2009 Mazda 3 Review
2009 Mazda 3 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Athletic handling and performance, plenty of standard and optional features, well-constructed interior, hatchback utility.
- So-so fuel economy, smallish sedan trunk, some may find the ride too firm.
For 2009, all Mazda 3 models now come standard with antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also, four-door sedan models thankfully gain a standard remote trunk release on the keyless entry fob.
Entertaining yet sophisticated in demeanor, the 2009 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.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2009 Mazda 3 i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.35 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
3 i Sport
Avg. Compact Car
Cars are usually not like a fine wine: They don't get better with age. Normally, if you plotted a car's year-to-year sales, you would see a downward trend as the excitement of its introduction wanes and newer competitors debut. Not so with the 2009 Mazda 3, a car that's bucked this trend and actually enjoyed greater sales as time has gone on.
While it probably hasn't improved much since its introduction in 2004, the 3 hasn't needed to. Mazda's fine little compact is an example of a car done right. The 3 is akin to a successful indie movie: a good product that slowly gains attention thanks to positive word of mouth and Oscar buzz. In the Mazda's case, years of automotive awards, critical acclaim and positive ownership experiences finally generated the type of marketplace response the 3 has always deserved. This is one of the best cars in its class, and it's nice that people are finally taking notice.
Distinguished by taut, chiseled styling and handsome details inside and out, the Mazda 3 gives the impression of a junior sport sedan -- and it has the driving experience to back it up, thanks to its nimble handling, ample road feel and relatively peppy performance. In a consumer comparison test we conducted, six regular Americans touted the 3 as the most fun economy car to drive (pitted against the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla) and felt like they were in the "most control" when behind the wheel. Our editors are in complete agreement.
With available sedan and hatchback body styles, the Mazda 3 offers a nice practical variety for shoppers. The hatchback in particular should appeal to young families or college-aged folks in need of the occasional dorm moving van. Everyone, though, should appreciate the ample amount of standard equipment that comes with both trim levels, along with the luxury features available on the s Grand Touring. Few other compact economy cars offer such things as leather upholstery, heated power seats, xenon headlights and a seven-speaker stereo.
Of all the many economy car competitors, there are relatively few that can surpass the 2009 Mazda 3. In the aforementioned consumer comparison test, all but one "guest editor" chose the Honda Civic as their choice because of its comfier ride, more spacious interior and better fuel economy. All walked away very impressed by the 3, however, and more than one commented that it would be the best for younger drivers. We agree, as the sportier Mazda is more likely to appeal to younger and single car buyers. Another choice on the sporty end of the compact-car spectrum is the Mitsubishi Lancer, which is also worth a good look.
The Mazda 3 is going to be replaced by an all-new model for 2010. But even after six years on the market, the current car is showing no signs of age. Like fine wine or a quality indie movie (or "Sideways," an indie movie about fine wine), the 3 will continue to please for a long time.
Performance & mpg
The Mazda 3 i sedan uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is standard, while a four-speed automatic with automanual override is optional. In performance testing, the 3 i with automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds. Fuel economy for a similarly equipped 3 i rates an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined, which is below class leaders. Opting for the manual gearbox improves efficiency by 2 mpg.
The Mazda 3 s sedan and hatchback get a 2.3-liter four-cylinder good for 156 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual is standard, while a five-speed automatic with manual shift control is optional. The 3 s with the automatic goes from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. Fuel economy with the automatic is an estimated 22 city/28 highway and 24 combined, which is about equal for compact sedans with similar power output.
Standard on every Mazda 3 are antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Stability and traction control are standard on the s Touring and Grand Touring models, but not available on anything else.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration frontal-impact crash tests, the 2009 Mazda 3 scored four stars (out of five). In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 3 received a "Good" rating (the highest out of four) in frontal-offset crash tests. The Mazda 3 has not yet been tested for side-impact safety when equipped with the now-standard side airbags and side curtain 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 156 hp would suggest. The i trim's 2.0-liter engine is simply adequate and has the tendency to sound like a circular saw.
The 3's highway ride is smooth enough to please most commuters, although drivers who prefer softly sprung compacts like the Corolla might think the 3 is too firm. All told, the 2009 Mazda 3 has refined road manners that will likely surprise car shoppers expecting the unsubstantial ride quality 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 good-quality 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 a navigation system, 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 headroom 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, which is on the small side, but the hatchback boasts 17 cubes behind its rear seat and 31 when the seat is folded.
2009 Mazda 3 models
The compact 2009 Mazda 3 is available as a four-door sedan and hatchback. The sedan is available in five trim levels: i Sport, i Touring Value, s Sport, s Touring and s Grand Touring. The hatchback, or "five-door," comes in only the s trims.
The i Sport comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, a tilt/telescoping steering column, a 60/40-split rear seat with a center armrest, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a four-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player, an auxiliary audio jack and pre-wiring for satellite radio. Air-conditioning and an exterior temperature display are optional. The i Touring Value trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, driver-seat height adjustment and six speakers.
The s Sport sedan gets 16-inch alloy wheels (the hatchback has the 17s), but both body styles feature a bigger engine, slightly different front and rear fascias, different interior trim and electroluminescent gauges. The s Touring adds 17-inch alloys on the sedan and body sill extensions. The s Grand Touring gains auto on/off xenon headlights, automatic rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, a six-way power driver seat, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a trip computer.
Optional on the Grand Touring are a navigation system (which includes satellite radio) and a seven-speaker Bose stereo with an in-dash six-CD changer. The CD changer and a sunroof are stand-alone options on all Mazda 3s except the i Sport.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
3.38 out of 5 stars
i Touring Value 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
Car looks great and handles well, but... The 2.0, 4 cylinder is low on power. I expected a bit more zip for a small car with almost 150 HP. Gas mileage below avg. for a car this size. Only get a few mpg more than my Toyota Camry V-6. Handles great, but ride suffers. If you like to feel every bump in the road, you will love this car. Replacing the OEM tires helps, especially with road … noise. Interior design is nice, but materials are of average quality, which I expect for a car in this category. Developed a few noises & small intermittent rattles not long after purchase. Some I remedied, the dealer fixed one, some remain. A/C is weak & must keep on high during days over 90'
3.13 out of 5 stars
My Mazda 3 Experience
i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I have owned a Mazda 3 for 2 years now. I can't complain much because it has been a reliable car. It is definitely NOT a family car but when we bought it we jumped quick because our other car was dying. The air conditioner is very sub-par, heat is good. Drives good, Interior is made fairly cheap as we have had several things break. Overall good car-I would recommend this car for a single … person or a couple with no kids.
4.13 out of 5 stars
Better than the competition
i Touring Value 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
Being an engineer, did all the research, looking for the most value and fun without going the the price of the European performance compacts. I've had the car now for a year and a half and, surprisingly, age has made my M3 a better car. Starting off the car can have harsh ride qualities. With age, the ride has mellowed (w/o losing the fun) and the engine performance is still zippy.
5 out of 5 stars
183000 miles so far
s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A)
This car is 9 years old now, so review maybe not relevant. I've owned since New, has been very reliable and all maintenance has been standard as the car ages. Love this car and will be sorry to replace it.
2009 Mazda 3 Sedan Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 24 City / 32 Hwy / 27 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 148 hp @ 6500 rpm
- Torque: 135 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
- Length: 177.4 in. / Height: 57.7 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 69.1 in.
- Curb Weight: 2780 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 11.5 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver3 / 5Passenger3 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestPoor
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintMarginal
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2009 Mazda 3
Used 2009 Mazda 3 Overview
The Used 2009 Mazda 3 is offered in the following submodels: 3 Hatchback, 3 Sedan. Available styles include i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), s Sport 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A), i Touring Value 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), s Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Sport 4dr Sedan (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 Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M), s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M), and s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M). Pre-owned Mazda 3 models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine or a 2.3 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 156 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 Mazda 3 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed shiftable automatic, 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2009 Mazda 3 comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2009 Mazda 3?
Price comparisons for Used 2009 Mazda 3 trim styles:
- The Used 2009 Mazda 3 i Sport is priced between $7,994 and$7,994 with odometer readings between 86602 and86602 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 2009 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) 2009 Mazda 3 for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2009 3S listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,994 and mileage as low as 86602 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 2009 Mazda 3.
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Should I lease or buy a 2009 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.