The Mazda3 is among the most well-rounded models in the small car category. It is quieter, rides more comfortably, and is more agile and fuel efficient than its Protegé predeccesor. Moreover, it returned very impressive fuel economy, especially for a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle with an automatic transmission. The Madza3's very good interior quality stands out in a category where many vehicles are cheaply finished.
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"1. needs a delicate start, too much gas will put the car into overdrive. However when necessary overdrive a useful feature. 2. goes up steep hills more slowly than I want, but I chose the smaller engine. Otherwise I think accelaeration and handling is excellent."

Anonymous, OR (2008 Mazda 3)

"Excellent acceleration, handling and gas mileage in such a small car."

JON R., IL (2008 Mazda 3)

"I had more maintenance issues with this car than than other cars of the same mileage, such as cooling system leaks, thermostat failure, struts and shock absorber, check engine light, and the repair cost is higher than other brands."

LUISITO C., CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Drives, accelerates, and handles excellent"

Anonymous, CO (2008 Mazda 3)

"acceleration problems. It stumbles on acceleration from a stop."

HENRY M., MA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Great car to drive. Not quick but sure-footed even on ice (with proper tires). Handles very well and steering is very responsive."

DARIUS K., MB (2008 Mazda 3)

"Major vibration that dealer can not identify."

DONNA D., PA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Excellent handling. High level of road noise at highway speeds"

Anonymous, OH (2008 Mazda 3)

"It's peppy. The zoom zoom factor is nice."

VIRGINIA J., WA (2008 Mazda 3)

"They should make it easier to change cabin filter."

RUSSELL R., KY (2008 Mazda 3)

"Fun to drive. Very sporty and enjoyable. Road noise can be annoying. Needs better noise insulation. It meets my transportation needs and is very reliable"

ROBERT M., GA (2008 Mazda 3)

"The Mazdaspeed 3 sub-model has great acceleration, cornering, and braking. It's very fun to drive and can be thrown through corners like it's nothing."

SCOTT S., KY (2008 Mazda 3)

"The turbo is the power."

Anonymous, OR (2008 Mazda 3)

"I really enjoy the handling of this vehicle. Sometimes when putting the pedal to the metal, there is a second or two of acceleration lag. The handling is superb on winding roads, I really enjoy it."

Anonymous, VA (2008 Mazda 3)

"For a 4 cylinder it has great acceleration and turning radius is incredible."

JOHN H., SD (2008 Mazda 3)

"More than adequate acceleration from 2.0 4 cylinder. Steering and road handling very good and sporty feel."

BERNARD W., NJ (2008 Mazda 3)

"Great little car that handles well. It's just a little too noisy."

CARL R., WI (2008 Mazda 3)

"Fun to drive. Great acceleration and handling while still having excellent fuel economy"

KENNETH S., MO (2008 Mazda 3)

"Smooth engine. Great acceleration."

MARK M., IA (2008 Mazda 3)

"A poor man's BMW. Fun to drive"

BRIAN G., BC (2008 Mazda 3)

"Decent acceleration and handling. I don't much like how/when the automatic transmission shifts."

MICHAEL L., CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"The most fun car to drive. Excellent handling with combined excellent reliability. Perfect mix"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Confidence inspiring handling and acceleration. Not the fastest, but handling is excellent."

Anonymous, NC (2008 Mazda 3)

"Excellent power, acceleration and handling. It embarrasses other, more expensive cahrs."

SCOTT L., GA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Light car with excellent steering and suspension tuning make for agile in city driving."

MICHAEL D., WA (2008 Mazda 3)

"I have had this car on several road race tracks and found the acceleration and handling fantastic for the price competing with cars that cost twice as much. It also looks very "normal" for everyday use."

MARK H., CT (2008 Mazda 3)

"I have the Mazdaspeed3 model & the performance is outstanding. Good accleration, brakes,, steering, gear selector. The clutch is bad. Not feel as to when the engagement point is reached. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm learning how to drive a stick again. Very hard to drive smoothly in the city. Ride on rough roads is harsh. I avoid cracked roads & pot holes as much as I can. Dashboard creaks when the temps drop down into the 60s or lower. Some controls are not logically placed. The trip com"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Acceleration is surprisingly good."

MICHAEL B., WI (2008 Mazda 3)

"Acceleration with A/C turned on is a little sluggish."

Anonymous, PA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Fun cart. drive . Very ninbal . Took dealer over a month at the shop to fix Power Stearing Failure. At 130, ooo mi there was a break senor Failure that caused the cruise control to try and stop you from slowing down when breaking. Almost crashed on the highway. I used the clutch to slow down until I figured out what was happening. I replaced a $15. oo part and all is good."

Anonymous, NH (2008 Mazda 3)

"My Mazda has great acceleration. I get about 30 miles a gallon on the highway.. Turns with ease. My 2008 model does have some road noise which I did not realize when I was buying it because I had driven a convertible for almost 25 years. I do wish it was a tad taller because I can loose it in a parking lot."

DORIS N., TX (2008 Mazda 3)

"I did a lot of highway driving and it was great at acceleration for passing and had tight firm steering for the constantly changing flat, hills and curves in rural area."

Anonymous, SK (2008 Mazda 3)

"1. Handling; 2. Acceleration; 3. Styling; 4. Base price features. 2. Bad: Nothing"

BRUCE P., OH (2008 Mazda 3)

"Car drives and handles almost as well as luxury, sporty cars."

L D., WV (2008 Mazda 3)

"Just a little background: for years I bought used cars, and was not looking for a Mazda when I tried out a then-three-year old 2001 Mazda Protege. In minutes I was surprised by its excellent handling. After three years with that one, I purchased the 2008 which I now drive, new, the first new car I have had since the late 1960s. The car still feels young (at 137K miles)."

TIM S., NY (2008 Mazda 3)

"My Mazda is a speed3. It has always had quick acceleration, and I haven't noticed any drop off in that regard - despite having approximately 58,000 miles."

R K., FL (2008 Mazda 3)

"Very precise, easy handling. Acceleration is excellent considering engine size, and handling is precise."

ALBERT B., CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"It both accelerates and handles better than anything else I have driven in this class. Very predictable."

MELVIN M., OH (2008 Mazda 3)


Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Seats comfortable, good overall driving position. Noise level is ok for car in this price range. Ride comfort very good for car in this price range. However the Achilles Heal of this vehicle is ver weak AC. Difficult to cool vehicle off on hot days. Air flow and cooling capability even at highest fan output is sub-standard. Vehicle refrigerant, compressor and all climate controls have been thoroughly checked both at Mazda dealership and independent mechanics. All have stated it is known fact tha"

BERNARD W., NJ (2008 Mazda 3)

"Harsh ride. Replacement shocks were better, went up 1 size in tires also helped."

Anonymous, SC (2008 Mazda 3)

"The ride is firm but that what makes the car handle so well. Road noise is intrusive if you're not listening to the car stereo. Although the noise does not effect having a conversation at normal levels"

RICARDO H., IL (2008 Mazda 3)

"The cloth seats have a cheap, industrial feel. The AC is under powered, and struggles in hot conditions."

CONRAD P., KY (2008 Mazda 3)

"The air conditioner is weak, adequate but weak. The dash lighting (red) is impossible to see in sunlight. All four windows stopped working. I only repaired one for $700.00"

IAN S., FL (2008 Mazda 3)

"Seats are very comfortable. Ride is somewhat firm, but well controlled. Too much road noise -- quiet tires make a huge difference in comfort in this car. AC is not very effective."

Anonymous, NC (2008 Mazda 3)

"very noisy...would not buy another Mazda because of inside noise. Seat are not very comfortable."

Anonymous, AB (2008 Mazda 3)

"I'm 6'2" and have trouble fitting in a lot of smaller cars, but I fit very comfortably in my Mazda. I never feel cramped."

JAMIL N., MD (2008 Mazda 3)

"liked the style and décor. I don't like the new body style compared to this one"

JIM R., TX (2008 Mazda 3)

"definitely prefer leather seats"

Anonymous, IN (2008 Mazda 3)

"Only drawback in this area is too much road noise in the cabin."

Anonymous, OH (2008 Mazda 3)

"Car is too noisy on the highway. Lots of road noise. Also, the rear wheels have aggressive camber that can't be adjusted. As a result, the car eats tires--they wear quickly and unevenly resulting in yet more road noise and vibrations. I was fastidious about rotating tired every 5k Mike's or less but didn't help much..."

Anonymous, CT (2008 Mazda 3)

"The AC is not very strong in hot weather"

Anonymous, CO (2008 Mazda 3)

"Seems to have a lot of road noise."

Anonymous, WA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Seats are comfortable, climate control is good--had to replace fluid once. The ride is OK, nothing special. The road noise is terrible."

Anonymous, IA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Very stiff and noisy ride from the beginning; useless to play radio or music and harder to hear each other than in most cars"

Anonymous, NY (2008 Mazda 3)

"Very Bad Road Noise"

VIRENDRA G., ON (2008 Mazda 3)

"Transmission is smooth. Road noise is prevalent inside could be more quiet. Color or dash lights at night is disgusting RED. Seat are some what comfortable. Acceleration is very good.and it is a fun car to drive. It has good A/C ."

RUSSELL R., KY (2008 Mazda 3)

"Best bang for the buck with this car. Performance is stellar and handling is unexpectedly great. Solid throughout, however an annoying rattle has surfaced that me or my mechanics have been able to trace. The car still drives well."

SCOTT L., GA (2008 Mazda 3)

"The road noise was always pretty loud and has gotten worse over time. Can be tough to take on long trips."

Anonymous, MA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Rear passenger seats are a little cramped. The front driver and passengers out of courtesy move their seats forward. I am 5' 9" and my accelerator leg rides on the the console."

Anonymous, WA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Biggest factor is road noise."

GORD P., BC (2008 Mazda 3)

"The seats are very comfortable on a long trip. The air conditioner was a disappointment in that the compressor quit after less than 13000km which I have not experienced in most of my cars at that mileage. The bill was over $1000. The road noise and ride are a little loud compared to other cars."

Anonymous, ON (2008 Mazda 3)

"One of the main reasons for the purchase was the driver's seat. Felt higher than other brands. Could see better & easier to get in & out of car. However noise level is terrible & front radio speakers are aren't very good. Rear are better. Ride is not bad for car size."

Anonymous, OH (2008 Mazda 3)

"Seating position low and a bit cramped - I am 6'3""

Anonymous, MA (2008 Mazda 3)


Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"Reliable, maneuverable, good performance. Sound system great."

JOHN H., SD (2008 Mazda 3)

"Car provides a lot of high quality extras in a vehicle that handles well."

L D., WV (2008 Mazda 3)

"The Mazdaspeed3 sub-model is a lot of performance for the money, and is comparable or slightly cheaper than most other competitors (Golf GTI, for example)"

SCOTT S., KY (2008 Mazda 3)

"Best car I've ever owned. This was a car built to last with low maintenance requirements. It is refreshing to know this car will start and run flawlessly. Never let us down in 8 years and 122000 miles."

PATRICK H., MO (2008 Mazda 3)

"great value"

JIM K., CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Price and performance (handling and acceleration) are the best in the class. You get features in a Mazda 3 that come standard in the base price that others charge as options. A joy to drive and super reliable. Just doesn't have any problems. Will always own a Mazda."

BRUCE P., OH (2008 Mazda 3)

"The Mazda 3 has been very economical to own: doesn't use much gas, has not had any mechanical problems and on-going maintenance costs are low."

KIRK D., ON (2008 Mazda 3)

"The car has been reliable. Needs a more powerful/ economical engine."

Anonymous, VA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Car is basic model. Very few electric controls. Love it..."

Anonymous, CT (2008 Mazda 3)

"When I purchased in 2008, the price was very reasonable for an almost fully-loaded automobile at just over $2000 Canadian. There were some unexpected repairs not covered by warranty but over-all, because of the handling and performance, we are generally happy with the car. The fuel consumption is quite good. I intend to buy another Mazda 3 when interactive cruise control is available in Canada on that model."

Anonymous, ON (2008 Mazda 3)

"Good value for money"

Anonymous, CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"It was an inexpensive car and continues to drive well. But there is not much storage capacity and it has required a number of small repairs, the cost of which has mounted up."

Anonymous, CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"I feel that I got high-end car features (auto-lights, auto-windshield wipers, heated power-seats, etc...) in a mid-priced car."

MATTHEW L., CA (2008 Mazda 3)

"Getting the leather interior as well as anti-locking brakes and nice wheels for the price was stellar."

VIRGINIA J., WA (2008 Mazda 3)


How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"My only issue with styling is the design ("rake") of the windshield, which results in the car interior heating excessively in the sun"

Anonymous, CT (2008 Mazda 3)

"Love the styling inside and out. Don't like the sudden appearance of rust."

DARIUS K., MB (2008 Mazda 3)

"I just told you!"

Anonymous, CT (2008 Mazda 3)

Would you buy this car again?

2008 vehicles
Ford Focus
Honda Civic
Hyundai Elantra
Mazda 3
Nissan Sentra
Smart ForTwo
Subaru Impreza
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius
Toyota Yaris
Volkswagen Jetta
Percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again. Owner-satisfaction Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered "definitely yes" to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?". If we don’t have sufficient data, a similar model might be used to form the owner-satisfaction score.
Change Vehicle