Mazda 3 Saloon (04 - 09) Owner reviews

No longer on sale

I have owned this car for about 3 years now and I still love it. It is a great looking car inside and out. I find that the cabin in particular is very well designed, it has the extended round gauges which really stand out and everything is within comfortable reach. It's very comfortable to drive both short and long distances and the seats are of good quality and seem to last long without showing its age. The engine is solid and very reliable, I have had no issues with it to date. The 1.6 petrol engine is very smooth through the revs and the gearbox feels solid with smooth changes as well. The handling is much better than I expected although there does seem to be a bit of under-steer if you take a sharp turn a bit too quick. I get an average of about 35mpg and servicing costs are more than reasonable, especially since it uses a timing chain instead of a cam-belt so unless something goes wrong with it, it should never need to be changed. The only negative points I have on this car is that the back wheel arches are prone to rust, so you need to keep an eye out for that and on motorways there does seem to be quite a bit of road noise, but not too excessive.

Rudi Esterhuizen, March 27th 2014

TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG35 mpg

I purchased this car second hand from a leasing Co for a decent price before the crunch. It had high mileage 78K but it was better than ones that I had test drove that had done 40k. I do get the odd wheel spin from standing which is un-nerving, but it is a smaller car to what I am use to. MGP is poor for a diesel at 44mpg, at best, however taken to a garage and found out the turbo has blown. Costly to fix (now not under warranty) however should improve MPG, and cheaper than buying another car that I may have to spend even more money on. TS model has decent level of kit and AC is satisfactory, although could be better. The boot is better than rivals and the back seats are roomier enough for the 2 kids. Servicing is cheap enough, and easy on the tyres. Driving is fun round corners and has fast enough pace when overtaking in the mid range speeds, however struggles at the higher end, 60+. Cruising is comfortable and nippy round town. Before the wife and I bought this car we test drove various others, Golf, Leon, Auris, Focus, and Civic. The Focus and Golf although good in size and equipment, rolled round corners too much compared to the mazda and has better styling. Overall we are very happy with the Mazd3, great to drive long or short distances, with or without the kids.

Simon Barrett, February 7th 2009

d TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG44 mpg

i have owned a mazda for 2 years know and i am really impressedby what i have experianced so far. we drove to france for a holiday and didnt let me down, The 2.0 performance is stunning, i really enjoy driving it and would deffinately buy another mazda.Its better than your euro boxs, i would recomend a mazda to anybody.

giuseppe pastore, wiltshire, November 11th 2008

TS2 4dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG35 mpg

A superb mid-size car for those looking for something different to the ubiquitous Focus/Astra/Golf. The saloon looks so much more elegant than the hatchback - it looks more like a coupe - and the boot is cavernous anyway. I'm trading mine in for the 2.3 MPS after 2Β½ faultless years. I haggled Β£1300 off the list price from new. Running costs and insurance are low. The seats are superb, even after a long day on the motorway. Equipment is the most generous of any competitor. I've had several people ask about the car whilst in various car parks due to the stunning looks. The handling is absolutely dynamite - throw it into any corner and it hugs the tarmac like glue with minimal body roll. My only gripe is that the 1.6 engine isn't the most spirited in the class. 0-60 is quite pedestrian without thrashing the thing but cornering and handling more than compensate. The 2.0 litre isn't worth the extra money from reviews in various mags. If only the 2.3 turbo came in a saloon version.......heaven !!

neil finch, February 18th 2008

TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I am about to get my second Mazda 3 1.6TS saloon tomorrow. Got an excellent trade in price for my 2 year old with 16,500 on the clock and very pleased to be going into my second car of this type. As a golfer I had an Astra but when they changed the boot I couldn't get my clubs and trolley in so I got the Mazda which just eats the kit up and theres room for more! The new version has at last been fitted with a groove on the rear bumper to allow you to get your fingers underneath the lip of the boot to open it. The improvements are mostly internal though - a different heating system with climate control and air con, white dials instead of black but in all much the same economical, roomy and comfortable car that I have enjoyed so much. In 2 years I expect to be looking for number 3, it really is THAT good.

Paul Grimley, South Yorkshire, February 2nd 2008

TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Having run a 2.0 Sport Saloon for two years and 11,000 miles I have found it terrific value for money. I think Sport is a misnomer, don't expect Sports car performance, I frequently get left at traffic lights by various 1.6s but I find the overall performance suits my needs, travelling to Scotland 3 to 4 times a year and driving around the minor roads there the handling is excellent and road grip great. The 6 CD changer is a boon on long trips and the Bose system is very good. Overall I average 30/32 MPG. There have been absolutely no faults on the car and it has only been back to the dealer for the 12 month service. I shall be buying another in 12 months time.

Cameron Montgomery, Cheshire, September 21st 2007

Sport 4dr [6]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I bought a 2.0 Sport 4 door from new in May 04 and have had nothing but problems with it. Initially, the steering at parking speeds creaked and groaned. My Mazda dealership (Jordans - Hull) replaced the bushes and the problem temporarily disappeared. However it returned months later and once again the bushes were replaced. Next a recall was initiatated as the air bag warning light illuminated. This check was fixed under warranty. The next problem was a rattling and rolling noise from the brake servo when cornering above 40 mph. The problem was linked to the DSC switch but after having the car in to Jordans on 6 occasions the problem was never fully rectified. Other problems were that the drive belt snapped and left me stranded, a duff battery which was replaced and warped front discs. They were originally changed under warranty but warped a second time and then skimmed. I am a considerate driver and never thrashed the car but the amount of problems were excessive and not expected from a car manufacturer of such quality and reliebility. Lastly the alloy wheels were a shambles. They blistered badly around the centre hole on every wheel. All in all they were replaced under warranty on four occasions. I have just got rid of the vehicle as it was nearing its 3 year anniversary. I'm glad to see the back of it.

John Eden, East yorkshire, May 17th 2007

Sport 4dr [6]

  • Overall verdict2/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs2/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Im a Mum of 3 and its important to me that the Car is economical.safe,spacious,reliable, ect. I also like to drive a car that looks nice and sets itself apart from the others. I visited My local dealer who agreed a very good trade in for My 323. I fell in love with a red RX8. they let me have it for a week, (Heaven) hen I came back down to earth and realized although beautiful and wonderful to drive I have to think of getting 5 people into car as opposed to 4. so I took it back and there on the for court was My lovely star silver Mazda 3.Im in love with this car and with the Sat Nav ect I cant fault her. my 5 year old has named the Car Rosy (because she talks). This car fits all the criteria's I have been looking for, economical/lovely to look at yet practical, roomy nice big boot, Im mythed as to why someone has expressed a negative opinion over the boot,when its huge,there's more that enough room. I have to buy for 5 so I know. Its soooo comfortable, Im 5ft 2inch, so the seats adjustments are great for me. I ent out and I tried them all, every car on the market over a period of 6 weeks, but none compared to My mazda3,and the sales Staff were exceptionally helpful,cant fault them for anything, even let Me drive the wonderful RX8 for a week,thanks guy's. If you have a life style that allows and you want to have the real drive of your life then I suggest the RX8.

wendy dove, warwickshire, January 21st 2007

Sport 4dr [6]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I absolutely love the look of the car and in my opinion is visually far more appealling than the hatchback version. I have been very impressed with the consistent fuel economy and in the 8 months/11k miles it has averaged just under 40mpg, which given its a 2.0 litre petrol is very pleasing. I really like the interior which is roomy, practical and well equipped. The Bose stereo is superb and the steering wheel controls are very handy. There is a general air of quality in the ambience of the cabin and the only criticism I have is that some of the plastics are low rate. It's ergonomically good and extremely comfortable on long journeys helped by good seat adjustment, steering wheel adjustment and good visability. I agree with some reviews that have commented on the boot which does take getting used to, but the size and practicality of it more than makes up for it. I would recommend the car to anyone, I am just about to have my first service so we'll see how the dealer handles this. There have been no teething or quality issues with the car as yet and I am looking forward to many more trouble free miles.

darren barrow, December 8th 2006

Sport 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I purchased my Mazda 3 second hand and think its great, im am getting an average of 55mpg at the moment and the 1.6td engine is punchy while being quiet and smooth. The ride is great and the seat has loads of adjustment and is very comfortable. The standard stereo is ok but could be better and the a/c isnt very powerfull. Also in the wet the standard Yokahama 15" tyres are rubbish and pulling away on roundabouts you can loose grip. Over all its great and the only problem i have had is the laquer is flaking off the rear bumper by the wheel arches. Buy one!!! today

Andrew Riley, Lincs, August 20th 2006

d TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

This is a good car, I just think it should have an improved car audio system.

Valdemar Garza, Nuevo Leon, May 10th 2006

Sport 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

A really nice drive. Refined yet dynamic when needed. Following four months of ownership, I have no real critisism to offer, except a couple of very minor issues - such as the boot lid, which can easily catch the fingers of the uninitiated.

John Sims, February 7th 2005

Sport 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Having viewed many of the mainstream cars, including pictures of the new Focus, I decided I wanted something that looked sportier. Having been a hatchback fanatic, I was keen on the Mazda 3 but was disappointed by the boot space. However, as soon as I saw the range at the motor show, I knew that the saloon with its coupe-like profile was the one. I have already clocked up 10k miles since last July and am impressed with its ride and handling, both being sporty but not too firm. Having heard about the wind noise I can say that it is not noticable. The quality of fit and finish are good and I am still impressed by the interior theme. The style fits in well with the rest of the car. Having got a reasonable discount and a few free extras I would recommend it to anyone, particularly in diesel guise, as it is both smooth and punchy but is still returning and average of 54mpg.

Nigel Wheeler, Tyne & Wear, February 7th 2005

d TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I bought the car in March 2003. Got Β£1500 off the list price at a main dealer so couldn't say no and I'm glad I didn't. The drive is lovely and smooth. It feels like a much larger car on the motorways. Engine noise is minimal as is the road and wind noise, contrary to this website's review. The cabin is comfy with plenty of room for a family and a trolley full of shopping. Stereo sound could be a bit better, although the six-CD changer as standard is quite nice. I have just had a test drive in the new Focus and, although they are built on the same base, I would pick the Mazda every time. It's cheaper too.

lloyd morgan, January 23rd 2005

TS2 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I don't feel I am fully qualified to comment on ride and handling etc (to me they are great), but all I will say is DO NOT be put off by reviews saying it had high wind noise as it doesn't. I have owned it for a week now and it is quieter than my previous car (PUMA) in both road and wind noise. I am presuming that the hatchback may have been slightly noisier. A great looking car (I feel the saloon looks sportier) and has a solid feel (closing doors/boot etc) Go the extra few pounds and buy this instead of the Focus.

andrew williamson, sussex, January 19th 2005

TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I bought the car in the summer. I was looking for a practical family car that was going to last for a long time. I had seen pictures of the hatchback but not the saloon. I had only seen one picture of the 3 saloon and I insisted to my wife that it was the car for us. The Mazda 3 is practical, stylish and in my opinion, one of the best cars in its class. I bought the car in Cyprus and got a really good deal on the car. The dealer was really helpful even if they don't speak the best of english. I have had no problems with the car and I have spoken to Mazda UK and they have told me that my 3 year warranty is valid in the UK. I still have 1 year left in Cyprus and plan to ship the car back. I would highly recommend this car to anyone with a family that doesn't want to buy an MPV. This car easily accommodates 2 children, 2 prams and shopping.

Neil Bilham, December 12th 2004

TS 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have owned my Mazda 3 Sport four-door for about six months and am completely satisfied with it. I chose the saloon in preference to the hatchback, as I thought the styling was less fussy. The equipment levels are superb, particularly compared to other manufacturers. The steering could do with a bit more feel, and the low-speed ride can be a bit firm, but the stiffer suspension pays dividends in the handling stakes. I bought the car as an ex-demonstrator from my local dealer, and was more than happy with the service received so far. Would heartily recommend the Mazda 3 to those people looking for a mid-sized hatchback or saloon which is more distinctive and rarer than the competition. Pros: Excellent equipment levels (Xenon lights, 6CD changer, Climate Control, 17" alloys) Good standard of safety equipment (ABS,EBD,DSC,Driver/Passenger/Side/Curtain airbags) Solid build quality. Low insurance group for level of performance (Group 8). Easily adjustable comfortable driving position. Good fuel aconomy (average 35-40mpg) Cons Slightly firm low-speed ride. Power steering a little lacking in feel. Slightly small boot opening, and space through to passenger compartment when seats folded. Engine a little thrashy at high revs

Paul Russell, October 12th 2004

Sport 4dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg