Used 2012 Mazda 3

Style:
2012 Mazda 3
List price range
$5,900 - $10,998

Pros

  • Precise handling
  • high fuel economy with optional 2.0-liter engine
  • stylish, well-equipped interior
  • impressive list of luxury options
  • extra utility of four-door hatchback.

Cons

  • Ride might be too firm for some
  • cabin and trunk not as large as those of competitors.

Used 2012 Mazda 3 for Sale

Mazda 3 2012 i Grand Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
106,037 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Grand Touring
List$6,849
Est.Loan: $128/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
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Mazda 3 2012 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 09/11 (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
100,332 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Touring
List$7,988
Est.Loan: $149/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
$220 Below Market
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Mazda 3 2012 i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
109,420 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Sport
List$7,005
Est.Loan: $131/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
$368 Below Market
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Dealer Notes
It is a Fixer-Upper: a low-cost car option for those with the ability to perform mechanical repairs themselves
Mazda 3 2012 i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
100,387 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Sport
List$6,764
Est.Loan: $127/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
$186 Below Market
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Mazda 3 2012 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
40 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Touring
List$9,992
Est.Loan: $187/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
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Mazda 3 2012 i Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
56,142 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Grand Touring
List$11,900
Est.Loan: $222/mo
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Dealer Notes
NEW MAZDA TRADE! 2012 Mazda3 Grand Touring Hatchback Liquid Silver Metallic CHECK OUT THE CARFAX, ALLOY WHEELS, LEATHER SEATING, PREMIUM AUDIO SYSTEM, POWER MOONROOF, BLUETOOTH HANDS FREE CALLING, TOTAL CONFIDENCE 3 MONTH/3K MILE WARRANTY!. Grand Touring FWD 6-Speed Automatic 2.0L 4-Cylinder You will have TOTAL CONFIDENCE in purchasing a pre-owned vehicle here at Koons of Silver Spring. Every pre-owned vehicle comes with a minimum of a 3 month/3,000 mile comprehensive warranty! Please call 301-890-6100 for further details on your used car purchase in Silver Spring. All prices are plus, tax, tags, and $300 processing fee. Koons of Silver Spring has the BEST selection of used cars in the area with the MOST competitive pricing in the market! FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE OWNER, ALEX PERDIKIS, DIRECT AT ALEX@KOONSOFSILVERSPRING.COM ! Please come see us today at Koons of Silver Spring if you are looking for a new Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, or used car in the Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Columbia, Wheaton, Washington DC, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Silver Spring areas.
Mazda 3 2012 s Touring 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 5A)
79,892 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
s Touring
(1)
CarMax
36.1 mi away
List$10,998
Est.Loan: $206/mo
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Dealer Notes
CarMax makes car buying easy and hassle-free. Our upfront prices are the same online and on our lot. All our used cars come with a 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee, a 30-Day Limited Warranty (60-Day in CT, MN, and RI; 90-Day in GA, MA, NJ, and NY) and a free vehicle history and safety recall report. Price assumes final used vehicle purchase will be made in MD, and excludes tax, title and tags but includes $99 dealer processing charge (not required by law). Some fees are location specific and may change if you transfer this vehicle to a different CarMax store. Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Check nhtsa.gov/recalls to learn if this vehicle has an unrepaired safety recall. Inventory shown here is updated every 24 hours.
Mazda 3 2012 i Grand Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
163,480 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Grand Touring
List$6,995
Est.Loan: $131/mo
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Dealer Notes
2012 MAZDA SEDAN, VERY CLEAN IN AND OUT. DRIVES VERY GOOD, PAINT LOOKS REALLY NICE, CRUISE CONTROL, SUNROOF, LEATHER SEATS, TRACTION CONTROL, RADIO WITH BLUETOOTH CONNECTION AND CD PLAYER. POWER WINDOWS. NO ACCIDENTS!!!** ONE OWNER ONLY!!**. STOP BY CAPITOL MOTORS OF STAFFORD FOR A TEST DRIVE. Capitol Motors of Stafford3316 Jefferson Davis Hwy, STAFFORD, VA 22554540-659-1000capitolmotorsdmv.comWarranty: Extended warranties available on most vehicles.DISCLAIMER: NEITHER THE DEALERSHIP NOR DEALERSCLOUD.COM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS, MISPRINTS ON PRICES OR EQUIPMENT. TOTAL PRICES ON VEHICLES FINANCED MAY VARY. WE FINANCE PEOPLE WITH ALL TYPES OF CREDIT.
Mazda 3 2012 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 09/11 (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
64,949 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Touring
List$10,399
Est.Loan: $194/mo
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Mazda 3 2012 i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
87,970 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Sport
List$9,500
Est.Loan: $178/mo
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Dealer Notes
Prices subject to change without notice and do not include Title, License, Registration Fees, State or Local Taxes or Processing Fees, if any. Please contact seller first for vehicle availability
Mazda 3 2012 i Grand Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
100,272 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Grand Touring
List$7,977
Est.Loan: $149/mo
Good Deal!
Good Deal!
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Dealer Notes
2012 MAZDA MAZDA3 Front with powerful 2.0L DOHC 16-valve SKYACTIV-G I4 -inc variable engine and driven only 100272 miles! Fully loaded and much more! CARFAX CERTIFIED**FINANCING AVAILABLE** Contact our Sales at 540-699-2192*WARRANTY*This Car also qualifies for 3 months / Nationwide Warranty in the Car Cloud Auto Group inventory, with no additional cost with Full Price.*FINANCING AVAILABLE*Car Cloud Auto Group provides FINANCING to all it respectful customers, And YES we finance anyone with any type of credit. Please do not hesitate if you have any question. This car is a must see, so feel free to schedule a test drive. Contact our Sales at 540-699-2192 Power Door Locks,Power Windows,Power Steering,Power Mirrors,Leather Seats,Leather Interior,Cruise Control,Heat/AC ,A/C FrontSunroof/Moonroof,Chrome Wheels,Tilt Wheel,Alloy Wheels
Mazda 3 2012 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 09/11 (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
1 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Touring
J & J Auto Sales
44.1 mi away
List$8,495
Est.Loan: $159/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
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Mazda 3 2012 i Touring 4dr Hatchback w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
132,343 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Touring
Bob Bell Genesis
47.8 mi away
List$5,900
Est.Loan: $110/mo
Good Deal!
Good Deal!
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Mazda 3 2012 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 09/11 (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
97,025 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Touring
Pasadena Pre-Owned
51.4 mi away
List$8,967
Est.Loan: $168/mo
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Dealer Notes
GREAT car for a GREAT price! This car has a great potential, very clean! The Mazda 3 has GREAT styling and has been maintained to a TEE! The Mazda 3 is very easy to drive and handles smooth. This car is spotless and the interior design is perfect for anyone in any situation! The Mazda 3 fits any budget, this is the car to choose! Come in or call us today!
Mazda 3 2012 i Touring 4dr Hatchback w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
92,559 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Touring
List$7,533
Est.Loan: $141/mo
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Mazda 3 2012 i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
109,070 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Sport
Car Quest Cars
54.1 mi away
List$5,900
Est.Loan: $110/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
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Mazda 3 2012 i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
98,339 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
i Sport
List$6,496
Est.Loan: $122/mo
Good Deal!
Good Deal!
$179 Below Market
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Dealer Notes
WARRANTY++PRICE BELOW KBB VALUE...Great on gas it will make a great first car or second daily driver....Excellent shape inside and out side....Black on Black.....Black  exterior and Black    interior .Features include..sport bucket seats... 4-wheel antilock 4-wheel disc........power seats...memory seat......CD player ..power sunroof..power window power doorlock keyless entry alarm A/C Heat ready to go price includes 6 month/6000 mile warranty please give us a call at 703-629-9371 or 540-582-8151 TAX ID PROGRAM AVAILABLE.......GUARANTEED  credit approval **** 6 month/6000 mile warranty on all vehicles.. ....   .prices may change with out notice price exlcudes $299 processing fee we don't have freight or destination charges or any other hidden fees. due to human error some prices and features may not be correct prices may change with out notice prices may change at any time with out notice . We will buy your car even if you don't buy ours! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ALL VEHICLES COME WITH WARRANTY !!!!! ask sales associate for details.....ALL VEHICLES COME WITH WARRANTY..... DON'T PAY RETAIL PRICE FOR A CAR PAY OUTLET PRICE AT ELLAS AUTO OUTLET....... with our new off site mechanical facility we are providing our customers with better cars at lower prices because we service our own vehicles and we cut the middle man IF WE SAVE MONEY YOU SAVE MONEY so don't waste time and come take a look at the vehicle of your choice we have over 250 cars in stock at all times for you to choose from. Hope to see you soon have a SAFE DRIVE.....and please BUCKLE UP.. HOURS....MONDAY - SATURDAY 10-7. DIRECTIONS RICHMOND or surrounding area take I95 North to Exit #118 make left at stop sign come down to first traffic light make left on Jefferson Davis Hwy come down 1/4 mile you will see Ellas Auto Outlet Inc on the left. WASHINGTONMARYLANDOR NORHTERN VA take I95 South to Exit #118 make right at stop sign come down to first traffice light make left on Jefferson Davis Hwy come down 1/4 mile you will see Ellas Auto Outlet Inc on the left. .price exlcudes $299 processing fee we don't have freight or distination charges or any other hidden fees. due to human error some prices and features may not be correct prices may change without notice. We will buy your car even if you don't buy ours! .prices may change with out notice price exlcudes $299 processing fee we do not accept personal check. we don't have freight or distination charges or any other hidden fees. due to human error some prices and features may not be correct prices may change with out notice prices may change at any time with out notice . financing down payment interest rate and monthly payments depend on your credit....We will buy your car even if you don't buy ours! we are the only dealer with most cars under $5000 For More Great Prices Check Us Out At www.ELLASAUTOOUTLET.com
Mazda 3 2012 s Touring 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
60,993 miles
Used 2012
Mazda 3
s Touring
List$9,800
Est.Loan: $183/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
View Details
Dealer Notes
Pennsylvania 1 owner with a clean history report%2521 5 speed manual transmission, power options, power sunroof, and alloy wheels%2521 New PA state inspection and service%2521 Call 717.564.7200 or email autoconnectionofharrisburg%40gmail.com%2521 Most vehicles are Auto Connection 130 point certified and NO-HASSLE GUARANTEED with NO HIDDEN FEES%2521 Visit Auto Connection of Harrisburg online at autoconnectionofpa.com and contact us at 717-564-7200 or autoconnectionofharrisburg%40gmail.com to schedule your test drive today.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A new high-efficiency engine re-establishes the 2012 Mazda 3 as a class favorite.

vehicle overview

The long-running automotive horsepower war might finally be grinding to a halt with a stalemate, at least in the compact car segment. Replacing power output one-upmanship is a new, much greener conflict over fuel economy. Among compacts, 40 mpg is the new target, one that the Mazda 3 has fallen woefully short of in the past. Not anymore.

For 2012, the Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback are available with Mazda's new "Skyactiv" powertrain components: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to either a new six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda's engineers essentially went through the internal combustion engine with a fine-toothed comb, looking at the myriad inherent inefficiencies and devising clever solutions to address them.

The result is a power plant that can hit that magic 40 mpg without "tricks" like adaptive front grille shutters or transmission programming that shifts the car into top gear at the earliest opportunity. Nor has the rise in fuel economy come at the expense of power. The new Skyactiv engine, which slots between the carryover 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, boasts more power than the Hyundai Elantra and Chevy Cruze Eco -- two cars that also hit the 40 mpg threshold. Only the Ford Focus sports a better combination of power and fuel economy, but it only achieves 40 mpg highway with its Super Fuel Economy package.

This new engine complements the 2012 Mazda 3's other existing strengths, including sharp handling, a stylish interior and an available hatchback body style. That said, the 3 isn't quite the no-brainer pick it once was. The Elantra, Cruze and Focus are all excellent choices for a small sedan or hatchback. But for competitive fuel economy and a fun-to-drive nature, the Mazda 3 is hard to beat.

trim levels & features

The 2012 Mazda 3 is available in four-door sedan and hatchback body styles. Both are available in 3i and 3s trims that are further broken into subtrims. The high-performance Mazdaspeed 3 is reviewed separately.

The 3i SV and Sport trims are available only on the sedan. The SV comes sparsely equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, power mirrors, power windows, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and steering wheel controls. The Sport adds air-conditioning, power locks, keyless entry and an outside temperature display.

The rest of the Mazda 3 trims are available on both the sedan and hatchback. The 3i Touring adds to the Sport equipment the Skyactiv-G engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a rear-seat center armrest, a trip computer, Bluetooth (phone and audio streaming) and a six-speaker sound system. The Touring can be had with a package that includes a sunroof and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system. Those items are standard on the 3i Grand Touring, which also gets heated mirrors, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a sliding front center armrest, a color trip computer and a compact navigation system.

The 3s Touring adds on a more powerful four-cylinder engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded brakes, foglamps, LED taillights, a deck lid spoiler (sedan), keyless ignition/entry, sport seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. However, it reverts back to a manual driver seat and cloth upholstery, while the sunroof and navigation system are options. The 3s Grand Touring includes those items.

The Tech package available on both 3i and 3s Grand Touring trims adds a blind-spot warning system, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, automatic wipers and satellite radio (optional separately on all trims).

An iPod/USB audio interface and a six-CD changer are available as dealer-installed accessories on all Mazda 3 trim levels.

performance & mpg

The 2012 Mazda 3i SV and Sport trims are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is standard on both subtrims, but the Sport can be equipped with an optional five-speed automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped 3i with this engine went from zero to 60 mph in 9.9 seconds -- a slightly slow performance among similarly powerful sedans. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined with the manual and 24/33/27 with the automatic.

The 3i Touring and Grand Touring trims get a new, more advanced 2.0-liter four-cylinder (Skyactiv-G) that produces 155 hp (154 in California-emissions states) and 148 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing of an automatic-equipped sedan, a Skyactiv Mazda 3 reached 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which is quick for the class. EPA fuel economy estimates for this new engine put it among the class leaders: 28/40/33 for an automatic-equipped sedan and 27/39/31 for a manual-equipped sedan. The hatchback is estimated to return 28/39/32 and 27/38/31, respectively. In extensive fuel economy testing, we confirmed that this engine does achieve these impressive figures.

The 3s trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 167 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are downgraded slightly in California-emissions states. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. In Edmunds testing, the 3s went from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds regardless of transmission -- a strong performance, but not much of an improvement over the Skyactiv engine. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20/28/23 with the manual and 22/29/25 with the automatic. These estimates are quite low for the small car segment.

safety

Every 2012 Mazda 3 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, brake assist, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A blind spot warning system is optional on the Grand Touring trims. In Edmunds brake testing, a 3i Sport stopped from 60 mph in a rather long 135 feet. The 3i Touring was no better, but the sportier 3s stopped in a solid 123 feet.

In government crash testing, the 2012 Mazda 3 received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, five stars for overall frontal protection and three stars for overall side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 3 the highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

driving

The 2012 Mazda 3 has refined road manners that will likely surprise most economy car shoppers. Responsive steering and performance-oriented chassis tuning make it one of the most enjoyable small cars to drive on winding roads. On a daily basis, the 3's highway ride is smooth enough for most commuters, although drivers who prefer softly sprung compacts like the Toyota Corolla might think the 3 rides too firmly.

In terms of engines, the upgraded 2.0-liter engine found in the 3i Touring and 3i Grand Touring models is the best bet. Its 155-hp output slots in between the other two engines, but blows them both away in fuel economy. Its acceleration is more than adequate for most buyers, and in fact the more robust 2.5-liter offers only a negligible acceleration benefit. The engine's accompanying automatic transmission is also a bright spot, offering shifts that are remarkably quick, responsive and smooth.

interior

Among several impressive new competitors, the Mazda 3's interior design and materials quality isn't the class leader it once was. Still, even if it isn't top dog, that doesn't make it a mangy mutt. Even the lowest trim levels feature soft-touch surfaces, while Grand Touring models offer enough luxury and convenience equipment to keep pace with other so-called premium compact cars. Some may find the stereo controls a bit complicated or the optional navigation system a bit tedious, however. The latter's small screen and wheel-mounted buttons make for a clumsy interface, but at least it's relatively inexpensive.

The Mazda 3 is also a bit less spacious than its competitors, with long-legged folks likely to be cramped in back and possibly in the driver seat as well. The available power driver seat helps the latter situation, but the optional sunroof hurts it further. The 3 hatchback would be our choice, since it offers all the sedan's high points and adds greater practicality. Luggage capacity (with the rear seats up) is 17 cubic feet with the hatch, but only 11.8 with the sedan.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Mazda 3.

Amazing, Fun Car with great gas mileage!
rbtower2, 11/12/2011
I just bought this car a couple days ago but already am in love with it!! The new SkyActiv technology is incredible. I have driven 250 miles 80% highway 20% city and am averaging 39 MPG! I love the Mazda3 styling inside and out. I got the Dolphin Gray Mica and the color is beautiful. Inside everything is really great too. I am learning all about the bluetooth system and Its amazing being able to play my Iphone music over the stereo as well and send and recieve calls =) I cant wait to be over the break in period so I can try out the engine to its full potential. The handling is outstanding as well.
60,000 MILE UPDATE
hoveringfalcon, 2/11/2015
I’ve returned to update my review with three years of ownership and 60,000 miles under my belt. I take back what I said last time about the lack of driver seat comfort; a couple months after writing that I found a seating position that works for me. I lowered the seat all the way and that has eliminated all of my leg room problems. Piloting the Mazda is now a pretty comfortable experience if driving for less than a few hours. Steering and handling is still great. I replaced the stock tires with some Bridgestone Potenza summer rubber and this thing sticks to the pavement like glue.
2012 Mazda 3 with 1200 miles on it now.
sirturkey, 3/15/2012
I got my Mazda 3 when it had 15 miles on it, and now it has around 1200. I love this car. I upgraded from a 2004 Passat. The SKYACTIV-G engine truly performs. I've been getting a combined 34.8 mpg with mostly city driving but with a few long distance bouts. On my distance trips, I've been getting 40-44 mpg at around 70 mph. I generally drive like a grandpa but it's difficult NOT to accelerate quickly in this car! The seats are not nearly as bad as what other people say. I'm 6'0 and they fit me rather well. As for the complaints about the interior controls, I find them rather intuitive. In regards to weird noises from the engine, I haven't heard anything.
Mazda3 skyactiv
rxb3, 1/17/2012
Traded my 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT with 200k on it. Great car and it got me 30mpg! The only reason I got the Mazda3 sedan was for the 39mpg (manual trans). So far, with 3k miles, I have been avg 38.2. That's better than my last car but... Pros: when in the right gear, it has some get up and go (for a 4cycl) Bluetooth is great. Works very well with iphone, hands free calls that are voice controlled are great, and streaming music. Handles well, seems sporty Of course the MPG is the real sell. Cons: the seats are horrible! I commute 1hr20min each way every day. 78miles each way every day adds up. This is a huge deal for me. The savings in gas is great but the seats suck!
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Features & Specs

MPG
28 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
155 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
28 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
155 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
27 city / 39 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
155 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
24 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
148 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2012 Mazda 3 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat4 / 5
    Back Seat2 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Mazda 3
More About This Model

We're supposed to be pedaling our way to 40 mpg in the 2012 Mazda 3. But we've just turned onto Big Tujunga Canyon, a great road that feeds into the famed Angeles Crest Highway, and it's empty. We floor the throttle without remorse.

Fun driving ruins fuel economy. That's the ugly truth car guys confront every day.

As tougher fuel-efficiency standards loom, Mazda is dealing with it, too. The current-generation Mazda 3 can attack a corner like no other economy car, but it has always had a comparatively big thirst for fuel. The most efficient 2011 Mazda 3 was rated just at 25 city/33 highway mpg.

For 2012, the automaker has added a third engine to the Mazda 3 family — a direct-injected, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder called Skyactiv-G — and it brings a pair of all-new transmissions with it. Fuel mileage climbs as high as 28 city/40 highway. And when we glance at the average mpg meter after our run through the canyon, it's still not that scary.

Half the Sky
A Mazda official tells us that Skyactiv is a marketing guy's translation of Nobi nobi, which means something like the "sky's the limit" in Japanese. That might not be entirely true, but it's a good story and it gets to the heart of what the Skyactiv technologies are about: They're everything.

Last month, we drove a prototype of the Mazda CX-5 crossover, which will be the first top-to-bottom Skyactiv vehicle, incorporating an all-new lightweight body and chassis along with the new drivetrains. The idea is to build lighter, more efficient cars that get better mpg, yet are still fun to drive — exactly what you'd hope the enabler of Zoom Zoom would be doing.

The Mazda 3 is still a few years away from a full redesign, so the automaker has swapped in only the Skyactiv drivetrains for this 2012 refresh, which also incorporates minor changes to the suspension and unit-body that provide a slight increase in rigidity, along with subtle cosmetic changes.

Rated for 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 148 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm, the new 2.0-liter engine is standard on the i Touring model, which is now available as a sedan or hatchback, and on the new i Grand Touring model.

Mazda is still offering its older, port-injected, 148-hp 2.0-liter MZR engine as a less expensive alternative on base i and i Sport models, while the 167-hp 2.5-liter MZR engine remains on s models for those of you seeking more torque (it's rated for 166 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm). The 263-hp Mazdaspeed 3 carries over unchanged.

Sweated Details
High compression is the key to the Skyactiv-G engine's combination of usable performance and excellent fuel economy. Until now, we'd only sampled European-spec versions of this engine running at 14:1 compression. For the 2012 Mazda 3, the engineers have lowered the compression ratio to 12:1 to accommodate our 87 octane fuel and the 3's more conventional exhaust manifold, which isn't quite as adept as the CX-5's 4-2-1 exhaust manifold at evacuating hot exhaust gases (and thereby preventing detonation).

"The 4-2-1 exhaust manifold is big," Kenichiro Saruwatari, chief engineer for the Mazda 3, told us, "so we cannot package it in the current Mazda 3 chassis — it would touch the dashboard."

Even 12:1 compression would be inconceivable without direct injection cooling the intake charge. A modernized injection system on the Skyactiv-G engine squirts fuel into the combustion chambers at higher pressure than on the automaker's only other D.I. engine — the 2.3-liter turbo on the Mazdaspeed 3.

You'll also note that the new engine is undersquare, with an 83.5mm cylinder-bore diameter and a 91.2mm stroke, compared to the oversquare 2.0-liter MZR engine (87.5mm bore diameter, 83.1mm stroke). Undersquare engines have more compact combustion chambers and suffer less heat loss — Subaru has taken a similar approach on the 2012 Impreza.

Mazda also looked for every way possible to reduce friction on the Skyactiv-G engine. An electronically controlled oil pump is better matched to the engine's lubrication needs, while a new water pump and redesigned fins in the radiator provide more efficient and consistent cooling. The pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft are all forged steel, and the engine has a roller-rocker valvetrain. The engine's variable intake valve timing plays a role in keeping the cylinder contents cool and helps reduce pumping losses in low-load situations.

A Manual for People Who Like Manuals
When we get into our 2012 Mazda 3 i Touring Sedan, we're assured it really is running on 87 octane. Our car has the new six-speed manual, which is Mazda's first totally new manual gearbox since the 1980s.

"Most of the effort went into making the driving experience better," Dave Coleman, Mazda's head of sports car engineering for North America, told us. "Anyone who buys a manual transmission in a Mazda is doing it because they like driving."

To that end, Mazda shortened up the shift throws (now 45mm versus 50mm on the old six-speed) while reducing effort levels. Roller bearings take the place of bronze bushings on the shift rod. There's a nice, positive feel as you slot into each gate, and the clutch take-up is much friendlier than on our long-term Mazdaspeed 3.

With 12:1 compression, the engine has less low-end grunt than we remember from the CX-5 prototypes, but once we reach 3,000 rpm, there's ample torque and it's smooth all the way to the 6,500-rpm redline. It turns out to be plenty of power for the run up Big Tujunga, and we rip off more than a few heel-and-toe downshifts.

Acceleration is just as acceptable on the freeway, and 6th gear isn't so tall that you're constantly downshifting. Fuel mileage is slightly lower with the manual (27/39 on the sedan, 27/38 on the five-door), but not low enough to deter us.

But the Automatic Is Good, Too
If you want an automatic, though, you're not losing out on much performance.

The new six-speed automatic is locked up 88 percent of the time compared with 64 percent on the old five-speed automatic, a change that not only improves responsiveness but also contributes to a 7 percent improvement in fuel economy. The torque converter is only active below 5 mph, so it can be smaller, while the multiplate lockup clutch is much bigger — as is the torsional damper.

Another change is the adoption of a mechatronic module that combines the transmission's electronic and hydraulic controls in a single unit that Mazda calibrates to compensate for minor variations that occur on the production line. The result is a transmission that can rev-match a downshift and still give you a smooth upshift.

That's exactly what we get during an afternoon commute in an automatic 2012 Mazda 3. Downshifts are quick with this transmission, so quick that it's hard to imagine anyone paying more for an automatic-equipped s model with the 2.5-liter engine. Indeed, you'd have a quicker Mazda 3, but it wouldn't shift nearly as well. The automatic has a manual mode (push the shifter forward to downshift, pull back to upshift) but no shift paddles.

Mazda conservatively estimates that an automatic-equipped Mazda 3 with the Skyactiv-G engine will hit 60 mph in 9.6 seconds — significantly quicker than an automatic-equipped car with the 2.0-liter MZR engine (10.3 seconds). A manual-equipped Skyactiv-G car should be even quicker.

It's a Complete Package
Although the drivetrains are the main story on the 2012 Mazda 3, driving this car on back roads reminds us why it remains a favorite of ours in the compact car class.

Even the i Touring trim, with workaday P205/55R16 Bridgestone Turanza EL400 tires, has exceptional grip and balance through corners. Power steering assist remains hydraulic (albeit with an electric motor driving the pump) and the steering feel is beyond what any other automaker has achieved in this price range. Even with only 155 hp, the Mazda 3 is a purer sport compact than some other cars with 50-100 hp more.

The 2012 Mazda 3 is also an excellent value. Our manual-shift i Touring sedan has essentials, including a telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and an auxiliary input (a proprietary iPod cable remains a dealer accessory), and costs just $19,245 — right in line with a comparably equipped Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic or Hyundai Elantra. For the hatchback, it runs $19,745, which is $1,000 less than the cheapest 2011 Mazda 3 five-door (which only came with the 2.5-liter). And if you want the automatic, it's $850 more.

Although the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G will be the volume engine on the 2012 Mazda 3, the automaker isn't expecting an overall increase in Mazda 3 sales, which usually hover around 100,000 units per year.

This is too bad, because the fuel mileage is for real with the new drivetrains, and unlike most other approaches to maximizing mpg, they don't put a damper on the fun. Instead, it's quite the opposite. The Mazda 3 has never been better.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.

Used 2012 Mazda 3 Overview

The Used 2012 Mazda 3 is offered in the following submodels: , . Available styles include i Grand Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A), i Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A), i Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A), i Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6M), i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A), i Sport 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), i SV 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), i Touring 4dr Hatchback w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A), s Touring 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 5A), i Touring 4dr Hatchback w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6M), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 5A), i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 09/11 (2.0L 4cyl 5A), i Touring 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 09/11 (2.0L 4cyl 5M), s Touring 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6M), s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M), s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 5A), s Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6M), s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M), and s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Mazda 3?

Save up to $368 on one of 22 Used 2012 Mazda 3 for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $5,900 as of08/16/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from1 to 5 out of 5 stars.

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Mazda 3 trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Mazda 3 i Touring is priced between $5,900 and$10,820 with odometer readings between 1 and132343 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring is priced between $6,849 and$11,900 with odometer readings between 56142 and163480 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Mazda 3 i Sport is priced between $5,900 and$9,500 with odometer readings between 87970 and109420 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Mazda 3 s Touring is priced between $9,800 and$10,998 with odometer readings between 60993 and79892 miles.

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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Mazda 3 for sale near. There are currently 22 used and CPO 2012 3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,900 and mileage as low as 1 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 Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Mazda 3. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $368 on a used or CPO 2012 3 available from a dealership near you.