2008 Mazda MAZDA3 User Reviews

2008 Mazda MAZDA3 Review Ratings

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Average Ratings from 89 reviews

  • Performance:4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars 4.2 / 5
  • Appearance:4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars 4.6 / 5
  • Build Quality:4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars 4.4 / 5
  • Overall: 4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars 4.6 / 5

Review Highlights Click to filter reviews below

PROS
"ride" 46 reviews
"handling" 32 reviews
"power" 32 reviews
"fuel economy" 32 reviews
"interior" 11 reviews
CONS
"power" 12 reviews
"fuel economy" 11 reviews
"tires" 5 reviews
"doors" 3 reviews
"small hatchback" 2 reviews

User Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 89 2008 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews.

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Review
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Pros

I love the look and feel of this car.  It handles better than most cars of higher price ranges and I love driving it.

Cons

Winters in Michigan can be tough and this car struggled a bit, until better tires were added.  Even then the car is very light and floats around on ice.

caseyking14
25

Sporty Feel, Great Gas Mileage, Quality Car — After about a year of owning the car I can say that I am happy with my purchase. The car looks great, drives like a top level car, and is filled with options. The car struggles a bit with heavy winter driving, but that was remedied partially with the addition of Blizzak winter tires. This car turns heads and is a riot to drive around any corner above speed.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Hatchback Review
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Pros

Great gas mileage, sporty, low cost of ownership

Cons

Leg room for someone over 6 foot

30

Sporty Daily Driver — This car has been to most reliable car I have ever owned! I had so many more corky issue with my Accord but this car since has had no issue other than wear items that need replaced. This is also a great car for hauling, traveling (especially with pets), and actually doesn't handle terrible in the snow. If you're looking for something fun but practical, this is definitely the vehicle for you!

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Touring Review
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Pros

Fun to drive, great handling.

Cons

Not that great on gas mileage

adamsonnett
65

Fun Car, Great To Drive — Loved the look and it was very comfortable. Suprisingly felt bigger than it actually was. The gas mileage wasn't as great as other smaller cars, but the tradeoff was the great ride and handling. Mazda ZOOM ZOOM for sure. Maintenance was low and when needed was very cost effective (always took to Mazda dealer). Great acceleration and braking. Felt very safe and in control at all times. Very fun to drive and was sad to see it go.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Review
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Pros

Just about EVERYTHING

Cons

The gas mileage isn't all that great and the A/C sometimes seems weak.

245

A Total Keep! — When in the market for a small car with big fun, you can't go wrong with a Mazda3. That's a big proclamation for sure, but it's also perfectly true in the case of Mazda's "compact" Mazda3. The 3 has been around for a few years, replacing the successful Mazda ProtegĂ©, but with a totally new style in 2004. The body style falls into (then) current Japanese styling cues, looking like a smaller version of the luxury Lexus IS-300 wagon. With smooth planes, sharp creases and rounded forms, the Mazda3 is a standout in the way it looks, as well as the way it drives and handles. The Mazda3 came in 2 body-styles (4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback or wagon) and with 3 different trim levels - the i-series (sedan only) and the S (Sport) trim for both the sedan and 5-door models, and the top- of-the-line MazdaSpeed3 hatchback only. In later years, other trim levels were added, including the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels, adding more equipment with each tier. Every year, the Mazda3 (and the related - and more powerful - MazdaSpeed3) gained small, subtle changes. 2008.5 (a Spring release) was no different. Initially, the Mazda3 was only available (in the US, anyway) with black cloth or leather interiors in the "S" or Sport level trims. But the new model offered a new interior color choice - Black Sand. This changed the color for the seat and door panel trim to a light beige tone, with color- stitching in some areas. Some of the dash & console trim was changed from a matte silver tone to a glossy "Piano Black" trim. The sporty cloth bucket seats hold you in place, with a great degree of adjustability. The driver's seat has controls for forward and back and to recline but also can raise (or lower) and increase the lumbar support with a few movements of the appropriate levers. The seats are well bolstered to hold you in place (along with the grippy fabric) and yet they never feel tight or confining. The rear seats include a fold-down armrest with cup-holders as well as a 60/40 split back for carrying larger or longer items in the rear cargo area and still allowing you to carry a passenger back there, as well. And a great feature is that the center shoulder belt can be tucked away into the headliner, so that it's not in the way when carrying those big items. Driving the Mazda3 is more fun than most economical compacts, with plenty of "oomph" to get you going. The 5 speed "automatic manual" transmission allows for driving fun or ease. Move the selector down to "D" and the car drives like any other automatic transmission. shifting up or down smoothly and quickly. Slip the lever over to the "M" setting, and you can control the shift points - up or down - allowing you more control and more spirited performance. The transmission works nearly flawlessly. Every once in a while, the computer doesn't register the "upshift" of the level when in "M" mode, leaving the transmission in the gear you were in, rather than the gear you want to be in. Unlike other transmissions of this type, you MUST shift the lever (and the gear), as the transmission will not. Forget you're in "M" mode and you can redline to your heart's delight and your transmissions detriment. The shift lever is topped with a leather wrapped & satin finished knob - meaty and easy to hold on to. The engine is one of Mazda's best, a large 2.3 liter 4 cylinder engine, rated as a PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) in California. With a decent amount of horses and torque released by the fuel injection, the car never seems to lag or be at a loss for power. Sure, you won't be eating 911s and Testarossas for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) but the Mazda3 can make a tasty snack out of much of the competition. The downside of this power can be seen in the gas mileage, rated at 29 EPA on the highway. Of course, driving with a heavy right food and the air conditioning on will drop those numbers into the middle 20-MPG range ... and occasionally a tad lower. The Mazda 3 is also a very safe car to drive, with a load of safety features as standard. The "S" trim level includes 4 wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and a plethora of airbags. Part of the 1/2 year change included the addition of side curtain airbags, running from the A-Pillar to the C-Pillar along the tops of the windows, as well as dual front and side impact air bags. The three spoke steering wheel also houses controls for the cruise control and auxiliary controls for the audio system, all within a leather-wrapped steering rim. The levers on either side of the wheel control the lights, turn signals, and front & rear wiper controls. The thick rim is leather wrapped and easy to grasp and hold onto when you're having fun on the twisty roads you will love to find in this sporty and powerful little hatchback. The steering column adjusts up and down (tilt) and also telescopes the wheel some, allowing for just about any driver to get a comfortable driving position and still have a great view of the gauge cluster. Those gauges are easy to read, sitting in 3 deep "tunnels" with a load of information. Dead center is the large speedometer with a 140 MPH top end. To the left is the tachometer with the 6500 RPM redline with the fuel gauge and temp gauge filling the right side. In the speedometer is a display of the gear the transmission selector is in, including the lights for the transmission mode (D or M as above) and a numeric display for the gear you're in (1 through 5). The odometer (with twin trip meters) fills in a corner of the right side tunnel, easy to see and read at a glance. Of course, the usual warning lights fill the blank spaces. A cool feature is the red back-lighting, as well as blue LED highlights. Another great feature allows for different levels of brightness to the cluster, controlled by both a push button and a dial to dim is all down if the red is too bright for you. All of the controls are easy to find, with the radio and outside temperature display right at the top of the center stack. Just below are the audio controls, The audio controls are relatively easy to figure out, with the main buttons across the top. then the CD slot for the single or optional multi-disc changer. Below this are buttons to preset your favorite stations, choose the band and more. The power and volume control is a big knob right in the center of the face. There are also auxiliary controls on the steering wheel for some functions. 2 more knobs just below control other functions, including the ability to control the "ambient lighting" for the unit, as well as controls for bass, treble, balance & fade and also for a function that can automatically adjust the volume based upon speed and ambient noise. Directly beneath are 3 big knobs for controlling the climate system's functions and temperatures, as well as 3 smaller buttons for A/C, recirculating air and the rear defroster. When you twist the vent control and the temperature knobs to the most left settings, the A/C and Recirculation system are automatically chosen for you. A nice feature when you just want REALLY COLD AIR. Of course, the air never seems to get "really cold"; at least not on really hot days in the desert areas of Southern California. The black-topped dash, door panels and luggage cover absorb a lot of heat through those nice big windows. The A/C system just never seems to cool the car down quick enough. On normal days, the A/C unit works well, taking the bite out of high-double digits. But once the outside temps hit triple- digits, all bets are off for quick and easy cooling off. Those big windows that let in the heat give you an impressive outward view. Unlike so many other styles of late, the windows are big and open and not "squished" in the side by deep and high beltlines. The only visibility issue can come from the triangular rear quarter windows. Oh, and speaking of windows, the Mazda3 is one of the very few small cars where the back door windows go all the way down. If you own one, I'd suggest a high-quality tinting job to keep some of the heat out. There are, of course, as will any small car, a large number of upgrades and modifications you can make, from swapping out the big 17" alloys to a larger size, performance mods and so much more that only the sky (and your bank account) is the limit. There are color choices to fit most palettes, with 8 color choices. The Galaxy Gray Mica has a bit of a "bronze" cast to the finish, providing a light color- change depending upon the lighting. Other colors include Black Mica, Copper Red Mica, Crystal White Mica, Golden Sand, Metropolitan Gray mica, Stormy Blue Mica and Sunlight Silver. Interior colors are the aforementioned Sand (beige) and Black in cloth and black only in leather. The 2nd generation Mazda3 (new for the 2010 model year) didn't have the same serious and sporty look, and had a bit more of a "cartoon character" appearance to the front fascia, enlarging the "smiling" grill. Some of the muscular curves got more muscular and some sharp creases went sharper. It was restyled to "tone- down" the cartoon-like look and get back to that more "serious sporty" look. The MazdaSpeed3 is much more aggressive in style, with deeper sills, moldings and the rear spoiler. Five years of ownership of my Mazda 3 have revealed no major issues - at all. Other than concerns about the sometimes low fuel economy and a seeming propensity for attracting dings in parking lots, I've not really had any issues with the car. The only issue I did have was repaired under warranty, after a few tries to diagnose the problem and find the true cure. When the steering wheel was turned to lock and the A/C was running, the vehicle could stall out and discharge the battery. The fault was found to be a wiring harness from the alternator to the power distribution center and battery. One other minor concern is that at times, when the wheel is turned to full lock, the electrical system seems a bit overloaded and the lights dim. It seems like the alternator and other parts of the electrical system just aren't up to snuff on the car. Same can be said for the power window controls - they pull a bit off the electrical system. Again, it's like the alternator just doesn't put out the volts that the car truly needs. Overall, I'd give the Mazda3 S 5-door a solid 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Cost of ownership (except for the gas) has been on the lower side of things, with easy maintenance and low costs. The original stock tires wore out a little quick (about 30,000 miles) but the front brakes went until over 40,000 miles of spirited driving, with a good mix of stop-n-go in-town driving. A total keeper!

Primary Use: Family transportation

3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Grand Touring Hatchback Review
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Pros

Sporty, agile, safety, reliable

Cons

As with any sporty car not the best in winter driving conditions

Jonesin
25

Great Car Overall — I loved the sporty performance and handling along with great gas mileage. It's a perfect size for a family of four and plenty of room for their luggage. We are no longer a family of four and I must say goodbye to a great car.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Hatchback Review
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Pros

This car is super stylish and although it is not a "fast" car, it has some spunk!

Cons

I have no complaints!

mhemby1
25

Great Car With Lots Of Style! — From the color to its sporty hatchback style, this car is great for someone who doesn't necessarily want a really fast car but wants style, comfort, and a decent amount of spunk and acceleration. It's fun to drive especially since this one is a 5-speed!

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Hatchback Review
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Pros

Its the perfect vehicle weather your going to work or going to the beach. If you like music then thats just another reason with about $1000s or more worth of music goodies w/ out the comprised look of a after market  head unit to throw off the dash and a new python security system just added all work done to this car was done by a professional as u can see in the pics.

Cons

I cant think of any I already upgraded the things i didnt like (ie) suspension is all new and lowered the tires made the car look less sporty so i bought high performance all weather tires most was done on the inside though

dito3319
25

A Perfect Starter (save Gas, Look Good, Lots Of Space, And Realiable W/ Security — Fun, safe, and smooth is just some of the few words i can use for this car I've taken very good care of this car very clean inside and out. Room for family and friends and great from home to school to work to where ever you want to go this car will get you there prepared.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Review
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Pros

good cruiser

Cons

handling is poor and not enough power

25

Average — after you install a sound system, depending on what subs you install. there may be not enough room for anything. for example 2 x 12" subs there is no room at all now. so watch out for boot space. other wise its an average car

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Review
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Pros

A stylish sedan

Cons

boot space.

35

Value For Money. — It was a stylish economy sedan, the best of its class, way ahead of its competition. it ran nicely but the suspension was firm for a small car like this. A reliable car, convenient and economic. the interior space was little to accomodate a family and the boot space was terrible.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Hatchback Review
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Best car I ever had.  I wish I didn't have to sell it.  It's my Baby.  :(

Cons

The only con I would say is that it isn't as great on gas as some of the other smaller cars but it definately goes Zoom Zoom!

Daynaob
55

Love It, Love It, Love It! — I don't think there is anything I didn't like about this car! Great look, great reliability, great pickup, great everything. I test drove the Honda Civic which is about in the same category. It was better on gas but this Mazda was wayyy much more fun to drive!

Primary Use: Family transportation

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 89 2008 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

2015 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

Outstanding Value And Quality, And Tons Of Fun To Drive. By rmichaels

There is nothing to dislike about this car. It comes with everything and has standard features you'll find as extras on more expensive cars. The car looks great and is a blast to drive. Be sure and ge... Read More

A Great Little Car By Lester

The car drives great, looks great, is put together great, gets great mileage, and we like it. We would have bought the 6 but it doesn't fit in our garage. It is a safe car too. Everyone likes the b... Read More

Read all 2015 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

Great Car, Fun To Drive, Excellent Fuel Economy By Tftignor

I wish I had gotten the next model up with rear view camera and fog lights. The light colored seat fabric shows stains easily. Wishing for leather too. All wheel drive would be nice but it would be mo... Read More

Great Car To Drive, But Terrible Communication/gps System By parleybee

This car is so much fun to drive! It's peppy, takes curves great and is very responsive. It feels like a heavy car (in a good way). The front cloth interior seats are handsome and pretty comfortable ... Read More

Read all 3 2014 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

2013 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

Great Car For The Money Probably Nothing Better By woody77black

i really like the handling of this car and the fuel economy as well, loved the manual transmission as it made the car fun to drive. Only draw back i have come to notice is the car can be a little loud... Read More

Great Small Car With Bigger Car Features And Performance By calcoastcars

First of all, the gas mileage is incredible. Having owned a Prius (that felt like a brick compared to this Mazda3), I do drive in a conservative manner that yields 35-36 mpg in my mixed highway/city d... Read More

Read all 5 2013 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

2012 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

Woohoo! By mazdaamanda

I love all the extras! It's completely loaded! Low miles, 2.5L Motor, great gas mileage. Handles great too! The blind spot detection is saving my skin too. I'm also loving the Bluetooth and Navigation... Read More

Better Than Basic Honda/toyotas By Sega2010

i like great fuel economy and sporty look i just want more room in the back seats for my growing family. other thank that you cant beat this car style with fuel economy and handling. you wont find oth... Read More

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2011 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

All Around Great Car By Jdays

Love the look of the car. Sporty. It performs that way as well. Super fun to drive. It's nimble and responsive in traffic. Easy to park, has held up really well with my two sons. The leather is nice ... Read More

Great For Those Looking For A Compact Car With An Edge By LeastCreative

After researching and test driving many different compact cars I narrowed the search down to a few Asian brands: Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Mazda. While all of the brands provided reliable vehicles w... Read More

Read all 11 2011 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

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