List price
2008 Mazda 3

Pros & Cons

  • Athletic handling, refined and zippy engines, sharp styling, top-notch build and materials quality, sharp styling, hatchback utility, luxury features and ambiance at a budget price.
  • So-so fuel economy with 2.3-liter engine, top safety equipment is optional on lower trim levels, tight rear legroom.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Entertaining yet sophisticated in demeanor, the 2008 Mazda 3 doesn't look, feel or drive like an economy car. If you're shopping for a small, inexpensive sedan or hatchback, this car should be at the top of your list.

Vehicle overview

Now in its fifth year in production, the Mazda 3 continues to show that you don't have to pay a lot to own a sport sedan. Available in stylish hatchback and sedan body styles, the 3 brings a lot to the table in terms of driving excitement and available luxury features while also providing the roominess and thrift expected from today's economy cars. If a sporty drive and getting a lot for your hard-earned cash are top buying priorities, the Mazda 3 should be at the top of your test-drive list.

There are two engines available with the 3, a 140-horsepower four-cylinder in i trim levels and a more powerful 156-hp version in s trim levels. The hatchback, or five-door, is available only with the larger power plant. Both of these engines are smooth and punchy and provide the 3 with plenty of giddy-up -- particularly with the larger 2.3-liter. Neither returns particularly good fuel economy, though, with the Honda Civic besting the Mazda in this regard by about 10 mpg both in the city and on the highway. Mileage is, however, on par with other sporty compact cars like the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer.

The 2008 Mazda 3 is also distinguished by taut, chiseled styling and a handsome interior that hint at the car's athletic personality. A sign of a great design is typically one that doesn't require a sizable midlife refresh, and true enough, only minuscule changes have been made to the 3 over the years. This year, the only updates are the addition of front-seat side and full-length curtain airbags to all s trim levels. This lack of some standard safety features had been a problem in the past, and with items like antilock brakes remaining an option on the i trim level, it still is.

Otherwise, the 2008 Mazda 3 comes very well-equipped, particularly on the s models, as the s Touring and s Grand Touring trim levels come standard or can be equipped with features like 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, heated leather seats, automatic climate control, moonroof, satellite radio, Bose stereo with in-dash CD changer and a navigation system. Any one of these features would be considered noteworthy in this class of sedan, let alone all of them together.

Plenty of compact sedans and hatchbacks have been introduced since the 3 dawned in 2004, but the little Mazda continues to be a top choice in this segment. In fact, it had been an Editor's Most Wanted for three straight years until 2007 -- and even then, it still received honorable mention status. The car that supplanted it, the Honda Civic, is its main competition, offering sporty handling, avant-garde styling and much better fuel economy. But for those looking for something a little less ubiquitous and a whole lot of fun, the 2008 Mazda 3 remains the cheapest way to own a new sport sedan.

2008 Mazda 3 models

The compact 2008 Mazda 3 is available as a four-door sedan or hatchback. There are five trim levels available for the sedan: i Sport, i Touring, s Sport, s Touring and s Grand Touring. The hatchback/wagon ("five-door") comes only in the s trims. All i sedans have a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat with center armrest and a CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. The i Touring trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, an upgraded stereo, keyless entry, a height-adjustable driver seat and full power accessories. Mazda 3 s models come with all of the above, plus the larger engine, special interior and exterior trim, foglights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The s Touring adds 17-inch alloys and body side sills to the mix, while the top-line s Grand Touring provides leather upholstery (optional on Touring), heated seats, automatic climate control, automatic xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a trip computer. Options include an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio, a moonroof and, for the Grand Touring versions, a navigation system.

2008 Highlights

Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are now standard on all 's' trim levels.

Performance & mpg

All i sedans use a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 148 hp and 135 pound-feet of torque, while s models use a 2.3-liter four-cylinder rated at 156 hp and 150 lb-ft. Both engines come standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic with an automanual mode is optional on i models, while s models upgrade to a five-speed automatic with automanual mode. In our test of a 3 Grand Touring sedan with the 2.3-liter engine and automatic transmission, the Mazda did the 0-60-mph sprint in 8.6 seconds. 2008 EPA fuel mileage estimates for the 2.0-liter engine with the four-speed automatic are 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, while the 2.3-liter with the five-speed auto gets 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.


Standard on all 2008 Mazda 3s are four-wheel disc brakes, but one must typically go to upper trims or pay extra to get the latest safety features. Antilock brakes, front-side and full-length curtain airbags are optional on the i trims and standard for everything else. Stability control is available only on the s trim levels. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration frontal-impact crash tests, the 3 scored four stars (out of five). It received three stars in that agency's side-impact tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 3 received a "Good" rating (the highest out of four) in frontal-impact crash tests but got a "Poor" rating (the lowest) in that agency's side-impact crash test. It should be noted that all of the above side-impact tests involved a Mazda 3 without side airbags.


Consistent with its upscale interior, the Mazda 3 tends to drive like a much more expensive sport sedan. Thanks to its performance-oriented chassis tuning, the 3 rewards the driving enthusiast with quick and communicative steering, a lack of discernible body roll and lots of grip on twisty blacktop. The s trim level's 2.3-liter engine is smooth and zippy, feeling quicker than its 155 hp would suggest. At the same time, the highway ride is smooth enough to please most commuters, although drivers who prefer softly sprung compacts like the Corolla might think the 3's too firm. All told, the 2008 Mazda 3 has refined road manners that will likely surprise car shoppers expecting the flabby ride and uninspiring handling typical of economy cars.


Especially in s Touring and s Grand Touring forms, the Mazda 3 features a distinctive and upscale interior design that looks far richer than its price would suggest. Controls are straightforward and work with precise action, while high-grade materials and tight build tolerances further the initial sense of impressive quality. Plus, with available luxury features like heated leather seats, automatic climate control and navigation, one can equip this economy car like a budget luxury sport sedan. Even taller drivers will find plenty of room in this compact car's front seat, with generous head and legroom, aided by a telescoping steering wheel. The rear seat is a little snug for larger adults, but those of average height will find a decent amount of space. Sedans offer 11.4 cubic feet of trunk space, while the hatchback boasts 17 cubes behind its rear seat and 31 when it's folded.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Mazda 3.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Getting a good, fun car can be simple!
s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
this car is fun to drive, while it may not have the same power as the new 3 or many new small cars now (2015) it still gets up and goes with the 2.3L motor 7.2 seconds to 60 in my test with a stopwatch and a friend with the 5 speed manual. the passenger motor mount is fluid filled and breaks frequently spilling the fluid and causing vibrations that feel like a bent rim but the mount is cheap to buy and easy to replace with a jack and simple tools. gas mileage is simply ok. its not great but not horrible i get about 25.5-28mpg average depending on how much highway i drive and how much fun i decide to have that gas tank, but i did not get it for the mpg but for the fun i have driving it. the seats are comfortable and me being just at 6' tall i have plenty of room to move around. the interior plastics are well made and feel solid and at 7 years old still look new. the a/c is ice cold. the regular non hid lights are still decently bright and when upgraded with brighter bulbs give great beam pattern. I have owned mine for almost a year and put 8500 miles on it and the only issue was the motor mount and a thermostat (but thermostats go out on 99% of all cars) the sunroof motor was also loose and quit functioning but 3 screws fixed that and its worked just fine since then. the car handles great and feels rock solid driving down the road. it does have a minor amount of wind noise but nothing that makes it unbearable, just noticeable (and may just be because its 7 years old) simply put this car is fun and handles great it seems to be built well and has not given me any major issues. just like all small mazda cars its zippy and fun. test drive one thats been well maintained (as thats what all cars need) and you will be pleasantly surprised at how it handles and the amount of power it has. Well I must say the car held up well, through a wreck in the rear that was not my fault a 11,000 pound f350 hit me and it was still drivable, got that fixed. then it got totaled by a wreck that was my fault, but it did its job and protected me. so I bought a 2011 to replace this one. they are great cars
Great used car!
Jordyn M.,02/16/2016
New s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I bought mine used with 72,000 miles. Pristine condition for a 2008 and so far everything is going great! Definitely recommend if looking for a used vehicle.
Great Car for the money. Fun to drive.
Davie Boy,07/10/2015
s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A)
I have a 2009 mazda 3i touring with 2.0 liter engine, 5-speed stick and 17" alloy wheels. I bought it new in 2009 and have been its only driver for 6 years and 90,000 miles. I like this car a lot. It's a great value. Heres the lowdown: THE GOOD: 1. Good gas mileage 2. Great steering 3. Great brakes 4. Roomy feel for an economy car 5. 2.0L motor has adequate power. 6. The suspension, steering and breaking are what make this car fun to drive. 7. Very Reliable THE BAD: 1. Noisy at highway speeds (wind, tire noise, engine) 2. Underpowered A/C in Florida heat. 3. Gasoline Cap is on the wrong side 4. Steering wheel hides the temperature gauge on the dash. 5. No real-time mpg readout on the dash / no bluetooth My 2009 was assembled in Japan and I was sorry to hear the 2015 model is assembled in Mexico. I have quality concerns about this so I plan to drive my Japanese 3i another 3 years before deciding whether to replacing it with another 3i.
Believe the reviews!
I never thought I'd write an online review, but I simply had to come back and confirm that this car is indeed every bit as good as people say. I needed to get a new car and heavily researched the Mazda3 in addition to the Honda Civic Si, Honda Accord Coupe, Mitsubishi Lancer, Subaru Impreza WRX and BMW 328. As you can tell, price was not so much of a issue for me as getting a car I really liked. I was worried that the Mazda3 was underpowered and too "economy" (i.e. cheap and mundane) for my tastes, but after driving all of the cars mentioned above I was left with little doubts. Without exaggeration, this car drives and handles like a BMW. I could not be happier with the purchase.

Features & Specs

23 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed shiftable automatic
148 hp @ 6500 rpm
23 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed shiftable automatic
148 hp @ 6500 rpm
23 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed shiftable automatic
148 hp @ 6500 rpm
22 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
156 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2008 Mazda 3 features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2008 Mazda 3
Used 2008 Mazda 3 Overview

The Used 2008 Mazda 3 is offered in the following submodels: 3 Hatchback, 3 Sedan. Available styles include i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), i Sport 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.0L 4cyl 4A), i Touring Value 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), s Sport 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5A), i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.0L 4cyl 4A), s Sport 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A), i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), s Sport 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), i Sport 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.0L 4cyl 5M), s Sport 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Touring 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Sport 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Sport 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M), i Touring Value 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), s Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5M), i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.0L 4cyl 5M), s Touring 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 12/07 (2.3L 4cyl 5M), and s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Mazda 3?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Mazda 3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Mazda 3 s Sport is priced between $6,995 and$6,995 with odometer readings between 133817 and133817 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Mazda 3s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Mazda 3 for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2008 3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,830 and mileage as low as 127854 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Mazda 3.

Can't find a used 2008 Mazda 3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda 3 for sale - 2 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $8,406.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $9,559.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda 3 for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $17,411.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 1 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $11,254.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Mazda 3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mazda lease specials
Check out Mazda 3 lease specials