2008 Mazda 3 S-GT 2.3L gas from North America


The budget BMW from Hiroshima


#3 motor mount broken.

Rotors out of round.

General Comments:

The best economy sports sedan on the market! It's exhilarating to drive with the reflexes and dynamics of another '3' from Germany (for less than half the price).

I previously owned a 2006 with an automatic that was flawless for 60,000 miles before my daughter totaled it. Thank goodness she was fine, but I've never been so despondent over the loss of a car. It took me three years to locate another in pristine condition, but this time I got a manual gearbox because I'm the only one in the house that can drive it. :)

If you're looking for a car that delivers driving pleasure, reliably and with decent economy, the Mazda 3 is the ticket. This car proves that a compact car need not be a boring appliance. This car has the DNA of a sports car; yet it's a great bargain!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th March, 2015

9th Mar 2015, 03:11

Looks wise this car is still a boring appliance though. Besides, every up and coming yuppie wannabe has one.

25th Mar 2015, 02:58

I have to disagree. I think the styling is fresh, distinctive and sporty. European styling flair on an entry-level Japanese car is without parallel among its contemporaries. The car was styled in Mazda’s European R&D Center by Turkish designer Hasip Girgin, who studied design at Pforzheim University in the Department of Transportation Design, and worked 18 years as a car designer at the Ford Design Center in Cologne and at Mazda Motor Europe. The end product is unexpected, refreshing and still contemporary.

27th Mar 2015, 02:20

Up and coming yuppie wannabe??? Sounds like a personal problem.

2008 Mazda 3 GT 2.3 from North America


A nice, sporty car


The tires need to be replaced only after 30.000Kms, because of the noise (Goodyear Eagle - high performance).

Nothing else.

General Comments:

The car is fun to drive. Has enough power for a small 4 cylinder.

It is not that great on gas. I also own a Corolla, and it is way better than the Mazda 3.

The Mazda 3 is heavier and better on snow with the right snow tires.

The trunk is small.

The interior is nice and the sound is perfect.

Canada Mazda dealer's program (hours) is not as good as for Toyota.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st November, 2012

2008 Mazda 3 TS2 2.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Almost faultless



General Comments:

I previously owned the 1.6 petrol Katano version of the 3 (also reviewed here, incidentally) and was very happy with it. I just happened to see this TS2 ex-demo and got it for four and a half K below list price. I am very glad I did.

Outwardly, it is identical to the Katano, except for the bigger wheels. The same understated exterior, the same 'honeycomb' front grille (not the more aggressive barred one used on the sporty versions) and no spoiler. But here's the thing; it's no slouch like the 1.6. OK, it's not a hot hatch, but with 140bhp, 0-60 in under ten and a top speed of 125, it's not a tractor either. If, like me, you like a car with a bit of oomph that doesn't shout it at everybody, this is for you.

It pulls very well from 2000 revs in all but 6th gear, making overtaking a breeze. No changing down and thrashing past startled pensioners, as with the 1.6!

The six forward gears make for good fuel figures - 44 per gallon if you're a bit heavy with the right foot. The best I've achieved so far in combined driving is 49.9. With normal usage to and from work, I now fill up every 3 weeks instead of 2 with the petrol version.

Handling is, of course, different from the 1.6 - the great big lump of diesel up front sees to that. Cornering at speed is not entirely without drama even with the DSC switched on, but perhaps I'm just attacking those bends a bit more with this car? The ride is firmer, but potholes are negotiated better (the larger diameter wheels?). Motorway driving is brilliant - smooth, relaxed and fairly quiet for a Mazda. Warning - it's so easy to cruise way beyond the speed limit. Brakes on the Katano were good; these are better.

The rest is as for the 1.6. Climate control, fairly tasteful interior design, comfortable driver's seat (lumbar adjustment on this one!), visibility OK, sound system adequate (6-CD changer not acting up!). Enough storage in central armrest. Huge glove box (if you don't have huge gloves, try a laptop!). Buy a Mazda 6 if you've got leggy teenagers to ferry around - the 3 has plenty of room in the front, at the expense of those behind.

The front 'alloy' wheels (painted steel, more like) seem to be standing up to the ravages of brake dust and salt much better than the Katano's, which were pitted where the spokes joined the rim, after just 18 months (a bad batch, maybe?).

The bottom line: need a value-for-money, ultra-reliable, economical, far-from-gutless, not-bad-looking motor? You'd be a fool not to at least give this car a look, wouldn't you?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th July, 2009

22nd Aug 2011, 15:40

Reviewer's update.

Two years on from my original review, this vehicle has been a good, reliable workhorse. No major problems at all. It had its 3-year service (thank goodness the warranty has expired and I won't need to use the very expensive franchised dealer again) and MOT check recently, and received an advisory notice for... exhaust particulate emissions too low to get a reading. Crazy, or what?

Minor gripes - alloys pitting nicely, just as on the Katano I had before... cheap and nasty. Mind you, the incredible amount of dust from the front brakes probably doesn't help.

Windows glue themselves to the rubber seal at the top of the door so effectively that the electric motors genuinely struggle to unstick them!

Interior plastics and carpet scuffing rather easily in places... again, cheap and cheerful.

Otherwise, I have no complaints, and this car was a very good buy, I believe.