The most common complaint about Mazda vehicles is premature clutch failure in manual transmission vehicles, as reported by CarComplaints.com. Mazda's unique Wankel rotary-engine vehicles are also frequently mentioned as having low gas mileage as compared to comparably powerful standard combustion engines.
Premature clutch failure most commonly affects the 2010 and 2011 models of Mazda 3 compact sedans. Many owners speculate that a manual transmission design flaw prevents the clutch plate from fully disengaging from the flywheel when the clutch pedal is depressed, resulting in additional wear to the clutch plate and more rapid failure than would normally be expected. Automatic transmission vehicles are not affected by this issue, and there are generally few complaints about the performance or reliability of the automatic transmissions in Mazda vehicles.
Another complaint about Mazda vehicles is the low gas mileage of models with Wankel rotary engines, including the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars. Though sports cars in general are not expected to have high fuel efficiency, owners find the actual fuel usage of these Mazda models to be substantially higher than that of other sports cars. The light weight and small size of the engine itself is usually not enough to outweigh this disadvantage, according to many reviewers and owners.