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#5

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $9,281 - $13,432
Original MSRP: $15,345 - $22,945
MPG: 25 City / 33 Hwy
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Used Car: 2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Review

Review Last Updated: 7/25/12

The 2010 Mazda3 has a winning combination of sporty performance and a practical, well-made interior. Its reliability score could be better, however.

When the redesigned 2010 Mazda3 hit the market, test drivers agreed that few 2010 small cars had sporty performance than could match the Mazda3’s. It comes with one of three engines, and test drivers were impressed with the performance from each. If you want the most fuel-efficient Mazda3, stick with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which gets up to 25/33 mpg city/highway. If your main concern is top-notch performance, the Mazdaspeed3 is where it’s at. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the most powerful model in the line, but it only gets 18/25 mpg city/highway.

Reviewers said the Mazda3 has a quality interior with comfortable front seats. Standard interior features include a stereo with an auxiliary input jack, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and power windows. If you select a higher trim, you can get a model with navigation, Bose stereo and Bluetooth. Choosing a higher trim, such as the i Touring, also means you’ll get more standard safety features, like electronic stability control and traction control.

Reviewers did complain that the back seat is tight, though that’s typical for the class. Also, critics reported that the trunk in the sedan is rather small for the class, but if you choose the hatchback, you’ll get a lot more cargo room. The Mazda3 has very good safety scores, but its reliability rating is below-average. If you value top-notch performance above all else, the 2010 Mazda3 is one of the best picks in this class.

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Other Cars to Consider

The 2010 Kia Forte is available as a sedan and coupe, giving you the choice between sporty looks and a more practical body style. Though the Forte’s performance can’t match the Mazda3’s, it’s still pretty good, and it has slightly higher fuel economy ratings than the Mazda3. The Forte has a quality interior, as well as more standard safety and interior features than the Mazda3.

If the Mazda3’s low reliability score discourages you, consider the 2010 Honda Civic, which has a better rating. The Civic isn’t available as a hatchback, but if you’re after a sportier look, you may like the Civic Coupe. Reviewers enjoyed driving the Civic, but if you want a bit more power, they thought the Civic Si is pretty satisfying. Though the Civic lacks a standard stereo and air conditioning, test drivers were impressed with the cabin’s impressive build quality.

Compare the Mazda3 to the Forte and Civic

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