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2012 Mazda3

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Well sort of...

    He did in fact "prove" to me that the SkyActiv version of the Mazda3 can be configured with the Moonroof/Bose options if the car is also configured with an automatic transmission.
  • We recently purchased a 2012 i Touring w/SkyActiv engine and auto tranny in Sky Blue Mica and could not be happier. Most of the miles have been in-town and we are getting north of 32 mpg. The only option I would like to have gotten would have been an automatic climate control but it was not available.

    For those of you carping about the availability of manual trannys and numerous options, the dealer explained that with the new SkyActiv technology and lost production due to the earthquake and tsunami, Mazda could only produce so many Mazda3's and had to decide which configuration to get to the dealers.

    The six-speed auto with manual shifting is really lots of fun so I would not bash it until you have driven one. My daily driver is a Miata with a 5 speed manual so that's saying a lot.

    BTW - The dealer had a black i Touring w/SkyActiv that had a sun roof, leather seats and Bose system on the lot so they do exist.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "The six-speed auto with manual shifting is really lots of fun so I would not bash it until you have driven one. My daily driver is a Miata with a 5 speed manual so that's saying a lot."

    Be serious; an automatic transmission of any type (including the SkyActiv from Mazda and the DSG from VW) is anything but "fun".
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Be serious; an automatic transmission of any type (including the SkyActiv from Mazda and the DSG from VW) is anything but "fun".

    Personal opinions should not be passed along as facts.

    Passing judgement on something without experiencing it is rather foolish. I agree with rangermutt.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,963
    His "fem-o-matic" comment is truly telling. He seems to think the ability to punch a clutch pedal and slide the shifter into a slot is very macho and akin to brain surgery.

    @shipo

    We get it. You don't like auto trannies and like to put down others that choose them. If that feeds your ego I feel sorry for you. You're also upset because you couldn't get auto climate control in the skyactiv. I like it too and they probably did screw up by not offering it but will probably correct it in future models. You should get over it or write a letter to Mazda....it would do more good than constantly badmouthing them here.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The first comment was directed specifically toward the person I was responding to.

    As for bad mouthing automatic transmissions in general, it's true I hate driving cars so equipped, but as a general rule I don't bad mouth them until someone says something like "if you try it you'll like it". Sorry, I won't, I've driven cars with the best automatics the industry has to offer and don't like them.

    The overriding issue here is that Mazda went out of their way to build what is by all accounts, one of the best manual transmissions on the market, and then opted to only buy a car so equipped if it has certain options. That, more than anything else regarding the new Mazda3, is what I'm objecting to. I can only hope that when Mazda releases the new SkyActiv-D engine to the market they won't be so short-sighted as to offer it only with an automatic transmission.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,963
    The problem is the poster did NOT say "if you try it, you'll like it". He just said don't bash it until you try it. I realize you don't like any kind of auto so you probably wouldn't try it and wouldn't like it if you did. I can appreciate that. But you use just about any opportunity to bash auto trannies and often people that like them with snide comments or cutesy euphenisms like "fem-o-matic". It gets old and boring.

    It's really not hard to just say you like nothing but a stick and leave it at that. I happen to like them both for different reasons.

    As far as the marketing decisions of Mazda goes, there are plenty of manufacturers that only have manual trannies in the base or entry type models. Mazda is certainly not alone in this and this trend did not happen overnight. In the old days sticks were plentiful and began to sit on lots. The manufacturers responded to this lack of demand and made less and less sticks. Some people would have you believe it's a conspiracy or that the demand for sticks was and is somehow greater than all the statistical sales history has shown.

    I sincerely doubt that manufacturers would ignore pleas from their dealers "we need more sticks in all equip levels because they sell like hotcakes!". It was just the opposite. What sells is what gets made. Are there going to be some people that aren't satisfied? Sure, but they can't manage their production on those few.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "As far as the marketing decisions of Mazda goes, there are plenty of manufacturers that only have manual trannies in the base or entry type models. Mazda is certainly not alone in this and this trend did not happen overnight."

    Agreed, but if Mazda wants to become another Toyonda, then my current Mazda3 will be my last Mazda.

    The thing is, it is Mazda which went out of its way to build up expectations of manual transmission availability by issuing press-releases touting how wonderful their new SkyActiv-MT transmission was going to be (and dedicating an entire web page to the new design and its various attributes). If they'd said up front the SkyActiv models will be Automatic only (or even the well equipped SkyActiv models will be Automatic only), I never would have gotten my hopes up and crossed them off our short list immediately. Of course if they had done that then I wouldn't be here bitching about it either. :P
  • 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. Anyone else notice this? What is that noise? It does raise my concerns about buying this model with the first year of this engine. Thanks
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,963
    I think it may be the direct injection. I've read in several forums that cars with DI are noisy, almost like a diesel, on start up and then quiet down very quickly like you said. That said, it would make me wonder too.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,434
    I am with Shippo on the manual tranny issue. Mazda looks just like everybody else if they limit the manual availability. What happened to zoom-zoom. The manual is EPA certified, just put the options on - who does it hurt? Building the 3 stick in the higher trims will only mean more sales.

    I have not driven the new 3 with the automatic, but I have never driven an automatic I liked and don't expect the 3 will change that. 3 pedals or no sale for me.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, the DI engine in our GTI is plenty quiet when it starts up. Maybe VW uses extra sound deadening material.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,963
    edited December 2011
    Hmmm, it may not be every DI engine or manufacturer either. As I said, I have no first hand knowledge but have read on several forums that people notice the tapping upon start and it quickly quiets down and their dealers told them it was the direct injection and nothing to worry about. Hyundai Sonta I4 DI was one of them and people have commented in the GM forums as well re the DI engines. Some may be a lot better at masking it or in protecting occupants from hearing it.
  • I have an '08 Lexus IS 250 with DI and it does have a "ticking" all the time from the DI but is the same with a cold or warm engine. The Skyactiv was much louder at first upon cold start up- at first I thought there is definitely something wrong with this car.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,963
    I guess it's possible that car may have had a problem. But consider that this engine has probably been tested for a year or more with probably hundreds of start ups in hot, cold and inbetween. So I have to assume it was supposed to be that way and is just particular to the engine.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,692
    A dealer in my area got a few Skyactive MTs in so I took one for a drive. (Their stated policy is, "Welcome to take a drive even if you aren't buying"... God bless 'em!). Anyway, I will be buying, just not right away. Anyway, they just sold their last Skyactiv Touring MT hatch so I drove a Touring sedan.

    I think I'm in love.

    The shifter is great... short throws, crisp, smooth clutch takeup. And 6th gear is tall, e.g. revs were just a bit over 2000 at 65 mph. The ride was less jarring than I remember from driving Mazda3 rentals. Not sure why, since in winter the tar strips in roads are even more pronounced than in summer. Anyway, it was firm but not too harsh... not that much different from the Focus SE I drove and maybe a little smoother than the Impreza Limited (which had 17" wheels). And there is enough room in back for my teen-aged kids, for short trips at least. Leg room is comparable, again, to the Focus', and actually better than the Impreza's because there's more foot room under the seats. Not as good as the likes of the Elantra, but... it doesn't drive like an Elantra either. ;) (To be fair, I haven't driven the 6MT Elantra... hard to find those on lots.)

    The big disappointment for me is that the 3i Touring Skyactiv doesn't come in Velocity Red. There was a 3s on the showfloor in that color, and oh boy was it beautiful! I could probably live with Graphite/Sage (I prefer Sage over Black interior), but not nearly as great as that Velocity Red.

    I have a feeling it will come down to the Mazda3i Touring 6MT hatch vs. the Impreza Premium 5MT hatch... although the MT on the Impreza will need to be pretty great to match the Mazda's. 2nd tier are the Focus SE hatch 5MT, Elantra GLS 6MT, and Cruze Eco 6MT (in that order). The other option, for less bucks, is the used route, e.g. a certified Golf or previous-gen Civic.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    you sure about that rear legroom? I test drove the 2012 Impreza Sport Limited recently and the back seat is limo-sized compared to the Focus and Mazda3.

    Of course I'm a 6 footer and have to move the seat pretty far back. But I had to move it to the end of its travel in the Ford and Mazda, but there was still room to go back in the Subie, plus I could sit behind myself, which is SUPER rare in a compact.

    You can tell that the Ford and Mazda models share some DNA going back a bit. Mazda's got a slightly better powertrain, but Ford did the styling a lot better. And I'm i complete agreement about the lack of Velocity Red. Heck, between that and the lack of a Skyactiv/AutoClimate combo has basically turned me off of the 3.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,692
    I always test rear seat leg room by first adjusting the driver's seat where I like it, then sit in the back. The problem with the Impreza Limited's rear leg room is not the knee space--there's plenty of that. The problem is that my ankles hit the bottom edge of the front seat well before I wanted them to. That left my knees "up in the air" a bit, meaning poor thigh support. The bottom line was I was not as comfortable in back as in the Mazda3 or the Focus, even though the knee space in those cars (especially the Focus) was tighter than the Impreza's. The Focus' rear seat cushion seems higher than the others, which helps sit comfortably even with limited leg room. (BTW, I'm 5'9", 32" inseam)

    If you want to see a truly "limo-sized" back seat in a compact wagon, check out the Elantra Touring.

    I don't consider the Focus' styling to be a LOT better than the Mazda3's. The Mazda3 hatch is pretty good looking I think, with interesting character lines. Inside, it's no comparison IMO--the Mazda has a much nicer dash. One review (MT's?) of the Focus said it looked like the plastic had melted. That's a pretty good description. I could live with the Focus' interior, but I don't like it that much.

    As for powertrain, I'd put the new Skyactive engine and the 6MT tranny way ahead of the Focus, not just slightly better.

    Since I'm perfectly capable of turning a temperature dial, the lack of auto climate control doesn't bother me at all. I think it's kinda funny when folks talk about how great it is to row a stick shift, then have to have some computer change the temperature in the car for them. :)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Since I'm perfectly capable of turning a temperature dial, the lack of auto" climate control doesn't bother me at all. I think it's kinda funny when folks talk about how great it is to row a stick shift, then have to have some computer change the temperature in the car for them."

    That would be me; I want to concentrate on driving and not fiddling with the controls. Here in New England it is not at all uncommon to be tooling along on a bright sunny day where the OAT is say 45°F and then roll behind a mountain, or under a cloud, or into the shade cast by copse of trees, and suddenly the interior of the car gets cold, only to adjust the HVAC controls for a few minutes before rolling back out into direct sun light which forces yet another adjustment. Same thing with automatic wipers; drive along in the mist coming off a truck or other traffic, break through into the clear, roll under a cloud which is dumping rain, and then back into the spray from leading traffic.

    So, my ideal car has pretty much power and automatic everything and a manual transmission. :)
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    If you want to see a truly "limo-sized" back seat in a compact wagon, check out the Elantra Touring.

    I know, I own one. Want it? Rather have....well, anything else at this point. It's got all of the discomfort of a sport suspension without any of the handling advantages. It's also overweight and under powered, and the AT may as well be a 2 speed, since it barely spends any time in 3rd or 1st, needs to kick all the way down to 2nd to do any passing.

    Styling tends to be pretty subjective but I just can't STAND that "grin." Give me the old 2004 styling any day. Ford's styling looks better to me. The reason I only give SkyActiv a slight advantage is because Ford managed to get more HP out of the same engine at the same compression. Mazda did a better job with the trannies, but for Joe Consumer, they'll see the HP figure and that'll be it.

    I spend an hour plus at a time in the car, so that ends up being a LOT of fiddling with the climate if it's not an auto setup. Not only does Ford give you climate control but they put it in the touchscreen high up so you can pay better attention to the road. Assuming you don't bother to learn the voice commands for it. And assuming it doesn't crash and take OUT the climate control system of course. :shades: I give them credit for the idea at least, it's good for keeping one's eyes on the road.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,692
    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: 2,963
    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: 18,692
    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: 2,963
    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: 18,692
    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! ;)
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