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#2

in 2012 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $11,244 - $18,385
Original MSRP: $15,200 - $24,200
MPG: 25 City / 33 Hwy
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2012 Mazda Mazda3 Interior

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

As small cars come with more standard features, the Mazda3 doesn’t have the reputation for a high-quality interior that it used to have.

  • "Textured and padded surfaces are found in most places where occupants are most likely to see and touch them. The cloth and leather upholstery look and feel nice for the class. Hard molded plastics are found on lower panels, but they don't look cheap." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Among several impressive new competitors, the Mazda 3's interior design and materials quality isn't the class leader it once was. Still, even if it isn't top dog, that doesn't make it a mangy mutt. Even the lowest trim levels feature soft-touch surfaces, while Grand Touring models offer enough luxury and convenience equipment to keep pace with other so-called premium compact cars." -- Edmunds

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Seating

Most reviewers say tall adults will be cramped in the Mazda3 because they won’t have enough legroom in the front or back. Heated front seats and leather-trimmed sport seats come with the Grand Touring models. 

  • "Most adults should have sufficient headroom and legroom. Taller folks and those of generous girth will be a bit cramped. If the steering wheel is set high, it obscures the view of the odometer." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Mazda 3 is also a bit less spacious than its competitors, with long-legged folks likely to be cramped in back and possibly in the driver seat as well." -- Edmunds
  • "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

Interior Features

Most reviewers are pleased with the Mazda3’s cabin materials and standard features, though some think the interior can’t compare with interiors like the one found in the Chevrolet Cruze. However, many test drivers suggest opting against the Mazda3's available navigation system because the small display is hard to use.

The Mazda3 comes standard with a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a stereo that is satellite radio-compatible, an auxiliary input jack and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. For access to features like Bluetooth and a Bose stereo, you have to upgrade to the Touring trims.

  • "Some may find the stereo controls a bit complicated or the optional navigation system a bit tedious, however. The latter's small screen and wheel-mounted buttons make for a clumsy interface, but at least it's relatively inexpensive." -- Edmunds
  • "Audio and climate controls are simple to decipher and logically arranged. They're also completely separate from the optional navigation system, a plus. … The navigation system is controlled by buttons on the steering wheel, which is less convenient than a touchscreen." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A minor irritation we have with the 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

The Mazda3 sedan has 11.8 cubic feet of trunk space, which is decent, but not exceptional, for the small car class. The hatchback has more space: 17 cubic feet with the rears seats up and 42.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, but those figures still aren’t chart-topping.

  • "The 3 hatchback would be our choice, since it offers all the sedan's high points and adds greater practicality. Luggage capacity (with the rear seats up) is 17 cubic feet with the hatch, but only 11.8 with the sedan." -- Edmunds
  • "Interior storage is decent, with a good-sized center console box, an average-sized glovebox, and door pockets." -- Consumer Guide

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