2010 Mazda Mazda3

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2010 Mazda Mazda3. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    25-29 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    148-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Handling
  • Manual shifter
  • 2.5-liter engine power
  • Interior quality
  • Hatchback versatility
  • Upscale options

The Bad

  • Fuel economy compared to other small cars
  • Clown-faced front-end styling
  • Faux-metal interior trim
  • Too much lumbar support for some
  • Navigation system too small
  • Somewhat firm ride

Notable Features of the 2010 Mazda Mazda3

  • Redesigned for 2010
  • New 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Sedan or hatchback
  • Manual or automatic transmission
  • Optional navigation system

2010 Mazda Mazda3 Road Test

Kelsey Mays
The redesigned Mazda3 will impress driving enthusiasts, and it improves upon its predecessors in a number of other areas. If I were in the market, it would be high on my list. But these days, my backbone does as much as my right foot to sway my opinion — and I have to concede that Mazda doesn't have the most comfortable small car out there.

I drove a Mazda3 sedan with an automatic transmission; I'll offer up a short take on it here. If you're looking for a more comprehensive review of the car, read our evaluation of the stick-shift hatchback version here; you can also compare the 2010 Mazda3 to the 2009 Mazda3 here. The turbocharged MazdaSpeed3, sold only as a hatchback, is covered separately in the Research section.

Moving Around
My test car had the smaller of two available four-cylinder engines; coupled with a five-speed automatic, its power is comparable to a Honda Civic or Kia Forte — and greater than the relatively pokey Toyota Corolla. The automatic's gear ratios are well spaced for workable 60-to-70 mph spurts, even with two adults onboard, but it sometimes bogs down when kicking down to lower gears.

I found enough power to get around town, but if you're looking to move away from intersections a bit quicker, consider trading the 148-horsepower four-cylinder for the 167-hp four. It's optional in the sedan and standard in the hatchback. I've driven it, and it packs a gratifying — and palpably stronger — amount o...

The redesigned Mazda3 will impress driving enthusiasts, and it improves upon its predecessors in a number of other areas. If I were in the market, it would be high on my list. But these days, my backbone does as much as my right foot to sway my opinion — and I have to concede that Mazda doesn't have the most comfortable small car out there.

I drove a Mazda3 sedan with an automatic transmission; I'll offer up a short take on it here. If you're looking for a more comprehensive review of the car, read our evaluation of the stick-shift hatchback version here; you can also compare the 2010 Mazda3 to the 2009 Mazda3 here. The turbocharged MazdaSpeed3, sold only as a hatchback, is covered separately in the Research section.

Moving Around
My test car had the smaller of two available four-cylinder engines; coupled with a five-speed automatic, its power is comparable to a Honda Civic or Kia Forte — and greater than the relatively pokey Toyota Corolla. The automatic's gear ratios are well spaced for workable 60-to-70 mph spurts, even with two adults onboard, but it sometimes bogs down when kicking down to lower gears.

I found enough power to get around town, but if you're looking to move away from intersections a bit quicker, consider trading the 148-horsepower four-cylinder for the 167-hp four. It's optional in the sedan and standard in the hatchback. I've driven it, and it packs a gratifying — and palpably stronger — amount of power. Beware, though: You'll sacrifice 2 - 4 mpg overall, depending on transmission.

Mazda3 Engines and Mileage Compared
2.0-liter four-cylinder2.5-liter four-cylinder
AvailabilityStandard on sedanOptional on sedan, standard on hatchback
Horsepower (@ rpm)*148 @ 6,500167 @ 6,000
Torque (lbs.-ft. @ rpm)135 @ 4,500168 @ 4,000
EPA gas mileage (city/hwy., mpg)25/33 (manual); 24/33 (automatic)21/29 (manual); 22/29 (automatic)
* Low-emission PZEV vehicles sold in California and several Northeastern states have 144 hp or 165 hp, respectively. Torque figures are also nominally lower.
Source: Automaker and EPA; all drivetrains use regular fuel.

Some may find the Mazda3's steering wheel too stiff to turn easily at low speeds. The handling payoff, however, is dramatic: The steering lightens up when you hit 20 - 30 mph, and you can actually carve corners with this thing. Body roll is well-contained, and the steering wheel exhibits good precision with excellent feedback of the road surfaces. A few competitors — the Mitsubishi Lancer and Volkswagen Jetta come to mind — are similarly fun on winding roads. I can't say the same for many others.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, with traction control and an electronic stability system on most trim levels. The brake pedal doesn't provide the most linear stopping power, but the response is strong enough. Senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder found the hatchback's brakes more impressive — though his came with larger discs, as do all trims with the 2.5-liter engine, so that may have had something to do with it.

Ride Quality, Road Noise
Mazda tunes its suspensions "to the handling side of ride [versus] handling," spokesman Jeremy Barnes told me. He's right: The Mazda3 rides on the firmer side, even with the test car's 16-inch wheels. (Cars with the larger four-cylinder get similar suspension tuning but 17-inch wheels with lower-profile tires.) Highway expansion joints come and go with a noticeable kathunk, and uneven pavement can leave you in a constant pattern of down/up motions as the car follows each dip and rise. The suspension sorts things out well enough after each bump, with few reverberations as the car resettles itself, but the shocks could stand to soak up a bit more. The Civic and Forte ride a bit better, and the Corolla veritably glides over the rough patches.

There isn't much wind noise, and the Mazda3 remains pretty well unfazed by highway crosswinds. Road and tire noise, however, are a different story. They're noticeable at all times and, over some surfaces, are downright loud. I took the car some 350 miles between Chicago and upstate Michigan, and the road played a constant backdrop to my music. I ended up having to crank the stereo volume to overcome it — which incidentally revealed the mediocrity and overblown bass of the six-speaker system.

The Cabin
If the Volkswagen Jetta leads the pack in small-car cabin quality, I'm prepared to award the silver medal to Mazda. The dashboard panels have upscale textures and padded surfaces, and most controls feel high-rent for the segment. The windshield and dash slope far forward, giving you a sense of roominess that's similar to the Civic. Over time I felt like I was sitting above everything: The cockpit doesn't wrap around you so much as it's arrayed before you, a layout that might take some getting used to.

The cloth seats have supportive backrests, though there could be more shoulder support; the sport seats in 2.5-liter models are intended to help with this. There's enough bolstering to hold you in as you sling the car through a corner, but my 5-foot-11 frame never had enough thigh support. Part of that is because of the short seat cushions, but the seating angle is also to blame: It didn't slope back enough for me, particularly when you jack the cushion up — as I do — with the standard seat-height adjuster. It's possible the highest Grand Touring trim addresses this, as its power-adjustable driver's seat includes a seat-angle adjustment.

Mazda3 in the Market
Even in its least fun combination — with an automatic transmission and the smallest engine — the Mazda3 courts driving enthusiasts like few cars in this price range can do. When Mazda introduced it for the 2004 model year, I lived in Los Angeles where I could fling cars around impossibly twisty canyon roads. In short order, Mazda's Civic fighter tore the Civic a new one.

I'm pleased the automaker didn't tinker with a good formula. The Mazda3 is still a fun little car, and provided your commute is free of too many potholes, it's a mighty compelling choice.

Send Kelsey an email 



2010 Mazda3 Video

Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2010 Mazda3. It competes with the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Latest 2010 Mazda3 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great Car

by Gibby from Toronto on August 21, 2018

I have have this car for 8 years and I love, will buy another Mazda when this one wears out (which will be a long time) I recommend this car for anyone! Read full review

(5.0)

I love my car

by Smazda3 from Tampa florida on August 13, 2018

This car is great on gas and drives smooth. It's the perfect size for me. It was Priced Right. It's smooth and sleek and I truly enjoy driving app Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Mazda Mazda3 currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Mazda Mazda3 i SV

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

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

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Mazda

Program Benefits

At Mazda, everything we do is designed, engineered, tested and retested to make driving better. And our Certified Pre-Owned vehicles are no exception. Each one comes with the confidence to greet every turn, on- ramp and green light with the same driving enthusiasm Mazda owners know so well.

  • Limited Warranty

    1 year / 12,000 miles

    Each Mazda Certified Pre-Owned vehicle comes with a 12-Month/12,000- Mile Additional Limited Warranty with no deductible on covered components, which begins when the factory warranty ends. If it's out of warranty, the 12-Month/12,000-Mile Limited Warranty begins on the certified retail date.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a Mazda quality inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Mazda3 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

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.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

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.

What is included in 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).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

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.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker