2005 Mazda 3 SP23 Limited 2.3 petrol


Best value for money in the sub $16k range


Had some strange problems with the central locking system unlocking and locking the doors at random.

Removed the driver's side central locking controller (mission), and cleaned and applied carbon electric grease - no problems since.

General Comments:

I am a Toyota person through and through, but TOYOTA does not compare to the Mazda 3. No Corolla has the fun and styling or performance.

Ours is the Limited Edition Leather & Bose edition - If you can get this model, grab it! It's not just a fancy badge on the speakers. Sub woofer under the passenger seat, and a good BOSE amp under the driver's seat, great speakers - great sounds!

I rate these cars; before this, we had the Japanese import equivalent (Axela). The Axela is reported as being quicker due to different cams, but it is nominal.

The NZ model has the curtain air bags, which the Axela does not. The Axela has the rain sensing wipers.

Without a doubt, the best handling front wheel drive car I have ever driven.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th June, 2011

2007 Mazda 3 SP23 2.3litre


I hope I hold onto this car for a while yet


Engine light is constantly on due to aftermarket headers and exhaust. Mazda is yet to rectify.

Drivers seat is squeaky sometimes and I weigh only 85kg.

Suspension creaks when driving out of my driveway (lowered springs).

Mazda thankfully got rid of the chime that reminds you you're not wearing a seat belt.

General Comments:

Fantastic car, I have installed full headers and 2.5" mandrel bent exhaust that has given a huge increase in performance with a supporting KN panel filter. This car in this form can beat a Toyota Aurion.

Without the headers and KN, the car had average performance and ran a 16 flat 0-400m. The 6 speed Box is crisp and easy to shift, power comes on at 4000rpm and later again at 5500. Not as aggressive as a Honda VTIR Integra VTECs (owned one a few cars ago), but still can match it in stock form.

Inside the car is great, 2 cup holders in the back and 4 in the front. So many great little features and comforts. The climate control is perfect and the aftermarket sunroof really makes this car look the goods, with the super low king springs.

Services from Mazda are around 200-300 every 10k; that's reasonable. Fuel economy is as expected, 7 litres per 100km on highway with climate control and overtaking, and 9-10 litres per 100km around town. Combined it's officially rated at around 8.3.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th November, 2008

2007 Mazda 3 Maxx 2.0


Best medium sized car available for under 30G (AUD)

General Comments:

Very comfortable interior.

Roomier than most small/middle sized cars.

Handles great with barely any body roll at all when flying around corners.

Fast acceleration in first and second, slightly slower in higher gears.

Tiptronic gearbox is really responsive and quick, by far one of the best I've used.

Large boot.

Great stock audio system, however it's a lot of work to modify/customise it.

Indicator noise is slightly annoying, however, you get used to it after a while.

Quite a few modifications (turbos, exhaust systems, intakes, suspension, body kits, etc) available.

No trip computer and similar features is really poor and inexcusable for Mazda Australia.

Great safety features.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th June, 2008

2006 Mazda 3 SP23 2.3 petrol


Good to handle, but noisy and rough riding


No defects found.

General Comments:

Car handles very well.

On rough chip seal roads, the interior is so noisy that it is difficult for driver and front seat passenger to converse.

On any surface other than smooth seal, the ride, especially in the back seats, is both rough and noisy.

Cruise control is jerky and severe on undulating ground. It overruns the set speed by 8-10 kph before settling back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th March, 2008

17th Aug 2008, 03:58

Compared with your Camry the suspension setup is for nimble handling rather than the Camry's Touring style "float" type suspension setup hence the difference. It's all down to preference really, plus the low profiles on the Mazda don't lend themselves to noise reduction or a bump free ride.

If you're after something with a higher lateral G rating, faster slalom speeds and faster turn in and cornering stability the Mazda 3 is more for you.

If you're after a softer floating type ride which soaks up bumps and lends itself to quieter touring the Camry would be the better choice.