Bought the car for my 25 mile (one way) trip to work. After 8,000 miles, could not be happier. Averages about 32 MPG on highway. Very agile and turning radius is incredible. I test drove a few other small cars; this is the only one I felt a smirk come across my face during the test. I wish I had purchased the manual transmission. Only initial complaint was the seats, I had to use a seat cushion to be comfortable (very minor).
Controls on steering wheel. Also, the steering and handling.
More comfortable seats and a larger trunk. Also, I don't like how the air conditioner automatically comes on when you turn the thermostat all of the way to cold.
2008 Mazda 3 New i Touring Value 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this Mazda3 based mainly on previous professional reviews for its reliability, agility and fuel mileage. Plus, I really liked the exterior styling. After driving some 6000 miles I've found that the ride is jittery, choppy and generally unrefined. It always feel like there is a wheel out of balance or tire out of round. Both motor mounts where replaced and a 4 wheel road force balance but there is still a lot of engine shake felt through the steering wheel and chassis. I wouldn't buy again.
Exterior styling, handling/agility, fuel mileage
Engine transmits too much shake through steering wheel and chassis. Suspension needs refinement. Standard AM/FM/CD needs better sound quality and improved reception. Offer more than black interiors.
2008 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I LOVE my car!! This is my first Mazda! I had traded in a Chevy Cavalier which I had really enjoyed - until I test drove this car! I have the Grand Touring Hatchback. The moonroof is nice and I love the Bose speakers (the sound quality is excellent) and the leather interior is very comfortable! I drive a lot of city miles and average about 22.5 mpg. When I go on trips though and am on the highway I am getting more like 30 mpg! I am very happy with my purchase!
The hatchback is roomy! I love that I can play my Itouch through the speakers. Auto wipers are a nice feature. And it ZOOM ZOOMS!!
I agree that the horn is kinda cheesy but I don't really care about that at all!
2008 Mazda 3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A)
This is one snappy little car and I'm very pleased with it. I've had it about a week and traded a loaded 2002 Jetta turbo for it (hooray, no more premium gas!). The cars that got great mileage (e.g. the Honda Fit) didn't have the power I need for a local highway where certain onramps force you to merge from a standing stop, so the Mazda was a compromise between mileage and power. It handles and drives beautifully, is well-equipped and well-designed with excellent fit and finish. Cons: there's more road noise than I'm used to and the sporty ride is stiff/bouncy. Also, the automatic transmission shift gates take some getting used to. These are just nits--I highly recommend this car.
Dash layout and lighting, steering wheel audio controls, handling, power, looks. Cupholders everywhere. Covered rear hatch has plenty of room. 60/40 folding back seats that an adult can actually sit in.
Need to do something about road noise, stiff suspension. Get rid of the anachronistic cigarette lighter or put it inside the ashtray where it can't be seen. The rear pillars create significant blind spots.
I kept my 2001 Mazda Protege for 7 years (It treated me well... Thanks Protege!) I decided to update to a simple 08 Mazda 3 i sport. I absolutely love it! Even though it has no power windows or locks, I still enjoy it. I got my Mazda in icy blue metallic, a spoiler and tinted. It's also a manual with just the right amount of power (2.0L). It will save me money later on. I'll be keeping this one for a while!