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The Mazda3 was first introduced in 2004 and quickly received critical and commercial success.

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Luxurious interior for a compact

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Great performance and handling

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Attractive and unique design

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Side airbags optional

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The Mazda3 was first introduced in 2004 and quickly received critical and commercial success. For 2007 the Mazda3 has undergone minor improvements and upgrades, mainly on the interior with more features coming standard. The biggest change is the introduction of a performance oriented model named the Mazdaspeed3. What's special about the Mazda3 is its global design process with a body developed by Volvo, electronics from Ford, with engine design/production and overall tuning happening at Mazda in Japan. There are two main models, the 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon. The sedan is further divided into an entry level called I and sportier versions coming under the S name. Mazda positions the 3 to compete in the compact commuter car segment which contains the Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra.

Powering the Mazda3i is a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine that puts out 148HP at 6500RPM. The S model contains a larger (2.3 liter) and more powerful engine that pushes the 4 cylinders to produce an extra 8 horsepower. Controlling the motor is a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic for the I-trim, and 5-speed automatic on the S-trim.

94 cubic feet of space accommodates 5 passengers including the driver. On the storage side there is 11.5 cubic feet in the trunk. With the 60/40 split seats folded flat the cargo space increases, though the cargo space in the 5-door hatchback is much larger regardless.

Difference in trims

Everything that comes on the 3i Sport which is the base model, comes standard on the other models unless specifically upgraded to something better. For full listing of the features and differences between the various trims, see the official Mazda site.

Mazda 3i Sport ($14,490) - On the safety side anti-lock brakes, and front airbags come standard; side torso and head airbags are optional. A four speaker CD system comes standard with audio controls on the steering wheel, and an auxiliary input for media players.

Mazda 3i Touring ($16,850) - Audio system is upgraded to six speakers. Other upgrades include larger wheels 15 inch to 16 inch, and air conditioning, power locks, and power windows standard.

Mazda 3s Sport ($17,785) - All the upgrades of the 3i Touring except the wheels are 15 inch.

Mazda 3s Touring ($19,020) - Wheels are upgraded to 17 inch aluminum, with side torso and side head airbags coming standard.

Mazda 3s Grand Touring ($20,490) - All the upgrades of the 3s alongside the additions of more luxury features such as a navigational computer, better climate control, and rain sensing windshield wipers.

Safety ratings
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings (IIHS)
Front crash test - Good
Side impact test (no side airbags) - Poor

National Highway Safety Traffic Association (NHTSA)
Front crash driver's side - 4 stars
Front crash passenger's side - 4 stars
Side crash front seat - 3 stars
Side crash rear seat - 3 stars
Rollover rating - 4 stars
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