2009 Mazda 3 Sport Edition (old model) 1.6 petrol from Norway

Faults:

Reliable up to 180,000 KM, with only a clutch judder from nearly new, which the Mazda dealer would not accept as being a fault.

Since 185,000 KM (November 2014 to April 2015) however, it has been very poor:

a) Engine knock sensor failure - cost nearly GBP 700 to be replaced.

b) Wipers failed - a faulty relay in the BCM (Body Control Module) - required a new BCM costing over GBP 3,000 installed.

c) Alternator failed - a cheap repair at under GBP 300.

d) Front wheel bearing failed at 194.000 KM - GBP 300 to replace.

It is a shame as the car has been a pleasure to own until this happened.

General Comments:

a) Handling excellent (especially with premium tyres such as Michelin Pilot Sport 3s).

b) Fuel consumption is 0.66 litres per 10 KM driven gently, 0.85 when driven spiritedly.

c) Engine has used about 1 litre of oil per 20,000 KM (between services) ever since new (something of a surprise after a Honda Civic R that never needed oil between services even at 250,000 KM).

d) Acceleration is very good for a non turbo 1.6 petrol.

e) Comfort is good.

Without the serious repair costs recently, I was planning to replace it with another Mazda 3, but that is unlikely now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th April, 2015

2009 Mazda 3 MPS Sports Aero kit 2.3T DISI from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Seriously quick, well built and comfortable sports hatch. Highly recommended

Faults:

Nothing as yet except for corroded Mazda alloys - this seems standard on most. A little annoying after 5000 miles. Also I don't and never have thought much of Mazda dealers - best to try and buy independently if you can, and still get a warranty just in case!

General Comments:

I haven't had the car long, but it's very impressive so far. I used to own a 2004 Mazda 3 Sport (same shape as this car), and the MPS is a lot more refined, with less road noise at speed, and a better ride.

Acceleration is seriously awesome, and handling is very taut, especially at high speed. It would be nice if the steering had a bit more feel, but that's the only criticism on handling side. The ride is very good; quiet and smooth, unlike say a Civic Type-R.

I like the understated look of the car; it doesn't really look quick, and is a definite example of a wolf in sheep's clothing. I think my old 3 Sport looked better, as it had nicer alloys and an aero rear bumper... just an opinion thing though! Being the last of this shape, it comes with piano black interior trim, iPod adapter, polished alloys, illuminated vanity mirrors.

Very comfortable; safe, awesome Bose sound system and feels built to last. I also love the dashboard lighting. My old 3 Sport had done 88000 miles and never had any suspension/engine/steering problems at all; a testament to Mazda engineering. I hope this one will be as good.

Amazing to have 260bhp on a smallish car like this; it never feels like it is going to lose control; no turbo lag and there isn't any torque steer. When turning the engine on when it's cold, it rev's at 2000rpm for a minute or so until it calms down - it seems a bit high?

I've never been a fan of Bridgestone tyres, which it has at the moment (original factory fit); they produce a bit too much road noise at low speed, and wet weather grip isn't great. Next time round I'll probably go back to Kumho Ecsta SPT - voted as the best by AutoExpress. They were excellent on my old car.

Highly recommended car, plainer than the Civic Type-R, but better built and more refined, more stylish and better economy than the R32 (probably more reliable too), and it's something a little different, which doesn't shout 'chav' or 'bodykits and spoilers', but will outpace most cars!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th October, 2011