Sublime handling, energetic engine, attractive interior, impressive list of standard features.
Suspension can be unforgiving, unrefined storage bins.
The budget-priced 2008 Mazda 3 has long been heralded for bringing a touch of superstar athleticism to the everyman economy-car segment. The best athletes, whether they're Tiger Woods or Tom Brady, have an eerie sixth-sense gift for delivering precisely the sort of performance that's a perfect match for the moment. These demigods have pass cards to the VIP room known as "The Zone" -- that place where prowess is guided by nothing less than divine inspiration.
Mazda's 3 is such an athlete, and in a category known for being mostly unremarkable, its trophy-winning game sticks out like a bolt of silk on a bale of straw. Still, the car's enviable performance capabilities are just part of the picture. The 2008 Mazda3 also boasts an appealing list of standard features -- pretty sweet for a car at this Wal-Mart price point. Cabin design is also nice-looking -- not class-leading, but a step above the typical drab econobox fare.
This sedan is no rookie. It was introduced in model-year 2004 and hasn't received any significant updates in the years since. But the formula that powers the Mazda3 has proven potent enough to beat back newer contenders for its throne. Not all drivers will crown this sedan a winner. Its ride is on the stiff side, and this may be a deterrent for some. But if you're one of those motorists who view time spent behind the wheel not as a chore but more a savored indulgence, the 2008 Mazda3 i Touring Value merits a test-drive.
Powering the Mazda3 i is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 148 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. Our test car was equipped with the optional four-speed automatic transmission. This combo isn't the MVP in the 3's lineup; that honor belongs to the 156-hp 2.3-liter that provides the mojo for the sportier s-trim models. Additionally, Mazda offers a five-speed auto for those models. Still, during our time in the car, we never found ourselves hankering for an upgrade.
The car's acceleration times are solid for the segment, with the 3 i Touring sprinting from zero to 60 in 9.8 seconds. (Note: This time was achieved by using the transmission's manual-shift function; left in Drive, our test car was about a half-second slower.) The 3 screeched to a stop from 60 mph in a respectable 119 feet, and the car's brake pedal felt firm and intuitive, with a good initial bite. The 3's brakes withstood the rigors of performance testing well, with zero fade and only minor ABS noise. Its braking performance earned the Mazda3 a rating of "Very Good" from our test drivers -- an impressive feat for an economy sedan.
Great acceleration often translates into not-so-great mileage, and this is the case with the 3. In the area of combined fuel economy, we observed a figure of 23 mpg. The car's EPA city rating is 23 mpg, and its highway rating is 31 mpg. These numbers aren't horrible, but if fuel economy is a primary concern, others in this category -- such as the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla -- will be better suited for your needs.
On the skid pad, the Mazda3 managed an impressive 0.86g. Steering feel was very sporty, and it was easy for our driver to place the car and maintain its arc. The 3 was a superstar on the slalom, cresting a stellar-for-its-class 65 mph and offering the sort of responsiveness, agility and performance that places it head and shoulders above the norm in the economy sedan category. The car's superlative grip and balance make it fun to run through the cones. The 3 nabbed a "Very Good" rating from our evaluators in the area of skid pad and slalom testing.
Experienced on city streets and on the freeway, the 2008 Mazda3 offers results that live up to its blazing performance on the track. Steering is responsive and acceleration is brisk enough to make you do a double-take at the engine's somewhat modest horsepower rating. Even though automakers are increasingly installing five-speed automatics into economy cars rather than four-speeds, the Mazda's is a step above those offered by others in this segment, delivering shifts that are mostly fluid and intuitive. Ride quality will satisfy those who appreciate sporty connectedness, but may prove a tad coarse for those whose preferences veer toward a softer, more insulated driving experience.
The 3's cabin is accommodating. The sedan's tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel offers calibrations that allow for a wide range of adjustment, making it easy for most to find a workable position for the steering wheel. Height-adjustable seating adds even more breadth to the range of ergonomic options.
Rear-seat room is adequate, even for one editor whose height soars north of 6 feet. Like most cars with a rear seat, the 3 can house a rear-facing child safety seat, but to do so, the passenger seat needs to be pushed close to the dashboard in a way that seriously compromises front passenger legroom.
While not exactly noisy, this Mazda's cabin isn't quiet, either. The 3's engine can get pretty vocal when pushed, and some of this chatter makes its way into the cabin.
Visibility is adequate and controls are within reach and intuitively laid out. Predictability rules; the layout of the car's climate controls, for example, is identical to that of dozens of other economy cars, so you won't have to scratch your head trying to figure out what's what. We loved the fact that the car offers remote auxiliary audio controls on the steering wheel as a standard feature. Touches like this really serve to create an air of luxury.
Luggage capacity is at the bottom of the barrel in relation to others in its class. This is all relative, though; the trunk is big enough to swallow golf clubs (placed diagonally) and a suitcase, and will likely satisfy most people's hauling needs. We like the fact that the roof of the trunk is lined. A lined trunk is getting more and more common in economy cars, but it still stands out in our eyes for the air of refinement that it imparts.
Design/Fit and Finish
Alas, the aforementioned refinement isn't always in evidence throughout the 3's cabin. The main offenders are the car's storage bins, which are lined with removable strips of what looks like cheap Astroturf. The deep bin that lives in the car's center stack feels unfinished, with a tangle of edges. We long for the smooth surfaces and upscale aesthetics offered by competitors like the Volkswagen Rabbit.
Despite the fact that it's grown somewhat long in the tooth, the 3 still manages to look reasonably fresh relative to the competition. To our eyes, this Mazda manages to pull off the hat trick of understatement. Its crisp lines whisper its performance capabilities, without ever resorting to a jarring shout. Fit and finish is respectable all around.
Who should consider this vehicle
The 2008 Mazda3 is an excellent choice for buyers in search of a fun-to-drive sedan that won't put a chokehold on the wallet. It's not the roomiest or most fuel-efficient choice in its segment, but when it comes to economy-priced performance, the 3 is undefeated.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2008 Mazda 3 listings and inventory: Shop Edmunds' used car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million pre-owned vehicles to find a cheap used and certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Mazda 3s for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 843 used and CPO 2008 3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 1,000 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of used car, SUV, or truck you're interested in and then select a vehicle from our massive database to find cheap pre-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the used 2008 Mazda 3. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 275 on a used or CPO 2008 3 available from one of 2,640 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2008 Mazda 3 ?
Save up to $274.9 on one of 39 used 2008 Mazda 3s for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $1000 as of Mar 21, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 32 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2008 Mazda 3 trim styles:
The used 2008 Mazda 3 s Touring is priced around $7455 with average odometer reading of 85540 miles.
The used 2008 Mazda 3 s Sport is priced around $5463 with average odometer reading of 98624 miles.
The used 2008 Mazda 3 i Sport is priced around $4666 with average odometer reading of 78004 miles.
The used 2008 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring is priced around $5995 with average odometer reading of 97276 miles.
The used 2008 Mazda 3 i Touring is priced around $7977 with average odometer reading of 107924 miles.
The used 2008 Mazda 3 i Touring Value is priced around $9997 with average odometer reading of 112677 miles.
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What options are available on the 2008 Mazda 3?
Available Mazda 3 2008 Submodel Types: Sedan, Hatchback
Available Mazda 3 2008 Trims: Grand Touring, Touring, Sport, i Grand Touring, i SV, s, i, i Sport, s Sport, i Touring, i Touring Value, s Touring, s Grand Touring, Touring 2.5, SP23 Special Edition
Exterior Colors: Deep Crystal Blue Mica, Jet Black Mica, Soul Red Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Machine Gray Metallic, Liquid Silver Metallic, Eternal Blue Mica, Meteor Gray Mica, Titanium Flash Mica, Sonic Silver Metallic, Graphite Mica, Blue Reflex Mica, Gunmetal Blue Mica, Dolphin Gray Mica, Velocity Red Mica, Titanium Gray Metallic, Black Mica, Indigo Lights Mica, Crystal White Pearl, Galaxy Gray Mica, Rally White, Strato Blue Mica, Sunlight Silver Mica, Phantom Purple Mica, Shimmering Sand Metallic, Winning Blue Mica, Celestial Blue Mica, Lava Orange Mica, Metropolitan Gray Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, True Red, Carbon Gray Mica, Copper Red Mica, Crystal White Pearl Mica, Ice Blue Metallic, Icy Blue Metallic, Phantom Blue Mica, Sky Blue Mica, Sunlight Silver Metallic, Whitewater Pearl Mica
Interior Colors: Black Leatherette leatherette, Black Cloth cloth, Black Leather leather, Parchment Leather leather, Black leatherette, Black premium cloth, Black leather, Black cloth, Sand cloth, Dune cloth, Sand Cloth cloth, Almond leather, Black, Black/Blue, Black/Red, Black/Red cloth, Beige, Gray cloth, Beige cloth, Black/Blue cloth, Dune leather, Saddle Brown Leather, Sand Premium Cloth premium cloth
Popular Features: Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Heads up display, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Tire Pressure Warning, Sunroof/Moonroof, Stability Control, Upgraded Engine, Parking sensors, Remote Start, Alarm, Auto Climate Control, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Trip Computer, Upgraded Headlights, Upgraded Stereo
Engine/Mechanics: 4 cylinders
Transmission: AUTOMATIC, MANUAL
Fuel Types: regular unleaded
Drivetrains: front wheel drive
used 2008 Mazda 3 Overview
The used 2008 Mazda 3 is offered in the following submodels: Sedan, Hatchback. Available styles include i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), New i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), and New s Sport 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A). Pre-owned 3 models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2008 3 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed shiftable automatic, 5-speed shiftable automatic.