The Mazda With the Lowest Annual Maintenance Costs Is a Non-Miata Sports Car
A car, truck, or SUV’s low sales price may make it an attractive option, but before signing on the dotted line, it’s vital to consider reliability and maintenance costs. So, how do Mazda models fare for charges outside the purchase price? According to RepairPal, one Mazda model stands out with the lowest maintenance costs for the brand, and it’s a sports car that doesn’t bear the famous Miata nameplate.
Mazda models have some of the lowest annual maintenance costs
RepairPal ranks each major automaker for its reliability rating based on the yearly maintenance costs, the number of trips to a repair shop needed each year, and how “severe” those repairs may be across all models.
Mazda is near the top of the leaderboard, ranked No. 5 out of 32 major automakers for reliability by RepairPal.
The publication notes the average repair cost for Mazda models is $462 per year, $190 less than the average across all brands. Mazda models require an average of 0.4 trips to a mechanic a year, which is average across all automakers, but just 10% of needed repairs are deemed “severe,” which is 2% less than average.
For comparison, Honda tops the list with an average annual maintenance cost of $428. Other notable brands in the top eight include Kia ($474), Hyundai ($468), Toyota ($441), and Nissan ($500).
A somewhat forgotten sports car is the cheapest Mazda to maintain
RepairPal notes that the Mazda MX-3 has the lowest average annual maintenance costs among all of the automaker’s models. Not to be confused with the more modern CX-3 or MX-30 crossovers, the MX-3 was a 2+2 coupe of the early and mid-‘90s.
Though there might not be many of them still on the road, the MX-3 has an average repair cost of just $307 per year. RepairPal lists three commonly reported issues for the MX-3, including misfires from both the inline-four and V6 engines and suspension knocks due to worn or loose sway bar links.
However, YourMechanic lists the average cost to maintain an MX-3 at a slightly higher but still relatively low $429 per year.
A brief history of the Mazda MX-3
Perhaps reeling from the introduction of the MX-5, Mazda rolled out the MX-3 in 1991 as a four-seat coupe based on the Mazda 323 that was sold in the U.S. from 1985-1989, including a GTX version. According to AutoEvolution, the MX-3 RS and GS debuted in 1992, with the RS sporting a 1.6-liter inline-four, first delivering 88 horsepower before being updated in 1994 to dish out 106 ponies. Meanwhile, the GS delivered a more stout 130 hp from a tiny 1.8-liter V6.
Despite its sporty looks and credentials, the MX-3 was a product of the Japanese economic bubble market era, and as such, when the bubble burst, so too did the MX-3. The 2+2 was cut from the lineup in the mid-90s amid the burst bubble and because it simply couldn’t compete with the sales success of the MX-5.
If the MX-3 moniker sounds familiar, that’s likely due to Mazda recently introducing the MX-30, its first fully electric subcompact SUV. However, due to various factors, such as only being available in California and having a pitiful range of only 100 miles, the MX-30 EV has already been discontinued.