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2011 Mazda MAZDA3

Overview
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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)

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2011 Mazda MAZDA3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 371 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
    8.9/10

Fantastic Value

By on Thursday, July 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "reliable fun to drive comfortable great gas miles"

Cons: "None"

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

"I love this car!! Even with the smaller engine there is enough get up and go for my daily 40 mile interstate commute!"

Great Vehicle

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great price, reliable"

Cons: "Not a lot of rear leg room, road noise."

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

"I drive a lot for work, putting on over 35,000 miles a year, and have never had an issue with this car. Besides regular oil changes and new tires, I haven't been to the dealer for any issue whatsoever. This was my first new car and I couldn't be happier with the purchase. The reviews are true in the fact that this car is incredibly fun to drive in comparison to any car in its class. I test drove most of the cars in this class and none of them could compare to the experience of getting behind the wheel of this car."

Most trouble-free car I've ever owned.

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price, reliability, handling, economy"

Cons: "Not as quiet as some of the competition"

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

"My 2010 Mazda3 has been the most trouble-free car I have ever owned. In five years and 79K miles I have done nothing to it other than scheduled maintenance and replace the tires once. I consistently average between 30-32 mpg in an even mix of heavy traffic and high-speed highway use, and mine is not the newer SkyActiv engine that is even more efficient. The car is a lot of fun to drive. The handling really is sporty, and not that long ago one would have had to spring for an Audi or BMW to get the 3's kind of driving dynamics. I had my previous Mazda (a Miata) for more than 10 years, and I expect I'll be keeping this one a long time, too."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Buyer Beware!

By on Thursday, June 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,900

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Quick. Fun. Nice style. Affordable."

Cons: "Problems all around. Expensive to maintain."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"After the warranty is up, things start to happen. I have 50,000 miles on mine. I had to replace the lower engine block ($5k) because I missed one oil change. ( I don't remember missing it. I had lost the receipt and couldn't prove it. Warranty didn't cover for that reason.) At 50k my transmission suddenly stopped working in reverse. ( $3900). My mechanic told me that, although Mazdas are attractive, fun cars, they give out and are expensive. He said, " If all his clients had Mazdas, he'd live in Beverly Hills." He said I was best to own a Honda or Toyota due to their reliability and cheap fixes. I admit I am a fast driver and drive in LA, but still. This car was fun in the beginning but I will never buy a Mazda again."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Amazing value compared to competitors.

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

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: "MPG, fun to drive, handling, style, mods well"

Cons: "Screen in dash scratches very easily"

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

"I have the 2012 SkyActiv model and it has done nothing but amaze me. I got this car new with only 42 miles on it after considering the Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic. I couldn't be happier with my choice; my MPG is pushing 40 and the car is still a blast to drive."

Truly Quality and Fun Ride

By on Sunday, May 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quick, agile, reliable, lots of space, fun"

Cons: "Not great on MPG-23 avg"

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

"I've owned this Mazda 3 Sport now for 2 years. Bought it used (2010 model) from a dealer and probably paid a little more than I should have, but I have had nothing but fun driving this scooter. It handles better than any sports car I've ever owned, and though the ride is a little stiff due to it's sports car design and low profile tires, it is well worth it. If you want acceleration and if you love to drive, this is the car for you. The manual mode from the automatic transmission is awesome. Down shifting is really down shifting and yet it doesn't allow you to over shift. I've run on the same brake pads since I bought it due to down shift braking. It not only looks mean, it acts mean if you want it to. Put down the back seats and the space is incredible. I love it!!"

10 people out of 17 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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