Mazda 3 - 1st gen review after ~3yrs

NJC

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3,021
Location
Vancouver BC
I bought a 2007 Mazda 3 manual hatchback in 2018 with 345K KM's and it just rolled over to 400K KM's. Since that time, 2 more 1st gen Mazda 3's (2004 and 2006) have been added to our fleet. Here are some thoughts after 50K KM's

Positive:

- Excellent handling and suspension design, very fun driving machine.
- Good styling and functionality of the hatchback. Golden retrievers fit perfectly.
- None of these car leak oil–Ford/Mazda did a great job on engine & component seal quality.
- Very decent sound system
- 2.3L can* be a solid engine, and mine still has a heap of power @ 400K and can get consistent 8L/100KM when I'm driving and not my teen.
*Assuming they're burning too much oil. See below.

Negative:

- All 3 cars burn oil on the 2.3L - ranging from @ 1L per 4K KM's to 1L per 1,500KM's (2004 automatic). There is a known issue with excess oil consumption in 2004 - 2007 2.3L manual trans models.
- 3 minute cabin filter replacement on a Toyota (for EG) is 4hrs on this car. Cover your family's ears when attempting.
- Rear control arm is an ill-thought design–press is required, and no alignment marks are provided for bushing installation.
- Engine oil dipsticks are difficult to read.
- Rear shock tower mounts are prone to break but are easily replaced and inexpensive
- Clutch replacement looks ridiculously complex for backyard mechanic. IE this model gets poor marks for serviceability ease.

A few other pts:

- 2006 and newer have a few more goodies than 2004 / 2005 models.
- Auto trans seem decent - both have 190K KM's.
- The clutch is still functional and original. At 400K, that's an impressive feat.
- Fuel economy is good on standard trans, and reasonable on the auto's.

This car would be brilliant if Mazda's design was built by Honda (Honda shill speaking). I had to replace the fuel pump @ 374K KM's and it was a big job to drop tank etc. I'd avoid high mileage Mazda 3's (>300K KM's), unless it came with maintenance records.
 

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