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#14

in 2009 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $8,032 - $11,616
Original MSRP: $14,690 - $21,845
MPG: 24 City / 32 Hwy
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2009 Mazda MAZDA3 Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Overall, auto writers choose to focus on the Mazda3's good qualities. Despite some tricky controls and a tight back seat, both the sedan and hatchback present sound build quality inside, and reviewers highlight the five-door's cargo capacity. 

  • "You can shop this segment until the cows come home and not find as handsome an interior." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Inside, the Mazda3 s is styled and appointed in the contemporary Japanese sport-compact manner, with very good fit and finish. Black is the standard color, although the i can be had with a beige interior." -- The Auto Channel
  • "The interior design, materials, and appointments are a cut above its segment." -- Car and Driver

Front Seats

Opinions on the front seat's spaciousness and seat support vary. Some writers find the tallest drivers should be able to get comfortable behind the wheel, while others say the front row is adequate, but not much more. 

  • "Even the taller drivers will find plenty of room in this compact car's front seat, with generous headroom and legroom aided by a telescoping steering wheel." -- Edmunds
  • "Legroom is good, as is headroom, even below the sunroof housing. ... Chair-height provide find comfort and support." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Our chief beef: a sardine can of a cabin. Make sure your right leg isn't in regular contact with the dash and console." -- Car and Driver
  • "Although the front seats are nicely shaped, their seatbacks are on the hard side. Rear legroom is limited, but foot space is good. Headroom is average in the rear but meager in the center position." -- Cars.com

Rear Seats

The Mazda3's rear seats follow a common small-car theme, offering very little space for an average sized person. 

  • "If you're searching for maximum passenger space, the MAZDA3's rear-seat legroom won't impress." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "[T]he back is pretty tight, but once you wedge yourself into place it's acceptably comfortable." -- Automobile Magazine

Interior Features

The Mazda3 has a class-competitive list of available cabin amenities -- including a six-speaker stereo with automatic level control, an optional in-dash 6-disc CD changer, delayed courtesy lights, and cruise control. But like a lot of small cars, the base trim doesn't come with air conditioning, power doors and locks or cruise control. Nevertheless, the majority praise the cabin's nice-looking finish. 

  • "Especially in s Touring and s Grand Touring forms, the Mazda 3 features a distinctive and upscale interior design that looks far richer than its price would suggest. Controls are straightforward and work with precise action, while good-quality materials and tight build tolerances further the initial sense of impressive quality." -- Edmunds
  • "Electroluminescent gauges can be read at a glance, and climate and sound system controls are nicely located and easily operated." -- MSN
  • "The MAZDA3 excels in its equipment list, offering features not often seen in compacts. The base Sport includes tilt and telescopic steering, wheel-mounted audio controls, and a CD/MP3 player. That sounds good, until you realize there's no air conditioning." -- CarGurus
  • "Inside, the instruments are nicely placed, but I'm not a fan of the sound-system layout, which revolves around a huge on-off/volume button." -- Orlando Sentinel

Navigation

The 2009 Mazda3 s Grand Touring trim is one of the few value-priced compacts to offer an optional navigation system. But reviewers find it either hard to reach or operate. 

  • "The MAZDA3's optional DVD-based navigation unit is an unheard-of feature in a car in this price range." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The navigation system's controls are located in the center console ... and they're small and fussy enough (especially the joystick control) to be a chore to operate." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The navigation system, a rare small-car feature, is fairly easy to program, but its controls are awkwardly placed and difficult to access on manual-transmission model." -- Consumer Guide

Cargo

Most reviewers agree that the Mazda3's five-door model is better for hauling cargo, by offering up to 43.8 cubic feet with second-row seats folded, and 17.1 with both seats raised. The sedan affords 11.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Regardless of trim, the Mazda3 offers adequate storage space inside the cabin. 

  • "Sedans offer 11.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is on the small side, but the hatchback boasts 17 cubes behind its rear seat and 31 when the seat is folded." -- Edmunds
  • "Though not as roomy as the Civic, the 2009 Mazda3 does offer a hatchback version, which holds anywhere from 14 to 44 cubic feet. ... It also features an oversized glove box." -- CarGurus
  • "The hatch can be closed using an indented pull-down area without getting hands dirty on outside sheet metal. Rear seatbacks flip forward and lay flat to open up the cargo area, and there's a shallow covered storage bin beneath the cargo floor." -- MSN

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