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One of the most popular cars in the Mazda lineup is the Mazda3, but just like any other car, Mazda3 owners have some complaints. Mazda has attempted to address those complaints by making improvements to the compact sedan, but it hasn’t been enough for some owners. Here’s a look at the Mazda3 and how owners are still disappointed by its fuel economy despite years of improvements. 

Gray 2023 Mazda3 compact car driving along a rough road
2023 Mazda3 | Mazda

An overview of J.D. Power’s survey of car owners

Every year, J.D. Power sends out a survey to thousands of car owners that will allow the site to get an idea of how good a car actually is. This survey involves thousands of owners, and there’s a verification process involved which ensures that the owners are legit and they’ve had their car for at least 90 days.

The survey had some interesting findings about the Mazda3 and its owners. 69% of new Mazda3 owners are men, and that’s above the segment average of 59%. The average age of a new Mazda3 owner is 41 years, and that’s younger than the segment average of 46 years. On top of that, the two areas that owners liked the most about this Japanese compact sedan were its exterior looks and its driving feel.

Mazda is attempting to attract younger drivers, so it’s no surprise that owners liked the looks of the Mazda3, as well as how it drove. Owners also liked how safe the Mazda3 felt, as well as its interior design and the powertrain options that Mazda gave the car.

The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and it gets 191 hp. Mazda also offers two turbocharged four-cylinder options, with the most powerful one getting 250 hp.

The 2023 Mazda3’s fuel economy is its least-liked aspect 

That said, on the opposite end of the spectrum, Mazda3 owners didn’t like setting up and starting the car. The Japanese automaker also has a relatively unique infotainment system, and it seems that owners don’t like it. Mazda3 owners also didn’t like how comfortable it was to drive the car, nor did they like getting in and out of the car. 

The aspect that owners liked the least, however, was the Mazda sedan’s fuel economy. The Mazda3’s standard 2.5-liter engine is paired to a six-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive is standard. This configuration gives the Mazda3 a fuel economy of 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on highways, for an estimated 33 mpg combined.

That’s decent fuel economy for a compact sedan, but it’s possible that owners don’t like the fuel economy of the Mazda3’s other configurations. When the car has one of the optional turbo engines, it gets 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on highways, for an estimated 28 mpg combined.

Mazda has improved the Mazda3’s fuel economy recently

What’s also interesting is the fact that Mazda recently revamped the Mazda3’s base engine. In the 2021 model year, the sedan had a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and it got 155 hp. This was underpowered for the segment, but it did allow the Mazda3 to get 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on highways, for 32 mpg combined.

In the 2022 model year, Mazda swapped that engine out for the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and its horsepower output grew by 36 hp. Despite that jump in power, the new engine also used cylinder-deactivation technology, which shuts off fuel to some cylinders in order to save fuel in certain circumstances. This tech improved the engine’s fuel economy by 1 to 3 mpg, but apparently owners didn’t notice a huge difference. 


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