New Car Reviews

2010 Mazda3 s Sport 5-Door – Four Seasons Update – November 2009

Long-Term 2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Update: Fall 2009 Array Miles to date: 0

As winter approaches, we’ve now fit our Mazda 3 with Continental ExtremeWinterContact winter tires in preparation for the snow, slush, and ice storms that we’re sure to receive. Our new tires match the stock rubber in size at 205/50TR-17 and sell for $114 each. We’re used to making compromises to ride and handling when fitting our cars with snow tires, and the Continentals are no exception. The 3’s sharp steering is dulled, handling is less confident, and the ride significantly choppier. “I noticed a lot more torque steer while accelerating, and the Mazda wandered on the highway, requiring significantly more corrections than when it was on the stock all-season tires,” commented copy editor Rusty Blackwell. On the other hand, we’re expecting these tires to be quite grippy once the snow starts flying.

Aside from the new tires, we’ve been quite content with the 3, and the logbook has been relatively quiet. There have been two complaints about the 3’s stereo, regarding relatively poor FM radio reception and the constant speaker interference caused by a BlackBerry. The interference creates a frequent staccato digital buzz. We’re laying blame on both the Mazda and the BlackBerry, as our staffer has never encountered the issue in another car. In the Mazda, most other phones seem to happily coexist with the stereo, but a few other BlackBerry phones have caused the same noise.

In early November, we took our car to the local Mazda dealer for regular maintenance. The service only required an oil change and inspection that came back with all the checks in the green boxes. Total cost for the dealer visit was a hardly painful $35.71. Otherwise, the 3 continues to drive on in good health with almost 13,000 miles on the odometer.

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: Continental ExtremeWinterContact winter tires
Tire Size: 205/50TR-17

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