The Worst Mazda3 Model You Should Never Buy

Japanese automaker Mazda is known for its zippy, sporty, efficient, and relatively affordable cars. The Mazda3 is one of its flagship vehicles, offering best-selling fuel economy and performance. However, nothing is ever perfect, even with the Mazda3 reliability and safety metrics.

The 2007 Mazda3 is the worst model year of them all

The 2010 Mazda3 sedan displayed significant Mazda3 reliability issues on the road
2010 Mazda3 sedan | MAZDA NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS

After collecting owner-reported problems for 2004-2010 Mazda3 model years, Car Complaints shows where the popular car has its issues. In fact, looking at the site’s model year comparison of the Mazda3, there’s one clear winner for the worst model year of them all. The 2010 Mazda3 receives substantially more complaints than any other model year. The 2010 Mazda3 currently has 188 owner-reported complaints, with the next-closest number of complaints being the 2014 Mazda3 with 65 total complaints.

Additionally, the Mazda3 2010 model year doesn’t just have the most number of complaints, but also the worst problem among them. Car Complaints ranks the 2010 Mazda3 as the worst model year due to its reliability and the repair cost of its clutch failure problem.

The most common Mazda3 complaints

There are clear and distinct problems with the 2010 Mazda3, as seen by Car Complaints‘ breakdown of the model year. Receiving more complaints than any other category, there are 65 owner-reported problems with the 2010 Mazda3’s clutch failing. A failed clutch is the most-reported problem and the worst-rated problem of all the Mazda 3 model years. This occurs at an average of 37,650 miles and costs an average of more than $1,270 to repair. It also receives a Severity Rating of 9.3 (out of 10).

However, a bad clutch isn’t the only thing to worry about. The 2010 Mazda3 also has 55 complaints in the Interior Accessories Problems category, as reported by Car Complaints. Just for the 2010 model year alone, 30 owners reported the issue of dashboard melting, and 17 reported broken seat brackets. Car Complaints finds that the most common Mazda3 interior accessories problems cost $140 to fix for all model years and occur at 58,450 miles. Other interior accessories problems related to the vehicle across different model years include infotainment system complications and leather seat deterioration issues.

According to Mazda Problems, some owners also complain about issues related to the transmission. Around 15% of owner-reported complaints fall in the transmission category, including Mazda3 problems with gears grinding or whining at an average of 45,600 miles.

Is a used Mazda3 a reliable investment?

Though the 2010 Mazda3 certainly receives many complaints, the car is an overall impressive symbol of the reliability behind the Mazda brand. Most other model years receive minimal owner-reported complaints, with many of those complaints being less than severe. In fact, all model years from 2015 to current have received 26 or fewer complaints on Car Complaints.

Overall, Mazda produces dependable vehicles. RepairPal gives the Mazda3 (all model years) an overall, above-average reliability rating of 4 (out of 5). Out of 36 compact car models, its reliability ranks it ninth-best, and the sporty vehicle generally has “excellent ownership costs.”

Experts found that the average annual repair cost for Mazda3 owners is $433, nearly $100 less than the average for compact cars. Owners also typically bring their models in less frequently than other owners – around 0.3 times per year – with a lower probability of severe problems than with other compact cars.

Consumer Reports gives the 2010-2018 and 2021 Mazda3 model years an impressive reliability rating of either 4 or 5 (out of 5). However, 2019, 2020, and 2022 model years received a more surprising rating of 3 (out of 5). Still, thanks to the car’s overall quality, nearly every Mazda3 model year received a Consumer Reports’ seal of recommendation.

RELATED: The Most Common Mazda3 Complaints Can Get Expensive to Repair