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As an affordable, comfortable, and engaging sedan or hatchback, there is plenty to love about the smallest Mazda four-door. However, some years of the Mazda3 are better than others for reliability. Recalls concerning brakes, airbags, and dashboard materials have left some buyers unsatisfied. That said, a survey of real Mazda3 owners found the most reliable years for the compact car.

A gray Mazda3 sedan and blue Mazda3 hatchback
The 2010 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback | Mazda

The 2010 Mazda3 earns excellent reliability scores

With a grinning face and enjoyable handling, the 2010 Mazda3 was a popular compact sedan when it was new. It was the first year of this particular generation, which makes its high reliability rating a bit of a surprise. Typically, a new generation comes with some hiccups, but in the case of the 2010 Mazda3, it appears Mazda got it right from day one. A survey by J.D. Power takes information from real buyers and determined that this is the most reliable Mazda3 model of the past 15 years.

2017/2018 Mazda3 models tie for most reliable of the new generation

A gray Mazda3 hatchback and red Mazda3 sedan
A pair of 2017 Mazda 3 models | Mazda

Tied for second place are the 2017 and 2018 versions of the Mazda3. For the most part, both years are quite similar as the 2017 saw some subtle changes as a mid-cycle refresh. LED lighting and sweeping body lines make this generation of Mazda3 one of the most stylish. Buyers of the 2017 and 2018 3s gave the compact an 82/100 for reliability. Most models were good for 150,000 miles or more, with a handful eclipsing the 200,000-mile mark without major issues.

2011/2012/2013 Mazda3 earn high scores

Interestingly, the years following the 2010 Mazda3 are slightly less reliable versus the first year of this body style. This was in-part due to a recall involving dash materials that could warp if left in the hot sun, while worn clutches in the manual transmissions have been reported as early as 40,000 miles. Other than these two issues though, the 2011-2013 Mazda3 models offer above average reliability with routine maintenance. Even better, they’re among the best cheap used cars you can find today.

2016 Mazda3 models get high marks for quality

The 2016 Mazda3

Also scoring an 81 in the survey is the 2016 Mazda3. While it is tied with the others, it hails form a different generation than the aforementioned models, so we felt the need to discuss it separately. This version of Mazda’s compact sedan is part of the stylish third generation models, and it comes with fewer issues than most. A recall for the ABS module and a potential fuel leak were the biggest noted problems. Otherwise, owners of the 2016 Mazda3 appreciate the sharp handling, efficient four-cylinder engine, and comfortable cabin.

The Mazda3 is more reliable than average across the board

While the seven years noted above are the most reliable Mazda3 years on average, most models achieve average ratings or higher regardless of model year. Dating back to 2007, only the 2020 and 2021 Mazda3 models dipped below the 75/100 range, both by a single point. With proper maintenance, a Mazda3 is typically good for just shy of 200,000 miles, with 0.5% of all models sold able to eclipse that mark, according to iSeeCars research. 

Related The Most Reliable Mazda is the Only One Good for Over 200,000 Miles

The Most Reliable Mazda is the Only One Good for Over 200,000 Miles