2015 Mazda 3 2.0

2015 Mazda 3 2.0

2015 Mazda 3 Sedan

The Good:
– Decent power and economy
– Cabin trim and features
– Decent ride, great handling
The Bad:
– Highway noise
– Average rear space
– Multimedia learning curve

The Mazda 3 is a Japanese compact offering that’s been unfairly sidelined for the past decade, if only because not much was done to promote its virtues. It also used to be saddled with a wheezy engine and a cheap interior, none of which did it any favours. But this new one set out to change all that. And it did that very well.

First off, the 2015 Mazda 3 is truly all-new. The stiffer and lighter “SkyActiv” platform was designed in-house by Mazda and supposedly does not share it with the Ford Focus any more, although it mysteriously still has the same old wheelbase. The sedan looks a little tall in profile, but the details make it stand out. The sharp new styling has a front-end aggressive enough to make douchey luxury cars move out of its way on the fast lane.

2015 Mazda 3 Sedan 7

Inside, the design and trim choices give off a very BMW-esque ambience, at least in the top-spec 2.0 sedan we tested. The black dash-top and front doors are soft-touch trimmed, looking sharp alongside the contrasting beige leatherette-padded door inserts and armrests that match the leatherette seats. The window-sills of the rear doors are hard plastic, but at least there’s padded armrests and inserts. All the buttons are concentrated on the steering wheel and around a rotary knob on the shifter console, leaving a clean button-free dash below the tacked-on multimedia touchscreen.

Space up front is great, with moderately-bolstered seats. In the rear, there’s good headroom and decent legroom, although by no means class-leading. The boot is of a good size, with a split-folding rear bench. Inside, there’s four cup-holders, door bottle-holders, seatback pockets and more.

There’s a solid amount of tech in the top-spec Mazda 3 sedan. The tablet-looking touchscreen is sharp and colourful, with a secondary rotary-dial below the shifter to use when driving. However, the icons on the screen are all unlabelled, so you’re basically guessing what each one does, and you have to look down at the audio and navigation “shortcut” buttons next to the dial to speed things up.

Aside from the 3D navigation and good stereo, there’s also a sunroof, Bluetooth, USB/AUX ports, auto bi-xenon headlights, fog lamps, smart keyless entry and start, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, a full set of airbags, rear camera and parking sensors, decent auto a/c without rear vents, rain-sensing wipers and, in a segment-first, a basic heads-up display that puts up the speed and other readings on a transparent plastic screen on top of the pretty gauge cluster.

2015 Mazda 3 Sedan 4

While the base engine remains a wheezy 1.6-litre, the top-spec model gets a buzzy 2.0-litre 4-cylinder making 153 hp at 6000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. Mated to a 6-speed automatic with paddle-shifters, it’s a responsive engine-gearbox combo, although you have to put a bit more effort to get the most out of it, as otherwise it likes to stay in the higher gears in the interests of fuel economy. It is spritely in first gear, feels very lethargic in second gear, and then offers decent passing power in third and fourth. We managed to get an ESP-off 0-100 kph time of 9.4 seconds in hot May weather, which is among the best in its class, helped by its reasonably-low 1315 kg curb weight. Even fuel economy is respectable at 8.8 litres/100 km during our occasionally-aggressive run.

The handling is also easily among the best in this segment. Body roll is limited in sharp corners, with no awkward rebounds, as the 215/45 tyres on 18-inch wheels grip rather well in most conditions. Clean understeer follows any overcooked corner, but it’s also easy to turn in tighter with the right braking inputs, more so than dull rivals such as the Hyundai Elantra and the Nissan Sentra. Only the Ford Focus or the Peugeot 308 may be able to keep up with it on the twisties.

The steering is direct and mildly weighted, but while there is noticeable feedback, the feel can be a bit uneven, depending on the road surface. Also, the brakes are decent and the pedal-feel is mildly firm, but it’s also uneven, depending on speed. Still, the Mazda 3’s electric power-steering and brakes are better than most in this segment. And it’s even got four-wheel-independent suspension, a rarity among its peers.

The suspension tuning is done well enough that they’ve also managed to keep the ride reasonably smooth. There are smoother rivals, but the slight firmness is a small price to pay for the top-class handling. The only niggling issues we noticed was the abundance of road and wind noise at highway speeds, and the mild sway we felt every time we crossed an untoward gust of wind or slipstream.

Barring the highway-cruising factor, the Mazda 3 is otherwise excellent in every possible way, as long as you have regular-sized friends and don’t intend to carry basketball players in the back seat. The 2.0 is a bit pricey, but for what’s on offer, it is competitively priced and rather entertaining to drive.

Price Range:
Dh 88,000-90,000

Current Model Introduced in:

Body Styles:
4-door sedan

2.0L 153 hp Inline-4 / 200 Nm

6-speed automatic


Front: independent
Rear: independent

Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
1315 kg

4580 mm

2640 mm

Top Speed:
210 kph

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
9.4 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
8.8 litres/100km

What do you think?



  1. Doesn’t the 6 start at 80k???

  2. the pricing doesnt make any sense..

    wait till year end and the dealer will as usual give hefty discounts and thats when one should by this car..

  3. @Mash looks like a great car! You could have added some pictures of the HUD in action.

  4. The pricing is justified considering the vehicle comes with features you would normally find in luxury cars. Honda is asking circa AED 85k for their Civic which does not come with any of these features except for the regular ‘full options’, i.e sunroof, leather, alloy wheels, 6 airbags, reverse camera, Bluetooth. Does that make sense? It’s the same with Kia Cerato which sells for circa AED 79k and comes with the same options as the Civic with the only additions being Xenon headlights, DRLs.

  5. The price is justified according to the competition, but not to the Mazda6, the pricing is too close, you pay a little bit more and you can opt for 2.5L of the Mazda6 and a bit more space, but you will loss HUD, and the new MZD Connect. Mazda6 should have more specs than the 3 (3 is full of features so they need to come up with extra features for the 6).

    I personally would have opted for Mazda6 if it had the HUD and the new MZD Connect, but those are more important to me then the 2.5 engine vs 2.0, so I am going for the 3.

  6. Price is justified as of features. some body said Mazda6 starts from 80k..yes but that is very basic model you can compare fully loaded with basic model. I don’t mind paying 88k with such luxury features compare to all other brands civic, corolla etc….

  7. just a comment…. The mazda3 and ford focus doesnt have the same wheelbase anymore. It’s 2700mm against 2635mm

  8. AFM are selling camry full ops for AED 80k… does that make sense?

    • When was that? 10 years ago? A base Camry is Dhs 86k.

    • Agree with Saeed. You could have bought a full option Camry for AED 80k about 5-10 years ago. A base Camry now sells for AED 86k while the full option sells for AED 106k(as per the website).

    • ray

      i referring to the massive sale that on going..

      if some one is in the market for a new car..mazda 3’s value looks questionable

      would i buy a mazda 3? in UAE, in Australia, or in the west yes

    • As Mash & farrukh pointed out the sale is for used/demo cars. If the 3 didn’t come with Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Assist, Intelligent Beam, Navigation etc it would sell for circa 70k. Right now the Civic and Corolla cost AED 85k and AED 75k respectively. For around AED 3k more the Mazda is offering luxury car features a bigger engine and more power.
      If i was looking for a car in the compact car segment I would consider the 3 and i’m sure many people would.

  9. It does make sense considering Toyotas and Hondas are overpriced here relative to the rest of the Japanese competition. Dealer mark ups! AFM are presently having a sale until 17th May hence the reduced price. We have to keep in mind that the Camry does not come with the features that the Mazda 3 and 6 have and these features do add to the cost 🙂

    • Author

      Check out that sale. When you go there, you find out it’s used cars! The Mazda offers a lot for the price.

    • The AFM sale only offers “DEMO CARS” so that’s y they are on sale!!

    • Thanks Mash & farrukh for pointing this out. The ad on the website didn’t say if the cars are new, used/demo. Either way I’d take a Mazda 3/6 or a Ford Focus/Fusion/Mondeo or a Peugeot 406 any day 🙂

  10. Mash,
    Thanks for excellent review. Please answer following questions as i am buying this car.

    Without rear A/C vents does persons sitting on back seat feel comfortable or sweating all the way?
    How is the A/C overall? I am concerned about June/July weather.
    And do you prefer the white leather interiors over black?
    How to isolate wind/road noise at highway speed? i mean any isolation kit or something available for this purpose anywhere?

    And you didn’t mentioned anything about it’s smart tech features like i-ELOOP, Start & Stop at red-signals, Smart braking when impact is unavoidable etc.. Wish you had put all these features in detail.

  11. those smart tech features are not available here….black leather looks better if u choose a black or red color car becuz they got red stitchings everywhere and it matches perfectly with the black n red cars…

  12. @Zao, i dont think all features are not available here i personally saw in spec paper provided at showroom includes smart-braking, radar cruise control etc.. i didn’t saw I-ELOOP though, normally what they give you is some sort of excel print-out without much details, so wondering what features are being offered here and what are missing? if anybody got 2.0L top trim/full spec Mazda3, can shed light on available tech features.
    and i am choosing white color so i may get white seats. i heard black color leather is like hot pan in summer..haha

    @Mash, could you answer the questions i asked please?

    • Those are things you can find out yourself if you were serious about buying.

    • AhmedR, aside from the Leather Seats, Auto everything, 18″ Alloy Wheels, 6 airbags, Bluetooth, Parking Sensors the 2ltr model comes with AFS+Intelligent Beam, Smart Braking, Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Navigation, Rear View Camera. The next batch of cars will come with the Bose 9 speaker system.

      Mazdas have good A/Cs although nothing can beat the ones in Nissan vehicles. Most of the cars in this class don’t come with rear vents barring the Nissan Sentra/Sunny and Kia Cerato. I drove the 3 and found the A/C to work fine.

      As for reducing road/tyre noise, Zeibart have a product called Sound Barrier – its a liquid they spray under the vehicle and wheel wells. It also acts as a rust proofing agent. Give them a call and they will provide you with the necessary info. There is another place called Auto Plus in Deira that sell and install a product called Dynamat. There’s nothing much you can do about wind noise though. Cars in this class will not have as much sound proofing as some of the larger and/or luxury cars do and so a certain amount of wind/road/tyre noise is expected.

  13. @RayD,
    Thanks for detailed info about sound proofing & general car features in top trim, i will check about Zeibert & Dynamat, may i know how much it will cost approximately? and do these void the warranty? and about smart tech features, it means only missing are I-ELOOP & Auto Start-Stop at idle. later i’ll call check with Mazda showroom rep.

    I am not sure without rear A/C vents how it will be at back seats during hot summer?

    No car in this segment can beat Mazda3 at this price for features & safety, it’s best in class, value for money, most stylish and intelligent. only thing missing is rear vent for A/C, wish instead of normal hand-brake they should have used electric hand-brake like in VW Golf. which would increase more space & interior style.

    @Saeed, i asked because people like me wants to know from Mash or someone driven this car, and this website is for providing details, Pro/Cons of any vehicle, so people discuss here if they have any questions. People share their experiences and details of vehicles to help others or just for knowledge.

    BTW, i already booked Mazda3 Hatch-Back 2.0L engine, all available options (as RayD mentioned above) with Bose Audio system. Delivery will be end of this month(hopefully). Waiting with excitement 🙂

    This car looks fantastic, have everything one can ask for, i am very impressed with it.

    • AhmedR, I cannot provide you with pricing details as it varies from vehicle to vehicle(basically how small/big the car is). The best way to find out is to visit the respective providers. From what I know these products do not void the warranty as the application process does not involve any changes or modification to the mechanical and/or electrical aspects of the vehicle. Please bear in mind however that these products will not make a huge difference…but you will notice it to some extent.

      Good luck with your purchase and do give us updates on your ownership experience 🙂

  14. RayD, i will check with both service providers about price, thank you for your kind advice.
    Sure, let the car delivered, then i’ll update with my experience in detail.

    i appreciate you for help/suggestions.

    Best regards.

  15. Dear Maushfiq,

    Assalamu alaikum,

    hope you are in good health. I love the article, i want you help me to come to a final decision in which I am trapped for.
    Problem: I have finally planned to go for a new Mazda. But don’t know which one to choose from is it either 3 or 6, as both 2.0 engine comes on a similar price tag. i.e full option 3 9love the peddle shift) and the mid option 6.
    now i am concerned about the mileage, the more milage I get the more happier I am. My daily driving from home (Shj) to office(Dubai -DIP) and back is around 150-160km a day.
    I am with a family with 2 blessed daughters of small age of less than 2yrs. Keeping in mind I do have to carry the pram wherever I go.
    Could you kindly send me your best opinion on which one to choose.

    My current car is Honda CRV 2007.

    Thank you

    • Nahas

      The 6 is a great car aand I like it, however now that I am a father I notice 2 downsides as far as travelling with babies is concerned

      1) The boot is not small but is very shallow, storing a large stroller means it touches the underside of the boot lid
      2) The 6, or at least my one does not have rear AC vents; one of those things you never notice when you are single, but when you have children it becomes one of the most important features.

      I would suggest the Taurus, which is a great car for commuting on the highway due to very good sound insulation, has rear vents and has a nice and very deep trunk.
      I suspect the Impala would have similar qualities, but may be a bit pricier than the Taurus

    • I forgot to mention that mileage difference between Taurus and Mazda 6 and Altima is very minor and should not be taken as a factor in your decision. The Taurus may consume 5 dhs more petrol over the Altima in 150 km of driving, so hardly a major difference

  16. if you got kids one should not even be looking Mazda 3.. Cx-5 should be considered

  17. We are thinking of purchasing the 3 but our concern is that we have one of those bulky pram/strollers and it may not fit in the boot as it’s shallow. Previous versions of the 3 and 6 had long and deep boots whereas the new cars have long and shallow ones. Will have to do a ‘pram test’ 😉
    I recall seeing rear a/c vents in the Mazda 6 so quite surprised that your car doesn’t have them :s

  18. RayD,

    You can check the Mazda3 Hatchback if you want more cargo space. since it has no shallow opening for boot, it will have more luggage space.
    i read that hatchback has 47.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. i think enough for any bulky prams 😉
    Still waiting for my car to get delivered.

    • Hi AhmedR,

      The sedan has more cargo space overall. With the hatch its easier to load items into the boot as the entire rear section opens. Any news on your car??

  19. AhmedR keep us updated, how did you manage to book one with bose system? I thought those only come for the 6 and the 3 won’t have them, is it special order or something?

  20. Hello to All,
    Recently I checked both Mazda 6-2.0L & Mazda 3-2.0L, both full options trims. The main drawback with 3 is that it has less legroom for the rear passengers. Boot volume is also less. The overall cockpit volume is also less as compared to M6-2.0L. Only the plus point M3 has is its MZD connect safety cum infotainment system and more drive related safety feature.
    Only the major similarities are the engine, safety features, transmission (M6 doesn’t have paddle shifters as M3).
    Here in Qatar, final buy price of M6 is QR.80,000 with Reg. fees where as M3 full options is sold @ QR.86000.
    So, after some R&D and as per family requirements, I have finally booked a M6-2.0L full options model…waiting to get it by 10 June !!

  21. Hi Code,

    From what I’ve learnt it will cost an additional AED 1,500/- or so. Unless M/s Galadari change their mind and sell the vehicles at no extra charge ;). The best person to answer your query is AhmedR as he recently purchased a 3 with the Bose system.

  22. Hi RayD, hope you are doing well.
    Just got informed that bank has approved car finance, just waiting for some papers to arrive then after i will collect the vehicle as its already in stock. If you want, you can book for 2.0L full option (with Bose audio) to test drive.

    @Code, that’s correct what RayD said, mine is from 2nd batch, i booked Mazda3 full trim 2.0L Hatchback with all available features with Bose Audio, it’s included in price, i didn’t paid extra for it.

    Hope to get hands on the car in 2 days, then i can share my experience 🙂

  23. Got my Mazda 3 on 03/06/2014 evening, white color full option 2 liter engine, i driven it around 80kms upto now, and found it very pleasant, ride is smooth, great handling, perfect braking with good acceleration power. A/C is also satisfactory in summer time. Bose audio system is awesome. overall really happy with my purchase Alhamdulillah:)

  24. Thanks RayD 🙂
    I am not driving 100+ speed yet so i haven’t noticed high level of wind/road noise, After service at 1000 i will decide to sound proof it or not.

    @Japss, Yes it came with Bose Audio.

  25. What sense does it makes to launch this car at a higher price than Mazda 6, the base model of 6 has all the options including cruise control, touch screen, blue tooth, alloy wheels. Why would anyone buy a smaller car, with smaller engine for higher price. Does these people think before fixing the prices ??

  26. every thing is good and i like this car >> just back light big same dezain and black paper on light >>

  27. Would be awesome if this got compared to the latest Seat Leon.

  28. I got this car a few days ago and i’m very happy with the performance. Amazing features inside and you feel like driving a luxury vehicle.

  29. i am planning to buy mazda 3 2.0L. because its a compact car with all required features in this kind of category. i don’t thing any other car has these features with same price which is 88k.

  30. how about the maintenance and spare parts… cheap or expensive?

  31. Hi Guys

    Planning to buy car, Mazda 3 is best choice as compared to Civic and Corolla.

    Is engine in 3 is same GM/Ford or Mazda Japan?


  32. Sorry to say that . But it really crazy to pay 90k for Mazda 3 !!! 15-20k more can get the Infiniti Q50 new !!! Or V6 used !!! Even without Navigation but that dosent matter based on the Brand, quality, power, safety, features …etc..

    Ok I agree that its a nice car but not worth that price and cannot be compare at all with above mentioned car . Who is paying 90 can pay 15-20% more and get much much better car..

  33. I paid 76k for full option mazda3 2.0l and its worth it!! seriously .. its loaded with all the goodies plus considering the safety features! plus 5yr/ 100000 warranty! go for it when the sale is on(which is there for atleast 4 months an year i suppose (yearend, eid, dsf or whatever)

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