Flash Drive: 2010 Mazda Mazda3
This 2010 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
One look at the new Mazda3 design and it appears to be the happiest car on the planet (the expressive new grille looks like a big smile). While the car's basic shape remains unchanged from previous models, it gets bolder fenders and updated taillights, as well as the happy-face front end. Inside, it is much cleaner, with simple controls and a 2-screen display conveniently placed at eye level. Power in the Grand Touring model we tested was plentiful, with a slightly larger displacement engine, and while the 6-speed manual shifter was smooth, the clutch was touchy. I found it difficult to launch the car smoothly. And though the Mazda3 holds its own on twisty roads, there is a lot of road noise, especially on rough pavement. Regardless, after spending some time in the new Mazda3, I found myself smiling almost as much as the car. – Perry Stern
The new Mazda3 is a great-looking car and stands out from the multitude of Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas on the road. Its design is simply edgier and more stylish. However, the "smiley-face" front bumper is a little too juvenile-looking. And while the inside of the car is functional, it still feels sporty, with extras like the red illuminated dash. The Mazda3 has plenty of room for two adults in the back seat, and the seats are firm and supportive. When coupled with a manual transmission, the Mazda3 is quick and also delivers decent gas mileage; I achieved 28 mpg in mixed driving. The Mazda3 succeeds in fusing style into a commuting car, while selling it at a price that doesn't put you in the poorhouse. – Joe Chulick
The Mazda3 is almost the gold standard among small cars. Its many flavors range from superpractical to overtly sporty. For the new model year, the Mazda3 continues almost unchanged and offers a satisfying mix of style, comfort, space, quality and performance. This Mazda is smooth, with a well-judged suspension, an engine that never seems to be caught off guard and a manual transmission that makes it easy to find the right gear every time. The seats are comfortable, and I really like the materials. The view never feels obstructed, and it's easy to position yourself in traffic. After years of consistency, you almost need to justify why you would choose any competitor over the Mazda3. – Paul Hagger