Compact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,800 – $16,300*

2004 Mazda 3

2004 Mazda 3

2004 Mazda 3

2004 Mazda 3

  • Acceleration (s models with manual transmission)
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling
  • Acceleration (i models with automatic transmission)
  • Cargo room

Though not the quickest-accelerating compact cars, all Mazda 3s excel for sporty driving fun. They also deliver solid build quality and a pleasant, efficient interior package. Fun seekers are advised to pass up the automatic transmission in favor of the smooth 5-speed manual.


Mazda replaced its Protege subcompact for 2004 with a slightly larger new car called the Mazda 3. Mazda 3 came in 4-dr sedan and hatchback body styles. The sedan was available in base “i” trim and uplevel “s” form. The hatchback came only as an s model. Two 4-cyl engines were available: a 148-hp 2.0 liter for i models, a 160-hp 2.3 for s versions. With either engine, a 5-speed manual transmission came standard; a 4-speed automatic with manual shift gate was optional. The i model had 15-inch wheels or optional 16s. The s sedan came with 16s; 17s were included in its Sport Package option. The hatchback had 17s. Front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and ABS were grouped in a single option package for all models. Options exclusive to s versions were leather upholstery, a navigation system, and a package that consisted of a tire-pressure monitor and xenon headlights. Air conditioning was optional on the i model, standard on s versions.

Yearly Updates

2005 3
A new sp23 model included leather seating, and 17-inch polished alloy wheels.
2006 3
The sp23 model was dropped, and s Touring and S Grand Touring were added. S Touring included front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and 17-inch wheels. The s Grand Touring added to S Touring leather seating, heated front seats, automatic climate control, trip computer, and xenon headlamps.
2007 3
Mazda 3 added a performance model and traction/antiskid control became available for 2007. These 4-dr sedans and 4-dr hatchbacks came in Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring trim, and were joined by a MazdaSpeed hatchback for ’07. It had a sport-tuned suspension, xenon headlights, leather upholstery, larger brakes, and 18-inch wheels. Other models got minor cosmetic changes for 2007.
2008 3
The Mazda 3 was largely unchanged for 2008.
2009 3
The 2009 Mazda 3 received few changes.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Two 4-cylinder engines and three transmissions are available for Mazda 3. For i models, a 150-hp engine mates to either a 5-speed manual transmission, or a 4-speed automatic. The more potent s versions have a 160-hp engine that comes with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic. The 3 is joined by a MazdaSpeed hatchback for ’07. It’s powered by a 263-horsepower turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 135
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 150
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 263
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 280
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual


Road Test

Any version of Mazda’s compact sedan pleases with its blend of sporty steering and responsive handling. The S versions are especially fun to drive, benefiting from larger wheels and tires, better brake feel, and additional horsepower.

Extracting the most entertainment from a 3 means opting for the manual transmission, as either available engine is subdued by the available automatic.

Fuel economy is another high point, with one test S with manual transmission averaging 27.1 mpg.

Passenger accommodations, front and rear, are about average for the class. Taller rear-seat passengers will prefer the hatchback and its addition inch of headroom. And though both body styles rank about average in class for quietness, testers found noise levels slightly elevated in hatchback versions.

A smallish trunk limits cargo options on sedans, while the hatchback’s relatively spacious storage area is augmented by a useful storage tray.


Model Tested: 2005 Mazda 3 s hatchback with manual transmission

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 7


Value - 10

Total: 61


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.9 176.6 69.1 57.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
31.2 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 38.4 41.9 36.3
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.9 178.3 69.1 57.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.4 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 37.4 41.9 36.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 Mazda 3 4-door sedan 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
Rear Passenger Injury - 3


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Overheating and/or lack of charging may result from a tensioner pulley that wears out and the tensioner; drive belt as well as A/C drive belt must be changed. (2004-05)
Description: Rear brakes make grinding or squealing noises and revised brake pads have been issued, while front brakes squeal when cold, so new pads along with a revised caliper support have been issued. (2004-05)
Cold-starting problems
Description: Engine may not restart after short trip in extremely cold weather (-20F) due to master relay points freezing. (2004-06)
Engine noise
Description: Engine vibration is caused by failed motor mount, and a revised mount with different rubber is available. (2004-05)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may stall at low speed if the throttle is gently depressed then released requiring reflash of the engine control computer. (2004-05)
Steering problems
Description: The power steering becomes heavy due to a fluid leak at a fluid return hose connection. (2004-07)
Vehicle shake
Description: Vibration at 55 mph corrected by installing revised motor mounts. (2004-06)
Description: The auto-down feature of the driver’s window may stop about half-way down, requiring replacement of the main switch. (2004-05)
Description: The wipers may not clean the windshield properly in cold weather when the rubber edge stiffens. So, revised wiper arms with greater spring pressure are available. (2004)
Description: The hinges in the wiper arms get rusty requiring replacement arms. (2004-07)
Electrical problem
Description: Airbag warning light may come on due to damaged pretensioner sensor wiring breakage from adjusting the seat. (2005)
Description: The headliner may get wet or drip in the winter due to moisture accumulating from the use of recirculated rather than fresh air. (2004-06)
Description: The navigation system may display the wrong map or no map if the vehicle was sold in one location then resold in another, especially if the battery was disconnected. (2006-07)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may illuminate even though there is no detectible drivability issues due to a valve in the intake system jamming. (2004-08)

Recall History

2004-05 3
Description: Front airbag sensor and control module faulty.
2007 3
Description: The No. 4 left side engine mount bolt may loosen if a sudden rapid acceleration is repeatedly performed, allowing the transmission to get out of position. Dealers will inspect and replace the No. 4 engine mount bolt with a modified one and, if necessary, replace the engine mount rubber and bracket with new ones.
2007-09 Vehicles manufactured from April 2, 2007 through November 30, 2008
Description: These vehicles may have a condition in which a sudden loss of power steering assist could occur at any time while driving the vehicle. Power steering assist is suddenly lost reducing the driver’s ability to steer the vehicle as typically expected, and increasing the risk of a crash.
2008-2009 Mazda3 and MazdaSpeed 3 vehicles manufactured from January 7, 2008, through November 28, 2008.
Description: The ground terminal of the windshield wiper motor may have been inadvertently bent during assembly. If this condition exists then over time the electrical resistance of the motor circuit may increase up to a point that the windshield wipers would not work. The loss of wiper function in adverse weather could potentially increase the risk of a crash. Dealers will install an additional ground harness on the wiper motor free of charge.
2009 3
Description: These vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 126, “Electronic Stability Control System”. The yaw rate measured after completion of the sine with dwell steering input exceeded the test standards. Dealers will inspect and have the unit replaced free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.