Mazda 3- Best bang for the buck

Messages
659
Location
Minnesota
I've driven one and there is something about the interior of it that made the driving experience a bit odd, It didn't have the driving comfort that I am used to. I also found it harder to parallel park than other cars including ones bigger than it which is something that I do on a daily basis. It could be just me but I would definetly give it a test drive as it has got great power and features for the price. I suppose I would get used to the car over time though. I just don't like the fragile cartridge style design of oil filter that they have on their 2.3L engines, I'm glad I did an oil change on the 2.0L engine with the normal canister, although it took a bunch of bolts to get the plastic shroud off of the bottom of the engine, but I suppose all new cars have those now.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
45,982
Location
New Jersey
quote:
Fuel economy is still a weak point for the 3. We drove both cars with lead feet just to keep up with the Southern California freeway pace, and it showed, especially in the Mazda which recorded a mediocre 22.3-mile-per-gallon average in combined city/highway driving. The Civic's 7-mpg improvement on that number is significant.
Lifecycle costs make this car unacceptable, IMO. Im not all that happy with the ~32 MPG that the rental focus that I have for work is returning either... Ford and its subsidiaries need to get their act together as far as economy goes... And Ive said it once, Ill say it again... "performance oriented" is saying little more than "we'll give you crap that you can pretend is a race car to make you feel good". 8.6 seconds 0-60 isnt fast. It isnt anything special. Id rather have 9.6 seconds 0-60 and 7 more MPG in real driving... Niether is fast, one at least is economical. I actually preferred the interior of the 06 focus I have, to the 05 mazda 3 I checked out at the dealer last year! We really did like the protege 5... too bad that one is gone... the 3 wagon doesnt have the looks anymore. And leather seats, fancy autoshifters and 17" wheels in an ECONOMY CAR???? Give me a brake! [Roll Eyes] Take away those gimmicks, put 15 or even 16" [Eek!] wheels, and 4-wheel discs (I assume the 3 already has them but the focus doesnt), and put an economical engine in there, and then were talking... JMH [ July 04, 2006, 12:02 PM: Message edited by: JHZR2 ]
 
Messages
553
Location
USA
Hi
quote:
... my father's 91 corolla was the worst car he's owned since his 73 nova... shocks, radiator, battery all no good between 50-80k miles of highway driving!
quote:
I remember the OE radiator on his Toyota branded corolla had GM stampings on it
After 15 yrs, 750,000 miles and not a sigle radiator issue, all in GM cars.
 
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Time to defend my car!
quote:
Originally posted by JHZR2: And Ive said it once, Ill say it again... "performance oriented" is saying little more than "we'll give you crap that you can pretend is a race car to make you feel good". 8.6 seconds 0-60 isnt fast. It isnt anything special. Id rather have 9.6 seconds 0-60 and 7 more MPG in real driving... Niether is fast, one at least is economical.
Well, 7.8 seconds if you actually know how to drive a standard. When do you need to go faster than that in traffic? Mid-15 1/4 miles on the stock car are not uncommon. Handling is impressive on this car, and that's also a major component of performance. http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/wagon/112_0406_2004_mazda3_5door/ I average 35mpg on the highway with my 3, and about 32 mpg overall. The little bit of extra money for gas over a Civic is pretty much paid for by insurance savings (based on EPA numbers). With the 2.0L, fuel economy would be about 10% better.
quote:
Originally posted by JHZR2: Take away those gimmicks, put 15 or even 16" [Eek!] wheels, and 4-wheel discs (I assume the 3 already has them but the focus doesnt), and put an economical engine in there, and then were talking...
Sorry to disappoint you, but 15" wheels won't clear the 11.8" front brakes on the GTs (and they all have discs all-around). Now for a few comments from someone who's actually driven it: [Big Grin] The engine is smooth and revs to 7000rpm very easily. It lists the max power at 6500rpm, but I'm pretty sure they just say that because that's what they list the redline at. It feels as though it's still building power at 7000rpm. Torque below 3500rpm isn't great though. The electronic throttle has a delay that can be very annoying. Give it gas to make a left turn in a traffic gap, and there is sometimes a significant delay (about a half-second) before the throttle starts opening. This is my biggest complaint about the car, and it's almost dangerous at times. I wish it had a cable running the throttle. Wheel hop is a horrible problem if you actually run 32 psi in the tires. It often feels as though the engine and tranny are going to end up in your lap. 28 psi fixes that problem and the handling and ride are still good. I still average 35 mpg on the highway, with a full-tank high of 39 mpg, at 28 psi. I put Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires on the 17" wheels and it handles great. I wouldn't want the extra sidewall of 16" wheels. Shifter is a cable linkage, so it's not the greatest feel but it's much better than most. 1st, 4th, and 5th gear are right on. The 1-2 gap is big though; 2nd should be 15% lower, and 3rd should be 5% lower. The brakes are exceptional. 70-0 distances are 160ft (Car and Driver), on par with many high-end sports cars. Steering and handling are very tight and they feel great. The steering gets progressively heavier as speed increases. No complaints here about the electric power steering. The interior is spacious in front and back. I'm never driven a car that is more comfortable to me than the Mazda3. It fits me right. I couldn't imagine buying a car without a telescopic steering wheel anymore! The oil filter is a bit of a pain to change compared to a spin-on, but it's not that bad. I have a few other minor complaints about interior things, but I have complaints like that about any car. It's certainly not perfect, but IMHO it was the best car for the price in 2004. Everyone who's gotten in my car has been genuinely impressed, and most have been surprised at how low the cost is. Of course, the Civic has been totally redesigned since then, so maybe it is better now. You still can't get the cargo space of the hatch in the Civic though!
 
Messages
177
Location
Salem,Oregon
The Civic has it over any Mazda for one reason: resale. In a few years the used Mazda will be worth next to nothing and the Civic can be sold out of your driveway in a weekend. Front wheel drive and performance is an oxymoronic combination in any case. Front wheel drive is suitable for economy cars but a poor choice for go-fast cars.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
45,982
Location
New Jersey
quote:
Originally posted by rpn453: Time to defend my car!
No need to defend your car... you like it and thats A-OK. I get similar economy numbers, and top notch braking, 60-0 in 120ft. In my MT 04 saab 9-3, which I find to be a very satisfactory driving package which gives me a LOT of enjoyment, at extremely low per mile cost... If you read the car rags, you'd think otherwise, and Im sure a lot of other folks will have bad things to say about my choice of a Saab over a honda or whatever. There are plenty who like to bash saab products without thinking twice about it... so what? Insecure? Im happy with my choice - mid size car, safety engineering and safety quotient far above either economy car. If youre happy with your car, great, a car, whether $10k or $50k is a large purchase, so being satisfied with it is the most important thing. For me, If I was looking for an economy car, the mazda 3 wouldnt be my cup of tea, as I dont see the real economy in it, especially given the review posted originally... And I ONLY drive MT cars... but to each their own. Put a little economical diesel in the 3 or the focus and Id be there in an instant! But, frankly until then, blah for me personally. Given the numbers my saab pulls, all things considered <40 MPG consistently on the highway from an economy car is unremarkable. That said, given the unremarkable highway and city economy of my 2.0L rental focus over more than 7000 miles now, I definitely learned something new about the economy of that platform - 39 MPG and averaging 35 is news to me! THis focus I have, though it is AT is pushing to beat 33-34, and I drive it exactly the same way I drive my other cars... and I log every tank just the same... and yet I can pull 39-40 in the saab, and 34 if Im real lucky in the focus?!? come on ford! But to everyone - congratulations on having your own opinion - the ability to have it, express it, and in an adult manner discuss our differences and compare/contrast and share information is one of the glories of our country... Happy fourth! JMH
 
Messages
5,429
Location
KC
i wouldnt get the 2.3l i4 in the mazda3. If you want that, just get the mazda6 for cheaper than the 3. The 3 was made for the 2.0l i4. mazda3i owners often see 40mpg on hwy trips and 30mpg in town. Not too shabby if you ask me. Also, there is no reliability issues with mazdas now days. They even made Consumer Reports top10 most reliable car companies.
 
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Mazda's reliability wasn't a concern for me, since I've known many Mazda owners with good long-term success. Resale on Mazdas is pretty good here, so that wasn't an issue either. But I hadn't planned on ever selling it anyway.
quote:
Originally posted by JHZR2: For me, If I was looking for an economy car, the mazda 3 wouldnt be my cup of tea, as I dont see the real economy in it, especially given the review posted originally...
But why define it? Pick your basic requirements, and test drive everything you can afford that meets those requirements. I consider fuel economy to be very important, but the Civic would have only saved me about $400 a year in fuel (according to calculations on fueleconomy.gov, which I do for any vehicle consideration), and it would cost an extra $200 for insurance. So the $200 extra is pretty negligible compared to the total operating and ownership cost, and money well spent for how much I like my car! I knew within 30 seconds of the test drive that it was the car for me. Now if I could only get that throttle working better . . .
quote:
Originally posted by JHZR2: I definitely learned something new about the economy of that platform - 39 MPG and averaging 35 is news to me!
I just stick to the speed limit to get my good mileage. Sounds like you must drive with fuel economy in mind too. That 39 mpg tank was somewhat of a surprise to me. It was on a 400 mile round-trip from Calgary, Alberta to Invermere (in the Rockies), and consisted of 200 miles of twinned highway at 70 mph and 200 miles of up and down mountain driving at 55 mph. The standard was great in the mountains; I never had to use the brakes and got a lot of opportunity to refine my double-clutching. And it was even on studded winter tires (my 16" steelies)! The mountains blocked the wind in the 55 zone, and I must have had a good wind at my back both ways on the 70 section.
quote:
Originally posted by badtlc: i wouldnt get the 2.3l i4 in the mazda3. If you want that, just get the mazda6 for cheaper than the 3.
The GT hatch 3 was $3000 less than the 2.3L Mazda6 sedan with the same options when I was looking, and the 6 felt much bigger to drive. I personally liked the smaller feel of the 3. I test-drove the 6 with both the 2.3 and the 3.0; both with a stick.
 
Messages
1,203
Location
Oregon
I think your right Buster the Mazda 3 is a good buy. My GF bought a 06 Mazda 3 with the 2.3 so far its been a good car. I thought it was a very good car for what she paid. The Japanese built Mazdas seem to be good cars from my experience. The US built ones seem to have a few more issues.
 
Messages
1,043
Location
Central IN
Mazda3 owner here! My car: '05 Mazda3 SP23 (special edition) 5-door hatchback, 2.3L I4, 5spd. trans. My wife and I purchased this car in May of '05. I did quite a bit of research on it before we purchased the car. What really impressed me is that it's supposed be an economy car, but yet it is so much more. First off the styling is so much better (IMO) than any other economy car out there. Plus, the list of options is better than any other economy car. Our's came with 17" wheels, 4-wheel disc & ABS, clear lens LED taillights, black leather interior w/front heated seats. Also came with electroluminsent gauges, 6-disc CD-changer, Sirus satellite radio, manually adjustable projector beam HID headlights, rain-sensing wipers, side-curtain airbags and much more. We paid under $20K for the whole package, but I think most 3's are probably going for $17-18K (average). For the price, you really can't beat it (IMO). Let me address a few things I've seen other people talking about. Resale - I could care less because I'll be keeping this car for at least 10 years. Fuel Mileage - The automatics, for whatever reason, aren't getting very good gas mileage. However, they went from a 4-speed auto to a 5-speed auto in 2006. We have a 5-speed manual trans. I have to say, I'm more than impressed with the gas mileage. I keep very strict records of every tank of gas. The lowest we've received is 26 MPG. Over the life of the vehicle, we are averaging right at 30 MPG. The last two tanks I've filled up have been 31.5 and 32.6 MPG. Again, the gas mileage is great for us. Reliablity - The 2.3L I4 seems to be a great engine. If it wasn't, I don't think you'd be seeing them put it in both the MazdaSpeed6 and the upcoming MazdaSpeed3. We are just about to hit 20K on our Mazda3. We've had only a couple very minor problems that required a dealer visit (glovebox rattle - fixed, squeaky shifter - fixed, dusty rear brake pads - fixed). I really do not see reliability being an issue with this car. Cartridge Oil Filter - During the first oil change at 1,000 miles, I switched the cartridge style filter out for a spin-on setup. The 2.0L I4 uses a spin-on setup, so all you have to do is replace the cartridge mount on the 2.3L with the spin-on mount from the 2.0L. It's a 10 minute swap. With the spin-on setup, I now have many more choices as far as brand of filter is concerned, and best of all, I can buy larger filters. Overall, we absolutely love this car. When we were shopping for one, I wanted the sedan and my wife wanted the hatchback (easier for grocery shopping). Since I got to pick the manual trans, she got to pick the number of doors. Now that we have it, I'm sooooo glad we went with the hatchback. It is so handy and has so much cargo room. We are both amazed at how much stuff we can cram into the back, especially with the back seats folded down. Plus, now I think the 5-door hatch looks better than the 4-door sedan. Driving the Mazda3 is a blast. The car handles like a dream. I was blown away by the handling the first time I drove it. Coupled with the 5 spd., it doesn't get much better than that. Even with only 160hp/150tq, the car feels like it has plenty get up and go. Would I like more power, definitely, but who doesn't always want that. With all the great things we love about this car, I truely think it is the best OVERALL car in it's class and is the best "Bang for your buck!"
 
Messages
1,141
Location
Texas
quote:
Originally posted by mechtech: Sure, it's a very good car. But in 2 years, there'll probably be much better ones available in it's class.
I'm sure there will be more attractive vehicles available in 2 years. But, if someone needs a vehicle, those future vehicles doesn't do them much good.
 
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