I am a commuter but also a father with 2 smaller children and a wife. Therefore, I needed something reliable that would handle the challenges of our lives. With all the hoopla about this car, I expected to get almost 200,000 miles or 12 years of this vehicle, which I had purchased used at 30,000 miles for $12,000 almost 7 years ago (2008). While the first four years were non eventful, the following three were very painful. Specifically, the car would unexplainably turn off or, more commonly, just not start. I changed the battery, everything. I brought it to my mechanic; nothing. I needed reliability and this car was unreliable.
I thought for a while that maybe this was a one shot experience. Perhaps. However, I found on the web similar stories of Mazda 3s from 2005 which suddenly don't start. This makes me wonder. At 143,000, I chose to give up. I am selling the car via a trade in to a dealer and getting a 2005 Prius with 112K miles.
I owned my 2005 Mazda3i for just over a year before it was totaled. I'm still mourning the loss of this car & with any luck will purchase another soon. I bought my mazdda3 used with 100,000 miles and drove it for 22,000 more. This car is extremely reliable, never had any problems with it (which is great since it had been in 2 minor accidents before I got it). Gas mileage was excellent -mostly highway driving usually got around 30 mpg which is great for a college student's budget! My only complaint (aside from the lack of any real space needed when I was moving) was that around 110,000 miles it began to shake when it idled, before that it was smooth sailing. You can't go wrong buying this car
My mazda3 was a shiftable automatic, which is a fun feature I havn't seen in other cars that I looked at.
This car could use more back seat leg room, or more room in general. Definitely not a car for anyone who has frequent backseat riders.
Heads up to all owners with Mazda 2.3L engines.
I bought a 2005 Mazda3 with 110K km on the engine. It was in excellent condition inside and out having been maintained regularly per the Mazda recommendations.
Less than 2500 km after I bought it it suddenly dropped 3L of oil in about 1500km. I had to spend 7K on a new engine having.
There was no evidence of a leak or that it was burning oil. It just disappeared.
I spoke to the service dept at the dealership and they told me that the 2004-2007 2.3L is prone to this problem and short of replacing the engine there is no fix other than to put in a heavier oil to slow consumption.
Engine problems notwithstanding, it looks sporty inside and out. It drives and handles excellent on dry and wet roads (I have yet to test winter driving though). Suspension is on the stiff side but this helps the car stick to the road.
Mazda could be more accountable with this particular engine and be honest and forthright with those people who have cars with this particular engine in it. Mazda ignoring the problem and not telling consumers that they need keep a close eye on oil levels in 2.3 litre engines is irresponsible and drags down the reputation they have built up over the years.
They could also provide the same warrantee on factory rebuilt 2.3L engines that they provide on new cars. The 1 yr/20,000km they currently provide on the 2.3 engine proves they have a lack of confidence.
I recently picked up a 2005 Mazda 3s, with the 5spd, as a grocery-getter / everyday workhorse. I wanted something versatile, reliable, and cheap to maintain, with above average city mpg. However, I also love driving, so I wanted to make sure it was still fun and very much a "driver's car".
The 3s has been good-to-excellent on all counts.
The shifter is superb. Somedays, I actually like it better than the shifter on my M5. The handling is precise, like a go-cart. The brakes are good. In combined driving, I average about 28-30mpg without fail. Typical trip to the pump is 11gals for 330mi. Decent - but if fuel economy is your absolute top priority, buy a Prius because it will crush this.
I consider the 5spd manual and steering response as the best performance features of the car. The brakes are also above average.
I really like the interior/exterior styling compared to most of the alternatives. It's held up well. Sharp wheels. Nice lines. Sporty, but not ostentatious. Nice glossy paint. Firm seats. Good ergonomics.
The utility is great with the hatchback. Fold down the rear seats and you really have great cargo space.
Glad the car has a timing chain, instead of a belt. I expect to get 200,000mi out of this.
This car could be better on the highway. Specifically, it could use a 6th gear to help the highway mpg. If you drive much faster than 65-70mph, the RPM's start running too high and push the numbers down from 32mpg to about 30mpg.
The engine has proven very reliable, but it is not in the same league as the handling and transmission. Not the smoothest/most refined in the segment. Not the strongest.
My car has also developed a small amount of rust on both rear wheel wells, that I am having addressed.