Reviewers mostly like the interior packaging of the Mazda 3; 2008 models have good room for a compact car and the hatchbacks are especially versatile.
For front seat occupants of the Mazda, 2008 3s have "good legroom [and] headroom, even below the sunroof housing," commends ConsumerGuide, which adds, "MazdaSpeed has particularly well-bolstered sport buckets." 2008 Mazda 3s have standard tilt and telescoping steering wheels, a rare feature at this price point. Edmunds notes, "Even taller drivers will find plenty of room in this compact car's front seat."
It's a different story in the 2008 Mazda 3's rear. Edmunds says, "The rear seat is a little snug for larger adults, but those of average height will find a decent amount of space." All Mazda 3s have a 60/40-split rear seat with center armrest. ConsumerGuide reveals, "Legroom is especially tight with the front seats far back. Headroom [is] ample in hatchbacks, only OK for taller folk in sedans."
There is some confusion among reviews read by TheCarConnection.com regarding cargo space in the Mazda. 2008 3 sedans "offer 11.4 cu ft of trunk space, while the hatchback boasts 31 when [the seats] are folded," claims Edmunds. On the other hand, J.D. Power states "Mazda 3 sedans have 11.5 cu ft, while hatchbacks offer 43.8 cu ft with their rear seats folded down." A visit to a dealer to see the cargo space in person will give you a better impression of the available room. Nevertheless, the 2008 Mazda 3 hatchbacks are "more versatile [and] include a handy cargo organizer. The hatchbacks' liftgate rises high enough to clear the heads of taller [people]," writes ConsumerGuide. They do caution, however, "Its handle is in an awkward position that makes it difficult to open without hands scraping the top of the rear bumper." Finally, they add, "Interior storage is good, highlighted by an extra-large glovebox."
2008 Mazda 3s have "solid build quality" (ConsumerGuide) and "an upscale interior [that] looks far richer than its price would suggest" (Edmunds). Motor Trend feels the interior detailing is "posh and stylish" and "all the controls have seemingly graduated from ergonomics school with honors," but ConsumerGuide thinks the Mazda 3 2008 "falls short in several areas." One is "the plastic-looking woven inserts on the door panels and seats." Another shortcoming is that there's "very few soft-touch surfaces."
"Road noise is noticed more in hatchbacks than sedans, but isn't intrusive for the class," attests ConsumerGuide. They add of the Mazda 2008 3, "Engines get loud at full throttle and aren't that quiet in gentle cruising...MazdaSpeed's low-profile tires and sporty exhaust note generate more ruckus."