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2012 Mazda3

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    The "grin" has been toned down for 2012.

    Ford got a few more horses, but Mazda got more FE. I'll take the higher FE any day. And that slick 6MT.

    I must be different from the rest of you folks who spend tons of time fiddling with climate control systems. For me, it's pretty easy: if it's cool/cold weather, start with full heat. If I am driving for long enough (and it's warm enough) such that it starts getting toasty, then crank the heat back a bit. Done. If it's warm weather, I use the coolest setting. If it's too warm for that, I press the A/C button. If I want max cooling, I use Max A/C.

    Since the HVAC controls on all my cars are simple and intuitive in operation and location, I don't even need to take my eyes off the road to use them. And they do EXACTLY what I want them to do. Kind of like... a manual transmission.

    About those voice commands... watch out, those will be the next things that the NHTSA will recommend banning, since talking to the computer while driving can be distracting! :P
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Unless you've got something that can sense a temperature level and adjust to try to hit that level simply moving from intense sun to shade can require a manual adjustment. Auto climate control used to be a lux feature but now it's really more of a safety feature, one less thing to need to fiddle with while driving. Mazda made a mistake not offering it with the SkyActiv, even if only on the Grand Touring trim.

    Mazda definitely made a better M/T. The A/T is arguably better too, Ford has had trouble with the smoothness of the automated manual at low speeds, and Mazda's semi-slush strategy might have been the wiser one. Plus they're the only ones who know how to do a sequential slapshifter correctly. :)

    I still think they could have squeezed a few more horses out of it without loosing more than 1 MPG.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    I must be different from the rest of you folks who spend tons of time fiddling with climate control systems.

    Yeah, you live in Minneapolis area. They have two seasons, winter and "sprummerfall" ;)

    Very few days of real hot weather, a fair amount of temperate and a whole lot of cold. I don't know if you've ever owned a car with auto climate control but, if not, you really don't know what you're missing. I alternate between a Tundra and an Infiniti. Tundra is manual climate and the Infiniti is auto climate. I really notice it when I'm driving the Tundra and feel like I am twisting the temp dial or tweaking the fan dial all the time. I really miss the auto climate control when I'm driving the Tundra.

    Now, could I control it manually like I've done for 40 years? Sure, but I also could roll my own windows, manually lock and unlock all my doors, put the key in the door and trunk instead of pressing a button as I walk up to the car and a few other things that have become more convenient. So as some of these convenience items become commonplace, people come to expect to be able to at least order them within some kind of package. I feel Mazda made a mistake by not offering it with the skyactiv engine but it wouldn't stop me from buying the car if I REALLY loved everything else about it. I also wouldn't complain ad nauseam about either.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Try rolling down the windows--especially those in the back seat--while driving. Pretty hard to do, hence the great usefulness of power windows. Also very hard to lock/unlock all the doors manually--power locks are great, especially on 4-door vehicles. Push-button trunk release? Not quite as critical, but I do like them. My current daily driver doesn't have it, and I miss it but I manage just fine.

    I've owned one car, a 3 Series, with auto climate control. It was OK, but I really didn't find it an important feature like power windows, locks, or mirrors and certainly I would not consider it a "safety" feature. A convenience, yes. I guess I can live without fewer convenience features in my cars than many other people. But then, my first car didn't have power windows, or locks, or mirrors, or steering. No vents in the dash for the non-auto climate control--which had the famous "4-55 A/C". Did have these nifty little vent windows in the front doors though. No radio. No factory carpet. Did have a 3-speed slushbox. And for safety features, it had seatbelts. Factory put in four, had to add one in the middle rear position.

    So I'm OK with turning a dial or pressing a button to control the environment inside my car. Maybe part of it is that it's something I get to do, vs. having some computer figure out what it thinks I want.

    P.S. My job involves working with computers... very powerful computers.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    but it wouldn't stop me from buying the car if I REALLY loved everything else about it.

    It'd stop me. Maybe I can't get everything I want but that is one of the things I'm unwilling to compromise on.

    I also wouldn't complain ad nauseam about either.

    I would :shades:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yeah, I complain as well. Back when I bought my current Mazda3 I didn't have anything to complain about as both my wife and I had recently been laid off and the new job I was starting was a temporary gig which was to (hopefully) been converted to full-time after six to nine months; I needed a new car and it needed to be inexpensive (read few if any options).

    Now that things are once again looking up for us, we're able to step up a level (but still not anywhere near where we were say ten years ago), and automatic wipers, climate control, and any number of other goodies have made their way back onto the "required options" list. I find it just silly that Mazda makes us choose between a car with crap fuel economy and lots of options, or a lesser equipped car with near best in class fuel economy; doubly so if you happen to also demand a manual transmission in your car.

    While I agree that extra goodies aren't for everybody; arbritrarily deciding that options like fuel efficient engines and climate control should be mutually exclusive simply doesn't make sense. Mazda should simply set their option list up as follows:

    - Model List:
    - - Mazda3 i Sport (2.0 liter)
    - - Mazda3 i Touring (2.0 liter SkyActiv)
    - - Mazda3 i Grand Touring (2.0 liter SkyActiv)
    - - Mazda3 s Touring (2.0 liter SkyActiv)
    - - Mazda3 s Grand Touring (2.0 liter SkyActiv)

    - Transmission selection (applies to all models):
    - - Automatic
    - - Manual

    - Options:
    - - Option list for Mazda3 i Sport (regardless of Transmission)
    - - Option list for Mazda3 x Touring (regardless of Engine or Transmission)
    - - Option list for Mazda3 x Grand Touring (regardless of Engine or Transmission)

    Allowing their cars to be configured in the above manner will:

    A) allow Mazda to sell cars with a higher average price (assuming the buyer was going to buy a Mazda3 no matter what), or more importantly,
    B) allow Mazda to make sales which would otherwise go to different manufacturers
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    edited December 2011
    Try rolling down the windows--especially those in the back seat--while driving. Pretty hard to do, hence the great usefulness of power windows. Also very hard to lock/unlock all the doors manually--power locks are great, especially on 4-door vehicles.

    "Hard" is a somewhat subjective term in this regard. I wouldn't call it hard but I would call it inconvenient. Just as you "justified" those convenient options that you appreciate, others can "justify" the ones they like. None of them are necessary so it's just a matter of personal preference. As far as the safety argument goes.....I agree that is stretching it to make a point.

    I don't think it foolish that someone wants a particular option that makes life convenient for them.

    By the way, just for some perspective, my THIRD car had a two speed slushbox. My first two were sticks that mirrored your decription of no power anything including brakes and steering and an AM radio. And that radio, OMG, didn't even have pushbuttons for stations.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, with the exception of the Dodge Charger rental car I had recently, the only car I've ever had with a "pushbutton" starter had said "pushbutton" down on the floor; you had to operate it with your foot. :)
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I test drove a Mazda 3 Skyactive and when I started it with a cold motor (outside temp was 50 here in CA) and there was a lot of noise coming from the engine for the first 30 seconds or so and then it stopped and ran normally. Dealer said this is normal with the Skyactiv.

    Yes, it is normal. Mazda disclosed such information before the launch of the vehicle to the sales and service staff of dealers. I can't remember the explination at this time, but I can find it for you.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    I wouldn't call it hard but I would call it inconvenient.

    So you are a contortionist? :) Or probably what you meant is, you CAN'T roll down the back windows while driving... you'd have to stop the car, get out and roll them down. Yes, I'd say that's pretty inconvenient.

    I never said others' preferences re features they consider important are "foolish". What I said was, I must not need as many features in my cars as other folks. I have read posts in Town Hall from folks who don't even want power windows on their new car. That's getting very hard to do these days.

    At least your third car HAD a radio! ;)
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    Never had a car with the floor push starter but did drive a couple of farm tractors that had that setup. I'm really not a fan of the new pushbutton start in cars but I can appreciate the convenience of keeping the key in your pocket. There are just some things with them that I'm not quite comfortable with. I'm sure I'll come around once I get exposed to them more. More than likely my next new car will it.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I know some folks love their new cars with the push-button start; personally I could take it or leave it. :P
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I don't care about the starting but I can see how not having to fumble with the fob might be handy.
  • There is nothing wrong with the engine. The noise that you mention is due to the ignition being retarded for faster warm up. With a compression ratio of 12:1, Mazda had to make a lot of changes to the engine design for it to run on 87 octane gasoline which included direct fuel injection with 6 hole nozzles, a longer exhaust manifold with 4-2-1 configuration (although with the space limitation in the 3 they were unable to utilize this fully), totally different piston design, etc.

    For more info about SkyActiv check out the Mazda website at SkyActiv
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The noise that you mention is due to the ignition being retarded for faster warm up

    If someone were reading this sentence and did not have knowledge of what this means, I think they would interpret it a bit differently. I thought it was quite funny. ;)

    In any event, that explination is correct.
  • I don't recall the exact figure but I believe it was around $18,700 for the i Touring with AT. No other options but we did go with undercoating and paint protection since we live in the rust belt. And we also opted for the extended warranty due to the newness of SkyActiv - looks good on paper but has it been proven in the "real world"?
  • LOL. Perhaps I was retarded when I wrote that.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Backy-

    Thanks for your thoughts on the Mazda3 SKYACTIV 6-speed mtx. We have sold out of our 6-speeds and don't have any more for quite sometime. :sick:

    I have a subaru dealer in our dealer group and I have had some seat time in the 2012 Impreza and I came away both impressed and disappointed. Lemme explain...

    I think the car looks much, much better in person than in print. The interior is put together very, very well. The drive train is every smooth and 5-speed manual was very slick (not as slick as Mazda's). I thought power delivery was decent, but the low end grunt was lacking significantly compared to the previous 2.5L model. Interior space was excellent and rear room, for me, was outstanding. I am 6'3".

    As for the handling, I thought it was just OK. Considering Subaru bench marked the Mazda3 as it's target, I feel they came up way short. The interior design is rather uninspiring and dull.

    Being that the Subi has AWD, the mileage is impressive. Living in New England, Subaru's are extremely popular, and our Subaru store is one of the nations largest. If I were in the market for a car in this segment (which I am not), the Impreza would be on my short list along with the Mazda3.

    Back to the Mazda3....

    I believe with the drive train overhaul, first reviews and owner reports, the car should the top of the class for technology, performance and economy.

    Styling is still subjective and IMO, not the best, but still looks pretty good for a 3yr old design. The interior is well put together and materials are pretty good, but not class leading. I believe the Focus and Elantra are a notch or two better but the Mazda3 is better than the Cruze, Civic and the rest of the class.

    Thanks for your input :shades:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    I kinda like the sheer simplicity of the Impreza's dash. Germanic in a way. I think it will wear well over time. Good to hear the 5 speed is "slick". I don't suppose you noticed the revs on the highway?

    My only concerns on the Impreza are: 1) shift quality and revs for the MT; 2) ride quality--ride with 17" wheels was too hard for my taste, I hope the 16-inchers are smoother; 3) rear seat ankle clearance. Maybe the Premium hatch will "sit" differently than the Limited sedan I drove.

    If those concerns are resolved, it will be a real tough choice between the Mazda3 and Impreza... with the Focus SE as a dark horse. One thing I do like about the Impreza is the rear seats fold FLAT. Not so on the Mazda3. They don't stick up as much as on some cars, but they don't fold flat.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    edited December 2011
    When it comes to the Subaru buyer, simplicity is key. Subaru has an amazing owner loyalty rate, and their customers do not like change.

    I have driven both CVT and 5-speed models and sedan and Sport (5-door) variants. IIRC, the revs are around 2,500-2,800 at 70mph. Don't quote me on that, I might be incorrect. I will say, the engine did not have the "wonk, wonk, wonk" sound Subaru's are known for having.

    I noticed you mentioned ankle clearance, but I did not look at that when I sat in the rear. I just noticed that there was an abundance of room between my knees and the seat in front of me.

    The 5-speed manual was nice. The shifter itself is rather large, but throws are shorter than you would expect, but not nearly as short at the 6-speed Mazda.

    I found the Focus hatch to be rather tight. I really like to build quality, solidness (is that even a word?) and materials used. I found the cabin to be very tight. I also do not like the weird geometry used to design the cabin. The exterior is rather dull to me as well. The only part I like is the rear of the sedan, not the hatchback. I also found the power to be underwhelming. I thought 160hp would feel quicker. The Mazda3 might be a hair faster, IMO. We will have to wait and see for a head-to-head from someone (Edmunds, I hope you are listening!!) and see which is quicker.

    I believe you mentioned you live in Minnesota? It's hard to pass up AWD when you get snow like we do (Connecticut). That is why I would have the Impreza on my shopping list.

    What I am in the market for is a small SUV. It is time to replace my 2005 Mazda6 i 5-door 5-speed manual. I have 2 kids, and the car is not big enough. I have the luxury of having a company car, but my wife drives the 6 now. We will either be buying a Forester or a CX-5 when it comes out. I think it will be the CX-5, but which ever car my wife feels more comfortable in, we will get.
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