Fun to drive, punchy engine, practical hatchback body, loads of luxury features, excellent driving position.
Too-firm ride for some, unpleasant engine noise, irritating iPod interface.
It's best to think of the 2010 Mazda Mazda 3 as a vehicle that got an all-new wardrobe rather than a complete makeover. The styling is obviously new, the interior is sleeker and higher in quality and the features list is stuffed with additional goodies. As for the vehicle underneath, though, the new 3 is the same marvelous car to drive as it was before, with a few relatively minor improvements to enhance your experience behind the wheel.
The particular flavor in question is the 2010 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring Five-Door. The s bit denotes the larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder that's the lone propulsion choice with the versatile five-door hatchback body style. The Grand Touring is the top-line trim level, with genuine luxury car features that make it seem more like a junior luxury sedan than a tarted-up econobox.
Yet regardless of body style, engine or trim, the Mazda 3 remains the compact car king -- even with its new set of clothes. While it may be a tad too sporty for everyone's taste (the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra Touring would be good alternatives), the 2010 Mazda 3's remarkably well-rounded nature should satisfy the diverse needs of a majority of buyers in this segment.
The Mazda 3 s features the bigger of two four-cylinder engines (a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter is found in the 3i), increased in size for 2010 to 2.5 liters and 167 hp (up from 2.3 liters and 156 hp). Our test car came with the standard six-speed manual, a rewarding transmission with an easy clutch and a precise shifter. It works well with the robust four-cylinder, although the initial take-off from 1st gear elicited a rather agricultural groan.
It's not the sweetest-sounding powertrain in the world, but it's got more midrange punch than before, making the 3 better able to merge onto fast-moving freeways. It remains a zippy car around town, with a useful supply of low-end torque. As speeds rise, though, the engine starts to run out of juice. The 3 s made the 0-60-mph sprint in a respectable 8.1 seconds.
While its powertrain is certainly a significant asset, it's the 2010 Mazda 3's remarkable ride and handling balance that make it drive like a car worth thousands more. The lightly revised chassis remains a champ, exhibiting a balance and solidity that encourages you to go swifter than you'd think was possible in a car in this price range.
The steering is wonderfully linear, precise and communicative, transmitting more information to the driver's hands than most front-drive cars (it also transmits less vibration for 2010). The brakes are equally impressive, with fade-free stopping power capable of bringing the 3,048-pound Grand Touring five-door from 60 to zero in 119 feet. It all adds up to a car that's not only a hoot to drive on your favorite back road, but one that also has the goods to inspire confidence when the time comes to avoid an injurious vehicular event.
The 3's EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21/29/24 mpg (city/hwy/combined); over the two-week duration of our test, the car achieved 22 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving. That doesn't seem particularly impressive, but compared to similarly powered compact cars (Toyota Corolla XRS, Mitsubishi Lancer GTS) the 3 is actually on par. It also uses regular gas.
If a soft, isolated ride is your cup of relaxing automotive tea, the 2010 Mazda 3 will probably be on the spicy side of Darjeeling. Bumps will be felt and you'll feel more connected to the road, but it isn't harsh like a sports car. Still, this is one area where the 3 will be less appealing to folks than a Hyundai Elantra or Honda Civic -- although the 3 is notably quieter than the latter.
With its eight-way power driver seat, the 3 Grand Touring is the most comfortable car in its class for folks taller than 6 feet thanks to an abundance of seat adjustment. A telescoping steering wheel aids in this area as well, along with a shifter that somehow manages to be placed a perfect distance for tall and short folks alike (one of the best, period, in this regard). The leather-wrapped front seats hug your body more than before -- perhaps too much for some -- keeping you in place through quick turns.
The backseats offer a decent amount of space for a compact car, with legroom ranging from generous to tight depending on who's driving. There is enough headroom for someone 6-foot-3. A rear-mounted child seat required the front passenger seat to be pushed far forward, while a front-facing one fit fine. However, the top tether anchors are located on the seatback, requiring you to remove the rear cargo cover for access. The rear seat also boasts a center armrest that was appreciated by all.
Mazda estimates that only 30 percent of the 3s sold in the United States will be five-door hatchbacks, which is sad since the five-door is far more versatile (we also think it looks better). Flipping down the 60/40-split rear seat and removing the solid cargo cover reveals a large space good for carrying bicycles, big boxes or other bulky items you couldn't possibly fit in a car with a traditional trunk. With the seats up, a golf bag has to be placed diagonally in the trunk to fit. Nevertheless, if your household only has one car, the five-door 3 is a very good choice.
When it comes to interior controls, the 2010 Mazda 3 doesn't boast the sort of simple stereo layout of the Honda Civic or Hyundai Elantra. There are a lot of spread-out buttons (probably too many), and the iPod interface that seems like a welcome feature is, in fact, an annoyance that left us plugging our Nanos and Touches into the standard aux-in jack.
Instead of relying on the present large radio tuning knob and color screen (which would duplicate the iPod's actual controls) as some other manufacturers do, the interface uses two toggle buttons and the nine-digit audio display. It takes too many button-presses to scan through multiple playlists that are barely identifiable (for example, both "My Mix 2008" and "My Mix 2009" are displayed as "My Mix 20").
On the upside, the dual-zone automatic climate controls are quite simple and a rare luxury in this class, which can be said for many of the Grand Touring's features. Memory power seats, auto-swiveling xenon headlights, five-level heated seats, keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth and a decent-sounding 10-speaker surround-sound audio system are not the type of stuff you expect in a car that costs less than $25,000.
Design/Fit and Finish
Marked by a wide grille, the 2010 Mazda 3's new face has been described as happy-looking. One previous-generation 3 owner described the new car's smiling visage as "adorable," although we've also heard less flattering comparisons to Guy Smiley, the Joker and Marlon Brando with an orange in his mouth. Either way, the car's distinctive grille serves a functional purpose, channeling air around the car for a better drag coefficient. In layman's terms, that equals better fuel economy and a quieter cabin.
Inside, the quality of materials has been improved to a level bested only by the Volkswagen Rabbit. The dash is covered in a high-quality squishy material, although it would be nice if it extended to the door sills. Switchgear is also quite nice, with a pleasing action to buttons and knobs.
Who should consider this vehicle
Anyone in the market for a compact sedan or hatchback, period. Single-car households in particular will find the hatchback beneficial.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2010 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) 2010 Mazda 3s for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 842 used and CPO 2010 3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 2,700 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 2010 Mazda 3. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 234 on a used or CPO 2010 3 available from one of 2,638 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2010 Mazda 3 ?
Save up to $233.6 on one of 81 used 2010 Mazda 3s for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $4999 as of Mar 21, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 201 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2010 Mazda 3 trim styles:
The used 2010 Mazda 3 i Touring is priced around $7019 with average odometer reading of 90127 miles.
The used 2010 Mazda 3 i Sport is priced around $7849 with average odometer reading of 90637 miles.
The used 2010 Mazda 3 s Sport is priced around $7893 with average odometer reading of 86987 miles.
The used 2010 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring is priced around $8495 with average odometer reading of 82347 miles.
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What options are available on the 2010 Mazda 3?
Available Mazda 3 2010 Submodel Types: Sedan, Hatchback
Available Mazda 3 2010 Trims: Grand Touring, Touring, Sport, i Grand Touring, s Touring, i Touring, i SV, s, s Sport, i Sport, i, i Touring Value, 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, Eternal Blue Mica, Meteor Gray Mica, Titanium Flash Mica, Sonic Silver Metallic, Blue Reflex Mica, Black Mica, Crystal White Pearl Mica, Graphite Mica, Galaxy Gray Mica, Sunlight Silver Metallic, Dolphin Gray Mica, Gunmetal Blue Mica, Liquid Silver Metallic, Titanium Gray Metallic, Indigo Lights Mica, Crystal White Pearl, True Red, Rally White, Strato Blue Mica, Metropolitan Gray Mica, Sunlight Silver Mica, Copper Red Mica, Phantom Purple Mica, Shimmering Sand Metallic, Stormy Blue Mica, Velocity Red Mica, Winning Blue Mica, Lava Orange Mica, Carbon Gray Mica, Celestial Blue Mica, Ice Blue Metallic, Icy Blue Metallic, Phantom Blue Mica, Sky Blue Mica, Whitewater Pearl Mica
Interior Colors: Black Leatherette leatherette, Black Cloth cloth, Black Leather leather, Parchment Leather leather, Black cloth, Black leatherette, Black premium cloth, Black leather, Sand cloth, Sand Cloth cloth, Almond leather, Dune cloth, Beige cloth, Black, Black/Blue, Black/Red, Black/Red cloth, Beige, Gray cloth, Black/Blue cloth, Dune leather, Saddle Brown Leather, Sand Premium Cloth premium cloth
Popular Features: USB Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system, Keyless Entry/Start, 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, Bluetooth, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Upgraded Stereo, Trip Computer, Upgraded Engine, Remote Start, Auto Climate Control, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Upgraded Headlights, Parking sensors, Alarm, Navigation
Engine/Mechanics: 4 cylinders
Transmission: AUTOMATIC, MANUAL
Fuel Types: regular unleaded
Drivetrains: front wheel drive
used 2010 Mazda 3 Overview
The used 2010 Mazda 3 is offered in the following submodels: Hatchback, Sedan. Available styles include i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A), i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and i Touring 4dr Sedan (2.0L 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 2010 3 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic, 5-speed manual.