2010 MAZDA3 Review – A First Drive with Mazda’s Remodeled Moneymaker

Expert Reviews Mazda

Perhaps the most noticeable change is with the dash display for the stereo and HVAC, which puts it directly up front beneath the windshield, where it should be, so the driver can keep his eyes on the road, where they should be. That also goes for the handy-yet-miniature navigation screen, measuring only about five inches by three inches. And to further reduce distraction and eyes off the road, the entire navigation system can be controlled by a few buttons on the steering wheel. The 3′s nav system also features all map software on an eensy-weensy SD card, as opposed to a CD.  This is an innovation which absolutely cannot be found on any car anywhere near the price of the 3.

2010 Mazda MAZDA3

Supportive, supple leather-trimmed seats and wrapped steering wheel give the 3 s Grand Touring a rich feel without being too posh, kinda like wearing your best pair of ‘fancy jeans’. For those on a more frugal, Old Navy jeans-type budget, the i Touring comes equipped with cloth seats starting in the high $15,000 range. But in our opinion, if you can afford the extra coin outlay, go for the s GT. It’s worth every dollar.


Another reason to opt for the s model is the exterior appearance. We greatly prefer the RX-8 inspired grille on the s as opposed to the awkward-looking front end on the i. Tack on the dual exhaust, and the s simply has a stronger and more sophisticated look, as it should. But really, if forced to choose between the old base MAZDA3 and the new base MAZDA3 , we’d opt for old. However, like most new car designs which are slow to warm up to, after a few years, rejection is eventually replaced with acceptance.


At least in our eyes, the MAZDA3 is the undisputed lightweight champion of the world when it comes to value, especially the s GT model. Find us a car for under $26,000 that out-features the MAZDA3 and outperforms its handling and amazing practicality, and we’ll gladly pass the title along. But until then, your money absolutely cannot be better spent than with a MAZDA3. Period.

Who Should Buy It?

You mean short of every single living human being on the entire planet holding a driver’s license looking for a fun, affordable, practical, fuel-efficient car that you actually want to be seen in?


If you’ve labored tirelessly for years just so you can afford a status-symbol sled like a BMW 3-series, stop wasting your precious life for such an empty ego boost. Instead, save your money, go out and buy a fully-loaded MAZDA3s GT, and always remember, “Just because it isn’t fancy doesn’t mean it isn’t high quality.” Words to live by, especially in times such as these.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.5 5.0 4.9/A


Official website for Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs – www.mazdausa.com

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  • clippingimages says:

    Excellent pictures.thanks to share.

  • Ed Peck says:

    I just leased a 2010 Mazda 3s after considering numerous compacts.
    It came down to this or a VW GTI which I probably would have enjoyed
    the driving experience more, but the lease price was quite a bit less, and the conering about the same. My other car is a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata so don’t fool yourself into thinking that the Mazda 3 is anywhere close to as much fun as a true 180hp turbo 2500 lb rear wheel car – its not even in the same ball park.I dont get why certain
    writers talk about road noise with this car because its ultra quiet , even with 4 dedicated winter tires. The only complaint I have is it doesn’t come with day time running lights, and if you use the night lights during the day, they won’t automatically shut off when you turn the ignition off. This last complaint really bugs me and I cant understand why Mazda chose no skimp on this safety feature when their
    Canadian cousins are required to have it, and the’re all made in Canada.There doesn’t seem to be any easy fix for the lights and despite my overall love for the car, it almost makes me wish I had gone with the GTI.

  • John says:

    Just because your review isn’t fancy does not mean it isn’t high quality.

    Nice writing style, easy to read, very informative, and your not afraid to have a strong opinion which is refreshing.

    Best Mazda 3 review I have read. I have been researching this car for awhile. I have a 2008 VW Jetta now, and after looking at 100′s of cars it has come down to the 2010 Mazda 3 GT or the 2010-11 VW GTI.

  • Adam says:

    Just purchased a 2010 Mazda3 s Sport Hatchback 6 speed (and a Mazda5 for the wife.) Every day I fall more in love with this car. I came out of a 2008 Altima S 2.0 6M, which is a great car; but the 3 is in a different universe (except for rear leg room.) Standard equipment is mind blowing–Bluetooth, ambient lighting, etc on the inside… it’s all great, but the best part for me is the power, handling and the seats. Absolutely phenomenal.

    I read a review recently that summed it up quite well, “It’s a lot more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slowly.” I blew through my first tank of gas with a whopping 17 MPG… I need to settle down.

  • JM says:

    “If you’ve labored tirelessly for years just so you can afford a status-symbol sled like a BMW 3-series, stop wasting your precious life for such an empty ego boost. Instead, save your money, go out and buy a fully-loaded MAZDA3s GT.” Lol, this is so true. I recently purchased a fully-loaded 2010 Mazda3 s Grand Touring with the Graphite Mica finish (dark gray) and the black leather interior. It has a moonroof, a 10 speaker Bose sound system, and push button start just to name a few. I’m an engineer; I can afford a BMW 3-Series, but BMW just looks boring to me. Besides, BMW is so cliche. For me it came down to a Lexus IS w/ nav system and a fully loaded Mazda3 s GT. Because of the way the economy is I decided it’s better to save money, so I went with the Mazda. I don’t regret it at all. I love this car! 7-2-10

  • Dave says:

    That old adage about not fixing what isn’t broken was completely ignored by Mazda. New owners wouldn’t realize what I’m talking about but as I owned the 1st Mazda3 model, I was disappointed with the dumb “fixes” made to the current model.
    1) On sunny days, that light grey driver’s side dashboard accent is beautifully reflected in the driver’s side view mirror.
    2) The centre console on the prior model was a two-door configuration. Now it’s a single container with a stupid tray.
    3) The rear cover that is connected to the hatch that keeps nosey people from looking into the rear window was articulated but not now.
    4) There was a very cool compartment that could be erected in the hatchback area that has been completely removed.
    Overall, I like the current car but the four changes mentioned above are, to put it bluntly, just plain stupid. Who ever approved them should be fired.
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • jazzkat says:

    I have the 2010 mazda 3 touring I automatic. One of the tightest driving cars I’ve ever used—I love that feature. Precision handling makes it feel like a sport car. The 2.0 liter engine is smooth and fairly powerful. Getting on an uphill highway can be sluggish but you can open up the engine with the \tiptronic\ shifter. I also own the new Mazda 6 with the 2.5 liter engine. That car is so comfortable and the power is ample considering it’s a pretty heavy vehicle. For a full family trip the 6 is much better. For myself or with my wife the 3 is fun and very tossable. If you don’t appreciate good handling, don’t buy this car. Also, the front seats are very firm and it did take me a while to appreciate them. Now they feel quite ergonomic.

  • David says:

    Three months ago, I bought a new 2010 Mazda3 i Touring, white with sand interior and Bose/Moonroof package. I LOVE this car! It has the 2.0, five speed manual shift, and drives beautifully. One of the reasons that I was attracted to the Mazda 3 was the new styling. The older style was alright, but definitely more sedate than the 2010, and the old grille always looked like a \shovel nose\ to me. I am glad that Mazda decided to be unique and try a new style. Most of the other cars in it’s class look alike, even the new Forte. It seems that everyone is afraid of trying something new. Kind of boring. The entire 2010 Mazda is sharp looking, feels very upscale and the front end styling reminds me of cars like Ferrarri. I have only a few complaints with i level trim: lack of delay headlights; tight rear legroom; could use a chime to remind when the Moonroof is left open; and would be nice if the Bose system could have a readout of the CD tracks. I have been consistently getting between 33 and 35 MPG with combined city/highway driving. Sales and service could not be better. I look forward to many years of ownership with this car, and would recommend it highly.

  • Cars for sale says:

    The Mazda3′s a great car, it’s still fun to drive as it always was and very econimcal, even without sacrificing sportiness and performance. Interior’s pretty good. And it’s one of the few cars in the world that will smile at you. Thanks to its smiling grille.

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