The Mazda3 combines sportiness with excellent gas mileage -- 33 mpg overall. That has earned it one of the top spots in our compact-car Ratings. No boring fuel-economy special, the 3 is a joy to drive, thanks to super-sharp handling, sprightly engines, and smooth transmissions.
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 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.
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.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
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.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
NA
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
NA
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
NA
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 combines sportiness with excellent gas mileage -- 33 mpg overall. That has earned it one of the top spots in our compact-car Ratings.

No boring fuel-economy special, the 3 is a joy to drive, thanks to super-sharp handling, sprightly engines, and smooth transmissions. Power is plentiful even from the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder; the optional 2.5-liter is somewhat more relaxed to drive, but costs about one mpg overall. Manual transmissions are still available on most versions, appealing to the enthusiast.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (155 hp)
  • 2.5-liter 4 (184 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2018 Mazda 3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Backup or other camera/sensors

"just stopped working on several occasions with blank screen or screen worked with distorted images but then seemed to correct itself. had a software update and no problem since!"

Anonymous, NY (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I have to constantly reboot the system to get the camera to work consistently. I'm not sure what keeps crashing the camera but I end up without the use of it about 70% of the time."

Anonymous, IL (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Problem started about eight months after buying the car. The screen would black out while backing up. Eventually, it did not come on at all. The Mazda dealer repaired it. It was a common problem."

Anonymous, GA (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Interlock with reverse gear caused camera to not display on in car screen. Fixed on 1st scheduled maintenance at Mazda dealer. Was a loose connection."

Anonymous, BC (2018 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen freezes up

"It was very frustrating. There is a knob in the console that replaces the use of the touch screen while you are driving. There are also 3 buttons in front of it to help take you to the important screens used most. The wouldn't work half the time so I could not operate by Bluetooth connected device, my settings for being able to see my panel which comes up because the knob operates the height and brightness. The navigation shortcut button would not pull up the navigation without pushing on it about 10 times. It was extremely frustrating. I had to take it into a Mazda dealer ad after an hour and a half I was told I needed to come back because they had to order a part. So, there was another day I had to go in and wait but they were pretty quick replacing the part. Overall it could have been worse I suppose. It is electronic and things happen. They fixed it and now it appears to work fine."

Anonymous, OH (2018 Mazda 3)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"Every once and awhile the connection craps out. Not sure - this could be an iphone issue rather than a car issue."

Anonymous, IL (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Display labels every option for my contacts as "Other" although I can get the correct number. I have not taken it in yet to be fixed."

Anonymous, (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"This system requires too much attention to control while vehicle is in motoin. Eyes off the road is not safe and when there are no other persns in the vehicle the system has just been turned off until the vehicle could be stopped."

Jay F., PA (2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The bluetooth connection will get lost during phone calls and the radio will turn on. Sometimes the phone and radio will play simultaneously."

Paul A., CA (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"The head unit quit responding to any commands whether from the touch screen, voice commands or control on center console. I took it back to the dealer who had to reboot the system and do a software update."

Dan W., OH (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"Phone did not pair, dealer replaced failed component under extended warranty at no cost."

Anonymous, (2018 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The bluetooth module would not pair with any phone. Mazda replaced the entire infotainment system under warranty"

Anonymous, ON (2018 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"It appears that the system reprograms a bluetooth phone when one of the two paired by me is not in the vehicle. Also, when the engine is turned off, all electronics shut down and any must be manually restarted once the engine starts again."

Jay F., PA (2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"My cell phone is not listed at the factory."

Anonymous, FL (2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Routine software updates

"I went to their website and found that the navigation system required an upgrade which was provided on line but required first downloading to my PC. But the file was enormous and really requires going into the Mazda service center (and paying). I am very disappointed. They are no longer supporting the original system, so I do not have a GPS and am using my phone. I would advise people get a system that uses your cell phone GPS interface and forget the stand alone GPS systems."

Anonymous, MD (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring Unsure)

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

12V power plug

"Fuse to 12V power plug blew 3 times. The dealer will check to see if there's a short in the system."

Anonymous, ON (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Gauges

"This is part of the issue I already reported -- all warning lights and gauges lit up and the car was disabled."

Michael V., TX (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"fuel range gauge not working properly"

Anonymous, ON (2018 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tire pressure monitor

"Monitor light goes on even when tire pressure is at acceptable levels. Finally learned how to turn the light off when it is not accurate."

Anonymous, FL (2018 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"Had a bump feeling while driving at which time all the warning lights illuminated. There followed an acute loss of acceleration. After restarting the vehicle, it reset itself. The problem recurred two more times. Took it to the dealer and they tightened the battery posts. The problem has so far ceased."

Anonymous, WV (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Driving on the highway and the instrument panel lit up like a Christmas tree after I pressed the switch to turn off the rear defroster. Car refused to turn off normally. Had to long-press and hold switch x 15 seconds. Car towed. Mazda dealer unable to determine what caused the problem. Stranded 1000 miles from home for two days."

Michael V., TX (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

"2 days ago, I was halfway to work and the wipers stopped working in the rain. I checked the fuses and they all look good. I need to wait for 5 more days before my local dealer can look at this. Meanwhile, it is still raining and I am not able to drive as safely as I would if I had working wipers. The rear wiper works and I can still spray washer fluid on the windshield."

Anonymous, PA (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"recall for windshield wiper motor"

Anonymous, ON (2018 Mazda 3 Sport 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

"A part on the caliper failed (I don't recall the specific part but it had to do with the electric parking brake). I began hearing a dragging noise while driving and not applying brakes. This occurred at about 11000 miles on the vehicle. The problem was resolved by the dealer by replacing the affected caliper, rotor, and disc pads."

Anonymous, FL (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"Apparently brakes became too rusty to operate. We do not have a garage and do not drive everyday (live in a city) and with new wheels a car that sits can get premature rust. Though no longer under warranty, dealer replaced at no charge. Otherwise would have cost nearly $600."

Anonymous, (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring Unsure)

"There was rust on the rotors which probably occurred because it sat in the car lot, outside, for about 4 months."

Anonymous, OH (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Pulsation or vibration

"I have experienced vibration under braking since the first year of ownership. My car sat on an out-of-state dealer lot for around 8 months before purchase and I think the brake rotors were permanently damaged due to corrosion. That being said, the vibration isn't awful and many drivers might not notice it at all. The vibration is most apparent in moderate to hard braking from speeds over 60 mph and when descending hills."

Anonymous, CT (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

"Rotors had to be replaced due to rust. I was told this was because we live close to the ocean."

Anonymous, NY (2018 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"There was rust developing on the rotors. This probably occurred because the car had sat in the new car lot for over 4 months."

Anonymous, OH (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Excessive rust due to lack of use during Covid."

Anonymous, (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Just a little rust"

Anonymous, ON (2018 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"The performance and alerts of the car's safety features are shown on a heads-up display the rises out of the dashboard in front of the driver. It turns out that this display is rather fragile. Any wiping off of the top of the dash risks getting the display out of alignment and impossible to see."

Edward G., CA (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"My wife and I both need to use a seat cushion to provide comfort while driving or sitting in the front passenger seat. Our doctor recommends the cushion to avoid sciatica. The passenger seat does not afford the same comfort settings as the drivers seat like adjustable lumbar support or height of the seat off the floor. Leaving the passenger uncomfortable especially if the trip is of any length more than running to the local grocery. The 2018 Mazda 3 that we own is not compatible with any sort of cushion placed on the passenger seat. If you use a cushion you get a warning on the dash that air bag/secondary restraint system is disabled. I feel that this creates a very dangerous situation. If you are a passenger in the car and need to use the seat cushion for comfort the airbag will not deploy in the case of an accident and possibly cause serious injury or death to the passenger. In years past there was a switch to turn the air bag on or off. So if a child under a certain weight or size is occupying the seat the airbag would not deploy. Today there are automatic sensors that will turn the airbags off. The problem is the sensors are adjusted for a medium build person of a certain weight. If you are smaller build and under that weight the airbags don't deploy. Worse yet if you use a seat cushion of any style the same thing happens. The airbag will not deploy. I have found that other car manufacturers have managed to set up the sensors in such a fashion to allow you to use a cushion. The owners manual instructs you to avoid this but never the less you can still use a cushion. Until Mazda fixes this issue I will call them unsafe at any speed like Ralph Nadar did years ago."

Anonymous, WI (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The driver's side BSM system did not work properly when I received my new car. The light in the mirror was on most of the time. The dealer installed new sensors at no cost to me because it was covered under warranty."

Patrick M., NJ (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It has never worked. They updated the software but they say that it might take a few days for the system to recalibrate itself. This does not seem right to me because if the software is corrected it should work right away. I am still driving it to see if the system does finally come to life, but I don’t feel too confident."

Nancy B., DE (2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Both of these issues are controlled by the same system (forward looking camera). Since one system does not work, then neither works. I also find that the parameters of the system only applies to speeds of 8-18 mph, which I find totally inadequate for the majority of situations."

Nancy B., DE (2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-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

"bit of the nosepiece came undone"

Anonymous, CT (2018 Mazda 3 Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint on hood chipped/peeling in multiple locations shortly after purchase. Dealer said it was due to rocks."

Anonymous, OR (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Hood and rear door paint had peeling paint spots"

Anonymous, PA (2018 Mazda 3 Grand 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

"Nothing major, just some interior rattles from the dash area and door panels. The rattles come and go and are more apparent in colder weather."

Anonymous, CT (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"When the car was less than a week old we noticed a rubbing/squeak/clunking noise coming from the rear of the car when you made a turn or went over a bump. We brought it into the dealer and after consulting with the factory engineers found that the weld for one of the structural members under the spare tire well was missing!! We were also told that other cars from that lot also experienced the same issue! The dealers body shop carefully took apart the removable pieces from the area, cleaned and applied several welds to the area, and applied a sealant and paint to the finished job to avoid rust. This is a sign of sloppy inspection and robotic welding on the part of Mazda. Another reason for our dissatisfaction."

Anonymous, WI (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"Car has inherent issues with noise, which I'm told is mostly resolved in the following gen (2019-). Wind and road noise is on the high side with this vehicle."

Anonymous, GA (2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

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

"Car's steering wheel decided not to stay true center. Went to the shop for it; turns out that the car was skewed and the suspension was uneven. Repaired under warranty."

Anonymous, GA (2018 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

"We reported a "tock-tock-tock" sound to garage during regular maintenance. They diagnosed & replaced shock absorber (no charge)."

Anonymous, ON (2018 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

Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Trunk hinge mechanism broke on one side"

Anonymous, TX (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Oil leaks

"-Discovered oil leak. Leak occurred at main seal between engine and trans-axle leak. Repaired at dealership. -Leak recurred. Dealership fixed a second time stating that they reused old bolts on first repair and that was an error. Used new bolts this time. Repair was done two days ago. So far so good.."

Alan G., AZ (2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

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

Drive System

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

Transmission Minor

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

Engine Major

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

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

Climate System

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

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.

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