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2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Sedan

4dr Sdn s Auto

Starting at | Starting at 24 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $16,615 original MSRP
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2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Sedan

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2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Sedan

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2004 Mazda 3

Source: New Car Test Drive

Base Price (MSRP) - $13,680
As Tested (MSRP) - $19,695

Introduction

The all-new 2004 Mazda 3, or Mazda3, as Mazda calls its new line of compacts, replaces the tried-and-true Protege. The Mazda3, available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, is bigger, more powerful, more fuel efficient, safer and better-looking than the Protege. There isn't much more that could be asked of a car beginning a new generation, especially a compact car. Oh yes, it's cheaper, too, when you compare content along with price.

The four-door and five-door models each offer their own styling. The sedan has a sweet, rounded shape and smooth, cohesive design. The five-door looks more aggressive and is available with a more powerful engine and bigger brakes. Its hatchback design and folding rear seats makes it suitable for a trip to Home Depot.

On twisty country roads the Mazda3 is a blast. Handling is quick and nimble and the available 2.3-liter engine delivers spirited performance. The five-speed manual shifts beautifully and there's an interesting automatic that has a manual-shift feature.

 

Model Lineup

The Mazda3 four-door sedan comes with a 2.0-liter engine, while the five-door hatchback is available with either a 2.0-liter or 2.3-liter engine.

Mazda3i is the designation for the 2.0-liter, and it only comes in a four-door ($13,680), which doesn't include air conditioning, power windows, mirrors or door locks, cruise control, automatic transmission or ABS. Some good things it does include are a stainless steel exhaust system, halogen headlights, a great five-speed transmission, AM/FM/CD sound system, and two-stage front airbags, adjusted for appropriate deployment power by sensors.

The package you need for that base stripper ($1,190) includes the power controls, cruise control and remote entry, more adjustment for the driver's seat, and 16-inch alloy wheels. That still leaves out the optional air conditioning ($850) and automatic transmission ($900). Even more important is the safety package ($800), a deal you can't afford to pass up, which includes ABS with EBD (brake distribution electronically balanced front-rear), side-impact airbags for the front seats, and side air curtains for front and rear passengers. That would make a well-equipped Mazda3i more like $17,420 plus $520 destination.

The Mazda3s is available as a four-door ($16,405) or five-door ($16,895). Standard equipment includes all the power conveniences and air conditioning and foglights. Options include the automatic transmission and the safety package with ABS/side airbags/curtains; plus leather interior ($590), Sport Package with 17-inch wheels ($490), Moonroof and 6-CD package ($890), HID headlights and tire-pressure monitoring system ($700) and navigation system ($1750).

 

 

 

Walkaround

The Mazda3 is a wonderful car to walk around. Both of them. The four-door and the five-door share no body panels. This represents what Mazda is known for: innovation and the risk that comes with it. But when you look at the two cars, you can see that the styling of each nose would only work with its own tail. Grafting a hatchback onto the nubile nose of the four-door would never do. The five-door needed an edgy nose, which it got. It's uncommon for a manufacturer to go to the extra expense of making more of a second body than is mechanically necessary. Mazda had a high styling standard for this car.

The four-door sedan has a sweet rounded shape forward of the A-pillar, rising gently from the hood. The trademark wedge of a grille has horizontal bars, softer than the five-door's tough black mesh. The headlamps have a smooth and sexy shape, swept back like a cat and sparkling with three beams inside. The whole front bumper, including the dam at the bottom with foglights at the corner, is impressively one piece. There's a small seam on each fender between the headlights and the wheel opening, and between the headlights there's only the hood crack. Everything south of that is one smooth and effective piece.

The rear of the sedan is another smooth cohesive design with the integrated bumper, and again only small seams at the edge. The deck is short and high and nicely softened at the top edge. At all four corners, the wheelwells fit more tightly around the tires; there used to be a rule at Mazda that there had to be enough of a wheelwell gap to install tire chains without removing the tire, which the stylists hated and finally defeated with the Mazda3.

The stance of the five-door is no wider, but it appears wide-shouldered because of the aggressive nose; the fenders are dropped and sculpted to rise to the hood. The boxy top half also makes it look wider. There's less rake from the tops of the doors to the roof (affording more shoulder room), but the tail of the roof is gently rounded to the liftgate window, to soften the profile. There's a tidy spoiler above the window.

The rear fenders are aggressively defined over the wheels. There's a big notch on the rear bumper under the hatchback's liftgate for the back of your hand when you grab the latch. We thought the design was a bit exaggerated until we used it the first time and appreciated its excellent function.

The taillights chase after the twentysomething sport compact set. The glass is clear, and inside there are three bulbs: amber turn signal, white backup, and red brake. It's a style that has gone more or less mainstream, with manufacturers trying to appeal to trends that began with aftermarket and the young.

It's especially nice that there's no chrome trim. Black around the windows, body colored everywhere else.

Mazda3 is a global car, sharing technology and components with both the upcoming Volvo S40 and the European Ford Focus. It's like a talent co-op. People say component sharing makes cars all the same but it's not so. Mazda developed the engines and transmissions, Volvo did the chassis and safety, and Ford did the suspension design. The suspension tuning was back in Mazda's hands, worked out at their rolling Hiroshima test track. Each manufacturer did what it does best, and the result is the best of three worlds.

Mazda3 is a couple inches longer, wider and taller than the old Protege. A lot of work went into the new unibody chassis, which is 40 percent more rigid than the Protege's. Mazda had a bare chassis on display at the vehicle's introduction, painted different colors to designate features pertaining to safety and beefy structure. In a head-on collision the front of the chassis is designed to redirect energy to the outside rails, and not down the center toward the front seats. The steering column is crushable and the pedals are designed to retract away from the driver's feet.

 


2004 Mazda 3

2004 Mazda 3

Interior Features

The standard cloth interior is sturdy, in blue or red check with leather at the edges. The leather is smooth and black and a well-priced option compared to other cars.

The seats have adequate bolstering, but when Mazda's performance arm, Mazdaspeed, makes a version of the Mazda3 it should have racier seats. Power seats aren't available, but who needs them in a car this small? There is adjustable lumbar support, and the hip position is elevated, reducing front legroom a touch, but providing excellent forward visibility as well as a very tidy relationship with the pedals and especially the short shift lever. There's no dead pedal, but the outside of the driver's right shin rests comfortably on the edge of the center stack.

In the rearview mirror of the five-door, the two rear headrests and the center brake light (CHMSL) intrude a little bit into window space.

The three-spoke leather steering wheel feels great in the hands, and the control buttons (cruise control, sound system) have a positive feel. There's an attractive faux carbon fiber horizontal strip on the panel, while the dashboard shelf is golf ball grainy, not unlike the new Cadillacs, although Mazda says it was the Porsche Boxster they were trying to copy.

The glovebox is not only huge (9 quarts), but the door is dampened and it has its own light. There's a deep but not long console under the driver's right elbow, and between the seats are two built-in cupholders with a neatly hinged cover in black plastic. The cupholders have a canal between them so other things such as a cellphone can be stored and easily reached there.

Cargo space with the seats folded flat in the five-door is 31.2 cubic feet. We came out of an Ikea store with an unassembled table in a flat box measuring 48 inches long and 30 inches wide, and it slid neatly in the back of the five-door with the 60/40 fold-down rear seat flattened. Flipping the seats down is easy. We reached in from behind, pressed down on one small square button on each side, and an easy shove forward dropped each seat flat. A separate compartment is hidden under the floor.

The three big gauges are dead ahead for the driver, but they're awfully busy down in the tunnels where they effectively hide from the glare of the sun. They are electroluminescent, which means day or night the numbers are lit in reddish-orange. Even without the color the 140-mph speedometer is busy, with hash marks and a smaller kilometer measure with more hash marks inside the mph numbers. The dash panel looks better at night than day, with the reddish-orange lighting having its chance to be seen. There are glowing rings around most of the dials including the cigarette lighter, in kind of a dull maroon.

There are 12 new colors, some of which look almost metalflake, for example the new Solar Yellow Mica, probably just as bright but not quite as bold as the Protege5 yellow.

 

2004 Mazda 3

Driving Impressions

The larger, more powerful 2.3-liter engine that comes with the Mazda3s has plenty of spirit. It makes 160 horsepower, but it is after all a non-turbocharged four-cylinder, so there's not a ton of torque. At 1000 rpm there's only 120 pounds-feet and it climbs to 140 at 3000 and peaks at 150 at a relatively high 4500 rpm. Be prepared to downshift to accelerate suddenly, either with the manual five-speed gearbox or the four-speed automatic.

Redline is 6500 rpm but the engine is happy zooming to 7000. The 16-valve engine is quite sophisticated, with variable valve timing and a variable induction system which optimizes intake efficiency and torque. The block is aluminum, there's a cam chain rather than a belt, and the exhaust manifold is stainless steel. It's very smooth and quiet at consistent freeway speeds, and has a nice sporty sound when the engine's revving under acceleration. The 2.3-liter engine with the manual transmission gets 25/32 miles per gallon, and the 148-horsepower 2.0-liter gets 28/35.

The standard five-speed manual shifts beautifully, especially the upshifts, which were almost as smooth as an automatic, with no real driver effort. This is the result of the redesigned synchronizers and cable linkage for reduced friction.

Mazda calls the optional automatic transmission Activematic. You can just put it in Drive and go, but it features a manual mode programmed for quick shifting, making the Mazda3 the only car in its class offering such a transmission. It's also programmed to maintain its gear going downhill for slope control (engine braking), and uphill to reduce hunting.

Handling is quick and nimble, making the Mazda3 fun to drive. On twisty country roads, the Mazda3 is a blast and it's sharp, true and steady in emergency lane-change maneuvers. The Ford group in England designed the suspension, but it was tuned by Mazda at its long, rolling test track at Hiroshima.

The five-door with the 2.3-liter engine comes with slighter larger brakes than those on the 2.0-liter Mazda3i. We found the brakes to be quite effective and sensitive; a mere light touch on the brake pedal around town is nice. In fact, the whole braking system has been upgraded with better hoses, master cylinder and pads, plus wider tires.

 

2004 Mazda 3

Summary

Mazda is rightly boastful about its new entry level car, because it offers far more than anyone might expect in this price class. It's solidly executed, with no flaws, at least not at first blush: strong engine, transmission, handling, brakes, comfort, packaging and looks. The five-door should be the shape of things to come with its versatility.

The old econobox ain't what it used to be. This is what it has become. Is this a great world or what?


Model Line Overview

Base Price (MSRP) $13,680
As Tested (MSRP) $19,695

Model lineup: Mazda3i ($13,680); Mazda3s sedan ($16,405); Mazda3s five-door ($16,895)
Engines: 2.3-liter I-4
Transmissions: 5-speed manual
Safety equipment (Standard): two-stage front airbags with passenger weight sensors; collapsible steering column and breakaway pedals; front and rear side impact beams; LATCH anchors and tethers for child safety seats in the rear
Safety equipment (Optional): ABS with EBD; side airbags for front seats; curtain airbags for front and rear
Basic warranty: 3 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in: Japan

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Mazda3s five-door ($16,895)
Standard equipment: cloth interior; 17-inch alloy wheels; halogen headlights and foglights; power windows, door locks and mirrors; electroluminescent gauges
Options as tested: air conditioning ($850); leather seats ($590); ABS, side-impact airbags and curtain airbags ($800); power moonroof and in-dash 6-CD ($890)
Destination charge: 520
Gas Guzzler Tax: N/A
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine (Optional): 2.0-liter 16-valve; 2.3-liter 16-valve
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 160 @ 6500
Torque(lb.-ft. @ rpm): 150 @ 4500
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 25/32 mpg
Transmission (Optional): 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic with manual shift mode
Wheelbase: 103.9 in.
Length/width/height: 178.7/69.1/57.7 in.
Track, f/r: 60.2/59.6 in.
Turning circle: 34.1 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.1/54.9/41.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r: 38.4/53.9/36.3 in.
Cargo volume: 31.2 cu. ft.
Payload N/A
Suspension F: independent, MacPherson strut
Suspension R: independent, multi-link
Ground Clearance: 5.7 in.
Curb weight: 2826 Lbs.
Towing capacity: N/A
Tires: P205/50VR17
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS and Brake Assist
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of 20/Oct/2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-222-5500 - www.mazdausa.com


Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive

Printable Version

2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Side Head Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

HID Headlights Opt
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 4 Years/50,000 Miles

Mazda Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Each Mazda Certified Pre-Owned vehicle comes with a 12-Month / 12,000 Mile Vehicle Limited Warranty with no deductible on covered components, which begins when the factory warranty ends. If it's out of warranty, the 12-month/12,000 miles warranty begins on the certified retail date.

Coverage begins on the limited powertrain warranty from the original retail sales date and covers 7-Years /100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2008-2014 model years and less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150-Point Detailed Inspection

Autocheck® Vehicle History Report with 3-year buyback protection from Experian, subject to all Experian & Experian Automotive buyback terms and conditions.

Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 24hr Roadside Assistance for the life of the Powertrain Limited Warranty offers confidence on the road around the clock.
Special Financing Yes, see your Mazda dealer for details.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2004 Mazda MAZDA3 Sedan

Data on this page may have come in part, or entirely, from one or more of the following providers.

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