2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Overview

MAZDA3

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2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Overview

Available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback, the new MAZDA3 was introduced in 2004 as a replacement for the Protege. Designed for ZOOM-ZOOM driving, the sleek, sporty MAZDA3 was available in three trim packages equipped with engines that were both powerful and fuel efficient.

The entry-level MAZDA3i Sedan was powered by a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine. It came with a five-speed manual overdrive transmission, which was standard. A four-speed automatic was optional. While powered features such as windows and door locks were lacking, the i Sedan did come with air conditioning, dual airbags, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a lighted entry system, and a CD player. Not luxurious, but not too shabby, either.

Step up a notch to the four-door MAZDA3s Sedan or the five-door s Wagon (hatchback), and you get a more powerful 160-horsepower, 2.3-liter four cyclinder engine, with the same standard manual transmission or optional automatic. Standard features were bumped up a notch also, and included the aforementioned power windows and power door locks, plus power outside mirrors, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, sport seats, alloy wheels, and cruise control.

Generally, the MAZDA3 received high marks from drivers, who liked not only the car's sporty handling and peppy engines but also its relatively inexpensive cost. Both around town and on the highway, most drivers liked the MAZDA3's smooth ride, though some thought the suspension was a bit too stiff. Others noted problems with some interior appointments and a less-than-powerful air conditioner.

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