2008 Mazda Mazda3


$5,160 - $7,188

2008 Mazda Mazda3 Interior Review

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


Interior: 7.4

The Mazda3 receives accolades for its comfortable seats, generous cargo space, and expensive feel. Still, some reviewers complain about control layout quirks and a cramped backseat. While the Mazda3's interior stacks up well within its class, other vehicles, such as the Volkswagen Jetta and Honda Fit, continue to outrank it.

  • "You can shop this segment until the cows come home and not find as handsome an interior as in the 2008 Mazda MAZDA3." - Kelley Blue Book
  • "Especially in s Touring and s Grand Touring forms, the Mazda 3 features a distinctive and upscale interior design that looks far richer than its price would suggest. Controls are straightforward and work with precise action, while high-grade materials and tight build tolerances further the initial sense of impressive quality." - Edmunds
  • "Inside, the Mazda3 s is styled and appointed in the contemporary Japanese sport-compact manner, with very good fit and finish. Black is the standard color, although the i can be had with a beige interior." - The Auto Channel
  • "This is a premium automobile, exciting to drive, styled adventurously, and fully equipped with luxury features. There's nothing austere, basic or cheap about it." - New Car Test Drive
  • "The cabin decor tries to go for a sporty, upscale look, but it falls short in several areas. The plastic-looking woven inserts on the door panels and seats are unimpressive, and there are very few soft-touch surfaces." - Consumer Guide


In addition to having supportive seats, the Mazda3's interior cabin can comfortably accommodate four average-size adult passengers. Many critics, however, believe the rear needs additional legroom.

  • "There is enough room inside for four adults, or five in a pinch, so it could be used for carpool or family transportation duty." - The Auto Channel
  • "The rear seat is a little snug for larger adults, but those of average height will find a decent amount of space." - Edmunds
  • "If you're searching for maximum passenger space, the MAZDA3's rear-seat legroom won't impress." - Kelley Blue Book
  • "Legroom is especially tight with the front seats far back." - Consumer Guide
  • "Our chief beef: a sardine can of a cabin. Make sure your right leg isn't in regular contact with the dash and console." - Car and Driver
  • "Even the seats are pretty good -- firm and supportive but comfortable." - AutoWeek
  • "Although the front seats are nicely shaped, their seatbacks are on the hard side. Rear legroom is limited, but foot space is good. Headroom is average in the rear but meager in the center position." - Cars.com
  • "The Mazda3 seats themselves are supportive without being confining, and the use of high-quality foam in the bolsters makes them very comfortable during long drives. ...  These are the kind of seats that will help you rack up a thousand miles of driving in a day." - New Car Test Drive
  • "The driver's seat is supportive and has a manual height adjustment. A tall rear passenger will find legroom tight if the driver's seat is more than halfway back in its travel. Rear legroom behind a front passenger is fine for a 6-footer, and the rear windows go down all the way." - MSN
  • "[T]he back is pretty tight, but once you wedge yourself into place it's acceptably comfortable." - Automobile Magazine

Interior Features

Auto writers are impressed with the long list of standard and optional features on the Mazda3 -- especially when compared to other affordable small cars. Still, some complain that the Mazda3's controls are unnecessarily complicated to use.

The top-of-the-line 3 offers an optional DVD-based navigation system, but you should also keep in mind the numerous affordable options for portable GPS navigation.

  • The 2008 Mazda3 "comes very well-equipped, particularly on the s models, as the s Touring and s Grand Touring trim levels come standard or can be equipped with features like...heated leather seats, automatic climate control, moonroof, satellite radio, Bose stereo with in-dash CD changer and a navigation system. Any one of these features would be considered noteworthy in this class of sedan, let alone all of them together." - Edmunds
  • The "upgraded audio systems with an auxiliary input jack for MP3 players and a power point in the center console will keep passengers happy, too." - The Auto Channel
  • "The MAZDA3's optional DVD-based navigation unit is an unheard-of feature in a car in this price range." - Kelley Blue Book
  • "The navigation system's controls are located in the center console...and they're small and fussy enough (especially the joystick control) to be a chore to operate." - New Car Test Drive
  • "The 3, like other Mazdas, has two backlight settings for the instrument panel and major controls, which are governed by a button in the gauge cluster. In some some low-light conditions, the 'day' mode rendered the display too bright while the 'night' mode was too dim." - Consumer Guide
  • "The Mazda3 instruments are difficult to see on dark days but are lit nicely at night." - Cars.com
  • "Electroluminescent gauges can be read at a glance, and climate and sound system controls are nicely located and easily operated." - MSN


While the Mazda3 sedan affords 11.5 cubic feet of cargo space, the roomier hatchback offers 17.1 to 43.8 cubic feet, depending on the position of its folding rear seats. Auto critics find that both body styles offer adequate storage space within their cabins too.

  • "The sedan's trunk is fairly roomy, but the versatile hatchback provides more cargo space. Its opening is low and wide, and the hatch door swings up high via hydraulic struts to prevent head-banging. The hatch can be closed using an indented pull-down area without getting hands dirty on outside sheet metal. Rear seatbacks flip forward and lay flat to open up the cargo area, and there's a shallow covered storage bin beneath the cargo floor." - MSN
  • "The five-door model allows you to lug around bulky items that would not easily fit in the sedan's trunk." - Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Mazda3 affords plenty of practical space, notably a cavernous glovebox." - New Car Test Drive
  • "Good rear seat space, useful storage spaces around the cabin, including the signature Mazda3 laptop-swallowing locking glovebox...  The rear seat folds 60/40, and the trunk opening was redesigned for easier entry last year. Still, if ultimate cargo versatility plus sport is desired in a Mazda3, the 5-door hatchback is the way to go." - The Auto Channel
  • "More-versatile hatchbacks include a handy rear cargo organizer. The hatchback's liftgate rises high enough to clear the heads of taller folks. Its handle, though, is in an awkward location that makes it difficult to open without hands scraping across the top of the rear bumper." - Consumer Guide

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