2010 Mazda MAZDA3

I SV FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

2010 mazda mazda3 Reviews and News

2010 Mazda3 I Stop Front Three Quarters Static
Is the internal combustion engine dead? The number of firms around the globe sinking capital into advancing electric drive technologies, battery chemistry, and other alternative propulsion systems might suggest the internal combustion engine has finally reached its swansong, but Mazda begs to differ. Although the Japanese automaker has tinkered with a number of advanced propulsion systems over the past decade, it feels there's plenty of life left in conventional, fuel-burning engines, albeit not without a little help from new technologies.
2010 Mazda3 I Stop Front Three Quarters Static
The company's wide-reaching SkyActiv program promises to refine engines and transmissions alike in the pursuit of improved fuel economy and reduced emissions, but the company has another (and arguably simpler) card up its sleeve: the i-Stop start/stop system. Although i-Stop isn't offered in North America, we recently had a chance to sample a Japanese-spec Mazda3 so equipped.
Look Ma, No Belt Alternator Starter
In this day and age, a start/stop system isn't exactly revolutionary technology, but i-Stop is a relatively new addition to Mazda's powertrain portfolio. The system was first introduced in Japanese-market Mazda3 and Biante minivans in late 2008, before being rolled out into models destined for European and Australian markets. Mazda's system does, however, break from most other start/stop systems in one notable way: while most use a belt-driven starter/alternator to restart the engine, i-Stop accomplishes this same feat via direct fuel injection.
Mazda's i-Stop system is fitted to the company's 151-horsepower, direct-injection 2.0-liter I-4. When a driver brings the vehicle to a stop, the engine computer analyzes a number of different factors (manual transmission cars, for instance, need to be shifted into neutral). Once it determines that the vehicle has come to a halt, the computer manipulates both the throttle and alternator to shut off the engine, and then aligns each piston at the center of its stroke. When it's time to restart the engine, fuel is injected into a single cylinder and ignited, allowing the crankshaft to begin revolving before the starter motor completes the process.
An unusual approach, perhaps, but it does have its merits. Not only does this save Mazda the cost of designing and installing a belt alternator/starter system, it also improves the response time for restart. According to the company, i-Stop can restart the engine in under four-tenths of a second, roughly half that of conventional belt-alternator-starter systems.
2010 Mazda3 I Stop Rear Three Quarters Static
The Art of Start/Stop
On paper, triggering i-Stop to shut off the engine should have been as simple as coming to a halt, but the system is occasionally fickle in the real world. Mazda notes certain conditions, including low engine temperatures or high accessory loads (i.e. running the air conditioning at its highest settings) will preempt engine shutdown, but even in best-case scenarios, i-Stop exhibits a few quirks.
To prevent shutting the engine down during short or rolling stops, engineers have tuned i-Stop to activate once the car has come to a complete stop. As a result, drivers will need to be resting for quite some time with a steady, firm foot on the brake pedal. I-Stop's quick start-up is a boon when trying to drive in aggressive, fast-moving traffic patterns, but its tuning is a bit too aggressive. Any movement on the brake pedal, including wiggling a big toe, tricks the computer into thinking the driver is ready to go and fires the engine up once again.
Mazda claims the i-Stop system can increase fuel economy by up to ten percent, but such sizable improvements will only be noted if the car is extensively driven in stop-and-go traffic. In highway cycles or commutes with infrequent stops, including the route we put the Mazda3 through over the course of a weekend, i-Stop fails to return any notable fuel economy averages.
The i-Start of Something?
This dilemma is precisely why we haven't yet seen i-Stop in any North American Mazda to date. Jeremy Barnes, communications director for Mazda North America, tells us the company is quite keen on bringing the system to North America (especially Canada, where some providences have anti-idling regulations), but the problem comes when trying to illustrate the benefit to the consumer.
2010 Mazda3 I Stop Front Three Quarters
The touted ten-percent figure is based upon Japan's 10-15 fuel economy test cycle, which incorporates multiple lengthy stops. The EPA's city cycle test regiment, however, incorporates only one full stop. In that case, Barnes says i-Stop will only improve the Mazda3's EPA rating by one-tenth of one percent. Couple that meager improvement with the added cost of the system (estimated to be roughly $500-600) and it's easy to see why many American consumers would avoid taking the plunge.
Barnes notes Mazda's first priority is to introduce the SkyActive technologies across its global portfolio, but suggests introducing i-Stop in additional vehicles -- even those bound for North America -- could be the next step in improving fuel economy and paving the way for hybrid drivetrains further down the line. No precise timetable was given, but unless the EPA decides to alter its city cycle test methodology, expect i-Stop's American introduction to be part of Mazda's long-term solution, not a short-term fix.
2010 Mazda Axela (Mazda3) i-Stop
On Sale: Now, in European, Japanese, and Australian markets
Engine: Direct-injection 2.0-liter I-4
Output: 151 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 141 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual
0902 02 Pl+2010 Mazda 3+front Three Quarter View
0902 02 Z+2010 Mazda 3+front Three Quarter View
One in three cars Mazda sells wears a badge that displays the number three. Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe the compact 3's name has something to do with its popularity. A quick Web search netted the following enlightening information about the number three: the numeral raises the spirits of others, spreads optimism and cheerfulness wherever it travels, and possesses the ability to sell itself. That's a hell of a recipe for showroom success. And since the 3's predecessors - the GLC, then the 323, then the Proteg - weren't nearly as popular, clearly their names must be at fault. Mazda's in-house numerology team obviously agrees, since they're keeping the name unchanged on the new-for-2010 second-generation car.
Then again, there's quite a bit that Mazda left alone with regard to its highly successful small-car formula. Even though it calls the 2010 model all-new, scant changes were made to its C1 architecture. Suspension mounting points and wheelbase are unchanged, but Mazda used additional high-tensile-strength steel for added stiffness and reduced weight. The 3's body is about the same size as last year's car, with an increase in length of just over three inches being the only significant dimensional change.
0902 07 Z+2010 Mazda 3+rear Fascia
As before, Mazda will offer the 3 in both four-door sedan and four-door hatchback form. The sedan is by far the more popular variant in the States (we import the majority of all the sedans built), so Mazda chose to bring that body style here first. From dead-on, the new 3 looks a bit silly - like an anime gremlin wearing an I've-been-naughty grin. From any angle, though, its design is youthful, distinctive, and instantly recognizable as a Mazda. Organically shaped grilles in the lower front corners, like those seen on the Kiyora show car from the 2008 Paris auto show, visually widen the front end and flow into swollen front fenders à la RX-8 and Mazda 6.
Just like last time, Mazda's littlest five-seater is offered with a choice of two suffixes - the entry-level 3i as well as the 3s, which boasts a bigger engine, beefier brakes, and a sportier appearance. Last year's 2.0-liter four continues duty in the base 3i, producing 148 hp and 135 lb-ft of torque. Both of its available transmissions have five gear ratios - the automatic gaining one since last year. Mazda says that engine software revisions and aerodynamic improvements will help the manual car achieve an extra 1 mpg both in the city and on the open road, and the extra gear in the automatic helps net even bigger gains - 2 mpg city and 3 mpg highway for an expected EPA rating of 24/33 mpg. As before, the 2.0-liter remains a pleasure to flog, retaining its composure and happily producing thrust as the tach needle swings deep into the red zone.
0902 01 Z+2010 Mazda 3+interior
In place of the old car's 2.3-liter, the 2010 Mazda 3s receives the new 2.5-liter four-cylinder, first seen in the 2009 Mazda 6 sedan. Large four-pot engines tend to be rough and coarse, but not this one - Mazda's engineers did an astonishing job of quieting this long-stroke heavyweight by adding balance shafts and other refinement measures. There is no vibration to be felt at any engine speed, there's never any harshness, and with the windows down or the stereo playing, the engine is nearly inaudible. The old 2.3-liter was more vocal, and we miss its outgoing personality. But the larger engine's bite is likely more important to buyers than its bark. Peak output is up 11 hp to 167 horses, and a good chunk of the 2.5-liter's 168 lb-ft of peak torque is available throughout the rev range. The five-speed automatic transmission is optional again on the 3s, but the standard manual transmission now comes with six forward gears in place of last year's five-speed. The only option missing from our fully loaded, retina-searing celestial blue 3s Grand Touring test car was the automatic.
0902 05 Z+2010 Mazda 3+front View
And when we say fully loaded, we mean fully loaded - this little charmer was equipped with luxury features you'd never expect to find in an economy sedan. Our candy-colored 3's youthful appearance seemed at odds with its decidedly grown-up arsenal of equipment: swiveling bixenon headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver's seat with memory, a ten-speaker Bose Centerpoint sound system, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, heated seats, leather upholstery, keyless ignition, navigation with full iPod integration and Bluetooth, rain-sensing wipers, LED taillights, electroluminescent gauges, and . . . you get the point.
These features, some of which are not available in the Mazda's competitors for any price, could put the 3 on the shopping list of buyers looking to downsize from larger gas slurpers. Unfortunately, most of these luxury goodies aren't available with the more economical smaller engine, and even though the 2.5-liter's thirst for fuel is shot-glass petite in a Big Gulp SUV world, its 29-mpg highway economy figure barely exceeds that of the similarly sized BMW 328i, which has a much more powerful, 230-hp six-cylinder under the hood. Even the more efficient 2.0-liter's anticipated ratings can't match those of the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla, the 3's main competitors.
0902 08 Z+2010 Mazda 3 Hatchback+rear Three Quarter View
Then again, the 3 is much more fun to drive than those nerdy fuel misers. Mazda's now ten-year-old "Zoom-Zoom" mantra dictates short, closely spaced gear ratios that give the 3 a sporty disposition but ultimately hurt fuel economy. From behind the wheel, you won't think "economy" anyway - the 3 offers a comfortable driving position, its rock-solid brake pedal responds with sports-car bite, and its thin-rimmed wheel accurately transmits its driver's inputs to the front tires. Torque steer is notable by its absence - a trait we sincerely hope that the (inevitable) turbocharged Mazdaspeed 3 maintains. Dynamically, the Mazda 3 continues as the class benchmark, although the new 3 seems to understeer more resolutely than its predecessor, and overly aggressive throttle calibration makes smooth driving in the manual-transmission 3s a real challenge.
0902 03 Z+2010 Mazda 3+profile
Like its predecessor, the Mazda 3 sedan has a roomy cabin with a comfortable back seat. A standard 60/40-split rear seat increases its cargo-carrying capacity, although the trunk's small, vertical opening will reject some large objects - exactly the reason we prefer the stylish hatchback. Still, the interior plastics are first-rate, especially up front, where soft-touch, expensive-feeling materials abound. The new 3 has the familiar Mazda red LCD screen located atop the center stack to show radio and climate-control information. The 3s model has an additional readout that Mazda calls a Multi Information Display - essentially a trip computer and a supplemental display for the stereo. Unfortunately, this screen looks as if it were lifted out of another car entirely - neither its white color nor its smooth font match anything else in the car, and it sometimes shows redundant iPod information. On cars equipped with navigation, the second display doubles as the nav system, but its tiny size makes it difficult to read maps, and it remains a visual afterthought when displaying trip-computer or iPod information. Worse, only the driver can access the navigation's functions, as the controls are inexplicably located on the steering wheel.
0902 04 Z+2010 Mazda 3+navigation Screen
Gripes like these are minor, however - Mazda started with a car that was still at the top of its class after more than five years and made it even more appealing to buyers. Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but since Mazda has changed so little of its winning recipe, we doubt that the sticker will change much. We predict that this small sedan's smiling face will draw buyers into Mazda dealerships, and its power, refinement, and surprising level of equipment will have them talking to the finance guys in no time. And if you don't believe us, you can ask your favorite numerologist.
0902 06 Z+2010 Mazda 3+front Three Quarter View
2010 Mazda 3s
base price $19,000 (est.)
engine: DOHC 16-valve I-4
displacement: 2.5 liters (160 cu in)
horsepower: 167 hp @ 6000 rpm
torque: 168 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
transmission Type: 6-speed manual
drive: Front-wheel
steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
suspension, front: Strut-type, coil springs
suspension, rear: Multilink, coil springs
brakes f/r: Vented discs/discs, ABS
tires: Yokohama Avid S34D
tire size: 205/50VR-17
L x W x H: 180.9 x 69.1 x 57.9 in
wheelbase: 103.9 in
track f/r: 60.2/59.6 in
weight: 2963 lb (per manufacturer)
fuel mileage: 21/29 mpg (est.)
0811 01pl+2010 Mazda 3+front Three Quarter View
0811 01z+2010 Mazda 3+front Three Quarter View
The current Mazda 3 is among our favorite small cars, and with more than 1.8 million units sold to date, one of Mazda's most important models. Rather than mess with a good thing, the Zoom Zoom company isn't changing much for the new, second-generation compact sedan. (Mazda has chosen to reveal the four-door sedan now at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show; a five-door hatchback, our favorite version of the 3, will be revealed later.)
The new 3 is about three and a half inches longer than last year's car, and weighs about a hundred pounds more (depending on equipment level), but the other dimensions haven't changed, including the wheelbase. That's a good indication that not much has changed underneath the 3, either-and indeed while the 2010 3 has significant revisions to its chassis, including increased use of high-tensile strength steel to reduce the body-in-white's weight by 24 lb while stiffening the suspension attachment points, it rides on largely unchanged suspension and brakes. Don't interpret that as a bad thing-the last 3, even at the end of its six-year production run, was still at the top of its class in our book.
0811 04 Z+2010 Mazda3 Sedan+front Three Quarter View
Choose 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter Four-cylinder powertrains
Mazda also didn't make any changes to the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which produces 148 hp and 135 lb-ft of torque. A gem of an engine, it's both rev-happy and torquey, and mates to either a five-speed manual transmission or a new five-speed automatic (which replaces last year's 4-speed automatic.)
Those buyers wanting a little more power can now opt for the Mazda3s, which uses the same 2.5-liter four as the larger Mazda 6i sedan. This new engine replaces last year's 2.3-liter, and produces 11 more horsepower and 18 more lb-ft of torque, for totals of 167 hp and 168 lb-ft. The engine also receives an additional gear-the manual now has six forward ratios. The automatic remains a five-speed.
0811 02z+2010 Mazda 3+rear Three Quarter View
Swiveling Headlights! Oh, My!
Mazda boasts that the 3 is a compact car that offers many of the features available only in larger, more expensive cars. And indeed it does, with a fully loaded 3s Grand Touring offering class-exclusive swiveling bi-xenon headlights, a 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround system, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an eight-way power driver's seat with memory function.
Strangely, though, many of these options are available only on the top-spec Grand Touring trim level, which is available only with the larger 2.5-liter engine. That means if you want the small motor, you can't have the heated leather seats, power driver's seat with memory, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights, bi-xenon swiveling headlights, LED taillights, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, leather steering wheel and shift knob, keyless go, or even navigation. If Mazda's aim is to make the 3 a compact car that buyers used to larger cars will happily downsize to (in this age of sudden fuel economy conscience), then the luxury features need to be available with the small engine, too.
0811 05 Z+2010 Mazda3 Sedan+taillight
The Smaller Engine is the Best Choice for Fun and Efficiency
In fact, the smaller engine is probably the one we'd choose if we were buying a 3. Equipped with a manual, the 2.0-liter returns 25/33 city/highway on the EPA testing versus 21/29 for the 2.5-liter-a significant improvement. The smaller engine is also easier to drive, with better calibrated throttle mapping and sportier power delivery. It's slower than the 2.5-liter, but with less than 20 hp separating the two engines, the 2.5's increased thirst for fuel isn't fully offset by the extra power. (And let's face it, 29 mpg highway isn't exactly spectacular for a compact car, especially when the much larger Mazda6 receives the same highway rating.)
Still as Fun to Drive as Before
And while the Mazda3 doesn't deliver the fuel economy you'd expect from, say, a Honda Civic, it's quicker and more fun to drive. It also has a much nicer interior than you'd expect from a car in this price class, with very high-quality materials and a quiet, smooth ride befitting a much larger car. In fact, even the 2.5-liter-a very large four-cylinder indeed-is so unbelievably smooth that you'll never hear or feel a vibration, from idle to fuel cutoff. At idle, you can't tell if it's running, and cruising at 50 mph with the windows down, you might not even notice that you're accidentally still in second gear and approaching redline. You simply won't hear or feel the engine-this kind of refinement makes the new 3 slightly less visceral than the old one, but more grown-up at the same time. Torque steer is well controlled, brake feel is superb, and the shifter is light and generally precise. The steering isn't as communicative as some of Mazda's other offerings, but it's still very good. Pushed beyond its limits, the 3 understeers more than its big brother sedan, the 6, but it doesn't plow through corners the way some other cars in this class do. We didn't get a chance to sample either automatic transmission, as the first batch of pre-production cars available for testing were all manuals.
0811 03z+2010 Mazda 3+interior View
Harumph. The iPod Setup Falls Short
Other than an electronic throttle calibration that's far too aggressive on the 2.5-liter car (and which can be easily fixed by Mazda's engineers before the car goes into production), there's only one real misstep, and it concerns a display in the top of the dash. Base cars use a backlit, red dot-matrix display atop the center console, familiar from other Mazdas, to show radio station and other audio information. Higher-spec 2.5-liter cars use a smaller version of the red display but add a separate window, called a "Multi-Information Display" to its left. This MID displays trip computer functions as well as music information (such as iPod track information). The problem with the MID is that it displays information in white and in a dramatically different font and size than the main, red display-it looks so out of place that it might as well be from another car. Top-of-the-line models with navigation system substitute the white monochrome screen for a full-color display, but when displaying trip data, the screen still doesn't match any other displays in the car.
And unfortunately, we were so frustrated with the iPod integration that we decided to use the (thankfully also standard) auxiliary jack and use the iPod's internal controls instead. Like some other iPod integration systems, this system doesn't allow quick scrolling through albums, so browsing through a fully loaded 40GB iPod was basically impossible. Luckily, the Bluetooth audio integration (for both streaming MP3s from your phone as well as making calls) worked flawlessly.
0811 06 Z+2010 Mazda3 Sedan+side View
It's Still at the Top of the Small-car Heap
All in all, the new Mazda3 is likely to remain one of our favorite small cars. Small ergonomic foibles aside (and let's face it, ours are minor complaints), the 3 is once again proof that a small, relatively economical car doesn't have to be a penalty box. It's also cute, distinctive, and it looks substantial on the road. Mazda hasn't yet released pricing, but expect the 2010 3 to see only moderate price increases-figure around $17,000 for a well-equipped 3i, heading up to close to $25,000 for a fully loaded 3s Grand Touring. Even despite the tough times in the automotive industry, we expect the new Mazda3 to be a hit-and can't wait to see what the new five-door hatch looks like.
2010 Mazda Mazda3
2010 Mazda Mazda3
The Mazda 3 has been redesigned for 2010. It competes well in the compact car market. It comes available in either a sedan or four door hatchback flavors. There are three trim levels to choose from as well. The Mazda 3 shows a rare level of interior class for this segment of cars. It also offers enough room for full sized adults to be comfortable in the front seats. It gives the general impression that more was paid for the car than it actually costs.

Power for this sporty compact comes from both a 2.0 liter four cylinder making 148 HP and 135 Ft. – lbs. of torque, or a 2.5 liter inline 4 cylinder model making 167 HP and 168 Ft. – Lbs. of torque. Power is routed through either a six speed manual or a five speed automatic transmission.

What comes as a surprise to many who drive the Mazda 3 is the manners it exhibits on the road. It has quick and communicative steering, combined with good grip and excellent body motion control. Though riders used to the softly sprung ride of a Honda or Toyota many find the 3's ride a bit too firm.
2010 Mazda3 Hp
The old Mazda 3 was already one of our favorite small cars. Twice an AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE All-Star, the previous 3 was a cut above its contemporaries. When Mazda's highest-volume car went in for a redesign for the 2010 model year, it emerged with a more powerful engine (in the "s" models, at least), an additional gear for its manual and automatic transmissions, a plethora of new luxury features, and new styling led off by a front end that West Coast editor Jason Cammisa described as "an anime gremlin wearing an I've-been-naughty grin."
2010 Mazda3 Front End
In a follow-up to an initial investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of steering equipment on the 2007-09 Mazda3, Mazda will recall nearly 200,000 models, including the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 5 minivan.

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2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
25 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
33 MPG
148 hp @ 6500rpm
135 ft lb of torque @ 4500rpm
  • Air Conditioning (optional)
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks (optional)
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control (optional)
  • Electronic Stability Control (optional)
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
Recall Date
Potential Units Affected

NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
IIHS Roof Strength

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