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A light freshening for 2012 includes powertrain tweaks to improve the Mazda3's fuel economy to an impressive 32-mpg overall. This vaulted its road test score to near the top of our small car rankings for the model year. Further, Mazda's SkyActiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivers smooth and ample performance. An available 2.5-liter four cylinder provides more power, but is less frugal with fuel.
Alerts
There is 1 recall 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

A light freshening for 2012 includes powertrain tweaks to improve the Mazda3's fuel economy to an impressive 32-mpg overall. This vaulted its road test score to near the top of our small car rankings for the model year. Further, Mazda's SkyActiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivers smooth and ample performance. An available 2.5-liter four cylinder provides more power, but is less frugal with fuel. Other attributes include agile handling, a supple ride and a well-designed interior with good materials and comfortable seats. On the downside, rear-seat room is tight and road noise is pronounced. A blind-spot detection system was made available for 2013.

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
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (148 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (155 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 2013 Mazda 3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

“When I first bought the car, the headlights and interior lights would dim and pulsate when you applied the brake (at night). After taking it back to the dealer, he discovered that they had to reprogram the alternator which fixed the problem”

Anonymous, VA (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure Unsure)

“HID headlamp housing ruptured from undetermined cause making the headlamp inoperable. Repaired under warranty”

Jeanmarie H., IL (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Head light flicker when the brakes are applied”

J S., MD (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Right headlight was out after certification”

Anonymous, TN (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Pulsating headlights with brakes applied”

Anonymous, OK (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Headlights got brighter or dimmed when I braked”

Anonymous, WI (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Headlight out, center back brake light out”

Anonymous, TN (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seats

“Driver's Seat overheated. Had to leave car several days while part ordered and then installed”

Anonymous, PA (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

“RANDOM: key battery low indicator..Unable to lock car..(2x)..back door closes yet NOT LOCK indicate on dash..cannot recreate at will -all random anomalies”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Entire car electronics failure tied to the charging system”

Anonymous, CO (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“It needed a new battery after only 1.5 years. Also the car battery died around the same time”

Anonymous, MD (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The door locks stopped working. They didn't respond to the electronic key. The only solution was to replace the computer part in the car itself, buried deep -- and expensively -- in the main computer”

P W., MN (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.3-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Tire pressure monitor

“Low tire pressure indicator would light up, at first Personally pumped air back up, reucrring indicator two days..Dealer could not find problem initially. Brought it back prior to long distance trip,narrow metal piece was found to be the culprit.FI”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 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

CD player

“CD player would not read & play disc. This was covered under warranty & repaired by the dealer in less than 1 hour”

Anonymous, NY (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen difficult to see

“in general the dashboard and in device display screens are difficult to read and all over the pace on the dash. makes it very difficult to find the info needed. should have this info consolidated in a single or maybe 2 regions and assure that reada”

Anonymous, OR (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“screen would freeze up...had it serviced and all is now functioning properly”

Don S., CA (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The TomTom screen simply froze and required a trip to the dealership to be "rebooted" Cost $145”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“GPS would freeze up on occasions. Map would spin around and system would not recognize where the car was located”

Anonymous, OH (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Difficult to update and maintain”

Dennis S., OH (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Bluetooth rarely works”

Anonymous, IL (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure Unsure)

“Bluetooth pairing constantly drops even though phone call maintains connection with towers”

Michael A., MD (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Voice control commands

“doesn't work very well and thus do not use it much. does not recognize commands well”

Anonymous, OR (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“repeated problems with the USB plug in the console, which is supposed to connect to the radio. Works intermittently, has been repaired several times but never seems to work reliably”

Wendy S., MB (2013 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed Unsure)
Radio

“One day the whole stereo system went dead, no radio, bluetooth, cp player or other player”

Anonymous, WA (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure Unsure)
Speakers

“Bose speakers that came with the car started popping and vibrating less than a year after purchase. Front speakers are ruined, rear speakers are ok. I don't listen to the radio that loudly, its mostly talk radio I listen to”

Troy S., MO (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 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

“Noise is since purchase. Brought to the dealer but they can't find cause”

Anonymous, OK (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“rattles from the dashboard and front passenger door”

Anonymous, NY (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“leaves and debris entered the engine compartment from air ducts, I was charged for them to take it apart and clean it out”

Carolyn M., OH (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Cracking noise when I go over bumps”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Right passenger door sounded like there was a screw in the door rattling around. Waiting for replacement part coming in”

Christopher S., MD (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Interior trim around console and instrument cluster squeaks over rough roads”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“When the back hatch is opened or closed, there is something inside that rattles around in a very annoying way”

Richard R., HI (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

“It isn't just wind noise, it's ALL the Noise! This has to be the Noisiest Automobile I have ever owned! It must have NO sound proofing. It is so loud inside you can't talk to anyone on the Bluetooth. You can even here the crunching of snow as you”

Anonymous, VA (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure Unsure)

“The noise from outside, including wind, seems to make the car loud inside; noisier than other cars”

Howard T., CA (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Car is pretty noisy on the highway. Had tires replaced early and that solved some of it but still noisy”

Elliot A., PA (2013 Mazda 3 Touring Unsure)

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

Alignment

“Pulling to left, brought back to dealership 4times unresolved,alignment redone 3 times same problem, brakes seem to dragging on front left, I am replacing all brakes/rotors this weekend maybe even calipers to resolve no faith in dealership any more,”

James N., NY (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The certified used car had not been properly checked for tire wear, alignment, etc. I had to bring it back multiple times for additional work that had been checked as "done" on the preowned checklist. No charge, but inconvenient and not confidence-inspiring re: the dealership”

Richard B., NY (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering leaks

“Had a hole in the power steering line. Had to be replaced. It was covered under warranty”

Anonymous, PA (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

“Shocks after 75K have to be replaced”

Christopher V., TN (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Springs or torsion bars

“Springs need to be replaced”

Christopher V., TN (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

“The certified pre-owned car had excessive tire wear that had not been noted on the preowned checklist. The dealer put on new tires at no cost, but it was frustrating to have to keep going back”

Richard B., NY (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-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

“To fix it they replaced brake pads three times and replaced some parts on the callipers -- not completely gone. Issue is why since 2007 can't they fix the same problem”

Grant V., ON (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

“uneven wear on the brake disc and plate not covered by warranty even though under warranty. shop charged us for labor only poor brake quality”

Eric S., ID (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“There is a U-tube video "2007 Mazda 3 brake squealing" -- ours sounded exactly the same. Unbearable when backing up only. It would wake up the neighbours”

Grant V., ON (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“For some reason even though my pads are new, the rear brakes squeak whenever it is humid or raining. If I slam on the brakes it will go away until I let the car sit for a while, then it starts up again the next time I drive it”

Troy S., MO (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Antilock system (ABS)

“when braking car always heads left for a split second before straightening out I feel abs is not working correctly and will know more after replacing all the brakes/rotors this weekend”

James N., NY (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 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 door is decal that came loose and had to be replaced. Should have been painted instead”

John K., OR (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The plastic coverings on the doors fell off”

Anonymous, PA (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“To prone for accidents to low a car the plastic front damn kept getting damaged”

Anonymous, MB (2013 Mazda 3 Sport Unsure)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“paint flaking and peeling on hood”

Wendy S., MB (2013 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed Unsure)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine knock or ping

“Engine ping at startup every time after car sits overnight. Dealer unable to replicate - told live with it”

Francis P., VA (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

“oil pan plug leaked. Simple replacement of gasket”

Anonymous, VA (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Leak in the oil pressure sensor. It was replaced at no cost. Warranty covered it”

Anonymous, ON (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Oil leak for timing box”

Steve R., CA (2013 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

Slipping transmission

“Transmission Value Body had to be replaced”

James F., NJ (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

“Transmission Value Body had to be replaced”

James F., NJ (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

“car stop moving”

Anonymous, AZ (2013 Mazda 3)
Rough shifting

“in cold weather when shifting into revers transmition started making noise and vibrates”

Grzegorz N., MB (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

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

Fuel pump

“Had it replaced under warranty. Fuel pump failed at highway speed resulting in loss of power”

Francis P., VA (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“Mass air sensor needed replacement at 35000 miles, 2 months out of warranty coverage. I thought sensors and parts of emissions system were covered for 100000 miles. Dealer said no. Plan to investigate further”

A P., CA (2013 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“car wouldn't start and had to be taken to dealer on flatbed truck”

Anonymous, CO (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“At 70,000 miles the transmission malfunctioned and we were told it was a manufacture's defect and it will have to be rebuilt. They would not replace the transmission and would not extend the warranty, which only covered the transmission to 60,000 mil”

Anonymous, PA (2013 Mazda 3 Sport Unsure)

“Transmission very loud and thought it was tires making loud road noise but dealership said was coming from the transmission. Skyactive transmission. They replaced the transmission at no cost. No problems since”

Anonymous, CA (2013 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

What Owners Say

Starter

“Check-engine light went on, dealership said something about solenoid switches needing replacing”

Wendy S., MB (2013 Mazda 3 Unsure Unsure)

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

Windows

“Window motor failed, allowing the window to drop (that it, to fall open; the window fell down inside the door). Fortunately, the warranty had not expired and the dealership replaced the motor promptly and free of charge”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-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

Condenser

“The condenser was cracked and caused AC cooling agent to leak. This required three visits to the autoshop to fix, but it was covered under warranty and we were provided a rental car at limited cost for the downtime”

Patrick M., OH (2013 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

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 Major

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

Engine Cooling

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

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