2008 Mazda Mazda3

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$1,949 - $4,590
$13,895 - $20,845

2008 Mazda Mazda3 Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Mazda Mazda3 was new.

The Mazda3's good ranking is based on its superb handling dynamics, bold design, and luxurious appointments. Ranked in the top half of its class, the Mazda3 proves to be a smart choice for anyone wanting an affordable small car. Plus, it doesn't swill fuel, even with its zippy engine. Even so, the Honda Civic and Honda Fit lead the class and prove to be safer.

Pros & Cons

  • Strong acceleration and sporty handling
  • Exterior styling is modern and likable
  • Good value for the money in its class
  • Front side airbags not available on all models
  • Back seat can be tight for some taller passengers
  • Interior can be cramped and confining

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Mazda Mazda3 has a score of 8.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 68 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 7.4
Safety: 7.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2008 Mazda Mazda3 Overview

The 2008 Mazda3, which AutoWeek describes as "a gratifying small car to drive," is by all accounts praised for its superb handling dynamics, bold exterior design, and comparatively luxurious interior. In fact, the 2008 Mazda3 made Forbes' list of "Ten Best Cars for City Dwellers." Still, a cramped backseat, as well as low side-impact crash test results, prevent the Mazda3 from outranking the class leaders. Though the 2008 Mazda3 is only a refresh of last year's model, rumor has it that Mazda is planning a redesign for 2009.

The 2008 Mazda3 is available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. While the sedan features two available trims, the i and s models, the hatchback exists only as an s model. Also available is a performance-oriented Mazdaspeed3

  • "The Mazda3 is Mazda's best-selling vehicle, and deservedly so. In the compact sedan class, where all too often cars are mere transportation appliances, with low cost and high fuel economy emphasized to the exclusion of any sort of positive driving experience, the Mazda3 is competitive on price and economy and leads the pack on its sporty character and driving characteristics." - The Auto Channel
  • "It's space-efficient and exciting to drive like a European car. It's practical and economical like a Japanese car. And it's available with a surprising list of comfort and luxury features just like an American car. ...  It's slightly less refined than its competition from Honda and Toyota, but you seem to get more car for your money, and that means personality as well as features." - New Car Test Drive
  • "With a base 2008 Honda Civic sedan at $15,645 and a 2009 Toyota Corolla at $15,910 (both with destination included), this minor refresh maintains the Mazda3's competitive pricing, although not updating the powertrain choices certainly helps to keep prices down. The Mazda3 looks ready to do battle with the compact sedan giants for another couple years before the next generation model arrives." - Motor Trend

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