I've owned this car since day one. It is 9-1/2 years old and 103,000 miles on it. I've done all scheduled maintenance at the dealer. I've had a problem for a few years where this car has been chewing through oil but no one could out where it was going (no leaks, no visible burning, no blown head gasket). I'm adding about a quart every 750 miles. Insane. I finally took it to another dealer with a better service department when the first failed to identify the problem. The piston rings have failed. The only solution... a new engine for $7,200. The more research I do, the more I see this is a common problem but Mazda is refusing to acknowledge it.
I've had my 3 since Dcember of 2003. In 11 years i've put 70,000 miles on it. I've maintained meticulous records of all the service visits and have used only genuine mazda replacement parts. This past year my car has begun to ask for parts. First the tranny started to lock up in 3rd. replaced the speed sensor and ECU. worked fine until last month, now they say i have to replace the tranny all together. She also started to leak gas when filled. Mazda claims it's the pump. research on the net recomend replacement of just the pump cap the are prone to crack. BIG difference i price. Dealer also claims my power stearing hoses are bad and my oul filter is bad. my car has never leaked a drrop .
A piece of junk. Rust began to show all over a couple of years. All of the door jams and quarter panels near the wheels are rusted. Two years ago I had to have all 4 rims replaced because they were corroded. Luckily they were replaced under warranty. I asked Mazda for help this time around since the rust began to show when it was still under warranty but they refused, even though the dealership and the regional mgr for Mazda were "shocked" when they saw the rust and agreed this should not happen to a 4-5 year old car. I've had a Ford and a Jeep, sold it after more than 10 years with no rust. Heat? Very weak. AC? At first I thought it broke down. Took it in, they said it's normal.
I bought my 2004 mazda3 used in 2006 with about 30k miles. Water pump died at 60k, alternator fried at 80k. Transmission crumped at 120k (ouch!). Fun to drive, surprisingly smooth on the highway for a 4-cylinder, and a good looking car inside and out. I'd buy another one, but probably opt for a 5-speed next time.
After having this car for over 2 years and driving it quite a bit (60000km, about 32,000 miles) I have the dirt on this econo-machine: 1) I have had no mechanical problems. 2) The steering and suspension are as tight and as precise as the day I bought it. You almost take it for granted until you drive a different vehicle. Then you realize: Wow this Mazda 3 really handles! 0.87g's on the skidpad. R U kidding? At this price? 3) I have the 2.0 engine, MT, It has more power then anyone really needs. I drive 140kmh (85mph) every day on the 401 highway and no complaints. Fuel economy is average. 520km per tank. I drive it hard which doesn't help the numbers. 4) So far so good!