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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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2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Interior

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

Inside the Mazda3, reviewers highlight upmarket amenities, comfortable front-row seating and outstanding quality. But they are also careful to point out a few low points. The car's optional navigation system's display screen is too small, and the Mazda3's second-row is only recommended for smaller passengers. 

  • "Our notes were peppered with the word 'refinement' because the cabin is so quiet and all the controls have such a natural feel." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The real versatility of the hatchback is folding down the 60/40 split second row and having a cavernous amount of space. There's just more Room-Room. Hathcbacks are easier to load than sedans have fewer limits on the size of stuff that can be loaded." -- The Detroit News
  • "You'll find the bulk of the improvements inside. The new cabin is fantastic -- beautifully designed and built with nicer materials than the old car -- but it's the creature comforts that set the Mazda3 apart." -- About.com
  • "The Mazda3's redesigned cabin incorporates a large gauge cluster, center stack and controls positioned close to the driver. Key knobs and switches are positioned at the same level as the steering wheel and the shifter." -- AutoWeek

Front Seats

Test drivers like the improvements made to the 2010 Mazda3's front row seating. Mazda has raised the cushions, increased the bolstering for the driver and front passenger to improve visibility and made the seats more supportive. 

  • "Leather bucket seats were comfortable and supportive, with high bolsters that kept you in place as you flung the 3 about." -- USA Today
  • "Visibility is excellent and there's plenty of room up front." -- About.com
  • "The front seats are roomy and comfortable, with rear seat legroom tight when front seats are adjusted rearward but otherwise adequate." -- Austin American-Stateman

Rear Seats

Like most compacts, the Mazda3 has a confining second row. Writers say the seats are cushy but only shorter passengers should try them out. 

  • "Rear-seat room remains unfriendly to anyone over six feet tall; it feels smaller back there than in some of the 3's larger competition." -- Car and Driver
  • "The back seat is comfortable but a bit tight compared to its rivals, and only the outer seating positions get headrests." -- About.com

Interior Features

Most are pleased with the Mazda3's cabin materials and standard features, and specifically point to the driver-centric instrument panel. For 2010, Mazda includes some additional optional features, including Bluetooth capability, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 10-speaker Bose Surround Sound System. Leather-trimmed seating, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat and five-level heated front seats are also offered. 

  • "The completely new interior takes a small step forward in material quality ... but it is the layout that really advanced, thanks to larger gauges, a new information display screen high on the center of the dash and canted to the driver, along with an overall more upscale look to all of the controls." -- Road and Track
  • "The interior plastics are first-rate, especially upfront, where soft tough, expensive feeling materials abound." -- Automobile Magazine

Navigation

Many writers suggest opting against the Mazda3's available navigation system, because the display is too small to read properly.

  • "On cars equipped with navigation, the second display doubles as a nav system, but its tiny size makes it difficult to read maps, and it remains a visual afterthought when displaying trip-computer or iPod information. Worse, only the driver can access the navigation's functions, as the controls are inexplicably located on the steering wheel." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "A minor irritation we have with the new 3 comes from the placement and size of the navigation screen, which is way too small, located high on the dash and squished next to the stereo display." -- Motor Trend

Cargo

Although Mazda's web site has yet to confirm the Mazda3's cargo space, reviewers are reporting an available 11.8 cubic feet. That dimension is considered acceptable, but not exceptional, for the small car class. 

  • "The trunk is roomy, and rear seatbacks drop down to open a passage into the trunk for long objects." -- Austin American-Stateman
  • "No skimping. Nice lining, classy hinges that don't eat luggage space. Details mean a lot." -- USA Today
  • "A standard 60/40-split rear seat increases its cargo-carrying capacity, although the trunk's small, vertical opening will reject some large objects -- exactly the reason we prefer the stylish hatchback." -- Automobile Magazine

Next Steps: 2010 Mazda MAZDA3

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