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
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
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
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
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
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
Series #: 2008 - 56
the Microsoft Word version here:
2008 Mazda 3 5 Door
Download the Original Image File here:
2008 Mazda 3 5 Door