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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.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2011. Side air bags available from 2000. Head protection air bags available from 2004, standard from 2010. ESC available from 2007, standard from 2011. Blind spot monitoring standard on Touring and Grand Touring from 2012. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking available from 2014.
Road Test

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. However, rear-seat room and trunk space are relatively tight. The Mazda3 received a Poor rating in the IIHS side-crash test when configured without side- or head-protection airbags.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 4-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (148 hp)
  • 2.3-liter 4 (156 hp)
  • 2.3-liter 4 turbo (263 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2009 Mazda 3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“Car shook when at highway speeds. Mechanic drove it and could not find the problem (he did not drive at highway speeds). I took it to another mechanic who took the wheels off and he found two problems right away, the caliper on the passenger side front wheel and the ball joint”

Douglas Y., ON (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“WORN BALL JOINTS”

Anonymous, IL (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Dealer recommends replacing some steering bushings. I'll wait until they get worse. Getting near 100,000 miles, but I would expect these to have lasted a few more years before going (almost) bad”

Anonymous, TX (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

“Experienced a shock failure and also a crack in a coil spring”

Anonymous, PA (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Haven't fixed them yet, but the struts are leaking and the delear recommended replacing them for a lot of $$$. I'll wait till they get worse”

Anonymous, TX (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear shocks needed to be replaced. I've never had to do that on any car I've owned previously, even with more than 100,000 miles”

Anonymous, OR (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“When driving over small imperfections in the road the car felt as if it were floating, drifting a few inches sideways. Larger bumps were fine, and there was no problem with steering in general. But over small things the shocks and struts couldn't compensate”

Anonymous, IN (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear shocks were both in need of replacement”

Anonymous, NY (2009 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed 2.3-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Shocks had to be replaced because the driver's side had failed. Also, struts had to be replaced since one had frozen and the other was bent”

Crecensio M., NY (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“shock lost all fluid, again surprising at this low km”

Anonymous, BC (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear shocks wore out to the point of the car being dangerous to drive at around 40k miles. The front shocks are nearly gone at 50k miles. This seems much earlier than other cars I have recently owned, including Honda, Acura and Infiniti”

Dave R., MA (2009 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed 2.3-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Right rear strut leaked all hydraulic oil not as a result of damage to strut”

Hans S., WI (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“left rear shock failed, leaked”

Anonymous, BC (2009 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed 2.3-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“My kid drives this car. He drives like an idiot. We live in Pittsburgh. The roads are bad. If we didn't have an idiot driving on bad roads, this would not have been a problem”

Anonymous, PA (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“This car was a used car. Discovered after buying that the struts and shocks on the right side needed replacing, Little indication and dealer wouldn't have caught it. Only time could tell”

Dan W., VA (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Springs or torsion bars

“Rear leaf spring had developed a crack, which was found on a routine safety inspection”

Anonymous, NS (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“rear coil spring had broken”

J F., AB (2009 Mazda 3)
Steering wheel vibration

“worn bushings on suspetion arms, surprising at this low a km. I've run other mazda's well past this with no issues”

Anonymous, BC (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

“Needed to replace tires and pressure gauge sensor at a high cost”

Crecensio M., NY (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“WORN FRONT WHEEL BEARINGS”

Anonymous, IL (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

“Replaced passenger headlight after 24000 miles”

Anonymous, NY (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced headlight bulb in both headlights”

Stanley P., OR (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Multiple failures repeat”

Anonymous, ON (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Headlight casing leaked water, causing short and need to replace expensive module, bulb”

Anonymous, PA (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Have replaced both low beam headlamps on my Mazda”

Stanley P., OR (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Frequent low beam burn out. Very difficult to replace DIY. Locating and anchoring the locking spring to the new bulb is very time consuming. Replacement through dealer/mechanic is expensive”

Hans S., WI (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“was told that the wiring harness which indicated back up lights had to be replaced. Had mechanic trace the problem to specific wires”

Ross L., ON (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

“It quit working and needed to be replaced”

Dorothea D., FL (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure Unsure)
Interior lights

“Lights on switch for drivers heated seat. 1st was running light quite and then the light when turned on”

Rob W., BC (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“A rear brake caliper sprang a leak, so that my brake fluid began slowly leaking. It wasn't until the brake light came on that I realized I had been having this problem... a lot of brake fluid was gone by then!”

Anonymous, OH (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Caliper failure may have been a result of the shaking caused by the ball joints”

Douglas Y., ON (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Somehow callipers got dirt between them and rotors, caused the brakes to suddenly fail to stop and the brake pedal to just sink to floor similar to how the brake pedal does when the master cylinder does when it fails”

Linda M., VA (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Simply put it was just time to change the brakes. Now all is fine. Love my mazda”

Anonymous, CT (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“After driving 56000 km in city traffic, it is not unreasonable that the brakes required replacing”

K H., MB (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Winter salt etc”

Anonymous, QC (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“pad replacement”

Anonymous, IL (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure Unsure)

“squeaking in front passenger side haven't been able to locate source”

Anonymous, ON (2009 Mazda 3 Sport Unsure)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“The EGR valve periodically forces the "Check Engine" light to come on, as diagnosed by a scanner at the auto parts store. We found that running a fuel additive forces the light to go off, although some said that wouldn't work. We have used that temporary "fix" to postpone the expense of replacing or cleaning the valve”

Woodrow M., GA (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel cap

“Fuel cap develops leaks with age and had to replace the fuel cap”

Anonymous, CT (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“It was not sealing properly, causing a check engine light”

George B., NY (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Repeating issue with check engine light associated with poorly seated gas cap”

Anonymous, NC (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“Had a dirty valve which was cleaned”

George B., NY (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Very expensive oxygen sensor replacement”

Anonymous, NC (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine check light on. Took it to dealer he said that the ECP electronic control was acting up. The cost of a new one was way out of my price range to replace. He said the car is in no danger of not running just the gas mileage may be a couple of mil”

Charles M., FL (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“Compressor failed and was replaced”

Timothy M., NC (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“AC sometimes stops delivering cold air. Will usually resume normally after engine is turned off for even a few minutes”

Karl D., IN (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“the air conditioner did not cool. took it to mechanic and he replaced the compressor”

Anonymous, FL (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Automatic climate control

“In hot weather, A/C does not maintain a cool temp. System checked a couple of times and checks out fine”

Anonymous, OH (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Condenser

“condenser died and the fix was incredibly expensive”

Anonymous, UT (2009 Mazda 3 Touring Unsure)

“Blower fan does not work when it is very cold outside”

Anonymous, ON (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“Had to replace front control arm/bearing assemblies, both sides, in the past year”

Anonymous, OH (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The suspension seems weak. The rear shocks wore out early, the front shocks are probably gone, too. There are suspension noises going over bumps and noises and squeaks when the car is still cold in the winter”

Dave R., MA (2009 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed 2.3-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Both of my Mazda 3s have had wind and road noise”

Anonymous, IL (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“I like many things about my car but road noise is very annoying. i think it may be tires but not sure”

Anonymous, CA (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“Peeling from the trim pieces like front grille etc. any ding on bids rusts. It is like their is no undercoat or primer? Type of paint. Had Honda Pilot before, if someone dinged you would see white not metal”

Anonymous, SC (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“Significant rust in rear quarter panels in snow/salt plus hot/humid environ”

Anonymous, IA (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Loose exterior trim or moldings

“door trim falling off”

Eric H., CA (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“trim coming off doors”

Anonymous, ON (2009 Mazda 3 Sport Unsure)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

“Transmission started slipping shortly after the warranty expired (40k miles) and is getting worse with time”

Anonymous, MI (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

“We had to replace the transmission control module (TCM) with about 125,000 miles on it. This is considered minor by your classification but the cost normally runs between $900 - $1,300, so it's major to us. The dealerships were too costly, so I located an independent supplier of an OEM module, picked it up myself, and took it to an independent mechanic to install. My total cost came to $725 plus a rental car for several days. I consider this a premature failure of the part”

Woodrow M., GA (2009 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Gear selector or linkage

“Engine would not turn when gear selector was in Park”

Anonymous, ON (2009 Mazda 3 Sport 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine mounts

“Engine mounts aren't sturdy enough for the 2.3 liter engine. The torque makes the mount loose and you can hear the clunky noise when moving from a stop”

Anonymous, CA (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

“Passenger side engine mount worn out at 50000 miles which I find premature”

George Z., TX (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Passenger side engine mount failed and had to be replaced at 75,000 miles”

Anonymous, TN (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

“The interface just stopped working”

Anonymous, AZ (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Speakers

“The front speakers can no longer be used due to noise from the speakers when in use”

Anonymous, AZ (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

“Car was suddenly leaking oil, oil light did not come on when down 1.5 quarts, cost $800 to repair”

James B., AZ (2009 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl)
Timing belt or chain

“Timing belt tensioner making noise. Replaced tensioner, belt, and seals”

Gary S., CA (2009 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed 2.3-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

“Throttle position sensor malfunctions when temperatures drop below 15 degrees F. Cannot be driven”

Anonymous, MI (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Sunroof

“Long-term rainwater leaks caused pooling water and mildew and required replacement of carpet pads. $400 repair. Was told that this was often a problem with sunroofs, but I'd never had it with previous cars”

Anonymous, NY (2009 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

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