I own two Mazda 3s, a 2012 sedan and a 2014 hatch. The former is fine, but the latter is a nightmare. In two years and two months I own it, with less than 28000 miles on odometer, I have to pay more than $2000 for repairs and replacement of parts, not counting regular maintenance. Let me tell you what happened to this 2014 Mazda 3. Just in 3-5 months of ownership, two tires flatted. Dealer claimed they must hit something that I did not recall, paid more $300 for each tire. In the first annual inspection, I was told one of the lights was not working. It was repaired under warranty. At one and half years, I heard a wired sound from rear bottom. Dealer told me a structure broke, and it was not under warranty, paid more than $400 for repairing. About two months later, I heard wired sound from a rear wheel, dealer told me the two rear brake pads plus rotors need to be replaced, and it was normal for the car at the time with 27000 miles on odometer, paid more than $500 for the replacement. A short time later, one of the front tires flatted, dealer told, again, it must hit something and asked to replace two front tires, paid another $500+ for replacement. All of these happened in the first two years of a new car. It seems the tires on the Mazda 3 can only be used on mirror smooth surface, otherwise they will break. So much waste of money and time on travelling to Mazda dealer. Shame of Mazda! Such poor quality and reliability! Now I only hope to trade in the two Mazda 3 soon and never go back to Mazda any more.
The new car smell is long gone, the parking lot dings have all happened (I hope), and the first date is long over. I still love this car and want another (that's why I stopped in). I will tell you what lived up to promise, and what did not, after 3 years and daily 21 mile commutes each way, part of which is twisty mountain road, and part jammed SoCal freeway. The best features are the performance, reliability, looks and trim, storage area for a little car, and the little things like the HUD display and standard blind spot monitoring. I want to drive and this car lets me do it, whether playing F1 on the mountain curves, or shooting into that gap in traffic. Mileage is excellent especially considering that I drive like an adolescent. The car is for drivers. Little things that detract: HUD occasionally fails to stay up in cold (restart car), bluetooth occasionally comes and goes, nav is a bit lame, but I'd rather use my phone anyway (and the voice recognition/search is just ridiculous). I have not had bluetooth nightmares, perhaps it's more traumatic for some, restart usually solves. Dealer is usual POS but that's not brand specific. I still can't believe how much car this was for the money, and the Edmunds review that pointed me to it in the first place was spot on. If only I could find another s Touring model within a 4 hour drive... I think the 2.5l premium is totally worth it, but Grand Touring extras do nothing for me at the price point. The s Touring seems like the sweet spot for an aggressive commutemobile. I have not yet found another vehicle in class that delivers this much value for the $$$.
I would rate everything about this car higher than I had hoped, with the exception of road noise. The engine is extremely quiet, but noise from tires and wind reminds me that this is not a luxury car! But the quality and amenities are good, and reliability seems great. Acceleration is impressive, too, even with the 2 L.