2006 Mazda Mazda3 Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Mazda Mazda3

Mazda Mazda3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 160 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Mazda Mazda3

  • Entertaining yet sophisticated in demeanor, the 2006 Mazda 3 doesn't look, feel or drive like an economy car. If you're shopping for a small, inexpensive sedan or hatchback, this Mazda car should be at the top of your list.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Superbly refined suspension, steering and brakes, sharp styling inside and out, smooth engines, excellent build and materials quality, hatchback utility.

  • Cons

    Ride might be a tad stiff for some, tight rear legroom, so-so fuel economy with 2.3-liter engine.

  • What's New for 2006

    For 2006, the Mazda 3 benefits from the addition of variable valve timing to the 2.0-liter engine and the availability of a five-speed automatic transmission on models with the 2.3-liter engine. Additionally, the 2.3-liter engine is now PZEV-certified in California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. Models with air conditioning get a pollen filter and outside temperature display on the center console. ABS and variable-intermittent front wipers become part of the standard features list for all 2.3-liter models. Also, a couple of new Touring trims are added to the lineup.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (47 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Love this car

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

I used to flip cars very often, had many faster cars. But i always looked up for economy also. This car comes with nice compromise for both. It's sporty, good on gas, has practical hatch and looks good. The main thing is that is very reliable. I'm getting close to 150k miles on this car and has been trouble free. Just tires, brakes, plugs and runs still strong. Have improved radio with navigation system and headlights with HID.




Cheap thrills

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

This is a terrific car. Outstanding chassis and suspension and tight steering lead to amazing handling and stability. The ride is firm but not harsh. The 2.3L 4 cyl runs strong. I love the 5 sp auto-stick. In 2nd and 3rd gears it pulls like crazy, maxing out the torque. For a small car, it feels very solid on the interstate at speed. Disappointments include gas mileage in city @ 20 mpg; original tires wore out at 20,000 mi; and I just replaced the rotors at 25,000 mi. re: rotors, ironically, the pads were fine. Otherwise zero issues. I would buy another one in a heartbeat.




What's up with these tires!!!!!!

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

I love my Mazda3 hatchback but, I can not seem to keep the tires from "cupping". I am replacing tires about every 25,000 miles, this is getting expensive. My dealer has replaced tires for me twice but, has never actually come up with a solution to the problem.




All around winner

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

Nearly 3 years and 38000 miles later this car still puts a smile on my face every time I get behind the wheel. You simply won't find a better balance of economy and performance in it's class. Interior fit and finish have been excellent with the only beef being a floormat that has worn out already. Manual Tranny and brakes are top notch in operation and feel. Worst mileage: 26 mpg. Best Mileage: 33 mpg Suspension may be a little rough for the sensitive, but the dividends pay off in the handling department. If you want a plush cruiser this is not the car for you. This vehicle is built for those who like to be involved and take pleasure in the driving experience.




Would buy again. in fact,

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

Interior & exterior look stylish & expensive: people often assume it cost $10k more. Fast, with good midrange power (though more at low RPM would be nice). Manual tranny feels good (but improved clutch feel would permit smoother launches, and the too-tall 2nd gear ratio drops you out of the engine's sweet spot around town unless you wring it out in 1st.) Precise handling, yet good comfort (although more steering feel and suspension travel would be nice). Road noise seems excessive but that's partly because the engine is so quiet (silent idle, & easy to forget to shift to 5th). Brakes are fantastic (though the rotors eventually warp, as they seem to on all modern cars).




Mazda3 5 door

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

The car has had zero problems in 50K miles. It is fun to drive and not a mushmobile like the competition. Great performance for the price! Smooth and quiet engine with a wide torque band. Standard transmission shifts great, precise and easy.



Full 2006 Mazda Mazda3 Review

What's New for 2006

For 2006, the Mazda 3 benefits from the addition of variable valve timing to the 2.0-liter engine and the availability of a five-speed automatic transmission on models with the 2.3-liter engine. Additionally, the 2.3-liter engine is now PZEV-certified in California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. Models with air conditioning get a pollen filter and outside temperature display on the center console. ABS and variable-intermittent front wipers become part of the standard features list for all 2.3-liter models. Also, a couple of new Touring trims are added to the lineup.

Introduction

Following in a long line of zippy compact cars from Mazda, the Mazda 3 replaced the Protege as the entry-level car in Mazda's lineup. It's available in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. Mazda backs up the 3's sporty image with a pair of strong, refined engines. All i trims use a 150-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while all s models use a 2.3-liter four-cylinder that bumps the horsepower number to 160 while offering significantly more torque.

Both engines are equipped with variable valve timing to improve response and efficiency. The Protege had a well-deserved reputation for superior ride and handling compared to most economy cars, and the Mazda 3 builds upon that tradition with the help of a few parts from the more expensive Mazda 6 midsize sedan. Spot-on chassis tuning results in quick turn-in, hardly any body roll and lots of grip on twisty blacktop. At the same time, the highway ride is smooth enough to please most commuters.

While most economy cars serve up generic interior designs with little or no concern for aesthetics, the 3's cabin has a cohesive layout that injects some style into the equation. From the individually recessed gauges to the symmetry of the center stack controls, the attention to detail is evident. Satellite steering wheel controls are a nice touch for a car in this price range, as is the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Build and materials quality is outstanding for this class. There's plenty of room for taller drivers to get comfortable up front, and the rear seats are acceptably spacious for a car in this class. With all the personality of its predecessors along with more powerful engines and a sharp new interior, the 2006 Mazda 3 is an economy car that puts the "zoom-zoom" back into driving.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Mazda 3 is available as a sedan in i, i Touring, s, s Touring and s Grand Touring trims. The four-door hatchback model comes in s, s Touring and s Grand Touring trims. All i sedans have a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a CD stereo. The i Touring adds 16-inch wheels, cruise control, an upgraded stereo and power windows, mirrors and locks. Air conditioning is optional on i models. The s models come with all of the above, plus alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with satellite audio controls. The s Touring adds 17-inch alloys to the mix, while the top-line s Grand Touring provides heated leather seats, auto climate control, rain-sensing wipers and a trip computer. Options include an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio and a moonroof.

Powertrains and Performance

The i sedans use a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated to produce 150 horsepower, while the s models use a 2.3-liter four-cylinder that bumps the horsepower number to 160. Both engines come standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic transmission with an automanual mode is optional on i models, while s models upgrade to a five-speed automatic.

Safety

All Mazda 3 models come with four-wheel disc brakes. Antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) are standard on s models and optional on i trims. Front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are optional on all models. The 3 earned four out of five stars in NHTSA frontal-impact crash tests and was named a "Best Pick" for its performance in the IIHS frontal-offset test. In side impacts, the Mazda earned just three stars from NHTSA and a "Poor" rating (the lowest) from the IIHS, but neither agency has yet to test a 3 with side airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

Unlike most economy cars, the Mazda 3 offers a distinctive and upscale interior design. The sharp-looking gauges are housed in individual binnacles, while beautifully choreographed textures, nicely damped controls and tight-fitting panels give the cabin a top-quality feel. There's enough room for taller drivers to get comfortable up front. The rear seats are also comfy and supportive, though legroom is a little tight for 6-footers. Sedans offer 11.4 cubic feet of trunk space; the hatchback offers 17.1 cubes behind its rear seat and 31 when it's folded.

Driving Impressions

The 2006 Mazda 3 has refined road manners that will likely surprise shoppers expecting the typically flabby ride and handling of many economy cars. The Mazda car feels nimble and tightly controlled during cornering and its steering provides rewarding feedback. For everyday driving, both of the available engines are suitable, though the larger 2.3-liter offers stronger low- and midrange pull.

Talk About The 2006 Mazda3

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 22
  • cty
/
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs