Buying a used Mazda 3s hatchback: lower mileage vs more recent model year

I’m shopping around for a used Mazda 3s Hatchback and I’ve found some promising prospects. As it is right now, I’ve found a 2008 with 88k miles for $11,000, a 2005 with 78k miles for $10,000, and a 2004 with 55k miles for $10,900.

Of course I plan on test driving them all, but I was wondering what people’s thoughts are on older cars with lower mileage versus newer cars with higher mileage. Any comments are welcome!



Only consider those with a documented (in paper, in your hands) complete maintenance history (oil changes, etc.). After that, the miles are less important, but 88k in 2 years? Wow!

I would lean towards the 08 myself. The miles are probably highway miles vs stop and go driving. All of these are going to require some maintenance, tires, brakes, fluid changes but in this case newer trumps mileage to me.

Trim lines are pretty important in the 3 as well. Stop and go or not, 88k miles in 2 years is a LOT of mileage. I’d be warry of it being a fleet vehicle (not necessarily bad, but you know what they say, “the only difference between a jeep and a rental car is that there are some things you won’t do in a jeep…”) with those numbers.

Check maintenance records if possible, esp oil changes.

The '08 and '04 are automatics with cloth interiors, leading me to suspect that they are the base trim level whereas the '05 is a manual with leather interior so it maybe it’s the grand touring trim? Do the base trims not hold up well?