Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • Midsize Sedan Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • Compact Car Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $35,000
Go

2011 Mazda MAZDA3

Overview
Share this page
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

Buying this car?

2011 Mazda MAZDA3 Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.7

With some compact cars you get great fuel economy. Others offer superior performance. A select a few are loaded with premium features uncommon to low-priced cars. However one car, the 2011 Mazda3, combines all of these attributes and does so for a starting price less than $17,000. The 2011 Mazda3 is available as a four-door sedan or five-door wagon, and with a choice of a 148-hosepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or a potent 168-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The 2011 Mazda3 provides the performance of a more expensive sports sedan with the interior quality of some mid-level luxury cars. While it easily runs circles around cars like the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra, newer competitors such as the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra look to give the 2011 Mazda3 a run for its money.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a compact car that offers visual appeal, a feature-rich interior, superb driving dynamics and respectable fuel economy, the 2011 Mazda3 Sedan or Wagon is it.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a car with maximum rear-seat legroom, a turbocharged engine or all-wheel drive, there are better choices, such as the Volkswagen GTI or Subaru WRX.

What's Significant About This Car?

The revamped Technology Package is the only major change for 2011. New to this package are rain-sensing front wipers and a significant overhaul of the headlights.

Driving the MAZDA3

Driving Impressions No matter which 2011 Mazda3 you choose, there is a healthy dose of Zoom-zoom in each one. Mazda engineers focused their attention on making the Mazda3's body as stiff as...

possible and its suspension both agile and compliant. Models with the 148-horsepower engine offer spirited performance and good fuel economy, reaching 33 miles per gallon in the government's highway test. However, the engine that brings the 2011 Mazda3 to life is the 167-horsepower four-cylinder found in the s trims and the five-door wagons. Mazda's manual transmissions (five-speed in i models and six-speed in s versions) should be the template for all others, delivering tight, precise shifts. While carving up a twisting mountain road we found the driver-selectable stability and traction control granted us plenty of fun before stepping in to save us from ourselves. Our Grand Touring trim's front seats provided plenty of thigh and lateral support and the overall feel inside the cabin is one of sophistication and attention to detail.

Adaptive Front Headlamps
Mazda says this is the first application on a compact vehicle of the swiveling blue-white bi-xenon high- and low-beam headlights (bi-xenon means there are two headlights on each side – one for high beam and the other for low beam). Their inner beams can rotate up to 15 degrees in order to look deeper into dark corners. They are self-leveling to prevent dazzling on-coming divers.

Super-Efficient catalytic converter
All 2011 Mazda3s are fitted with a new, Mazda-patented catalytic converter that requires 70-percent less precious metal, but is even more effective at cleaning up exhaust gases.

2011 Mazda MAZDA3 Details
Interior

Mazda's Human Machine interface philosophy was used to create a three-zone driving environment designed to help the driver remain focused on the road while still enjoying all the benefits the 2011 Mazda3 has to offer. Comfortable bucket seats offer excellent support on long drives and all Mazda3s have a 60/40 split-folding rear bench that can be folded flat to add even more utility. Easy to read analog gauges are housed in a hooded area directly in front of the driver, while the audio and other controls reside just to the driver's right. On s trims, steering wheel mounted controls operate the audio, Bluetooth, Multi-Information Display and cruise control. We found the Mazda navigation screen is too small and not very user friendly. The available Bose audio system, on the other hand, is worth every penny.

Exterior

Although it shares the same exterior dimensions as the original Mazda3, this second-generation car is noticeably more stylish. Highlighted by the bold front fender flares found on the RX-8, Mazda designers have created a sedan and wagon that look far more upscale than their entry-level status suggests. The 2011 Mazda3's big, toothless grinning front grille may be polarizing but it certainly doesn't go unnoticed. The same can be said for the racy alloy wheels, curvaceous sheet metal and bold colors. Upper-end models offer such high-end features as LED tail lamps and adaptive front lighting. Even the most basic trim offers color keyed mirrors and 16-inch wheels. All i models of the 2011 Mazda3 come with 205/55HR16 all-season tires on steel or aluminum wheels, while the s models have V-rated 205/50 tires on 17-inch alloy rims.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The four-door 2011 Mazda3 is available in five trim packages, starting with the base i SV, and moving upward with the i Sport, i Touring, s Sport and s Grand Touring. The five-door wagon's two trim levels are Sport and Grand Touring. Even the base 2011 Mazda3 i SV sedan has impressive standard equipment, including electronic stability control, a tilt-telescoping steering column, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio, power windows and mirrors and variable intermittent wipers. The i Touring adds cruise control, alloy wheels, air conditioning, power locks with keyless remote and Bluetooth connectivity. The s levels and both five-doors have the more potent 2.5-liter engine in place of the 2.0-liter powerplant of the i models. The up-level versions also get a Multi-Information Display, trip computer, sport seats and enhanced trim items. Only the Grand Touring versions feature dual-zone automatic climate control, bi-xenon Adaptive Front headlights and heated leather seats.

Optional Equipment

With the exception of the base i SV, all 2011 Mazda3s offer a five-speed automatic transmission as an option in place of the standard manual transmission. The Moonroof and Bose Package, which includes a 10-speaker Centerpoint Surround Sound system, can be fitted to all Touring-and-above 2011 Mazda3s. The Tech Package (navigation system with 4.1-inch color screen, Sirius Satellite Radio, advanced keyless entry, pushbutton start, rain sensing wipers, bi-xenon Adaptive headlamps with auto leveling, LED tail lights, auto on/off headlamps and perimeter alarm) is limited to s models.

Under the Hood

Two engines and three transmissions are part of the 2011 Mazda3 lineup. The four-door i models (SV, Sport and Touring) are equipped with a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that can be teamed with a five-speed manual transmission or, except for the base i SV, a five-speed automatic with manual shift control. The more powerful s models (Sport and Grand Touring) have a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter powerplant that's also used in the Mazda6. It can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. The five-door versions come only with the 168-horsepower engine.

2.0-liter in-line 4
148/144 horsepower (Federal/PZEV) @ 6500 rpm
135/132 lb-ft of torque (Federal/PZEV) @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 (5-sp manual), 24/33 (5-speed automatic)

2.5-liter in-line 4
167/165 horsepower (Federal/PZEV) @ 6000 rpm
168/167 lb-ft of torque (Federal/PZEV)) @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (6-sp manual), 22/29 (5-speed automatic)

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

Buying this car?

2011 Mazda MAZDA3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 361 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Peppy little ride

By on Saturday, March 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Zippy, great economy, sporty looks"

Cons: "Small, not a lot of hauling space."

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

"Mazda makes a sporty, peppy ride in this 2012 Mazda 3. The fuel efficiency is terrific: I get about 30 mpg, up to 36 on longer highway runs. My biggest complaints about mine are that it didn't come with cruise control, and it's just too small for me. The trunk is roomy, but access dimensions prevent loading any actual furniture in it, and the back doors are likewise lacking in height/ width to allow Hauling anything remotely oversized."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Engineering is equal to the best

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fantastic drive, gr8 daily commuter, economical"

Cons: "Road noise, relatively high revs at highway speeds"

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

Snow day in Memphis, TN

"What a fantastic little car! We are a Mazda family with 7 vehicles and safety, road holding and fun to drive is always our criteria. This car feels heavier and has more roll than the Protege I had before but it is much more comfortable - especially on the longer trips. The 2.0 engine is very peppy and the stick-shift allows one to handle busy traffic with ease. The way the car feels "on you" is second to none. My daily commute includes a stretch of freeway, a school zone and a residential area. Nothing better for a daily commuter in my opinion. The only drawback is that you DO feel the extra load on the engine when running the A/C or when other adult/s is/are in the car and the engine sounds like it's revving a little high on the freeway. Road noise could be better."

Snow day in Memphis, TN

Best vehicle I have ever owned.

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "durable"

Cons: "buy appropriate tires for your area."

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

"I bought this auto as an internet special for 16k out the door tax included. It has been trouble free and no complaints. I do use synthetic oil and don't drive like a stunt driver. It has been the 5th Mazda I have owned with all priors being a mixed bunch of used and new starting with a Protege model the forerunner of the Mazda 3. All were driven to 150k-200k with no problems other than my kids getting them and then an accident or two hauls them to the junk yard. Good snow tires or all weather tires with manual transmission did the job even through really bad ice or snow. Mazda 3 is a nice value but drive with care and it will last and leave you with a good smile!"

Worth the drive

By on Saturday, February 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price, options, mpg, looks, fun to drive."

Cons: "Short warranty"

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

"I love and still love driving my Mazda3. Yet it has gotten to the point that I need a bigger vehicle and I will choose to buy another Mazda. The price is spot on for the younger generation that wants a car that can zoom zoom (lol) and still be gas efficient. Mine is going on six years old and I had been rough on her and NO PROBLEMS. Still runs like a champion. The car is eye catching, different from all the other cars out there, and sporty looking. The interior was big enough for my kid and my husband who is six feet tall. The dash is amazing with the technology package and smaller navigation screen. It still served the purpose it was meant to and did not take up the whole dash. I would not get rid of this car but like I said, life has demanded I get a larger vehicle. I am picky about my cars, they have to be eye pleasing, go when I step on the gas, handle a corner like it means it, and make me happy when I drive it and the Mazda3 did that and so much more. The only down side to the car is the warranty. It is really short (36 months/36000miles). I hope one day Mazda will back the car as much as I have enjoyed driving it. I hope this car is a first vehicle for a teen so they can enjoy it as much as I have."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

amazing car!

By on Wednesday, February 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

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

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

"have owned many cars, many different brands of cars, mazda so far FAVORITE! so reliable, looks sporty, i love it!!!!!"

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Excellent value and versatility

By on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "power, handling, reliability, value"

Cons: "shifting, rear motor mount"

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

"I cannot be happier with my Speed. Only necessary modification is a improved rear motor mount. I track the car in High Performance Driving Classes and regularly pass cars costing 3 times as much."

11 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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

Buying this car?