Are Mazdas Good Cars? The Truth You Need To Know

are mazdas good cars

Mazda has come a long way since its humble beginnings nearly 100 years ago. Today, the Japanese automaker is renowned for its fun-to-drive cars and SUVs that offer an engaging driving experience.

But are Mazdas good cars for most buyers? In short, yes. Mazda vehicles consistently earn praise for their reliability, safety, and performance. While Mazdas may lack the luxury prestige of premium brands, they deliver quality, driving enjoyment, and long-term value at an affordable price.

This in-depth review examines Mazda’s current model lineup to highlight the key strengths and downsides of Mazda vehicles. We’ll cover everything from reliability, ownership costs, safety, gas mileage, and resale value to help you determine if a Mazda is the right vehicle choice for your needs.

An Overview of the Mazda Lineup

Mazda offers six models across its car and crossover SUV lineups:

  • Mazda3 – Compact car available as a sedan or hatchback
  • Mazda6 – Midsize sedan competing with Honda Accord and Toyota Camry
  • Mazda CX-3 – Subcompact crossover SUV
  • Mazda CX-5 – Best-selling compact crossover SUV
  • Mazda CX-9 – Midsize 3-row family crossover
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata – Mazda’s legendary rear-wheel-drive roadster

Most Mazda models are available with your choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Turbocharged engine options provide extra power in the Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX crossovers. Mazda’s focus is on building vehicles with responsive steering, agile handling, and a fun-to-drive spirit.

Now let’s take a closer look at each Mazda model:

The Popular Mazda3 Sedan and Hatchback

The Mazda3 compact car comes in two body styles – a traditional 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback configuration. It competes against segment leaders like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Buyers can choose between three Mazda3 trim levels including the entry-level Sport base model, mid-level Touring, and top Grand Touring model.

Standard features include:

  • 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower
  • 6-speed automatic or manual transmission
  • Cloth upholstery
  • 7-inch Mazda Connect infotainment system
  • Advanced safety tech like blind spot monitoring

Moving up to the Touring and Grand Touring trims add leatherette seats, Bose audio, an 8.8-inch display with navigation, 18-inch alloy wheels, and other upgrades.

The Mazda3 impresses reviewers with its sharp handling agility, responsive steering, and energetic acceleration – especially with the available turbocharged engine. Fuel economy reaches up to 36 mpg highway. The high-quality interior materials and workmanship exceed what you’d expect at this price point.

The Midsize 2024 Mazda6 Sedan

The Mazda6 is Mazda’s entry in the highly competitive midsize family sedan segment, aimed at the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Nissan Altima. Buyers choose between Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature trim levels.

Standard equipment includes:

  • 187 horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5L 4-cylinder engine
  • 6-speed automatic transmission
  • cloth seating surfaces
  • dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 8-speaker audio system with 8.8-inch display

Higher trims add a turbocharged 2.5L engine with 227 horsepower, leather upholstery, heated front seats, Bose premium audio, navigation, and a hands-free power liftgate.

Reviewers praise the Mazda6 for its upscale, driver-focused cabin layout, responsive handling, comfortable ride quality, and hushed noise levels. The back seat and trunk are spacious enough for family duty. Fuel economy reaches an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city and 35 highway.

Mazda’s CX Crossover Lineup

On the SUV side, Mazda fields a compelling lineup of crossover models ranging from the subcompact CX-3 to the midsize CX-9 family hauler.

The Mazda CX-3 slots below the CX-5 as Mazda’s smallest crossover. This stylish subcompact SUV competes with the likes of the Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, and Nissan Kicks. The CX-3 comes well equipped with a 146 horsepower engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, advanced safety tech, and user-friendly technology. A departure angle of 21 degrees improves its off-road credentials. Cargo room is on the tighter side due to the CX-3’s smaller exterior dimensions.

Stepping up to the wildly popular CX-5 compact crossover gets you more interior room, three engine choices, and available all-wheel drive. The CX-5 blends athletic driving characteristics and refinement to create an enjoyable daily driver. This 5-passenger crossover offers above-average cargo capacity and off-road ability in an affordable, value-packed package.

At the top of the lineup, the CX-9 is Mazda’s 3-row midsize crossover SUV alternative to the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.5L 4-cylinder engine paired with a quick-shifting 6-speed automatic. Three trim levels are available, each well equipped with amenities like leather seats, adaptive cruise control, 20-inch alloy wheels, and ample technology. With room for up to seven passengers, the CX-9 is best suited to growing families.

The Iconic Mazda MX-5 Miata

No discussion of Mazda’s lineup is complete without mentioning the MX-5 Miata convertible sports car. Beloved by enthusiasts worldwide, the lightweight rear-wheel-drive Miata delivers pure driving bliss.

Now in its fourth generation, the latest ND model retains the Miata’s hallmark agile handling and open-topped fun. A 181 horsepower naturally aspirated engine motivates the 2,300 pound roadster. Transmission choices include a slick 6-speed manual or a quick-shifting automatic with paddle shifters.

With nimble moves and communicative steering, driving a Miata is all about the joy of motoring. Available affordable soft top and mechanically simple design make this iconic Mazda affordable to own. Gas mileage reaches 27 mpg city and 34 highway.

How Reliable Are Mazda Vehicles?

Reliability is a major factor for car shoppers. Mazda as a brand earns excellent reliability ratings that surpass most competitors.

  • J.D. Power rates Mazda above the industry average in predicted dependability. Mazda vehicles had 119 problems per 100 vehicles, better than the average of 133 problems.
  • Consumer Reports also scores Mazda well above average for reliability and owner satisfaction. Recent models earn a 4 out of 5 reliability rating.
  • Warranty Direct’s 2021 vehicle reliability index ranked Mazda as the 3rd most reliable brand.
  • iSeeCars found the Mazda CX-5 crossover has the lowest 1-year-old used car repair rate of any model under analysis.

These ratings demonstrate that Mazda engineers reliable cars and SUVs that hold up well over years of ownership. Some common Mazda reliability issues to watch for include rust in cold climates, sunroof leaks, and high oil consumption in certain engines. Proper maintenance and care is key to getting the most miles out of your Mazda.

Mazda Factory Warranty

Every new Mazda comes with this factory warranty:

  • 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty
  • 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty
  • 3-year/36,000 roadside assistance

Mazda’s factory warranty is on par with most competitors like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Those wanting extra coverage can add a Mazda extended warranty up to 7 years/100,000 miles for added peace of mind. Overall Mazda’s warranty and longevity give buyers confidence in the brand.

The Mazda Driving Experience

If you’ve ever seen Mazda’s “Driving Matters” or “Zoom Zoom” ad campaigns, those fun taglines accurately capture the company’s focus on delivering an engaging driving experience.

Mazda prioritizes building cars and crossovers with responsive steering, nimble handling, and energetic acceleration. Their lightweight SkyActiv design philosophy and G-Vectoring Control tech enhance vehicle dynamics. Mazda vehicles feel light on their feet and eager to change direction.

At the same time, the ride quality stays comfortable over rough pavement and on long drives. Mazda suspensions team up with sound-deadening materials to deliver a quiet, refined ride. The cabin environment leans towards the sporty side but avoids being overly stiff or harsh over bumps.

Reviewers praise Mazdas for their combination of agile handling and everyday ride comfort. This masterful balance creates affordable vehicles that are actually fun to drive daily.

Mazda Safety Technology

Safety is never sacrificed for sportiness. Mazda packs its vehicles full of standard and available safety technologies.

Standard safety features include:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Smart City Brake Support automatic emergency braking
  • Advanced front airbags
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Adaptive LED headlights

Available active safety tech includes:

  • 360-degree parking cameras
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Smart brake support with collision warning
  • Mazda radar cruise control

These robust safety systems earn Mazda vehicles consistently high crash test ratings and awards. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) names Mazdas Top Safety Picks year after year.

Mazda Capability in Winter and Snow

For buyers in cold northern climates, vehicle performance in snow and ice is a key consideration. How do Mazda cars and SUVs stack up when the weather turns nasty?

Most Mazda crossovers can be equipped with all-wheel-drive to enhance traction in slippery conditions. Models like the CX-5 and CX-9 offer an advanced predictive i-Activ AWD system to actively distribute torque between front and rear wheels.

Reviewers found the CX-5 to be surefooted and capable during winter. The optional AWD gives drivers confidence driving in snow, slush, and icy roads. All-season tires or winter tires are recommended to get the most out of AWD.

Ground clearance does present a limitation with Mazda crossovers optimized for on-road handling. Their low ride height (as little as 5.5 inches for the CX-3) may limit performance in deep snow compared to trucks like the Subaru Outback.

Overall, Mazda AWD models prove themselves as competent cold weather vehicles, especially with proper tires. The Mazda3 and Mazda6 sedans lack AWD but can be fitted with winter tires to improve snow traction.

Mazda Gas Mileage and MPG

With fuel prices fluctuating, shoppers want vehicles that sip gas without sacrificing performance. Mazda vehicles earn excellent EPA fuel economy ratings thanks to efficient engine technologies like SkyActiv.

Here’s a quick look at the gas mileage ratings for key Mazda models:

  • Mazda3: Up to 36 mpg highway with base engine (29 mpg city/36 highway)
  • Mazda6: Up to 35 mpg highway (26 mpg city/35 highway)
  • CX-5: Up to 31 mpg highway (25 mpg city/31 highway)
  • CX-9: Up to 26 mpg highway (20 mpg city/26 highway)
  • Miata: Up to 34 mpg highway (27 mpg city/34 highway)

Turbocharged engines in the Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-5 incur a modest mpg penalty but deliver substantially more power. Overall, Mazda fuel economy ranks close to the top of non-hybrid vehicles in each vehicle class. That efficiency comes without compromising speed or driving enjoyment.

Mazda Interiors: Quality and Comfort

Many buyers prioritize a comfortable, high-quality interior to spend time in daily. Here’s an overview of what Mazda interiors offer:

Workmanship and Materials

Mazda cabins punch above their price point with upscale detailing and soft-touch surfaces. Details like stitching on the dash and real aluminum trim exude quality. Extended use leaves positive impressions of the materials used.

Comfort and Space

The driver-focused cockpit layout provides excellent ergonomics and visibility outward. Front seats get high marks for long-haul comfort, while rear seats and cargo space are segment competitive or slightly tighter. Noise levels are kept low thanks to thorough sound insulation.

Entertainment and Technology

Mazda’s latest infotainment system works well, with clean graphics, snappy responses, and standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration across all models. However, some rivals offer larger screens and more advanced voice controls or apps.

Overall, Mazda interiors offer style, quality, and comfort that outclass their affordable pricing for a premium look and feel.

Costs of Owning a Mazda

For many shoppers, the long-term costs beyond just the purchase price determine whether a vehicle fits their budget. Here’s an overview of ownership costs for Mazda models over 5 years:

Purchase Price

Mazda sticker prices range from around $21,000 for the base Mazda3 to $47,000 for a fully loaded CX-9. Mazdas are competitively priced in their segments, often falling below the Honda, Toyota, or Subaru rivals.

5-Year Ownership Costs

  • Average 5-year cost to own a Mazda3: $32,500
  • Average 5-year cost to own a Mazda CX-5: $37,800

These ownership costs include depreciation, insurance, fuel costs, routine maintenance, repairs and more, according to Edmunds data. Mazda ownership costs are very reasonable compared to other brands.

Insurance Costs

Mazda vehicles tend to have affordable insurance costs based on their safety ratings and claim records. For example, a Mazda3 has an average annual insurance cost around $1,450 (for full coverage), which is on par or lower than a Civic or Corolla.

Maintenance and Repairs

Routine maintenance costs on Mazdas are comparable to other mainstream brands, with no required premium fuel. Repair costs remain reasonable even out of warranty given Mazda’s reliability and parts availability. Simple designs with less complexity help minimize expenses.

Overall costs to own a Mazda for years fall on the low end among non-luxury automakers. Careful buyers get great long-term value purchasing a Mazda.

Are Mazdas Expensive to Maintain?

Compared to many rivals, Mazda vehicles are relatively affordable to maintain both in and out of the factory warranty period. Here’s a closer look:

Routine Maintenance

Recommended maintenance intervals on Mazdas range from 7,500 miles up to 12,500 miles for oil changes and inspections. Maintenance schedules follow the industry norm. There is no required premium fuel.

Warranty Repairs

Repair costs under the 3-year/36,000 mile comprehensive warranty and 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty are fully covered by Mazda. The brand scores well for long-term dependability.

Out of Warranty Repairs

RepairPal reports Mazda owners pay an average of $462 per year for unscheduled repairs and maintenance. Labor and parts remain reasonably affordable out of warranty given Mazda’s good reliability and ease of service.

Aftermarket Support

A wide selection of Mazda aftermarket parts and accessories are available. There are active online communities of Mazda enthusiasts who share upgrade advice and DIY maintenance tips.

Overall, Mazdas avoid the high maintenance bills of European luxury brands. Proper care helps them go the distance at an affordable cost.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Mazda Vehicles

Mazda Pros

  • Satisfying driving dynamics: Mazdas are engineered to make everyday driving enjoyable with sharp handling and eager acceleration.
  • Reliable powertrains: Mazda engines and transmissions consistently earn praise for their trouble-free operation and longevity.
  • Affordable pricing: Mazda vehicles are competitively priced below many rivals with similar features. You get a lot for your money.
  • Upscale interiors: The cabin layout, materials, and workmanship exceed expectations and compete with luxury brands.
  • Strong reliability: Mazda reliability ratings are well above the industry average according to J.D. Power and Consumer Reports data.
  • Available AWD: The predictive i-Activ AWD improves traction and control in inclement weather.

Mazda Cons

  • Tight rear seats: Back seat room and cargo space in the Mazda3 and CX-3 are tighter than roomier rivals.
  • Limited engine options: Most models only offer one base engine, unlike competitors with multiple powertrain choices.
  • Technology can lag: Infotainment, digital gauges, and advanced driving aids trail top rivals.
  • Concerns of oil consumption: Some Mazda engines have a reputation for potentially higher oil consumption between changes.
  • Resale value: Mazda brand value trails competitors for residual value and depreciation over 5 years.

While no brand is perfect for every buyer, Mazda does an excellent job minimizing downsides to create well-rounded vehicles.

Comparing Mazda Models Head-to-Head

SpecificationMazda3Honda CivicToyota Corolla
Starting Price$21,500$22,550$20,925
Engine Options2.5L 155 hp2.0L 158 hp, 1.5L Turbo 174 hp1.8L 139 hp, 2.0L Dynamic 169 hp
Fuel Economy City/Highway29/

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