2008 Mazda MAZDA3 User Reviews

2008 Mazda MAZDA3 Review Ratings

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Average Ratings from 88 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" 45 reviews
"power" 32 reviews
"handling" 31 reviews
"fuel economy" 31 reviews
"interior" 11 reviews
CONS
"power" 12 reviews
"fuel economy" 11 reviews
"tires" 4 reviews
"doors" 3 reviews
"small hatchback" 2 reviews

User Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 88 2008 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews.

David writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Hatchback Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Fun to drive

Cons

Needs more horsepower

55

Mazda 3 Five Door — I put off buying this car for two years but it was the best decision I have ever made concerning cars. It's a blast to drive, carries all of my friends when we go out, and looks sexy rolling down the road. I would recommend one of these cars to everyone I know.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Craig writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Review
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Daily Commute:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Handling:
Long Trips:
Maintenance Cost:
Price:
Power:
Reliability:
Safety:
Looks/Style:
Overall:
5

Pros

Just about EVERYTHING

Cons

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

185

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Daynaob writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Hatchback Review
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Handling:
Maintenance Cost:
Price:
Power:
Reliability:
Looks/Style:
Overall:
5

Pros

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
45

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Pete writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Grand Touring Hatchback Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Great Bose sound system and who can say no to 30 to 36 mpg on the highway?

Cons

Road noise is a little loud above 60 mph but not to the point where it is a big deal.  Poor stock tires.

75

Great Bang For Your Buck. — I bought my Mazda3 in July of 2008 after I had rented one when my previous car was in the shop. I immediately loved it. When one drives this car you get the sense of driving a race car while maintaining the funtionality and comfort of a 4- door sedan. I opted for the hatchback because this seems to increase this sport feel and look even more for me. The car is very well built in all areas. since this car is a 4-cylinder great gas mileage is assumed and maintenance is low but cost of ownership really depends on how you drive the car. My only complaint is about the stock tires. These are Goodyear Eagle RS-A's and are great tires is you area a fast aggressive driver, but poor for the rest of the world. I'm coming up to 13,000 miles and am already down to 7/32" and will have to replace them before I get to 15,000 miles. Other than that I am still completely blown away from this car. The inside lights up beautifully at night and on the outside you have HID headlights and LED taillights. this car is by far the best choice in its class. Oh and if you decide to buy it check out the Costco Auto program.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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nickdeo writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport Hatchback Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
4

Pros

Looks great and the 60/40 fold down seats are a snap to convert

Cons

Stereo feedback when using aux cable and charger simultaneously.

nickdeo
35

Great Versatile Car! — Great versatile car with good gas mileage. I am observing an average of 27 mpg with a low of 25 and high of 29. I need to take it in to check alignment and brakes as I am getting a jittering when I decelerate too quickly. It should be noted that I received a recall notice regarding power steering. I have yet to take it in and get it looked at. For those who want to use your mp3/iPod in the car, there is an auxiliary-in in the arm rest. However I have noticed that if you charge a device (I've tried two so far) using the cigarette lighter port and then plug in the aux cable I get an annoying feedback. I'm not sure if this is happening to anyone else.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Dylan writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 i Touring Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
3

Pros

Sweet inside AND out ...

Cons

Can be spendy

35

Me Likey ... But Without The Alloys And The Lower Height It Looks A Bit Goofy ... — Gas mileage is alrgiht (330 - 360 mi. on 13 gallions depending on how much pedal mashing I do). Insurance is ridiculous but that's on my speeding not the car. I love the Mazda 3 body style ... This is definitely the first car I've owned where I am DEFINITELY going to mod it ... stupid companies still make cars with no power locks ... THAT'S first ... but after that gotta change the color ... then I'll be able to get her some nice kicks ... but first things first ...

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Austin writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Touring Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Great overall vehicle

Cons

More power needed

45

2008 Mazda 3 — This is my current car and I love this one too. The performance of the car is pretty decent, it has a decent acceleration, has amazing breaking, rated first in its class, and the handling is very good as well. The build quality is very good. Its quiet, loud when i want it to be, and overall pretty cool. Only repair needed was the power steering pump system which was a standard repair for 2008. The appearance of the car is awesome. Its real sporty looking, and the interior of the car is also remarkable. The gas mileage is better than my Tacoma, but not remarkable better. All maintenance is covered by warranty. Overall the car is a great pick, and is awesome to drive. Its a great drive and I fully recommend it.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Peter writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 i Sport Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

1/8" Aux jack and power in console, powerful acceleration, solid feel.

Cons

Mileage is bad for a car in this class, charging while playing iPod on Aux causes nasty buzz.

35

Mazda3 Base Model — Champagne/tan with black and tan interior. Bra on the front, standard Mazda accessory. 2.0L 4-cyl automatic trans, stock, no frills. Base model. For now. Zippy enough, even for a daily driver, but I really am hoping to get the 2.3L from the Mazda6 put in. This car puts me in-line with the Mini, without the childish "we're a fast car" British ego. Triptonic manual is fun but useless with a 4-speed car. Thank god for the aux jack and power adapter in the console!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Lee writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 i Touring Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Fuel efficient, zippy performance, nice styling

Cons

Can only afford ONE

45

Mazda 3 — Fuel efficient, reliable, nice styling, somewhat sporty, fun to drive factor of 10 in this price category! Small enough for ALL parking spaces but big enough for 4 average adults.....AND it has a trunk for groceries! Had a 2006 that got totaled, and the 2008 is an improvement in almost every way. Mazda 6, you're our next target!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Anthony writes:
2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Grand Touring Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Everything

Cons

None

45

2008 Mazda 3 2.3s Gt — Ive owned the car for a year now. Every time I look at it, turn the key, and stomp on the pedal it makes me as happy as it did the day I drove it off of the lot. It has physical and power appeal. Its quick (2.3S) but not a gas guzzle (30+ mpg), roomy but not a boat, and elegant yet subtle.

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 88 2008 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

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

Cool, Fun And Utilitiarian But Pricy By abdullahhusen

The car simply looks fantastic from every angle. It also drives very smooth. Great suspension and chassis that provides a lot of road-hugging confidence at high speeds. It gives you the confidence tha... Read More

Read all 2014 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

2013 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

This Car Is Outstanding In Every Way! By WWEATH

I love the gas mileage and handling of this car. I was surprised by the amount of room and the great sound system. It has the convenience package which is nice for keyless entry and locking as well ... Read More

Nice By Kelly

this is an nice car sporty feel, but No power Locks geez 2013 haha but pwr Windows. the price is alright but seriously you gotta pay more for better stuff, iSV- pwr windows,mirrors steering and co... Read More

Read all 3 2013 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

2012 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

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

Zoom Zoom With Some Issues That Can Easily Be Overlooked. By mikeandmelaniem

As stated car is really fun to drive--though it would be better if I had more room. Smooth shifting six speed manual transmission. There is a little road noise, but overall the ride is faily comfort... Read More

Read all 12 2012 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

2011 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

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

Black 2008 Mazda3 Hatch By pcrtr83

Great car! Bought it new and have never had an issue with it! Would highly recommend Mazda! Have added an aftermarket head unit with Nav and Bluetooth and tinted the windows. Has the 2.3L in it an... Read More

Read all 10 2011 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Reviews

Fun Car By CuervoPadre

Good gas mileage, but the acceleration is a little weak as a result. Braking and handling are very good. Handling in the snow was great, especially considering it is FWD and not AWD. only routine m... Read More

Pleasantly Surprised! By tim_nab

I'm so glad I bought this car. Handles really well and feels like a sports car yet the MPG is that of a much smaller more innocent looking vehicle. The internal features with blue tooth for audio str... Read More

Read all 28 2010 Mazda MAZDA3 reviews

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