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  • Build quality; ride & handling; smooth drivetrain
  • Road noise; strange looks

9 / 10

Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
by Karl Peskett

You’d be smiling too if you were a 3

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Mazda 3 Maxx; 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, petrol; five-speed automatic; sedan – $27,050*

Okay, okay, let’s start with the obvious – the Mazda3 has a big smile. It’s kind of a goofy grin, too, with the numberplate causing it to look a bit like it’s buck-toothed. Bugs Bunny smiley face or not, this is one of the best small cars going around. Will buyers look past its looks? The sales figures seem to indicate that they will.

Just last month, for example, the Japanese company sold 2900 Mazda3s in Australia, giving it a 15.5% market share for the highly competitive small car under $40K segment. So what’s all the fuss about? We asked Mazda for a week in the Maxx model to find out.

We were handed an automatic, and as we’d driven the manual in our SP25 we had a few weeks ago, it was interesting to see if it’s worth the extra to lose a third pedal. It is and it isn’t.

The ‘box itself is very good, slurring and covering changes very nicely. It holds onto the gears at full throttle, making the most of the power curve. On part throttle, it quickly jumps to the higher gears conserving fuel, which is also helped by carrying five ratios to choose from, compared with six speeds in manual guise. The spread of gears in the “Activematic” – Mazda-speak for auto – works well with the free-revving engine. There’s a slightly short first gear, to help get things going, with the following ratios evenly spaced. The transmission is excellent.

Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review

So what’s the issue? There’s a little indicator panel between the speedo and tacho that lets you know the transmission selection is. P for park, D for drive, and so on. The problem is not the panel itself, but the colour that’s been used.

It’s a reddish-orange, and when it’s set to D, because of the way the LCD numbering system is set up, it’s a roundish sort of shape. While you’re driving and looking ahead through the windscreen, your peripheral vision notices a reddish-orange round light on the dash. Damn, I’ve left the handbrake on – wait, no, it’s just in drive. Several kilometres down the road, you’re ignoring the light, but in the back of your mind, you still think it’s a warning light. Throughout the week, I found myself constantly looking down, checking this warning, only to be reminded it’s just the auto-selection panel (see below; imagine yourself in the driver’s seat, staring at that for a week – or the term of the lease).

Now, if it were green, or blue, this wouldn’t be an issue, and maybe I’m making a big thing out of nothing, but it was quite distracting. Thankfully, it’s about one of the few negatives with the car. The rest of the cabin is brilliant. The dash materials are very nice, almost Civic Type R in layout, as it’s quite driver focussed. The seats are very good, not too flat, with a nice cloth trim.

Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review

The controls are all nicely laid out, and the brakes are decent. The steering is good on the whole, though mid way through the lock on each side, while on a long sweeper or cloverleaf, it loses feel, but around centre, it’s crisp and well weighted. As far as a driver’s car goes, the new Mazda3 is very good.

It tackles directional changes with a little roll, but remains unfussed, taking undulations in its stride. There’s no crash from the suspension over broken tarmac, and while it’s not an MPS model, there’s enough firmness to inspire confidence when heading out on country roads. With a load, it does soften a little, but it is a small car, so you probably wouldn’t be stuffing five people inside. Small kids are fine, but anyone over 14 would start to struggle on long trips.

If you did decide to load it up, it would probably get a little squashy in the back, but for room and for the size of the car, Mazda has packaged it well. The boot on the sedan offers enough space with more room than the hatch (430 litres versus 340 litres), the rear seats are still comfortable and the smoothness of the ride helps to keep the cabin a fuss free place to be.

But the interior has one failing that looks to be carried over from the previous model. Road noise. Especially on coarse-chip surfaces and at higher speeds, the drumming inside the cabin continues, albeit a tad more muted that the previous Mazda3. More attention to acoustic attenuation would be nice, though most people might not care.

Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review

It’s a cliche, but it’s the sort of car you call “zippy”. There’s plenty of mid-range torque to keep the car spooled up and responsive. It revs cleanly to its limiter, and even from a standstill doesn’t bog down and low to middling revs. It has enough power for everyday applications, it threads through inner-city traffic with ease. It’s unique in its looks and is built to withstand the daily grind. I’d still pick the manual, as it’s quicker, two-grand cheaper, and it uses less fuel (7.9-litres/100km, versus 8.2-litres/100km).

Importantly, the Mazda3 Maxx comes with excellent safety features, such as six airbags (two curtain bags, mind you), ESC, ABS, collapsible steering column, and active head restraints. It’s a shame the base Mazda3, the Neo, misses out on some of this, though you can pay an extra $500 for side and curtain airbags in a “safety pack”  – it is worth it.

The next step up is the Maxx Sport, which costs $27,690. This gets you bigger wheels, a mild body kit, Bluetooth and sat-nav. For the price, if you were considering a Mazda3, this would be the one to go for.

While there’s nothing about the Mazda3 that would hand it a clear lead over its competitors, the Golf, Impreza, Corolla and Focus – each has its strong points – the Mazda3 is a great alternative for those who want a small car, but still enjoy attacking the twisties every now and then. There’s enough “zoom-zoom” to keep driving enthusiasts happy.

Mazda3 Review
Mazda3 Review


CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:

Mazda3 Review
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  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
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  • t

    man that sure is one UGLY car

    mazda and subaru having an ugly competition right now?

    • Hazyman

      couldn’t be more agreed.
      how can you tell the differences from last generation?

  • Jake02

    The only vehicle of which i’d take the sedan over the hatch – god it’s good-looking at the back! The sedan’s rear-seats also fold near-flat whereas the hatches’ don’t. But the smile only makes sense on the MPS in that it has the performance to match it’s massive smile. What about an MPS Sedan Mazda? 😀

  • Goodfa

    That front reminds me of the Joker out of Batman

  • MACCA19

    The movie “cars” came to life!!!

  • adam (aka mada)

    Can’t be that repulsive to the punters, it’s selling well. Then again if you buy a car based on looks alone you deserve to be silly.

    • crusin

      That is true but any reasonable punter is going to want performance, features AND looks. I guess 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!
      Fair to say some people will probably think it looks good. However going off the comments here, not too many CA readers rate it.

  • TSI

    hey caradvice, how about comparison mazda3 vs VW golf..

    • Martin

      I’d think the Golf would end up on top anyway.

      • Allan

        Yeah, it would.

        But Golf has a reliabilit issue…..

      • Alex

        The 3 has been pitted against the Golf in about ten different magazines and many different websites already. Is there really much point in CA doing one too? The fact is that the Golf wins very nearly all of these contests and the only ones that the Mazda wins are the ones where the reviewer has a soft spot for value and has the misguided idea that the Golf will be a reliability liability.
        The Golf is a better car and the technology (TSI engines for instance) is years ahead of Mazda. I’m not saying the Mazda isn’t a great car, but the Golf gets heaped with praise for a reason.

        • ZX10

          The TSI seems like a wonder of technology but if you look even on this site’s review of the new Golf you will see lots of owners have compained about problems with the TSI.
          I personally prefer the Golf (looks a million over the grinning fool mazda) but I would steer clear of VW petrol engines altogether.

    • Frenchie

      Throw in the subaru as a comparision aswell, it is around the same price.

      • davie

        Nope, Suburu is a mostly great car but it simply doesn’t stand a chance.

        Impreza has a simply awful extra-wide-ratio 4 speed auto.

        Each ratio is about 20 miles apart from the next. The torque converter spends too much time slurring and hiding the massive gaps between ratios.

        It blows my mind that Subaru have had a really nice 5 speed auto for the last 4 years (and now a CVT) and yet they persist with this abysmal piece of junk auto, probably to save a few bucks.

        Surely if they ramped up production of the 5 speed in all subarus the unit cost would come down…

      • Andrew M

        The subaru loses by a mile.

        Its my biggest disappointment in the class.

        Gutless, extremely poor road feel and very cheap interior doesnt win my vote

        Get a Lancer over the Impreeza anyday

      • bryan

        mate we are not comparing the ugliest cars on the planet here..

  • Ghetto Driver

    One thing I’m really curious about is if the front of this car is still prone to scraping the curb like the previous generation.

  • Brad

    Where is the engine temperature gauge? Have i missed it?

    • ZoomZoom

      Its been replaced by a blue light indicating cold and a red light indicating hot. Most car manufacturers have started using this now

  • Num1ber

    Is it me or everyone that works at Mazda must have a smile on their face, check out that gril…its disgusting

  • crusin

    I think the grin will go in the next model.

  • AAA

    Stup!d grin. That’s why it’s selling a lot less than the previous model.

    • ZoomZoom

      “Almost 2,900 new Mazda3s were sold in August, up 7.6 percent on the same month last year.” quote from Mazda
      Its nice to know how well informed some people are these days

      • ZX10

        let me see………….
        August 2008 – something about a Global Financial Crisis I recall.
        Compare any model’s sales against the same time last year and see if there isn’t a positive change. Particularly in countries with “cash for clunker” programs.
        I think in seasonally adjusted terms this will likely sell less – time will tell.

      • AAA

        The previous Mazda3 occasionally out sold the Corolla. A new model should sell more. But not this new M3, selling way less than the aging Corolla.

        • Mark

          You’re wrong AAA – the Mazda3 has never outsold the Corolla, and it never will, simply due to the fact that such a huge number of Corollas go to fleets, while Mazda mostly sell to private buyers. In terms of overall market share, the new model is doing WAY better than the previous one. The Mazda3 currently has a 4% share of the total Australian market – that’s 1 in 25 cars sold being a Mazda3! The previous model’s best was 3.4%, in 2006, and 3.3% in 2005, 2007, and 2008.

          • AAA

            For a couple of months each year, the previous M3 out sold the Corolla.

  • nothanks

    How can noisy car gets four and half stars? Are you kidding me? NVH is one of the most critical factors in terms of judging good car or bad car…so should get three and half stars..

    • AAA

      I’ve got a Mazda, it buzzes and it’s a lot noisier than my other cars.

    • Blue is My Color

      When the evaluator gives the car 4.5 stars despite the noise, it implies the other features more than compensate for the noisiness. If you are so fond of telling the car reviewer how many stars to give, set up your own goddamn website.

    • Myke

      The NVH is not that bad, I didn’t think it was that bad on the old model either. It depends where you drive, but suburbia and the city its fine.

  • Fasthonda

    I’m still not liking the “smile”.
    The 2nd picture shows up the wheels as being way too small for the wheel arches.

  • Glen

    Howdy Folks

    I had a new 118TSI Golf for three months, it was a complete and utter disaster (refer the Golf 118 TSI First Steer review). I traded it in on a new SP25 and I’m not in the slightest bit sorry for having done so. The Mazda is a very well put together car. The smiley face is growing on me, and I guess I didn’t really want a car that looks like every other mainstream hatchback anyway. The Mazda 3 has character and it looks like someone has spent some time designing it. Having said that, I liked the look of the Golf too. My new Mazda performs well and seems to be quieter than the Golf.

    All I can say is Zoom Zoom!

    • quiet1


      How is your Mazda3 SP25 quieter than a 118TSI golf????

      You would probably be the first one to say that!!!!

      • TSI

        YEP! HOW is that possible?
        Golf VI is the quietest golf ever make but Mazda3 has lot of complain about NHV….

        • Glen

          it just is….

          sure the golf was quiet but i don’t think the mazda 3 is any noisier… i noticed a lot of windscreen wind noise in the golf and that was supposed to be the bit of the car they improved the most….

          VW can tell you whatever they like about what their cars are supposed to do, but speaking from experience the golf 118TSI that i had was a heap of junk….

  • Andrew M

    Im surprised by the heavy critics on road noise.

    I never compared the Golf back to back with it, but I must say I didnt find it that bad, and improvements on the new gen over the old gen to me seem to have helped

    I dont know why there is a big fuss about it

    • Marc

      I think the reviewer said that most people wouldn’t care, although it’s there.

      • Andrew M

        yeah fair enough, but people are just going to town on something not much.

        If people reckon this car only deserves 3.5 stars, then the competition only deserves 2.5

  • Paula

    I own a 07′ Mazda3, I love cars and I love my Mazda. when the 2010 came out I run to the Mazda dealer and looked at it there’s justa few changes, I wasn’t super impressed I think I like my 07′ a lot better, the vehicle drives awesome, the space is not bad at all for being a small car. I do understand about the road noise but it is a low car… and all you have to do is turn the music up on it cause it does have the best sound system there is.

  • Insider

    I think the styling is edgy. Sure beats the ultra-conservative styling of the Cruze. Interior design beats anything else in this category hands-down as well.

    • Goodfa

      I disagree. The CDX Cruze interior feels more upmarket than the 3.I sat in the 3 than the Cruze straight after and the Cruze interior was given the thumbs up by everybody that was there.The exterior was a split decision.

      • Andrew M

        The 3 has a much higher quality of feel though

        • Shak

          Not really if you take both at the same time as i have you will find the Cruze interior fells very upmarket. Makes the effort in the Commodore feel like a povo pack.

  • Safety Frist

    It surprises me that the vehicle got a good mark for packaging, when things like the smaller bodied Focus are similar for interior room yet have a larger boot!
    On the sizing front, possibly some of thebuyers turned away from this car are getting tired of their prefered vehicles getting bigger with every update? Face it the new 3 sedan is very close to the previous 6 sedan in external dimensions. Straght away you have lost a large slice of your buyer market, the retirees that live in over fifty villages with very limited driveways and small garages. Mazda isn’t the only manufacturer to be doing this but it is the latest, 6 is VZ size, 3 is 6 size the cars are now only small by name not dimension. Pehaps CA could do an article on how much the small and medium size cars have gotten larger and perhaps this is why some of the market has changed from the “traditional” large car buyers.

  • UK

    Over 3700 Mazda 3 were sold in June. So the “smiley” grin is not the problem.

    • Tinman

      Surely, you must mean “Registered”.

    • AAA

      Run out sales of the previous M3 model?

  • Jeff

    I don`t rate Mazda after my partners MX5 dropped a bearing and not to mention the budget feeling interior and crap stereo.

  • JooberGTI

    Good review, great car, the other great aspects outweigh the fact its noisy and got a dodgey grin :)

  • http://OzMPSclub.com OzMPSclub

    The new Mazda 3 has changed the outlook on small hatch/sedans with its fresh and bold look….it must be doing something right as its still selling well and take the Govo fleet sales away from the Corolla and the 3 would smash it in sales…

    I own an 08 Feb Mazda 2 Genki which I’m extremely happy with and have owned Mazda’s for over 25yrs with faultless and carefree motoring…zoom zoom Mazda the new look 3 is tops.

    • Hazyman

      are you from mazda dealer?
      it’s obvious you don’t have much experiences with other cars if you drive that a long time in mazda cars.
      get rid of your mazda and get some fresh air

  • Freddy C

    Those who insist this car is noisy obviously havnt driven it. I cant see how a golf is better than this at nearly 10k more to get the same level of packaging. It’s overwhelming success over the golf in sales should be a good indicator.

    • Safety Frist

      Just a note to your comment, the Mazda three is only an overwhelming success compared to the Golf “IN AUSTRALIA”. Now whilst that is pertinent to this site, it is also due to the fact that the exchange rates and tarrifs and premiums forced upon vehicles from Europe has more to do with their respective sales than the actual cars. I am not siding either way because both are good, but if the pricing was more on a level playing field then rest assured (like everywhere else around the globe) the Golf would outsell the 3 (and most others). Simplifying things into sales number meaning that the car is better would be saying that you believe the Getz is a better car than the Golf! And I for one don’t believe that you would truly think that.

      • Hazyman

        ultimate truth.
        i wish i were in germany for buying cars.

      • Tony

        Hmmm – how do cars from Europe attract higher tariffs in Australia then cars from Japan?? They are both foreign built and both attract a 5% import tariff (previously 10%)… What you are arguing for is an UN-level playing field, such as that seen in Germany, where the Mazda attracts a tarriff and the Golf doesn’t. Sorry mate, but unless the Krauts set up a plant in Oz, it’s not going to happen.

  • nothanks

    A noisy car cannot be a good car because a noisy car makes a car feel cheap and undone.. It also constantly makes a driver annoying and tiring… This sort of car cannot even achieve 3 stars in Korea. That’s reason why most Korean built cars are so quite. For example, 25,000 $ NF Sonata is Lexus like quite….Virtually silent…

    • Tinman

      You should be comparing Elantra/I30.Not Sonata.

  • Roman

    Parked my 07 Mazda 6 next to the new 3 on the weekend. Yes, there didn’t appear to be too much in the external dimensions of the two cars, but for my money, I think my 6 looks sleeker and sportier than the slightly bloated look of the new generation vehicles.

    • Simon

      Roman, totally agree. Good for resale no doubt :o)
      A college has bought the new 3 SP25 Hatchback in bright red. The interior is fantastic yet try as I will, I cannot find praise for the exterior!
      I want to test drive the new 6 TDI. I’ve read it covers 0-100 in low 8’s. Reasonable performance with excellent fuel ecconomy is a good formula in my books.
      I’m interested in knowing if the service intervals have increased to 15,000 and what spec oil they use. If they sell it with a decent auto they will instantly get market share as everything else in the 6 is bang on the money.

      • Simon

        A quick check – Mazda are still doing 10,000kms service intervals. This is a big negative for Mazda with lots of competitors doing 12,500 or 15000kms.
        This will also hamper fleet sales.

        • Safety Frist

          Makes you wonder why when the same engine used in Fords can be run to 15K intervals and the first major at 60K with timming chain checked at 240k. One tends to think that they actually don’t have faith in their engine builders. After all the last Fords to have 10k intervals have both been out of Mazda Factories. ie Escape and Ranger. Even Transit is 15k intervals and it’s diesel only.

        • Andrew M

          The oil in 4 cylinders is rooted at 10,000ks anyway.

          I think small car manufacturers are being optimistic to say 4 banger oil can go 15,000ks.
          Large 6cyl cars can go 15,000 no probs, and LPG motors even further, but 4cyl’s???? I dont think so tim…

          • Tony

            I have to agree with you Andrew – letting your oil chug around for longer than 6 months is a recipe for disaster in most cars anyway, even with the better oils going around. Why not spend the extra cash on changing your oil more often if it saves your engine in the long run? Or would owners rather do a rebuild/junk it at 150,000kms? It’s a simple equation in my book.

  • Freddy C

    Fair point on the sales. I admit that i do own a 3 and am slightly biased but then again i have driven both cars and a friend owns a golf. Yes the taxes are high but even for the same money, i’d have taken the 3 for many reasons. And believe me this new 3 is quite quiet. Suspension and ride is softer than 07 accord euro, has less tire roar and so far nothing is loose and making noises in the cabin even on uneven roads whereas the same cannot be said of the honda.

    • Fasthonda

      The Euro ’07 is a far better car than the outdated look of the 2009 Mazda 3.
      Everytime I see a so called hatch back’09 Mazda 3,I swear it seems like I’m looking at a very small station wagon.The wheels arches make the wheels look positively tiny.
      A few days ago I saw a ’09 MPS3(dark brown?) behind me on the way home.Although the dark colour negated the somewhat overbearing”smiling” grille,it had the presence of a corolla!
      I can see the re-sale value of these”smiling” cars taking a hit!

      • Tony

        One problem I have with a lot of comments here: if you are buying a car for resale value alone, then you are missing the point of buying a new car. If you want an investment, buy shares or property – cars do NOT make money; buy it, drive it, then sell it if you have to, but if and when you do you will always be taking a big hit if you bought new.

        • mr.trith

          NOT TRUE!!

          Yes, they do all go down…….BUT!

          By buying the *right* brand [ie keep away from the Koreans] you can in the same segement reduce your tear-up and by a good 25% too.

          ie A 2nd hand Corolla and Lancer and VASTLY worth more than a i30, Cerato etc

          Sure total life cost also incs. service, parts-prices, both the mentioned above Japanese have superior and also long warranty, so Lancer will win that


          • Tony

            Mr Trith, nothing you have said is factually wrong, but consider this: depreciation on a used Korean car will still be less than on a new Japanese (in fact, as new Koreans depreciate faster from new, the first owner has already taken a big loss for you if you are buying 2nd hand).

            Basically, I still have a problem with people going on about a new car as an investment. If depreciation is a big thing for you (i.e. you upgrade cars regularly) – then you have rocks in your head to buy a new one, regardless of make or origin.

  • Freddy C

    The honda costs twice as much. I was only raising the point of build quality in the mazda, which is comparable if not slightly better than the euro 07 in terms of road noise and tyre roar. Having owned the euro for 2 years now, i can say that it is a fantastic car. Just trying to say that the new 3’s NVH isn’t as bad as people may think rather than saying the mazda is better than the honda(it’s not). And also, the corolla is plain dull and bland whereas the 3 is at least trying to make an effort in styling. Besides, the mazda3 is better than the corolla is almost every tangible way.

    • JohnCCEdward

      Here is what people want to buy one would want to know:

      Mazda 3 – Comfort ride, solid build, nice interior (Everything is within reach, no stretching arms are required!)), fun and convenient Auto box (Auto, Manual or Semi-Manual) – Press down when going down hill and once you are up it magically shifts back to D?), drink petrol like water especially when Air con is on, occasional loud bumps (From suspension?) on extremly poor surface, get a sharp color if you really want to buy one (It really stands out).

      Golf VI – Stormy engine!! + use less petrol!!, lightning quick instant change gearbox (But no + – button on steering wheel), solid build interior (However looks a bit too classy for me), superb reverse aid (camera – integrated as part of the stereo system), better rear leg room, not as extraordinary looking as Mazda 3 (Can be good or bad), Reliability/maintenance of gear box a concern (Very expensive to maintain/fix) especially if you are planning to live with it for a long time, get a civilised color (Silver etc) if you really want to buy one.

      If you really want me to choose one:
      Mazda 3 is just a better daily commuter (For the price you pay and what you get).

  • Petra

    I have a New Mazda 3 Neo – DRIVER’S PLEASE BE AWARE- The air conditioning turns on automatically without the A/C orange light illuminating.
    I have the selection dial set to the face mode, air con button off, fan speed on 1 with outside air intake (the circulating button is not illuminated), when I turn the selection dial to the windscreen symbol the air conditioning turns on automatically (you can hear it click) without the A/C button illuminating orange and there is no way to turn off the air conditioning so you can just intake outside fresh air. When I press the A/C button it illuminates orange to say that the air con is turned on but when I press it again the A/C orange illumination light turns off but the air conditioning still runs.
    I have spoken to Mazda Australia but they said that’s how the feature is suppose to be (funny because the Mazda 6 has the same feature but the difference is that the A/C button illuminates orange to warn the driver that it has turned on automatically and when you press the A/C button is turns the air conditioning off to intake outside air). So if one model is capable of doing it why not the New Mazda 3.
    I did go back to my dealer and spoke to the salesperson and he was oblivious to this function and said that he would have to look into it, never heard back from him.
    As a loyal Mazda customer for the past 20 years, I am not too happy as how can air conditioning be automatically turning on without the relevant illuminating orange light on the A/C button coming on. When you turn on panel instruments all the relevant lights illuminate to tell you that this has happened so why not the above.
    Personally I think that this is a safety issue and Mazda Australia should be addressing it.
    Anyone with a New Mazda 3, post your finding is the above is applicable to your car too.

    • Tinman

      Dear Petra, there are people who can help you.They’re just not in the motor industry.

      • vid_ghost

        Petra, i thought this was strange too at first… but its nessasary for the AC to bring in new air from outside when you select the dymister option! When you change it back to one of the other normal setting like front vents you must press the recycle air ( inside air ) button back on otherwise you will still be sucking in fumes and exhaust from outside traffic smog..

        The rear dymisting button also has a Auto off after 5-10 minutes
        Most new cars use outside air for dymisting it just works better
        But its just how the car works… i suggest you read the manual like i did.
        Its still a very nice car i love my new gen mazda 3…

  • Allan
  • Ted

    On the weekend I drove both the SP25 and the Maxx Sport both auto. I found the Maxx Sport to be lively with more throttle response and quit inside. Ths SP25 sounded like a front load washing machine and I do not think the extra 3K is worth it for the SP25 – only thing I would like in the Maxx Sport would be the Auto A/C. The SP25 did not feel any quicker than the SP25 and this may be dues to the it being near 80kg heavier that the Maxx Sport. I think that Mazda needs to reduce litre size and add turbo / supercharger to smaller, fuel efficent engines – I also think that Mazda makes excellent Rotary motors and many years ago, I have a hand full of rotary models. (put a rotary in the 3) If Mazda made piston engines like Honda, then we would have a nice package.

    Thoughts anybody.


  • franz chong

    Don’t get me started on how the models got bigger with every update.I had a 2002 Mazda 323 Astina from 2002 to 2006 and I went out the minute the warranty expired on her for a replacement.The 3 was essentially too large for a tight garage.I drove a Mazda 2 and a Nissan Tiida The latter one being the closest I could get to a 3/Focus Class Car I ended up driving and buying.Now to look for a replacement in 2011.

  • Lisa

    am looking at buying a new holden cruze, anyone have advice on why i should get a mazda 3 instead?

    • nickdl

      The 3’s as safe, more reliable, more powerful, better to drive and better looking IMO than the Cruze. It’s also on par with standard features and space.

  • Al Juraj

    This car is really designed for the driver. They’ve carried on from the original to retain its sportiness. It turns almost like an expensive Euro yet with Japanese reliability. Interior quality has some plastics but not as bad as most of its rivals. The dash layout is also great, with mostly red backlight at night. They should start colour-coding the gear positions though. D should be green, R yellow or orange, then P and N red, something like that.

    The biggest downside is at the back. The rear doors look like an afterthought, very small which makes getting in and out of the car such a pain. The legroom is also atrocious even for not-so-tall adults. Mazda are too scared to gamble on a good recipe, but I think a couple more inches in length would have solved the problem without affecting dynamics.

    Other than this, it’s a great car. The smiling face isn’t to everyone’s liking, but it’s not SsangYong hideous. It would be interesting to see how the upcoming Ford Focus fares.

Mazda 3 Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$10,010 - $11,380
Dealer Retail
$11,470 - $13,640
Dealer Trade
$8,000 - $9,100
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
360Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
105kW @  3500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:900  Unbrake:550
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/55 R16
Rear Tyres
205/55 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System
Cruise Control, Power Steering
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Eng Scuttle
Country of Origin