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2010 Mazda3

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    I already mentioned the Forte earlier in this thread. It is a compact (albeit with a mid-sized interior, another advantage it has over the Mazda3 btw). Specifically, I am talking about the sport trim, SX, with a 2.4L, 173 hp mill and 22/32 mpg. (Although Forte's 2.0L engine also out-powers and out-mpgs the Mazda3i). It's in the same car class as the cars you listed (except it does not have AWD as does the Impreza; that car stands apart because of that).
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    No point in me responding to autonomous now! You beat me to it.
  • Backy, Kia Forte (173 hp, 22/32 mpg) isn't out yet! But let's for now assume that it's available for sale. Two issues still come up:

    1. Assuming that the Forte is as sporty and responsive as the Mazda 3s, the Rabbit 2.5, Lancer GTS and Impreza, it'd still be the only car in that class that betters the Mazda 3s' fuel economy! That would still make the Mazda 3s very competitive on the fuel economy front. [And since the Forte isn't out yet, the Mazda 3s still has class-leading fuel economy! ;) ]

    2. We'll have to wait till we see what the Road Tests say and how Kia markets the Forte. If they market it as a sporty compact like the Mazda 3s and its competition are (and if Road Tests prove that to be true), then you're right! [But, in that case, the Forte would be the only one in its class with that fuel economy, so the Mazda 3s would still be competitive on the fuel economy front!]
    If it turns out to be not so much of a sporty car but more of a compact family car, then its fuel economy gains would have come at the expense of sportiness. In that case, it would be hard to fault the Mazda 3s' fuel economy.

    Backy, whichever way you look at it, the Mazda 3s (and the Mazda 3i) have competitive or class-leading fuel economy in their respective classes! :)
    I think your problem is that, just because the Mazda 3s is a compact, you expect it to have Corolla-like fuel economy. But the fact remains that 'compact" and "economy" aren't necessarily synonymous. See the Mazda 3s for what it is.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Thanks for the quick response. Let's look at your answers.
    Q: Do you think most drivers think that fuel economy is important in the choice of vehicle?
    A: Of course. The real question is: would I settle for a coma-inducing Corolla or Civic just to get 2 more MPG?

    I agree with your first sentence but not your second one. See next answer.

    Q: Do you think an auto manufacturer that increases the horsepower while maintaining the same fuel economy on a vehicle is responding to demand for improved fuel economy?
    A: Yes. Why? They're getting better overall performance for the same amount of $$$ in gas. Case in point: Your Protege example. A car that has almost a 30 percent INCREASE in horsepower is huge, no matter what class the vehicle is in. It also usually means that fuel economy drops, since there's more power, but not in this case.

    You hit the nail on the head mentioning overall performance. I think an automaker that is providing increased horsepower without improving the fuel economy of the vehicle is not improving the overall performance. By offering bigger engines (going from 2.0L to 2.5 L) without improving the fuel economy (i.e. 25 mpg), Mazda has only completed half the equation. Similarly, in your first answer, you cite the Corolla/Civic as non-performant, but you are only seeing half the picture. The Corolla/Civic (and esp. the Fit) perform better in terms of fuel economy. By my way of thinking, both the power output and the fuel efficiency are necessary for overall performance. And to be a leader in the market, they have to be together in an affordable package. That's the formula I see sophisticated auto manufacturers, like Honda, pursuing.

    Q. Do you think there is a shift in the marketplace away from larger heavier vehicles towards lighter vehicles that are more fuel efficient?
    A. Like my father-in-law? He drove a gas-guzzling '95 TBird before trading to a '09 Mazda3. Two more doors, 33% less cylinders, 30 MORE horsepower, and a fuel bill that's a fraction of what it was before with the Ford. He also thinks it's more fun-to-drive than the TBird, and miles ahead of the Corolla that he tried out on a test-drive.

    Kudos to your father-in-law for taking a step in the right direction!

    Sorry, but I've also driven the Corolla and Civic, and I'd GLADLY spend a few extra $$$ in gas if I could still have FUN behind the wheel, and I'll still say the same thing when (not if) gas hits $5/gallon.
    I agree that driving should not be a bore. And gas hit $5/gallon a long time ago (in Europe and other parts of the world). The Europeans have some of the most spirited cars (and drivers) with fuel economy numbers that may surprise many. In fact, some of these vehicles come from Mazda (including Mazda3 diesels and Mazda2). We need to encourage automanufacturers to follow the true formula for overall performance and not give us half the answer. So, to the 30% HP improvement you mention I say let's raise the fuel efficiency by 30%. Improve both the HP and the fuel economy. And, yes, it can be done. :)

    p.s. Bring over the Mazda2!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    My "problem" is that I don't agree with those who claim the Mazda3 is the Best Car on the Planet, "light years" ahead of all other cars in all respects. My "problem" is also that when someone suggests anything to the contrary, they are immediately jumped on by the Mazda fanboys.

    I don't expect the Mazda3s to have the fuel economy of a 1.8L, 132 hp car like the Corolla 1.8. I was simply pointing out that, relative to other cars in its class, the Mazda3 is not tops in fuel economy--or power for that matter. Is that a big deal? Only if you wish to make it one. I don't. I see it as a point of discussion, nothing more.

    Anyway, I don't see why fuel economy gains must come at the expense of sportiness. I mean, is there something that says a great-handling car cannot also have best-in-class fuel economy? Why must the two be mutually-exclusive? Do the Mazda engineers think, "Hmm, we tuned the suspension for sporty handling, thus we must make sure the powertrain doesn't provide best-in-class fuel economy because that would take away from the sportiness of the car." I would hope not.
  • joe0302joe0302 Posts: 16
    Not Bad Eh? :shades:
  • "You hit the nail on the head mentioning overall performance. I think an automaker that is providing increased horsepower without improving the fuel economy of the vehicle is not improving the overall performance."

    Autonomous, not necessarily. It depends on what the car is meant for. (I think) Fuel economy is not the proirity of the Mazda 3s....it's not meant for those who want the best possible fuel economy. Hence, it is better for it to gain 37 hp over the Protege while maintaining the same economy than to, say, gain 25 hp and perhaps 2 or 3 mpg.
    And, like I illustrated in my earlier post, if you look at the Mazda 3s' direct competition (Rabbit, Lancer GTS, Impreza), its fuel economy is actually class-leading.
  • I was simply pointing out that, relative to other cars in its class, the Mazda3 is not tops in fuel economy--or power for that matter.
    Relative to its current, direct competition (Rabbit, Jetta, Lancer GTS, maybe Impreza), its fuel economy is tops with the automatic transmission; power is down a little but it appears that performance is on par.

    Is that a big deal? Only if you wish to make it one. I don't. I see it as a point of discussion, nothing more.
    That's the whole point; we're having a discussion. It's not a big deal. I just think that you're failing or refusing to see the Mazda 3s for what it is. It may be in the same weight/size class as the Corolla, but they're meant for completely different types of buyers. For its intended buyer (the one who might consider the Rabbit or Lancer GTS), it's economy is about class-leading and its performance is on par.

    Anyway, I don't see why fuel economy gains must come at the expense of sportiness. I mean, is there something that says a great-handling car cannot also have best-in-class fuel economy?
    Handling and vehicle dynamics do not come at the expense of fuel economy. (This is not entirely true, tires that maximise handling will lead to slightly lower fuel economy, maybe 1 mpg......low rolling resistance tires maximise economy at the expense of handling.)
    But "responsiveness" of the engine and the car overall comes at the expense of fuel economy. All things being equal, a car that is geared for the engine to remain in the "sweet spot" of power/torque will be more "responsive" and hence sportier, and less economical, than one that is geared to keep the engine revving as lowly as possible (thus saving as much fuel as possible while often not being in the sweet spot).
    Because of the zoom-zoom strategy, the Mazda 3 has sweet spot type gearing. That is why the Mazda 3i is still 1 or 2 mpg down compared to the Focus, and that's partly why it is sportier than the Focus. The Corolla and the Civic, like the Focus, are also geared for maximum economy.
    The Mazda 3s and its direct competitors all have sweet spot type gearing.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    I just think that you're failing or refusing to see the Mazda 3s for what it is.

    I see the Mazda3s for what it is. You however are failing or refusing to acknowledge that other cars in the same class have leap-frogged the new Mazda3s in some areas, specifically the combination of power with fuel economy. Whether it's important or not is in the eyes of the car buyer.

    Because of the zoom-zoom strategy, the Mazda 3 has sweet spot type gearing.


    There is a simple solution to providing both "sweet spot", sport-oriented gearing and gearing for optimal fuel economy. Check out the Jetta and Rabbit, for example. They offer a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic with Normal and Sport modes. You want sport-oriented gearing? Flick the shifter into "S", or flick it into manumatic mode and shift for yourself. You want optimal fuel economy? Use Normal shift mode. Still plenty of responsiveness with the 170 hp engine for most situations, but lets you squeeze out a few more miles per tank. Or for stick shifts, provide a 6-speed box with true overdrive in 6th (and maybe 5th).
  • I see the Mazda3s for what it is.

    Good! Looks like I'm making some progress! :)

    You however are failing or refusing to acknowledge that other cars in the same class have leap-frogged the new Mazda3s in some areas, specifically the combination of power with fuel economy......There is a simple solution to providing both "sweet spot", sport-oriented gearing and gearing for optimal fuel economy. Check out the Jetta and Rabbit, for example.

    Let's check the power and fuel economy of the Rabbit and Mazda 3s.

    Mazda 3s:
    Manual 21/29, Automatic 22/29 Power/Torque 167/168 (from mazdausa.com)
    0 to 60 mph 8.1 s Quarter Mile 16.0 @ 86.3 (from Edmunds)

    VW Rabbit:
    Manual 21/30 Automatic 20/29 Power/Torque 170/177 (from vw.com)
    0 to 60 mph 8 s (from vw.com)

    From the figures, the fuel economy is a wash between the Rabbit and the Mazda 3s, and performance (acceleration) is too! Where is the "squeeze out a few more miles per tank" you're talking about?
    I asked Karl on his blog about his opinions, and he felt the Mazda was slightly sportier while the VW was slightly more luxurious and felt more "substantial". His Mazda 3 comments were in reference to the previous-gen Mazda 3.

    Based on the facts/figures and the driving impressions (from Edmunds' chief editor, Karl), it is obvious that the Rabbit (and any of its direct competitors) haven't "leap-frogged the new Mazda3s" in any areas! [The Rabbit has considerably more torque, but that hasn't resulted in more performance or torque.....the Mazda 3s has some features the Rabbit lacks, eg, dual-zone A/C and adaptive headlights!]
    BTW, the Mazda 3s also has a 6-spd manual and an automatic with manual-shift mode just like the Rabbit!...... ;)

    So, you are the one who is refusing to see that the Mazda 3s is not behind its direct competition in any way! :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    You are missing the point. I was talking about a solution to providing both sporty and fuel-saving gearing in the same car. The Jetta/Rabbit is hampered (for FE) by a thirsty, big 5-cylinder engine. How about putting a tri-mode shifter like that of the Jetta/Rabbit into a lighter car with a more efficient engine--like the Mazda3 for example? Let the driver select "sporty" or "fuel efficient". And put taller gearing on the upper gear(s) of the manual tranny while they're at it.

    I was not aware the Mazda3 has a tri-mode (sport/normal/manumatic) 6-speed automatic transmission available. My mistake!

    As for leap-frogging, the Jetta/Rabbit wasn't the car I was thinking of. Although I do prefer the Jetta/Rabbit in some areas compared to the Mazda3, including ride comfort, interior quality, AT flexibility, and (especially) front-end styling. Anyway, you are forgetting about some of the "direct competition" here. Just because you don't consider some cars competition for the Mazda3 doesn't mean others cannot, for example:
    http://www.canadiandriver.com/2009/05/19/first-drive-2010-kia-forte.htm
  • Yeah, I'm not a fan of the Mazda 3's front-end styling either. Honestly, it's wack!

    The Mazda 3s' automatic is actually a 5-spd. It has just normal and manumatic modes......although it has "adaptive shift logic" that is able to determine (from pressure on the gas, for example) whether you wanna drive sporty or not and shift itself accordingly.

    Actually, no multi-mode auto transmission that I know of actually changes gear ratios (except perhaps in expensive cars like the 7-series or S-Class). In affordable cars like the Mazda 3 and the Rabbit, the sport/normal mode simply changes the shift points......so, for example, in normal mode, it will change from 3rd to 4th at 2500 rpm in normal mode and 4000 rpm in sport mode.

    Oh, the Rabbit 4-door is sold only in automatic! That sucks.........if you want the manual, you have to stick to the 2-door! :( Well, luckily, I prefer the Mazda 3....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Well good thing I have a 3-door Rabbit then! :) But I went for the 6AT, for three reasons: 1) I got tired of DW and kids ruining clutches, 2) traffic is getting terrible in my city and driving in rush hour (when I normally drive) with a stick is no longer any fun at all, and 3) the RPMs are 2100 at 70 mph--very quiet, relaxed cruising on the highway.
  • 2100 rpm at 70 mph? Wow! And with all that torque, I'm sure passing power is still decent at those speeds!

    My Protege5 (5-spd manual) does 3,300 rpm at 70 mph! The engine noise is actually nice at that speed (I'm not a quiet car kinda person).....I love it on smooth roads and interstates.....it's the road/tire noise on not-so-smooth roads that gets tiring on long trips, LOL!
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    2100 rpm at 70 mph? Wow! And with all that torque, I'm sure passing power is still decent at those speeds!

    The 6th gear in the auto is an extra overdrive gear. This is essentially the gear that is missing from VW's 5 speed manual, so that is something you lose by taking the 5 speed manual in the case of the Jetta. As for passing, the auto is very smooth shifting and will quickly drop down when you step on it, there is also the option to down shift manually, by flipping over to tiptronic mode, in advance of a passing maneuver. The only minor gripe I have with the auto is I don't understand why they locked out 6th in sport mode...not a big deal since we pretty much just leave it in normal mode.

    Mazda is about the same, at least in the case of my version of the 6. My 4th gear in the 5 speed auto is nearly the same as 5th gear in the manual.
  • metsjetsmetsjets Posts: 12
    Hey, I think that by reading your posts I have my answer. but i will ask it anyway.

    I am looking to buy a 2010 mazda3 (i touring). I will probably not have enough time to test drive the vehicle before i buy it (or atleast untill the day i plan to buy it). I just really need to know... Does the vehicle move?? For example, if im driving on the highway and traffic is moving at about 75mph slightly up hill and i want to pass someone, will i be able to easily?? Thank you.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Jeremy Cato, a seasoned auto columnist from Toronto's Globe and Mail, said a number of interesting things in his recent evaluation of the Mazda3.

    "Mazda also tried to improve performance and fuel efficiency by taking out weight. In key areas, Mazda swapped regular steel for more expensive and stronger high-tensile steel. So the structure is stronger and more rigid, yet less weighty. Still, the Mazda3 is heavier than a Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, comparably equipped. Thus, fuel economy - 8.1 litres/100 km city/5.9 highway, using regular gas - is okay, but not outstanding. "

    The article generally praises the Mazda3 and concludes with the following: "That and good quality, solid safety scores and competitive pricing mean Honda cannot ignore the Mazda3 - not if Honda wants the Civic to own the top sales spot."

    In other words, the Mazda3 is a contender but has to work on issues like fuel economy to be the leader.
  • sonnyrockersonnyrocker Posts: 126
    I will have to disagree with critics on this one.
    First of all, Mazda is heavier because it has a 2.3 or 2.5 engine vs. say Civice 1.8.
    However, you get a faster and a little more powerful car. The added weight is offset by Mazda's spirited engine, IMO

    2nd, I get 35 miles/gal on the highway with my 09. I monitor closely with my gas, and I average (city and highway) 31/gal. A friend of mine actually gets 33/gal average, but he does a lot of little stuff to improve his gas mileage, I don't. To me, 31/gal average is EXTREMELY competitive.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    31/gal average

    Yes, that's a good average. A few questions about your calculation.
    1. How long a period does your average cover? Example: 6 months, 1 year.
    2. For that period, did you calculate the total mileage travelled and the total fuel used?
    3. Where was the car driven? Example: North Eastern US, Southern US
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 791
    The 2.0L MZ3 has similar performance to the 1.8L Honda Civic (automatic). The upgrade to a 5-speed automatic (from a 4-speed in the '09) should improve passing performance (and fuel economy) slightly, too.

    Whether it meets your specific needs is a question that only you can answer! Take the time to test drive the 2.0L and see if it is quick enough for you. Test drive an 's' model (2.5L) for comparison also.
  • hiwaystarhiwaystar Posts: 10
    I have now passed 4,000 on the odometer and still getting 29/30 MPG on my 2010 Mazda3S GT, 2.5L.

    Did take one 900 mile round trip to ST Louis last month and hit 30/31MPG at an average speed 72-73MPH

    Also am still quite satisfied with this car thus far. It's not as quick as my old 2006 Passat with the 2.0L Turbo that I traded for it but the savings at the pump, now that I'm buying 87 octane vs. 93, more than makes up for that.
  • sonnyrockersonnyrocker Posts: 126
    29/30 MPG for 2.5 average is VERY good. I don't know what you are complaining about.
    But on a side note...I thought the 2.5 requires high octane than 87, is it not?
  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    Nope. Both Mazda engines require regular (87 octane).
  • relldonrelldon Posts: 8
    Thanks for the update. I purchased a 2010 Mazda 3 S sport with 6 speed manual transmission two weeks ago and I love it. The 2.5 L gives me about 30 MPG on my daily commute to work which is on a 4 lane highway that I drive at 65 MPH. For now, I'm keeping an eye on the average MPG reading and the current MPG reading. But I suspect that, after a bit, I'll stop paying attention to that and just enjoy the zoom. I've received many complements about the car. The exterior is very attractive but it is the interior that I most enjoy. Unlike before, I enjoy the prospect of getting in the car in the morning for my daily commute.

    When I was trying to decide whether to buy this car or a hybrid, a co-worker helped me decide by asking if I was more likely to regret not buying this car or more likely to regret not buying the hybrid. Unless gasoline goes to $6 per gallon, I know I would have been more likely to regret not buying this car.
  • unicorn62unicorn62 Posts: 13
    Relldon: I also have the 2010 mazda3s sport automatic. I have got as little as 25mpg's and as high as 35mpg's combined, but it depends on the gas you buy. I have better luck with shell gas and my range gose up to 515. Relldon what color did you get. I have the light blue and it gets alot of looks.
  • jbbeveljbbevel Posts: 25
    I'm wavering between....

    Celestial Blue

    Gunmetal Blue

    or

    Liquid Silver. Crystal White Pearl is intriguing.. but I don't know if I want a white car.
  • unicorn62unicorn62 Posts: 13
    jbbevel, I have the celestreal blue and it doesn't show the dirt, the liquid silver will be the same, The white will show the dirt but it is a nice color and cost more. The lighter the car the easier to cool off compared to a dark color.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 791
    The Celestial Blue and Gunmetal Blue are my two top picks! I originally tried to find my '06 MZ3 in a color called Winning Blue, which was very similar to Celestial Blue. They were hard to find, though....so I ended up with Titanium Gray.

    IMO, pearl white doesn't fit the look/character of the Mazda3. It's a color I'd expect to see on a luxury car, but not on a sporty compact. I prefer a pure white, but it's not very common anymore.

    That being said, at least the Crystal White Pearl has a choice of either Black or Dune (beige) interior (as do Black and Graphite). Both Blues (and Silver) only have Black interior. I thought the combination of Graphite with Dune interior would be tacky, but I was really surprised when I saw it in person.

    But still, I'd vote for Celestial Blue...it's really a sharp-looking color and fits the car perfectly!
  • relldonrelldon Posts: 8
    35 MPG is fantastic. I wish that I could attain that level on a consistent basis. But, again, I'm willing to sacrifice MPGs a little for performance. That's why I didn't choose a Honda Insight. My car is a liquid silver metallic which was surprisingly difficult to find in a manual transmission. But I'm glad I found it. Thanks for the tip about Shell gas. I'll give it a try and see if it makes any difference for me.
  • hiwaystarhiwaystar Posts: 10
    I didn't realize I was complaining. In fact I'm not complaining at all.

    All I said was it does not have the "pick up/ballz" that the VW 2.0T had with it's 210HP which I knew going in. And even though the mileage is the same between them I like only needing to buy 87 octane with the Mazda.
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