auto1.jpg (11036 bytes)


2008 Mazda3 5 Door

About Us
Automotive Events
ClassicDrives.jpg (2693 bytes)

FamilyCoupes.jpg (2674 bytes)

funcars.jpg (1915 bytes)
Hot Rods

LuxuryCoupes.jpg (2773 bytes)

luxurycars.jpg (2326 bytes)
FamilySedans.jpg (2781 bytes)
stationwagons.jpg (2856 bytes)

suvcompact.jpg (2696 bytes)

suvstandard.jpg (2688 bytes)


Hatchback Review: Four-dollar-a-gallon gas no longer shocks people, but is still a big concern. And every day we hear more about the threat of global warming. The Mazda3 is well suited to this new world as we know it today. 

My Metropolitan Gray Mica test car was a five-door, also known as a hatchback or small wagon. The rear door opened up and the car swallowed loads of stuff with no problem. With nearly 44 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats dropped, schlepping a big acoustic bass was a snap. 

Humans do well in the Mazda3 too. It’s rated as a compact, not a subcompact, so real people fit in the front and rear seats, and with five doors, it’s easy for them to get in and out. The car stands 57.7 inches tall too, so there’s no problem with six-footers getting comfortable.  

You can opt for a four-door sedan model if you’d rather, but it’s less practical and more conventional. The side window shape of the Mazda3 five-door is dramatic, and with its upward curve and pointed rear window, it makes the car look a little like an athletic shoe. 

The four-door can be had as the “i” model, with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that puts out 148 horsepower and 135 lb.-ft. of torque, or the “s” model, with a 2.3-liter engine that generates 156 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. The five-door comes only as an “s.” That’s a little sportier. As a “zoom-zoom” cousin to the MX-5 Miata sports car, what else would you expect? 

All Mazda3s come with a manual five-speed transmission standard, but you can order an automatic, and my tester had one. Despite the ability to shift sequentially if you want to control the gear, it’s less fun then the manual. At least you don’t pay a price in fuel economy or carbon footprint with the automatic, although it will cost you $950 more when you buy the car. 

The Mazda 3 is one of the best cars you can buy environmentally speaking, short of a hybrid. In California the engines are rated partial zero-emission vehicles (P-ZEV), so the Air Pollution number is 9.5 out of 10 and the Greenhouse Gas score is a 7 (and an 8 with the 2.0-liter engine). The P-ZEV California cars lose five horsepower and one lb.-ft. of torque. 

The car feels tight and active as you zoom-zoom down the road. The little four-cylinder engine pulls the 2,950-pound car along quickly, even with the automatic, or at least if feels fast. The fully independent suspension and stiff body and frame give you plenty of road feel. I noticed significant tire noise on older freeway pavement however, but that could be because in the modest price level where the Mazda 3 lives, sound deadening materials are not so generously applied. 

Sitting in the Mazda3 is pleasant. The seats in my tester were covered in sturdy “sport” cloth. The overall interior styling is exuberant, although the abundance of black plastic subdues it a little. Light gray window pillars and ceiling plus silvery accents throughout and the silver rings on the three-gauge instrument cluster relieve the monotony. It certainly felt more expensive than it was, thanks to a variety of textures and good fit and finish. The Mazda3 is assembled in Japan, unlike many of its Japanese-name rivals.  

You can order up the five-door Mazda 3 in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring levels. The Sport offers power windows, locks and mirrors; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shirt knob; air conditioning; 17-inch alloy wheels; a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input jack; antilock brakes and more. The Touring adds safety with Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control.  

Step up to the Grand Touring and get pampered with leather seats, with the front ones heated, and eight-way power adjustment for the driver. You also enjoy automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a trip computer, and LED taillamps.  

Prices for the Sport with manual transmission begin at $18,025. The Grand Touring with automatic starts at $21,245. Numerous options can push those prices higher. My Touring test car had Sirius Satellite Radio ($430) and the Moonroof plus 6CD package ($800), bringing it with a $635 delivery charge to an MSRP price of $21,330.  

I have felt for years that the Mazda3 would be the ideal car for a great many people. It’s attractive, inexpensive to buy and run, fun to drive, and gentle on the planet. Now in its fifth year, it’s Mazda’s best-selling vehicle globally. And remember, gas is even more expensive in most other parts of the world!

By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

Byline: Hatchback Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net


Mazda Home Page

Column Name: The Mazda3 is Mazda’s best-selling vehicle globally

Topic: The 2008 Mazda3 5 door Hatchback

Word Count:  840

Photo Caption: The 2008 Mazda3 5 door Hatchback

Photo Credits: Mazda3 Internet Media

Series #:  2008 - 56

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2008 Mazda 3 5 Door

Download the Original Image File here:   2008 Mazda 3 5 Door








Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
Division Name:   AutoWire.Net
Company Name:    Leopard Publishing Co.
Postal Address:    P.O. Box 1011
City, State, Zip:    San Mateo, California 94403
Phone Number:    650-340-8669
Fax Number:    650-340-9473

Join the AutoWire.Net Directory, send your Name, Affiliation & E-mail address to: AutoWire

Send Comments & Questions to: AutoWire

For Additional Photos, go direct to: Wieck Photo
©2008 - AutoWire.Net - All Rights Reserved Web Editor -  Tony Leopardo