st oil change. They are the best running small cars around and a best kept secret except for us loyal owners! Now i see tons of them in demand....as used cars. sold my 2001 in 2011 for 7000.00 w/ 51000 miles. I could have sold it for more!
The new smiley face has to go before I give up my 2006,"
Pros: "Reliability , handling , power , and looks"
Cons: "Uncomfortable interior ,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car new from a dealership in 08 .After a year of test driving every compact Import it was the styling that sold me on the Mazda 3 . It has sports car power and handling , nice paint , and audio is great . The cons ?? Seating material is hard and irritating on bare skin . Seat comfort , especially on long trips is poor . I have 60000 miles now and it has been back to the dealership twice for recall work . Other than that no other problems . I also like to brag that the brake pads are original and still have twenty percent of the pad material left . If you are looking for a car that holds it's value , is attractive , fast , handles great and avoids the repair shop then this is the car you want ."
"This was a great purchase. I bought it new and I did a ton of research to get the best value for a car costing around $18-$20k. I compared the Honda civic and Toyota corolla, and this was the best all around. It is stylish, has decent gas mileage, is fun to drive, great handling, excellent features (ones that you wouldn't find on a similarly priced car). The funny thing is that when I bought the car, I knew more about the features than the dealership did! Being prepared really paid off.
I have had my Mazda for about 5-6 years, its a 2006, and I have paid hardly anything out of pocket for maintenance. My yearly average for maintenance, including oil changes and major service has been only $250! I love it. It has been good to me for all these years. And even though its 6 years old, I still love the feeling I get when I drive it. I will own this car until it dies, which hopefully will be a long time.
I have the Mazda 3s Touring 5-door hatchback version with 6-disc changer, moon/sunroof, 8 airbags. Paying a little bit extra for the sunroof was worth it, I use it all the time. The sound system is also excellent and clear. I can fit 5 adults in the car easily and everyone tells me how comfortable it is and how there is lots of leg and head room. My parents love being driven around in it--who wouldn't?
My only complaints are that I'm 5'10", so there is only about a 2-3inch head clearing for me. But I don't have any problems with legroom (the lumbar support and seat height adjustments are wonderful, especially on long trips). I wish the car had better mileage, I get about 24-25mpg city and 29-31 highway. Its not bad, though. Also, I have a hard time seeing out of the front side between the driver window and windshield, the molding seems to be a little thick and I find myself turning my head to look around it. Sometimes it hides pedestrians, so I just have to be aware of that when I'm in the city.
Having the split rear seats is great in the hatchback, and you can remove the shelf in the trunk. I have moved lots of furniture (large bookcases) with no problems at all.
I would say the things that I love most about my car are the affordability, styling, amount and quality of features, gas mileage is decent, versatile, comfortable, fun to drive ("zoom-zoom"), turn radius. I think there are more things, but I don't remember them right now. I would definitely consider buying this model again, although I'm not too fond of the 2009+ models exterior styling. I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this car to anyone."
"I have had this car for a couple months now and it is awsome! I did tons of research and every site and car magazine i read said it was best in it's class and now i understand why. I wanted NOTHING that performed like my 97' Altima, i didn't even want 4 doors. I test drove the Honda Civic Coupe and the Scion TC. The Mazda 3 gave me the best of both worlds. The comfort of the Civic with the performance of the TC, plus the reliability and re-sale value matched the Honda's and Toyota's as well. I never thought i would buy a sedan but here we are. I would recommend this car to anybody!"
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."