"I have owned this vehicle for almost 5 years and it has never let me down. It's super fun to drive, and fuel efficient (32-35mpg highway and 29 city). At 110,000 miles it still runs as it did when I drove it off the lot. No major mechanical issues have occurred as a result of daily maintenance.
Only downside is comfort, for a tall person like myself, those long drives can become a bit crampy! But for the fuel efficiency this vehicle offers, I can live with the cramped space! I love this car so much."
Pros: "Solid sporty feel good power, great handling"
Cons: "Harsh ride over bumps, mediocre stereo"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car is for serious driving, yet is a comfortable around town ride with flexible interior space for stuff. Ride is firm. Acceleration is very good for the segment. Sport seats are confortable and supportive when working a challenging road (only driver's has lumbar) and made of good durable fabric. Interior materials don't feel cheap. Instruments and controls are well-placed for driving. Gearbox is very positive and engine revs smoothly to redline in each gear. Feels solid and in control to 100 mph on 2 lane. Steering well-balanced for road feel. Handling is car's forte with British designed suspension tuned at Mazda's Hiroshima test facility. Stickered for under 19k in 2005. Shortcomings: ride can be harsh over bad pavement. Stock stereo needs upgraded. Interior can be noisy at speed."
Pros: "Great price, handles and drives great, quality car"
Cons: "Dash cracks, rear tire wear"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car new in Jan 2004. I was a little skeptical about buying a first year model, but it was about $4,000 less than similarly equipped cars in its class, and had more torque and power. I have the optional leather interior, which still looks new and has held up much better than much more expensive vehicles that I've owned (no cracking, etc). This car drives and handles just as we'll as cars priced much higher (I drove a friends BMW 3 series, and this car drives better). I'll list the con's of the car, everything else about it is great:
- The only mechanical/electrical issue it had was the temp sender at about 110,000 miles, which I easily replaced myself for the cost of parts, which was about $40.
- The dash cracked after about 2 years, and was replaced under warranty. The replacement dash also cracked after about 2 years. It was a common problem, so I'm sure Mazda has fixed the issue by now.
- The rear wheels are set at about 3 degrees negative camber for handling, which causes the tires to wear quickly on the inside, especially if not rotated regularly.
- If you aren't short, your right knee will probably rest on the edge of the console, which gets a little uncomfortable on long trips.
Those are the only issues I can think of. I currently have over 135,000 miles on it, and it still runs like new. I wouldn't be surprised if it would go over 300,000 miles. I have recommended this car to many friends. The only reason I won't get another one is because I never get the same model car more than once (although I've seriously considered getting another Mazda 3. Buy it, you won't regret it."
"This is the best Car I've ever had. Could be more comfortable, but ecomony does have it's price.Excellent gas milage. In town after 7yrs is 26+ & on the hiway as much as 40 MPG. So much fun to drive with 5 on the floor."
"This car has been very depenable. The minor repairs and upkeep have been inexpensive and simple to deal with. I would recomend it to anyone wanting good gas mileage and dependability. I was worried about the size of the car but there has been plenty of room for myself and a two-year-old. The hatch makes for lots of storage room on the go."
"This has been a very reliable car. It did have three minor rapairs while under warranty (including extended warranty). No overnighters. I only use Mazda for maintenance and repairs, other than tires. Still a very smooth ride for the mileage, although not quite as perfect as when it was new. Very comfortable. Brakes well, although the rear brakes had to be redone at 69,000 miles. That was the only premature repair that was needed. Based on my experience with my last three cars, all Nissans, the brakes should have lasted another thirty thousand at the minimum. Front brakes were still in great shape. Motor is so quiet, you have turn the radio and a/c off to even hear it at all!! Great turning angle. I just replaced the battery last week, so it lasted a little over six years. Mazdas come equiped with just 30,000 mile tires, so that is one disappointment. The only other disappointment is the gas mileage. This car does get slightly better gas mileage than it was rated for. I average 26 city (rated at 24) and 34 highway (rated 31). I say that is a disappointment, because my three Nissans did much better, although they were all manuals, whereas this car is an automatic. I do not have tinted windows, but I plan on getting factory tint next time I buy a car, if available. My son just bought a Mazda 3 Sport (baseline). The big disappointment with the new Mazda 3 cars this year is the interior color! Black interior!! One of my Nissans was black interior and the heat was horrible!! My current Mazda has a beige interior and it does not get nearly as hot inside during the summer. If you are thinking about buying a new Mazda 3 this year, wait until the new model year is released and see if they come out with some other interior colors again. Repair cost is low in terms of total repair expenses (rarely needs a repair), but the per item cost when it does need repairing is very high. If you can afford a hybrid, buy it. I hope Mazda will offer a hybrid before my next car. I have not yet needed any alignment. As with most makes now, if you want an extra key that will work in the ignition, you must buy it from the dealer. The keys are computerized. Most makes cost well over $100 to get a spare key. Not sure what Mazda charges now. However, if you just want a spare key for the door only (in case you lock yourself out), you can get a noncomputerized key made very cheaply at Wal-mart or a locksmith. Tha Mazdas come with two computerized keys and remotes. I suggest you keep one set in your safe deposit box, in case you lose one, but be sure to have a spare key made for the door first."
Pros: "Fun to Drive, Great Gas Mileage and dependable."
Cons: "The 2.0 liter is a little lacking when passing."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My wife and I have owned several Mazda's. I have driven a 626 a Protege' and the Mazda 3. All have been dependable and good handling overall. The Mazda 3 is the best one of the Mazda's that I have owned. It gets 33 gas mileage day in and day out. The handling is excellent. I drive 110 miles round trip a day in town and country combined and it has been a joy to drive. I have driven and ridden in cars twice the price without any better handling or dependability. It is the best bang for the buck of any car I have ever owned."
"Bought our 07 GT Sedan new, in April of 07'. Now have 22k miles (May 23rd, 2008). Have had zero problems. The car is a great balance of sporty, comfortable, youthful, and useful. It cruises very well! Engine noise is zero at cruising speeds. Fun exhaust note around town. Comes LOADED with toys, including leather/heated seats/ trac & stability control/ auto climate/ 6 disc bose w/ipod and sat/ computer/ 10 airbags/ rain sensing wipers / adjustable HID headlights / trip-tronic automatic, and more, for around $20k. My only complaint is road noise on concrete, but mine has the 17 inch sport tires, so it's expected. I gave it only 3 stars for quality though, because much of the engine compartment is cheap plastic, that can rattle on bumpy roads. Not bad, but it does. Some tiny rubber bumper pieces from your local hobby store can fix this. NORTHERN PEOPLE: TAKE NOTE: Several folks have reported RUST around the fenders within 2 years from the road salt. The sheet medal isn't that great, so take note! Southern owners: have reported no rust, even coastal areas."
"the "3" has served us well. it is time for us to move on to something a little larger, but we are still sticking with mazda. this car has treated us so well. the only mechanical problem we have ever had was a misfiring spark plug, which was fixed in minutes and under warrenty. the inside space is amazing. when i drive the 3, Zoom Zoom perfectly describes how it feels. curves are a breeze and breaking is comfortable. i am always comfortable in this car, from the comfortable seat belt height, to the leg room, no matter where i am sitting.
in the years we have owned this car, we have come up with only 3 complaints...
the intermitent winshield wipers need more speed choices.
the seat fabric holds on to dog hair, and the removal is a little labor intensive.
the spare tire reserve will not accomodate a full size tire.
those being the worst things we feel about the car, makes it a real winner for us!!!"