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2011 Mazda MAZDA3

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2011 Mazda MAZDA3 Review

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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 386 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

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

Total worst the money, great value, good service..

By on Sunday, December 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

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
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "zoom zoom, accurate, stable, reliable"

Cons: "SkyActive first gen, cosmetic failure"

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

"I own a Mazda 3 SkyActiv 2.0 since March 2012. This engine is truly amazing even if it is the first generation. The good is the solid 36 MPG average 30MPH average (a lot of traffic in Austin,TX). The cons are a sensitive electronic / engine to bad quality fuel, rarely a random light caused by rapid temperature change. It was a really modern looking car in 2012. In 2015, I have a hard time to find better style. The driving is excellent, it is a really good car for 20k$. And, Mazda service is truly excellent on overall. The only hiccup is a dashboard that melt under Texas heat. But it might happen to any car while the sun heat over 100F."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great driving, reliable car.

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

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
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

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

"Love this car. Great driving and very reliable during first 100,000 miles. Good gas mileage. Next vehicle for me will be another, really like it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great Car... for 10K miles

By on Saturday, November 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Hard to find one."

Cons: "Cheap, cheap, cheap, low quality."

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

"Bought this car brand new with 350 miles on it. Ran great had excellent gas mileage and was the perfect car for traveling on the road with. At 30K miles the headlights started flashing when I would hit the breaks. Took it in and they reset the computer at no cost. This fix lasted until 37K miles when the dealership told me the warranty was expired since the warranty only convers electronics up to 36K miles. The seats are cheap... really cheap. The interior is beige and I keep my car spotless, but the seat is discolored from bluejeans. The car now gets about 33MPG on the highway compared to the 38-40 it got before, and I've had all maintenance done on the car, even an extra tune up. This car doesn't struggle up hills, but the RPM's will fly to 4,500+ if you don't use the manual mode. Mazda's are not cheap to maintenance, at the dealer at least. The 25K mile maintenqance cost me about $400, the 30K maintenance cost another $250. So now I have a car with 40K miles on it that has flashing headlights (interior lights/dash lights now too), sub-par gas mileage, dirty interior that doesn't shampoo clean, and can;t wait to get rid of it and get back to american made.... Oh but it's value in 2013 when i bought it was $24K and 2 years later with $40K miles the value is down to $10.5K. I did a lot of research before buying and was sold on the "low maintenance cost", suposid "high Quality", and most importantly for me the "great gas mileage"."

12 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Good Reliable fun to drive car

By on Thursday, November 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Reliable, Fun, Quick"

Cons: "Small interior"

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

"Has great suspension for this kind of car. Really hugs the turns, the engine is quite good with the 2.5l it has some good low end torque and good pulls on the freeway. The car is very reliable, not a single issue. Just maintenance. The hatch is really convenient. The inside space is kinda small though but that dosnt bother me, just an observation. Car is great on gas, its really just a smart purchase. Im really surprised by how it corners and the power. I used to own a mustang GT, cobalt ss supercharged."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Terrible Car

By on Saturday, September 19, 2015

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

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Looks cool - I get lots of complements"

Cons: "constant battery and tire issues"

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

"I've had the car for 3 years and have had to get two batteries because the car draws down the battery too fast and if you leave the dome light on when you go to a restaurant for dinner the battery will be dead by the time you get back. I bought a charger from Costco because it happens much too often. The car comes with low profile tires that are really terrible for two reasons. One they are difficult to replace and they are crazy expensive and two if you hit a pothole the tires will blow. I'm looking at KBB today because I can't wait to get rid of this car. I also have an Expedition. I love my Expedition. The Expedition is a reliable car, the Mazda looks cool in your driveway - just don't drive it anywhere."

4 people out of 28 found this review helpful

My first car

By on Wednesday, September 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Small back doors"

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

"This was my first car and I'm so happy it was. I have loved every moment with this car. It handles unlike any car I've driven and you can't beat the gas mileage. I'm looking forward to staying with Mazda to get the CX-9."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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