2004 Mazda Mazda3 Reviews & Ratings

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2004 Mazda Mazda3 (3 Reviews)
Body, Interior & Misc.
Drive Train
Electrical & Lights
Exhaust & Emissions
Heating & Air Conditioning
Suspension & Steering
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Bought 3s new in May, 2004 and now (April, 2010) has 147,000+ miles on it. Only really major problems has been that it has gone thru tires very quickly. Both wheels have been replaced after cracking as well, but I drive a lot over bad roads with potholes so can't say that this is Mazda's fault. Ride is comfortable, although can be noisy. But with the stereo and my own awful singing, I don't notice! :)
I've owned a 2004 hatchback for 5 years, currently 117k miles. No major issues to speak of.

Minor Problems:
1. Road Noise, this is not a quiet car on the road. My first tire replacement was at 42k, got some Conti Contacts, no improvement. Next replacement was at 100k, got some Hancook V12's .. a little better...
2. Not great in the Snow. Bought snow tires for the first time last winter. Marked improvement.
3. Gas cap emissions seal failed twice. Covered while under warranty, probably only a few states are required to have this "feature".

I get about 30.5 mpg. 95% highway driving, so this is probably a little high... also explains why I just replaced the breaks for the first time last week. Comfortable inside, even for all day drives... even in the back seat I'm told. Good car all around though, highly recommended.
Bought new in 2004. Have 61000 miles now. Have owned 4 Hondas before this since 1977.
Would NOT buy another Mazda.
1. Transmission had "hard shifting" from 1st-2nd gear. Required 3 trips to dealer finally to find out the computer needed to be "reflashed" to solve problem.
2. rear brakes needed replacement at 40k miles while front brakes where maybe 30% used, Never had a car so biased to the rer brakes and obviously not equally distributing brake pressures.
3. Air conditioner has been marginal at best. I do not expect it too much but the unit has a very hard time just keeping interior at a bearable level.
4. Most important......The idle speed about 9 months ago dropped down to about 500-600rpm. This is a speed where I get engine shake when in gear (its an automatic). When I approached the dealer they said the idle speed COULD NOT be adjusted higher. I went o another dealer and they said that 3 of the 4 engine mounts were cracked and needed replacement at over $700. I seriously doubt the mounts to be cracked because I drive this car VERY gently. If they are in fact cracked, then this is extremely POOR quality of the mounts.
On the PLUS side, the engine has plenty of power and runs smooth at cruising RPMS, the enterior is good, handling is excellent.
As the economy improves I will be getting rid of this car and will return to Honda again.