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Josh Rosenberg
Josh Rosenberg

We don't just talk cars ... we teach how to buy them.

2011 Mazda Mazda3 Features
Review and Pricing


(See Also: "The Ultimate New Car Negotiation Secret")

The 2011 Mazda3 has a higher level of road manners and overall refinement than one would normally expect in this price range. With its top-of-the-class handling, well-equipped cabin, strong 2.5-liter engine and extensive luxury feature availablity, the new Mazda3 is definitely worthy of serious consideration for those interested in an affordable hatchback or sedan.

The Mazda3 has always possessed a "fun-to-drive" factor. And it was made even moreso with the 2010 model's upgrade. The steering is responsive, the chassis is still more agile, while the ride quality has become smoother. In addition, the base model's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine now gets better gas mileage, while the available 2.5-liter is one of the most energetic in its class.

2011 Mazda 3 Hatchback

The interior of the Mazda3 has also been considered as one of the best in the economy car segment. And optioning out a Grand Touring model can put its cabin on par with an entry-level luxury car.

For the new 2011 model year, the 3 has upped its appeal still more by adding stability control to the standard feature list for all models. The Grand Touring models will also now come standard with the previous optional sunroof and Bose audio system.

Strong rivals for consumers to perhaps also consider would include the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Jetta.

Trims, Standard Features And Options:

The 2011 Mazda3 is offered in both compact sedan and hatchback models.

The Mazda3 i model is sedan-only and is available in three trims: SV, Sport and Touring. Standard features on the SV include power windows, a height-adjustable driver seat, power doorlocks, 16-inch steel wheels, steering-wheel audio controls, power mirrors, a 60/40-split-folding seat, a tilt/telescoping steering column and a 4-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 3i Sport then adds air conditioning, a temperature display and an automatic transmission option, while the Mazda 3i Touring adds cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone and audio connections, remote keyless entry and a 6-speaker audio system.

The 3s Sport is offered in both sedan and hatchback forms and adds the stronger 2.5-liter engine, different front and rear fascias, a rear spoiler, upgraded upholstery, a trip computer, 17-inch alloy wheels, aggressively bolstered front seats, foglights, dual exhaust tips, electroluminescent gauges and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

2011 Mazda 3 Sedan

The Mazda3 s Grand Touring adds leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, an 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer.

In terms of options, some of the Grand Touring's features are offered on the lower trims, such as the Bose audio system and the sunroof. There's also a Technology package available on the 3s Sport and 3s Grand Touring that includes navigation, rain-sensing wipers, keyless ignition/entry, LED taillights, automatic headlights, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and satellite radio. In addition, an iPod interface is offerred as a dealer-installed option.

Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:

Powering the 2011 Mazda3 i is a 2.0-liter inline-4 that generates 148 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 5-speed manual transmission, while a 5-speed automatic is optional on all models except the 3 i SV.

The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine is 24 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway with the automatic. The estimated gas mileage for the manual comes in at 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

Under the hood of the Mazda3 s is a 2.5-liter inline-4 that produces 167 horsepower and 168 lb-ft of torque. It's coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission, with the 5-speed automatic available as an option.

The EPA's estimated gas mileage for the 2.5-liter is 22 mpg city and 29 mpg on the highway with the automatic, while the manual is rated at 20 and 28, respectively.

Safety:

Standard safety features for all 2011 Mazda3 models include traction control, stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front side airbags, active front head restraints and side curtain airbags.

In government crash testing, the Mazda3 was given the highest possible score of five stars for frontal-impact protection for both the driver and passenger. In side-impact tests, the Mazda 3 earned five stars for the front passenger protection and four stars for rear passengers.

2011 Mazda3 Interior

Interior:

The 2011 Mazda3's cabin comes in at the top of its class. It's attractive, solidly built with high-quality materials (even the lower models), user-friendly and offers a long list of features. The seating is also comfortable and supportive both front and rear.

That said, rear seating space in the sedan is adequate, but could be a little cramped for taller passengers. On the positive side, the driver seat is particularly accommodative due to its wide range of adjustments as well as the tilt/telescoping steering wheel. However, the models with the sunroof reduce front headroom significantly and could be an issue for taller drivers.

The Mazda3 hatchback, on the other hand, will solve these space drawbacks for most people and adds additional versatility as well. And in terms of cargo room, the sedan offers a smallish capacity of 11.8 cubic feet while the hatchback comes in at 17 cubes with the rear seats up.

Drive:

The 2011 Mazda3 has a performance-oriented chassis tuning that allows a refined driving experience not normally associated with the economy car segment. The steering is quick and responsive, while there's plenty of grip on those back twisty roads as well as minimal body roll. The end result is a more capable and confident drive.

Although smooth enough, it should also be noted that some may feel the stiffer suspension, which enables much of 3's impressive athleticism in other situations, may result in a little too firm a ride on the highway as compared to some of its more softly sprung competitors.

The 2.5-liter is the same engine powering the midsize Mazda 6 and would be the better choice for those who place a higher value on driving performance. The 2.0-liter engine is a bit more powerful than those in competitors such as the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, but the tradeoff is somewhat reduced fuel efficiency.

How To Get The Lowest Price:

Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.

Here's the details on exactly how to get the best price on a new Mazda3 ... or any other car.


Prices:

2011 Mazda Mazda3 Sedan:

i SV, manual: list price: $15,450, invoice price: $14,486

i Sport, manual: list price: $16,355, invoice price: $15,329
i Sport, auto: list price: $17,205, invoice price: $16,121

i Touring, manual: list price: $17,950, invoice price: $16,817
i Touring, auto: list price: $18,800, invoice price: $17,609

s Sport, manual: list price: $19,185, invoice price: $17,975
s Sport, auto: list price: $19,985, invoice price: $18,721

s Grand Touring, manual: list price: $22,395, invoice price: $20,968
s Grand Touring, auto: list price: $23,195, invoice price: $21,714


2011 Mazda Mazda 3 Hatchback:

s Sport, manual: list price: $19,685, invoice price: $18,441
s Sport, auto: list price: $20,485, invoice price: $19,187

s Grand Touring, manual: list price: $22,895, invoice price: $21,424
s Grand Touring, auto: list price: $23,695, invoice price: $22,180




Other Models Of Possible Interest:

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2011 Mazda2 Overview
2011 Mazda CX-9 Review
2012 Mazda6 Overview


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Used Mazda Miata Info & Buying Tips
Used Mazda RX-8 Buying Guide
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