• (4.4) 74 reviews
  • MSRP: $2,787–$10,339
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 25-28
  • Engine: 148-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
2008 Mazda Mazda3

Our Take on the Latest Model 2008 Mazda Mazda3

What We Don't Like

  • Instrument readability
  • Backseat space
  • Engine noise on hard acceleration
  • Seat comfort

Notable Features

  • 2.0- or 2.3-liter four-cylinder
  • Sedan or hatchback
  • Sporty Mazda styling and personality
  • Standard auxiliary audio input

2008 Mazda Mazda3 Reviews

Vehicle Overview
Mazda's larger, more powerful replacements for the departed Protege sedan and Protege5 hatchback went on sale in the 2004 model year. Built on the same platform as the Volvo S40, the compact, front-wheel-drive Mazda3 displayed entirely different styling. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine goes into the Mazda3 i sedan, while the Mazda3 s sedan and hatchback hold a more powerful 2.3-liter four-cylinder. Competitors include the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta.

The Mazda3 received minor modifications for the 2007 model year. The front bumper was redesigned and fitted with square fog lamps, and the 16- and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels also got a new look. The audio system has a standard auxiliary audio input for MP3 players. Both the sedan and hatchback have rear armrests with cupholders, and the i sedan has zebra-striped wood-finish dash trim. For 2008, s Sport models have standard side-impact and side curtain airbags.


Exterior
Comparatively upright in profile, the Mazda3 is built with a wide track and a relatively long (103.9-inch) wheelbase for its size. A Sport Package that includes sport bumpers, side skirts, 17-inch alloy wheels and fog lamps is available on s sedans and standard on s hatchbacks.

Steel wheels hold 15-inch tires on the Mazda3 i sedan; the Mazda3 s sedan gets 16-inch alloy wheels, while the Mazda3 s hatchback rolls on 17-inch rubber. The wagonlike hatchback has small triangular rear quarter windows. Sedans get a short but high rear deck.


Interior
Up to five people can fit inside the Mazda3. The steering column tilts and telescopes, and the instruments sit in a trio of round, recessed nacelles. A ratchet-type mechanism permits seat adjustment, allowing the cushion and seatback to move up and down together. Placing the rear-suspension coil springs beneath the floor increases the hatchback's rear storage space.

The s Grand Touring model includes heated leather seats, automatic headlights, automatic rain-sensing wipers and a trip computer. A moonroof, a custom-tuned Bose audio system and Sirius Satellite Radio are optional.


Under the Hood
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the Mazda3 i has variable valve timing and develops 148 horsepower (144 hp in PZEV form). The Mazda3 s uses a 2.3-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 156 hp. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, and a four-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift provision is optional for the Mazda3 i. The 2.3-liter engine can mate with a five-speed automatic.

Safety
Side-impact and side curtain airbags are optional. All-disc antilock brakes with brake assist are standard on s models and optional on i models. Traction control and an electronic stability system are available on s models.

Driving Impressions
The easy-to-drive Mazda3 handles more adeptly than most rivals. The automatic transmission delivers quick, smooth responses. Performance with the larger engine falls short of some sporty compacts, but it will satisfy most drivers. That engine is generally quiet, but it emits a fair amount of blare when pushed. With an easy-shifting manual gearbox and a well-behaved clutch, even the Mazda3 i with the smaller engine feels more spirited than an upper-level model with the automatic.

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. Visibility is good. The Mazda3 instruments are difficult to see on dark days but are lit nicely at night.


Consumer Reviews

4.4

Average based on 74 reviews

Write a Review

Great car for its age! Quick and comfortable!

by mazda3 from Fayetteville, AR on October 18, 2017

Great car for the city and also for highways. Its comfortable all around, has quick acceleration response. I've had to fix and up-keep several things as to be expected for its age..

Read All Consumer Reviews

9 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2008 Mazda Mazda3 trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Mazda Mazda3 Articles

2008 Mazda Mazda3 Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mazda Mazda3 i Sport

Head Restraints and Seats
M
Moderate overlap front
G
Side
P

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mazda Mazda3 i Sport

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
M
Overall Rear
M
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
P
Driver Head and Neck
P
Driver Pelvis/Leg
M
Driver Torso
P
Overall Side
P
Rear Passenger Head Protection
M
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
A
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
A
Structure/safety cage
A
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mazda Mazda3 i Sport

Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mazda Mazda3 i Sport

Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Front Seat
Rear Seat
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 3 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,100 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

36mo/36,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years