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Mazda3 Real World MPG

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  • You are not alone. I have a 2006, 4dr.iTouring, automatic, 3300 miles so far, and cannot get anything above 14-15mpg. Visited the dealer many times and got absolutely no satisfaction.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    My 2004 Mazda3 sedan has a 10/03 build date. :lemon:

    The last few tanks of gas have been around 16 MPG. 100% city - short trip driving.

    I have not ask the dealer about it - I know they will not do anything to fix it -

    My daughter is using the Mazda3 as her daily driver - last week she drove a record 65 miles - one tank of gas is lasting about 3 weeks - so its really not costing much - in total $.
  • jhinscjhinsc Posts: 397
    If your driving is 100% "city", how can you expect any better mileage? Do you ever get into top gear and drive for at least 1 mile before stopping again? Do you let it idle at banks, stores, etc.? Is it all stop/go where you're constantly using gas pedal then brake pedal? Is there ANY steady state driving speeds at all during your normal daily drive? All these factors play into the mpg's you're experiencing. You know, it's possible for any car, no matter how efficient the engine is, (except hybrid's) to get very low mpg as compared to their EPA est. It all depends on your driving style and how it compares to the EPA "city" parameters. :)
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I would say the normal trip is about 5 miles (one way) - the main road by our house has 45 MPH speed limit - but most people drive closer to 50. The 2004 Mazda3 has a 4 speed auto - it shifts into 4th gear at 21 MPH. So yes it spends alot of time in top gear. I noticed this while driving in school zones (20 MPH) - if I kept it at 20 or less it would stay in 3rd gear.

    In my area of the "city" (just like most others)there are stop lights every few blocks - so its not normal to drive for a mile without getting stuck either - at a red light or behind slow traffic.

    Maybe this is a good example -

    We just bought an Acura TL - my wife and I now use it instead of the Mazda3. Since the TL has a trip computer I can tell you this - our average speed is 24 MPH and we are getting 21 MPG - before my daughter took over the Mazda we were getting around 19 MPG. So the Mazda3 is LESS efficient that an Acura TL.
  • My car seems to be getting better MPG every month since I have owned it. I have an 06 Mazda 3i Touring with a manual transmission. With approximately 90% city driving I just got 29.8 and 30.1 MPG respectively on my last two fill ups. I am very pleased. For the record, while I don't abuse the car, I definitely do not baby it either. I often have quick starts, and like to rev the engine periodically. I am not running the A/C like I was in June-August, and that may be helping. Very pleased.
  • I have almost the same problem with my 06/iTouring. The same way it shifts, and the same low MPG. And, yes other people that I know with larger cars, larger engines, boasting better MPG, and travelling the same routes as I am.

    Mabye there is something wrong with some of these Mazda3's. The Dealer was of no help, and I really can't blame them. They sell cars, they do not create the sales pitch, such as 26/34 MPG, originating from Mazda themselves.
  • jhinscjhinsc Posts: 397
    I wouldn't rely on trip computers unless you have verified it by actual mpg calculation. My Mercedes and Infiniti trip computers were very optimistic, especially in city driving scenarios. On long hwy drives, they were more accurate. Don't be surprised if you're only getting 16-18 actual city mpg with your TL. If the Mazda3 checks out normal at the dealer, something else is causing the low mpg. Driving style is the biggest factor. Top gear isn't really efficient for mpg until about 45-55 mph. Your daily driving sounds like it's perfect for a hybrid like the Prius.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    So far the TL's trip computer MPG reading is right on when compared to the manual calculation - which I do on every tank. Considering the TL is rated (EPA) 20/29 and I am getting around 21 - it seems reasonable. Most of the cars / trucks I have owned over the years seem to get right around the EPA city MPG in overall mileage - except the Mazda3 which is way below. It was sad a few times this summer when I filled up our Tahoe and the Mazda3 at the same time - and the Tahoe (V8 powered full size SUV) got better MPG than the Mazda3 (4 banger economy car) - to be honest not really a fair comparison - the Tahoe gets more highway time. But it still makes me scratch my head.
  • They only tested the 3I and they got 18 city and 38 highway, thye seem to get lower city ratings than most who post here. NYC city driving is worse than what many in other places call city driving. Consumers got 18 city and 43 highway for the Civic and 20 city 39 highway for the Corolla. They did test a 4cyl Mazda 6 which has the same 4 cylinder as the Mazda 3 and got 16 city and 33 highway.

    All these numbers were for automatics. Many posters here have manuals. In a city such as NY is there that big a diffeence in mileage between automatics and manuals?
  • akitadogakitadog Posts: 117
    Hi all,

    We've had our car for almost 9 months now and the mileage has been abysmal. Granted, I have not checked the tire psi for a while now (which I'll do in the AM), but I don't think it can fully explain the average of about 24.5 mpg in about 65 to 70% highway driving. I mean, to not even reach the EPA mpg on the LOW end, when most of your driving is HIGHWAY with little to moderate traffic, is ridiculous. I do a 38 mile round-trip commute with maybe 8 of those as city miles. Highway speed is 65 to 70. And we got the '06 when there were unsold '05s specifically for the extra gear!

    My Cooper S w/ 6-speed manual (very short gearing, no less) consistently got 27 to 28 mpg on the same circuit. And I would push that thing much harder than I do the 3.

    Does anyone know of any TSBs or ECU updates for this kind of issue? I've heard a few owners have this same complaint. Could there have been a bad batch at the factory about a year ago?
  • chavis10chavis10 Posts: 166
    The MZR engine is terrible for economy in my opinion. I purchased my '05 3 hatch (4spd EPA 24/29) in January '05 and now have 25k miles. I live in Philly and experience real city driving with frequent stop signs. For the first 5000 miles, I was averaging 14-16 mpg. Now, I can average 22 (including occasional expressway travel) if and only if I feather the throttle which angers trailing motorists. If I drive at regular speeds and keep with the flow of traffic, it's right back to 20 mpg. My tires are always properly inflated, balanced and aligned and I make sure to climate control does not engage the air compressor (it will if you choose the floor setting and anything to the right of it). Back in the summer when fuel was expensive, I wouldn't even switch on the A/C because I was scared of fuel mileage I'd receive. As much good press as the Mazda receives, it's pitiful mileage is rarely discussed. As an economy car, it sucks. Accord/Camry/Altima all get better mileage out of their 4 cylinder/automatic transmission combinations and they are heavier vehicles.

    During the summer, I was driving down to Baltimore once a week (about 95 miles each way) and would get about 26-27 mpg. I must admit, I'd be doing at least 70 mph just to keep safe on I-95 as most of the traffic is doing between 70-85 mph. Then, I took a trip to Connecticut Labor Day wknd to stretch the legs a little bit and went the long, round about way in the name of less traffic congestion. I couldn't touch the 29 hwy EPA rating (got 27.8) even with cruise control stuck between 65-70mph.
  • Welcome to my world. I have an 06/3 I Touring. Only have 3600 miles but never got above 15 MPG in the city (NY). Took it on the highway and got around 23-24. It's not fair when you purchase a vehicle for the supposedly good advertised MPG and end up with this. Complaining to the Dealer was useless.

    On the good side, the M3 drives great, handles well, for the money, it was the best I could have gotten fully loaded in its class. The MPG just simply sucks.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    According to Consumer Reports the mileage of most cars is not rated properly by the EPA. CR downgrades EPA's rating by 20% to 30%. For example, the combined average for highway / city driving that the Mazda3 hatchback with automatic transmission is 25 mpg according to CR. If you drive primarily in the city, I would adjust that figure downward.
  • akitadogakitadog Posts: 117
    The issue for me is that I would expect to get at least somewhere in between the EPA numbers considering I do 70% highway driving at reasonable speeds. Honestly, with my circuit, I was expecting at least 26 mpg (out of 25/31 EPA). The fact that I can't reach 25 mpg is bothersome.

    Another anecdote: I filled up near the highway, drove all highway miles and the gas light came on at just over 320 miles. It came out to 27 mpg. I have hit the EPA highway numbers in my MINI (32 mpg) on the same route, but couldn't come close to it in the 3 (31 mpg).
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    We've had our car for almost 9 months now and the mileage has been abysmal ... the average of about 24.5 mpg in about 65 to 70% highway driving. I mean, to not even reach the EPA mpg on the LOW end, when most of your driving is HIGHWAY with little to moderate traffic, is ridiculous.

    The issue for me is that I would expect to get at least somewhere in between the EPA numbers considering I do 70% highway driving at reasonable speeds. Honestly, with my circuit, I was expecting at least 26 mpg (out of 25/31 EPA). The fact that I can't reach 25 mpg is bothersome.


    I think you are proving my point that the EPA numbers are not representative of actual driving patterns. In the Consumer Reports September 2006 issue they rate the Mazda3 hatchback with automatic transmission at an "abysmal" 17 city and a great 35 highway with the average at 25 mpg. The fact that you are averaging nearly 25 (i.e. 24.5) confirms to me that CR is a better source for fuel economy numbers. The EPA is not doing consumers a service by providing inflated numbers.
  • Just bought an new 07 auto and although I love the car, I'm really disappointed by my current gas mileage.
    Mostly city driving, I'm getting about 12L/100km wich the same gas mileage I was getting with a V6 auto before.
    NOT happy at all, but the car is brand new and the AC is on at all time.
    I'm wondering if using a ligher oil synthetic oil would help ?
  • Does anyone have any experience with gas mileage for the 2.3 engine on an manual 07 Mazda 3?
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    1700 miles on my 07 and i average about 29mpg in 50/50 driving.
  • dridedride Posts: 139
    I have a manual 2005 2.3 hatch. I have been averaging 29 mpg this year. It always drops when winter starts and they change the fuel blends. I have had some road trips where I have had 35 mpg. I am SO glad I got the manual. I am also kind of surprised there is such a big mpg gap in the Mazda 3 btwn autos and manuals. 17 mpg for a compact 4 banger is terrible, even if it is in the city.
  • In Consumer Reports buying guide they listed the known for high MPG Honda Civic as getting 18 city and 43 highway for 28 overall so in city driving there does not seem to be much difference between the two. They listed the 3I as getting 18 city and 38 highway close to the Corolla's 20 city and 39 highway yet if you look on the Corrolla forums most are pleased with their mileage. On the Honda forum most are pleased but less so then the Corolla. Does if it have something to do with the newer designs with more power having less efficiency in stop and go traffic?

    Using Consumers figures in 10K miles the difference in fuel consumption between a Civic at 28MPG and a 3S at 25MPG would only be 43 gallons which would seem to be a good trade off for the extra power of the 3S for those who don't put tons of miles on their cars.
  • chavis10chavis10 Posts: 166
    I don't think my expectations are unreasonable. 17 mpg in the city is ridiculous for a 2850 lbs car with a 2.3L 4 cyl, period. The EPA has nothing to due with the fact that the Mazda drive train (autobox) is inefficient for whatever reason. My cousin has a TSX (5spd auto) which achieves better mileage with .1L more displacement, 40 more horsepower, and 250-300 more pounds to haul around. How do you explain that? BTW, it nearly achieves it's EPA figures despite her aggressive driving style.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I don't think my expectations are unreasonable.

    I agree with you! All that I was suggesting is that we use a reliable source of fuel economy numbers rather than those of the EPA. That way we'll all know what to expect before we purchase. Your dismay is in part due to the expectation that the EPA numbers are not being met. If you started out with the Consumer Report numbers of 25 mpg for combined highway/city driving, you may not be any happier but you would not be as surprised as you seem.

    2850 lbs car
    I thought you were referring to the Mazda3 hatchback automatic which is almost 3000 lbs.

    a TSX (5spd auto) ... achieves better mileage with .1L more displacement, 40 more horsepower, and 250-300 more pounds to haul around. How do you explain that?
    It's a Honda/Acura, that is, one of the best engineered vehicles around. I have not checked Consumer Reports for the Acura but I'd expect that CR would agree with you.
    BTW the Acura is closer to 50 more hp and 350 lbs. more weight than the Mazda3 hatch.
  • sssfegysssfegy Posts: 132
    Agree with your EPA evaluation, but disagre with"It's a Honda/Acura, that is, one of the best engineered vehicles around"(WRONG) they have a shameful record in the Le Mans"not these 1 hr. races"..lets see what Acura will do against the R10"it will be in smokes like usual :P ", or you would think they high engineered RDX would get more than 15 MPG?! Check the driver.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Honda/Acura ... have a shameful record in the Le Mans

    Really? I wasn't aware of that. Could you recommend a website that talks about this?

    Honda has been in Formula 1 for a while but have not been in the winning circle that often. But, then again neither has Toyota. What I find really distressing is when an engine blows up in a race. What is the audience supposed to think then? The manufacturer/driver is testing the limits of the machine, or, these guys don't know what they're doing. I've never seen a Toyota or Honda blow up on the highway or the local mall, thank goodness. :blush:
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Le Mans? How did this thread go from economy car MPG - to EPA ratings - to Le Mans?

    Do you think many car shoppers say - I am not going to buy a Civic because Honda did not win at Le Mans?
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Do you think many car shoppers say - I am not going to buy a Civic because Honda did not win at Le Mans?

    Well, as it turns out Honda was using a marketing campaign along these lines recently. Honda had a promotion using a checkered race flag and telling consumers to come in fast not to miss out on the action. The campaign ran during the period of the 2006 F1 races. What do you think Honda would do if their drivers won the F1 races? One might even ask, isn't part of the purpose of F1, Le Mans or any of these races to promote the brand?

    Does this marketing work? Well, that's another story. I suspect like other media messaging the answer may not always be black and white. For example, GM may have fixed many of its quality issues on its vehicles but the long held view that the product line is deficient in quality is difficult to change. Which doesn't mean that they shouldn't market the positive message, but rather that it can take a while for the message to take effect.
  • sssfegysssfegy Posts: 132
    Here you go: www.lemans.org ,yes Toyota has a worse record with a few engines catching fire! It's the most respected indurance race (majorly for perfect engineering under severe racing conditions)...so you get the conclusion: high engineering/ high quality production line are two different statements! :P
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I understand the NASCAR connection - win on Sunday - sell on Monday - but if you ask every single person than purchased a new Mazda3 or Civic or Corolla or Focus or Cobalt - or any other 4 banger econo box - in the last 10 years - who won Le Mans - what % would be able to tell you?

    If NO ONE KNOWS - AND NO ONE CARES - WHY IS THIS PART OF THIS DISCUSSION?
  • sssfegysssfegy Posts: 132
    Z71- you usually go back to the first thread that started it, and then you would make the conclusion! ;)
  • sssfegysssfegy Posts: 132
    BTW: Cobalt should not be included in the comparison..it is way sub-par to the rest :P
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