New Car Reviews

2010 Mazda3 s Sport 5-Door – Four Seasons Update – March 2010

Long-Term 2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Update: Spring 2010 ( 1 of 5 ) Miles to date: 0

At the end of February, we sent our 3 in for a scheduled service visit. The dealer performed an oil change, rotated the tires and inspected the battery, fluids, and belts for a total cost of $54.37. As with previous visits, everything checked out fine and our Mazda continues with a flawless reliability record and affordable dealer services. Now, with spring just showing its face in Michigan, we need to swap out the winter tires on the 17-inch aluminum wheels. In their place, we’ll remount the factory Yokohama Avid S34 tires. It’s been a long winter for our Mazda 3 drivers as the Continental Extreme Winter Contacts compromised ride, handling, and straight-line stability. Adding to the frustration was a relatively mild winter with only a few snow dumps where we really wanted snow tires.

When the 3 was wearing its standard rubber, our drivers heaped praise on the small Mazda for a chassis setup that’s beyond reproach. The 3 mixes a beautifully cushioned ride and exceptionally agile handling with precise steering. It’s enough for us to claim the 3 as one of our favorite compacts and vote it an Automobile Magazine All-Star. Interestingly, though, there are few other elements that make it an standout from the rest of the category. Rather than great, the 3’s other features and traits seem merely good. The 2.5-liter engine has plenty of power and is rewarding to work hard, but it’s a bit coarse and returns only mediocre fuel economy. It’s not harsh, but Mazda’s MZR engine can’t match the refinement or quick-revving character of a Honda four-cylinder. Similarly, the interior is well built and nicely styled, but has a few suspect materials and surfaces. The included technology also has its shortcomings, especially considering the $22,570 as-tested price. Despite opting for the premium Bose stereo, there’s no USB input or Bluetooth audio streaming. The point here is that the Mazda 3 may be an exceptional car when it comes to driving character, but it’s far from perfect as an automobile. It may be one of the best, but there are plenty of places where the competition can and sometimes does outpace the Mazda 3.

2010 Mazda3 s Sport 5-Door

Base price (with destination): $19,900
Price as tested: $22,570

Body Style: 4-door hatchback
Accommodation: 5-passenger
Construction: Steel unibody

Size: DOHC 16-valve I-4
Displacement: 2.5 liters
Power: 167 hp @6000 rpm
Torque: 168 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: front-wheel
Fuel economy: 21 / 29 / 24 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.9
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft
Suspension, Front: Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R: Vented disc/disc, ABS
Wheels: 17 x 6.5 in
Tires: Yokohama Avid S34
Tire Size: P205/50-R17

Headroom F/R: 38.1/37.4 in
Legroom F/R: 42.0/36.2 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 54.9/54.0 in
Wheelbase: 103.9 in
Track F/R: 60.2/59.6 in
L x W x H: 177.4 x 69.1 x 57.9 in
Cargo Capacity: 17.0 cu ft
Weight: 3005 lbs
Weight Dist. F/R: 60/40%
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gal
Est. Range: 382 miles
Fuel Grade: 87 octane

Standard Equipment
Front, side, and side curtain airbags
Push-button ignition with intelligent key
Power windows, locks, and mirrors
Auxiliary audio input
Tire-pressure monitoring system

Moonroof/Bose Package $1395
-242 watt Bose Centerpoint 10-speaker surround sound
-Moonroof with one-touch open
-In-dash 6-disc CD changer
Technology Package $1195
-Color display with compact nav-screen
-Advanced keyless system with push-button start
-Sirius satellite radio with 6-month subscription