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The Mazda3 has been one of our top-scoring small cars for several years, distinguished by agile handling and a well laid out, good-quality passenger compartment. The interior has been further upgraded, but the rear seating area remains a little tight. Road noise is still pronounced. Stability control became standard for all trim lines beginning with the 2011 model year.  Trim-line designations are bound to confuse.
Alerts
There are 2 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 has been one of our top-scoring small cars for several years, distinguished by agile handling and a well laid out, good-quality passenger compartment. The interior has been further upgraded, but the rear seating area remains a little tight. Road noise is still pronounced. Stability control became standard for all trim lines beginning with the 2011 model year. 

Trim-line designations are bound to confuse. The i series is a sedan with a 2.0-liter engine; the s can be either a hatchback or a sedan and gets the 2.5-liter.

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
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (148 hp)
  • 2.3-liter 4 turbo (263 hp)
  • 2.5-liter 4 (167 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2011 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

Shocks or struts

“One strut completely leaked its fluid. Both struts had to be replaced at a cost of One strut totally leaked its fluid. Both struts had to be replaced at a cost of $1156”

Anonymous, NM (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace right rear shock after only 41000km”

Michael C., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear shocks have failed twice since purchasing the car. OE shocks replaced in 2015. Aftermarket shocks replaced in 2017”

Anonymous, MA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Front Strut was leaking and caused premature and uneven tire wear”

Lynne E., MD (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear struts needed replaced. This caused uneven tire wear on the rear of the vehicle”

Anonymous, TX (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“It's the first time I have had to replace something like this in 25 years. It seems unusual”

Michael M., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The right front strut went bad and needed replaced”

Charles H., PA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear coil spring was broken, and was replaced”

Anonymous, QC (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

“Tire wear is uneven due to two sets of failed shocks”

Anonymous, MA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The right rear tire wore very unevenly and had to be replaced”

Neal R., UT (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

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

What Owners Say

Calipers

“Rear caliper problem caused parking brake failure”

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“left rear brake caliper seized up in parking brakes applied position and would not release. Had to disconnect cable to continue driving”

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

“seems to be excessive for the amount of driving done”

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“rear brakes wore down to metal and required replacement of pads and rotor”

Anonymous, MD (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Front brakes replaced”

Anonymous, MA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Parking brake

“A rear caliper caused the parking brake to fail. Cost of repair over $700 for caliper, rotors, brake pads and brake line flush”

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

“did not notice the wear but dealer replaced front brakes”

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Warped rotors caused front brake pads to wear prematurely”

Anonymous, PA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

“Rotors warped causing vibration through steering column after highway driving”

Anonymous, PA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-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

Cruise control

“resume over revs the engine and shifts to a lower gear,”

Anonymous, WA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

“One headlight had moisture intrusion. This is a known issue with Mazda but was not covered at all. Cost to replace was $800 dollars. This should be a recall item. It is KNOWN to be an issue”

Terrence C., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Horn

“Horn does not work all the time”

Anonymous, MD (2011 Mazda 3 Sport Unsure)
Keyless entry

“trunk would not open, repaired under warranty”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

“There are times when I exit the vehicle, even though the lights are turned off and the key is NOT in the ignition, the warning signal/bell/beeping sound will go off....(not the alarm, but the beeping that says your lights are on/you left your keys in the ignition type beeping. I have to put the key in the ignition, then turn the key on and off for the warning bell to turn off”

Connie P., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“The two front exterior lights were out in a short span of time. I tried to change them myself, but was unable to remove the cover part so had to have a mechanic do it. The front left light is out again. This is not a big deal as the car has been super reliable since I bought it in 2011”

Anonymous, VA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-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

Speakers

“Left front speaker blown”

Anonymous, NY (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Blew out amp, speakers made a loud horrible noise”

Anonymous, WI (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

“radio stopped working”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Voice control commands

“I'm not so sure the speaker is as efficient as it should be. I don't use the blue-tooth speaker very often either because I can not hear the person on the other end, or they can't understand what I am saying over the speaker/aka blue tooth speaker system”

Connie P., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

“Clutch failed just before 47,000 miles. I am an experienced manual transmission driver with the clutch in my previous car lasting over 100,000 miles. I feel the clutch was faulty”

Anonymous, MD (2011 Mazda 3 Touring Unsure)

“Clutch quite suddenly went from slipping somewhat to complete failure (unable to move car up any incline) in about 3 days, at _____ miles”

Harry T., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Severe slippage diagnosed as needed clutch replacement @ $1200!!!!!!!!”

C H., FL (2011 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“clutch went out,and had to be replaced”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

“sounds like the exhaust sytem is loosing up and there are parts that rusted underneath and a piece fell off underneath - looks like a support to something”

Melodie M., NY (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Rattle in rear, can resolve with dealer service”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Plastic housing of driver-side air vent rattles a little”

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

“trim on top of car vibrates and makes noise, plastic pieces break easy”

James S., TN (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Loose interior trim or moldings

“The covering/boot at the base of the shifter has developed a hole”

Carrie S., ON (2011 Mazda 3)
Rust

“Pin size dots on side panels”

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 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

Locks and latches

“1. One of the two remote lock "clickers" has stopped working. 2. Driver's side door latch failed so door could not be opened from inside car”

John C., NY (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

“The cable that operates the remote trunk release from the interior has failed. It is $400 to fix, so has not been repaired. This happened only a few hundred km's beyond the warranty coverage”

Carrie S., ON (2011 Mazda 3)
Sunroof

“Sunroof retracts but does not close”

John C., NY (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

“occasional no start. simple linkage replacement of small improved part”

Ralph M., MA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“When shifting from first to second gear occasionally grinds”

Harry T., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-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

“The compressor failed and had to be replaced for about $800 at the dealership”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-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

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

“Battery failed in very cold winter. Had to replace after just 4 years. Disappointingly short life”

Toby B., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

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

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.

Exhaust

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

Drive System

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

Engine Cooling

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

Engine Major

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

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