2008 Mazda 3s without side airbags fare poorly in side impacts. Standard safety features vary among the Mazda 2008 trim levels, and many popular ones that are not standard are available as extra-cost options.
Edmunds notes that standard on all 2008 Mazda 3s are "four-wheel disc brakes," and "ABS, front side and curtain side airbags are optional on the i trims and standard for everything else." They add that on the Mazda 3 2008, only Sport models have "available stability control." "Only Sport models" receive standard front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and ABS with brake assist, according to J.D. Power. They list standard features on all Mazda 2008 3s as dual front airbags and a tire pressure monitor, and claim that the s Touring and Grand Touring models have traction control and electronic stability control.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) frontal-impact crash tests, the 2008 Mazda 3 scored four (out of five) stars; in side-impact tests, it received three stars; and in rollover resistance tests, it received four stars.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested a 2008 Mazda 3 without side airbags, and the results of the test were striking. While it received a "good" rating for the front offset impact test, it received only "poor"--the lowest rating--for the side impact test. Also tested was the Mazda 3 2008's rear crash protection, where it earned a "marginal" rating.
Visibility is good in the Mazda 2008 3. With its short hood and ample glass, drivers can see well. Only in the hatchback will the C-pillars "cause some blind spots," notes Motor Trend.