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Mazda3 Real World MPG

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  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    A friend in the Mazda 3 Forum recently posted that Mazda now offers the hatch equipped with the 2.0 L as a base model...in Canada. He has one of the early model ('04) hatches equipped with the 2.3 L and 4-speed automatic. His gas mileage is very poor in winter (commonly falling in the mid-teens) but he's able to manage 30 mpg on the highway as long as cruising speeds are fairly conservative and outside temperatures are mild-to-hot.

    I might have purchased a hatch instead of my sedan if Mazda had offered them with the 2.0 L and mtx. I've still been very satisifed with my sedan though since I also have owned mini-vans for my wife to drive which can carry larger items as needed. The 3i serves primarily as my commuter vehicle.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Everything sounds normal. It's uncanny as I'm on the freeway within a minute of leaving my house and almost every drive is freeway. No AC. Tire pressure is fine. Everything appears normal. Steady cruise at 70 it's registering low to mid-20s on the automated computer. At each fill up I do the math and stare at the numbers like it's a trick. How can my wife, who does way more stop and go, is all about wind sprints in her A3 get 25-26 MPGs but I can't crack 23 doing mostly freeway 10+ miles each direction to work?

    Frustrating.

    No currently planned trips to the dealer as the first oil change isn't for some time.
  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    I can understand your frustration. Sadly, yours is a familiar story similar to quite a few others I've read over the past 5+ years with regard to poor fuel economy with Mazda's 2.3 and 2.5 L engines. Which researching differences in the 3i and 3s before making my choice complaints of relatively poor fuel economy with the larger engine ended up convincing me to forgo some of the extra "flash" of the 3s in exchange for evidence of more economical operating expenses with the 3i. I've never regretted making that choice.

    I'm also sorry to say I wouldn't get my hopes up for a "quick fix" from the dealer. Time-and-time again I've read where owners have been told by dealers that "it's normal" or "it must be due to how and where you drive".

    Unless you car throws a trouble code/check engine light I would not get my hopes up that the dealer will do anything to improve your situation.

    Good luck with it in any case...
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,374
    I guess that the six speed box in my MS3 salvages the mileage to some extent. Regardless, there is no way I'd sacrifice the car's 287 bhp(iI have the Mazdaspeed Cold air Intake) in exchange for better fuel economy.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Regardless, there is no way I'd sacrifice the car's 287 bhp(iI have the Mazdaspeed Cold air Intake) in exchange for better fuel economy."

    I've found that I've needed to be careful with comments like that; so many folks absolutely believe the urban myth that a CAI improves fuel economy. :P

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,374
    I've found that I've needed to be careful with comments like that; so many folks absolutely believe the urban myth that a CAI improves fuel economy.

    I know; I've heard "experts" on a couple of the Mazda boards claim that adding a CAI "leans out" the engine and thus improves fuel economy. Maybe their cars run open loop 100% of the time... :P

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    There's a guy that claims an improvement from 28 mpg to 34 mpg on a 2008 Mazda3 s Automatic over on the Mazda board that I frequent. I challenged him and he got nasty so I created a new thread over there called "CAIs and Fuel Economy; what's the real truth?" The thread garnered so much activity that it got "Stickied" to the top of the General Tech group.

    I don't remember if it's still against the Rules of the Road to post links to other forums here in TownHall, so I sent you a PM with the links. :)

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,374
    There's a guy that claims an improvement from 28 mpg to 34 mpg on a 2008 Mazda3 s Automatic over on the Mazda board that I frequent.

    The TH Jeep Liberty forum had a guy who made similar claims from simply using a K&N drop-in filter. I also called him on it and -big surprise- he called me an idiot. Things got really hysterical when a couple of gullible members bought K&Ns and then reported no change in their truck's fuel economy. He went so ballistic that he got banned and ALL of his posts on TH were deleted. :P :P :P

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 791
    When Mazda introduced the 2008.5 "refresh", the Canadian market got a base GX 5-door with the 2.0L engine. It was pretty basic in standard form (15" steel wheels, manual windows/locks, no rear spoiler) but they offered an option package that included power windows/locks, 15" alloys, and most basic convenience items. A/C was also optional.

    The Canadian version of the 2010 Mazda3 also includes a 5-door GX model with the 2.0L engine. Power windows/locks are standard, but items like cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, side sill extensions, TCS/DSC, or even alloy wheels are not available. A/C remains optional on the GX, but it's standard on the two higher trim levels- GS and GT (along with the 2.5L engine).

    I wish Mazda would offer a 2.0L Mazda3 5-door to the U.S. without sacrificing the sporty look (rear spoiler, side sill extensions, 17" alloy wheels). The fuel economy of the 2010 MZ3 i 4-door with the 5-speed automatic averages about 4mpg better than the 2.5L with 5AT and the performance is still decent (0-60 in 9.4sec). The 2.0L/5-speed manual combination has always been sprightly (0-60 in 8.6sec in the 2010) and returns over 30mpg average.

    My 2006 MZ3 s 5-door (2.3L/5-speed manual) averages 24-25mpg overall and 90% of my driving is highway. I tend to drive around 75mph on the highway, which doesn't help. But I've also set the cruise at 65mph for a 200-mile trip and the trip computer showed 27.2mpg average.

    I love my MZ3, don't get me wrong. But the Accord I had before it (2.4L 160hp and 5-speed manual) would cruise at 75-80mph on the interstate all day and never drop below 31-32mpg! And it was almost as quick, despite being a larger, heavier car....
  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    I feel the difference in real-world fuel economy results obtainable by Mazda's 2.0 L vs. 2.3 L engines is greater than 4 mpg.

    Four years ago due to a death in the family I made a relatively rare highway trip in my 3i from my home in Chesterfield VA to carry my Mom to Spartanburg SC in mid-February. As I recall I drove with the cruise control set at 70 mph for most the trip which was was almost all driven on I-95 and I-85. When I filled up in Spartanburg the result was 379.3 miles on 9.629 gallons for 39.39 mpg.

    Note that the difference in our results is far greater than 4 mpg even though my average crusing speed was 70 mph, or 5 mph faster than the 65 mph you claim was driven for 200 miles in your 3s.

    39.4 mpg - 27.2 mpg = 12.2 mpg difference

    12.2/39.4 = a 31% improvement.

    When I keep average cruising speeds in my 3i mtx around 65 mph in light winds results in the 41-42 mpg range are no problem, even more when I don't engage the cruise control. The cruise tends to tweak the throttle up and down almost constantly based on observations of throttle position sensor readings on my ScanGauge. I get better results when I forgo the cruise control and drive w/fairly steady pressure on the throttle.
  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    On second thought, an increase of 12.2 mpg above a 27.2 average represents a 45% improvement (12.2/27.2 = .4485).
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    I rented both the 2010 3I and 3S. For very similar trips I filled up at the same pump at the same station (for both cars) and got 37 with the I and 33 with the S. These trips were almost identical 85% highway with no traffic and 15% city late at night with no traffic but lights and stop signs in Brooklyn.

    I also picked up and dropped off the S in Manhattan. The S's trip computer, which I reset when I got the car, showed that I go 26.8 MPG in the 107 miles I drove the car. Subtracting the 72 miles where I measured the 33MPG means that I got 19 MPG during the other 35 miles which included driving on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn and going to some highway going from brooklyn to Manhattan.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Wow, that's horrendous. Mazda has a great chassis with the 3 (and I say that coming from BMWs and a Mini) but man they're really far behind when it comes to gearing and engine design. I can't understand how they still make a 2.5 liter that a) doesn't have 200 HP (like the ancient 2.4 liter engine in the TSX) and b) gets sub 30 MPG on the freeway cruising. Odd.
  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    Although Mazda's 2.0L and 2.3L engines apparently share a lot of parts, the larger engine is equipped with internal balance shafts. Cylinder bore dimensions for both engines are identical (the 2.3L has a longer stroke).
    I've always wondered if the addition of balance shafts may increase internal friction and inertia considerably compared to the 2.0L which lacks this feature.

    I filled up yesterday and the result was 551.1 miles / 12.882 gallons for 42.78 mpg.

    Still glad I chose the 2.0 L and I wish Mazda would offer the same powertrain in the Mazda 5, 3i and 3s series with a six-speed manual.
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    On the part of the trip that was open highway I got 33 MPG with the S, with the I it was 37 MPG. It was not a bad tradeoff if one is more interested in the significant power increase of the 2.5.
  • Agreed. However, if my primary reason for choosing an s over the i was performance, I'd probably pay the extra $$ for a MazdaSpeed 3. Based on what owners have reported, it seems to me that driven conservatively a Speed 3 may be almost as fuel-efficient as a normally-aspirated 3s with the 2.3 L or 2.5 L engines, yet performance-wise the Speed3 is in another league. Of course, if you must have an automatic transmission a MazdaSpeed 3 won't be an option.

    I'll also submit my opinion that the ~4 mpg difference you cited for highway mileage results between 3i and 3s models may in fact be greater in mixed-driving conditions. Based on what I've read those who own a 3i don't seem to suffer as great a drop in mpg as do most 3s owners in city driving conditions.

    In any case, how the cars are driven has the greatest effect on fuel economy. I've read reports from 3i owners who say they don't top 20 mpg for city driving in winter conditions. Contrastingly, over 5+ years I've never calculated a tank average under 32 mpg in my car and these days it's very rare for me to have one come in under 37 mpg. However, I know full well this would not be the case if I drove the car more aggressively and if I didn't conciously avoid taking short trips in it as much as possible.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    With just over 25,000 miles on my 2009 Mazda3 i Touring 5-Speed, I've rarely recorded a tank under 30 mpg, and when I did it was because I was really beating on it. Errr, that is except for the tank that was consumed when I was teaching my 16 year-old son to drive a stick. Start-lug-lug-GO! Start-lug-lug-stall. Stall. BURN-OUT!

    :)

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,374
    However, if my primary reason for choosing an s over the i was performance, I'd probably pay the extra $$ for a MazdaSpeed 3. Based on what owners have reported, it seems to me that driven conservatively a Speed 3 may be almost as fuel-efficient as a normally-aspirated 3s with the 2.3 L or 2.5 L engines, yet performance-wise the Speed3 is in another league.

    Lately I've been trying to drive my MS3 is a somewhat more sedate manner(it's not easy, let me tell you :P ). In mostly suburban driving the car is getting 25-26 mpg. Not bad, especially in light of the available performance.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    Interesting you should bring up teaching your son how to drive in your 3i shipo. A few days ago my wife asked if I'll be ready to turn over my 3i to our daughter when she gets her license in a few years (she's 13 now).

    Can't say I'll be looking foreward to turning my "baby-ed" 3i over to her when (or if) the time comes. I can still remember the "joys" of teaching my wife how to drive a stick in my Toyota Celica not long after we got married! The feel and sound of my Celica's engine chugging in 5th gear after she turned off the highway and into her parents' driveway are with me still.

    Obviously I agree that getting a 3i mtx's fuel economy to drop below 30 mpg is possible, but isn't likely to happen unless you're driving the car fairly hard or have been making a lot of short trips.

    The training of novice drivers would also constitute "reasonable cause" as well.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    He-he, we've got a 13 year old daughter as well, so her turn at the controls of the 3i are likely gone to come around as well.
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    I don't drive a stick and in NYC traffic I would still want an auto even if I could drive a stcik. My concerns are good enough pickup, a good ride and good visibility. The Mazda3 seems by far to be the nicest compact but the 2010 does seem to ride a bit harder than the 1st generation, I think which gives me second thoughts about whether I should get it. To me with the AT the 3I seemed a little underpowered for passing and was barely adequate for merging but was not totally gutless with an AT like the Elantra. The 3S had plenty of power in all situations. If there was a big differece in MPG I think I woud go with the 3I. Also, in the 2010s the brakes were noticeably better in the S model. My driving is mixed in that I only drive on weekends and am sometimes in traffic on the streets or highways but come home later at night with no traffic.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,374
    My son has decided he wants my 1975 2002A for "his" car. That works for me. Cheap and easy to maintain, inexpensive to insure, and heavy-duty bumpers to protect the sheetmetal...

    image

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325
    What issues exactly have you had with Audi. My 2006 A3 has been "nearly" perfect, and although Audi has a lot of exclusions in their warranty, I've developed a great relationship with Miramar Audi, and they've kept me covered (if hesitatingly).

    Could it be because you bought the car used and it was abused early in its life? I'm always distrusting of used cars for that reason of the previous owner probably raping it and under-maintaining it at the same time.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited March 2010
    After living in most of the metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the "worst" traffic congestion (and working in a few others in Europe and Asia), I really don't understand comments like "I don't drive a stick because of traffic." Once you learn to drive a manual transmission the whole process becomes so second nature that it seems as if the darn thing shifts itself anyway; the only real difference is that it always shifts exactly when you want it to.

    As far as the Mazda3 is concerned, I've rented a few Automatic Mazda3 s models, and there is no question that my 2.0 liter 5-Speed is noticeably quicker. Geez, better power and better economy, what's not to like? ;)
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Car was in perfect shape when purchased (1 year old and perfectly maintained by an OCD couple). These people had meticulous records and their house and garage were insanely neat. Like they weren't human. I've never felt better buying a used car from someone. And considering the loss they took I still feel we practically stole the car.

    We've had windows fail, trim fall off, trim bubble and today my wife got home and told more lights had gone out (the car eats them - interior and exterior). Prior to October of 09 we mostly had trim issues with her Audi. Now mechanically, we're getting hit with bigger bills.

    As for Miramar: they're like a luxury car dealership from another era - just slimy. They rarely fixed anything under warranty, always wanted to charge for the most niggling things and were awful to deal with every time we made an appointment. It's hard to imagine a dealership/manufacturer being much worse. After 7 years of dealing with Cunningham BMW (everything is just fixed and they're so awesome to deal with) and even the clowns at Brecht Mini going to Miramar is like visiting a third world country. When I was looking for a car we drove a Golf TDI at Miramar and while I liked the car my wife insisted we couldn't buy from them as you just leave their dealership "dirty." With Miramar off the list, finding another Golf TDI was tough and I felt uncomfortable going for yet another VW product.

    In the end there's not really a good VW dealer in SD and only one Audi dealer; I got the Mazda3 (Hine of course) as my experience owning them has been pretty simple: they seem bulletproof compared to German cars. The car's solid. interior good enough. Chassis is great. Engine/tranny not so good - really archaic actually.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    You're killing me. I had to get an automatic this time (leg issues) and I so miss the control of a manual (even in bumper to bumper). I really think it's the automatic that's playing hell with my mileage. No more coasting, no more shifting smoothly to a higher gear for better economy, no more power for corners...just the automatic eating away at a good chassis.

    BTW, last fill-up: 21 mpg. 95% freeway this time. Checking the tire air pressure tomorrow.
  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    Although turning over an older vehicle to a teenage driver may make financial sense, an older vehicle's lack of safety equipment including air bags (front, side and side curtain), ABS, ESC (electronic stability control), etc. could make the difference between driving one of them home after an accident or having to make arrangements at a funeral home.

    My kids won't get a brand-new car when they start driving, but I will insist that they end up with a late-model vehicle that has good frontal and side crash ratings and at a minimum is equipped w/front and side airbags, ABS and ESC. Since my '05 3i lacks ABS, side air bags and ESC I doubt if I'll choose to turn it over to my daughter when the time comes even though it will be less than 10 years old by that time.

    Saving a few $$ by turning over a vehicle that lacks most of the safety features required as standard equipment today to one of my kids would not be worth the risk to me.

    I remember some of the things I did in my teens and early twenties while driving my '67 VW Beetle. I count myself lucky to have managed to survive all of them!
  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    While I agree that driving a manual becomes second nature once you gain experience, I'll also admit that on the (thankfully) rare occasions when I get caught up in heavy stop-and-go traffic I quickly tire of having to deal with the clutch. Not so much due to the extra effort involved, but because of my dislike of having no choice but to slip the clutch so much. I've yet to find it necessary to replace the clutch in any of my cars and would prefer to keep it that way.

    If I had to do most of my driving within a large metropolitan area I'd probably end up a hybrid, fully electric car or a conventional vehicle equipped with an automatic even though I realize driving one w/a manual would be more fuel efficient.

    Thankfully, I live in a rural area and commute to an office located in the suburbs of another county. While I wish the commute was less (~27.5 miles one way), in general it's usually a fairly painless experience otherwise.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,374
    edited March 2010
    Although turning over an older vehicle to a teenage driver may make financial sense, an older vehicle's lack of safety equipment including air bags (front, side and side curtain), ABS, ESC (electronic stability control), etc. could make the difference between driving one of them home after an accident or having to make arrangements at a funeral home.

    I prefer to concentrate on the safety of the driver rather than the car. My son will be attending the BMW Performance Center Two-Day Teen School as well as the Street Survival one day course. And, since I am a BMW CCA instructor for Street Survival as well as their other driving schools, my son will receive additional seat time under instruction. Even though my son is eight months away from receiving his learners permit, he is already being taught important concepts such as the friction circle, weight transfer, trailing throttle oversteer, threshold braking, situational awareness, and the principle of ocular driving. In my opinion, the biggest safety factor is the person behind the wheel.

    My kids won't get a brand-new car when they start driving, but I will insist that they end up with a late-model vehicle that has good frontal and side crash ratings and at a minimum is equipped w/front and side airbags, ABS and ESC. Since my '05 3i lacks ABS, side air bags and ESC I doubt if I'll choose to turn it over to my daughter when the time comes even though it will be less than 10 years old by that time.

    Wow, I guess I should ditch my 1995 Club Sport as well; it only has front airbags and ABS. And my 1999 Wrangler doesn't even have ABS! I'm driving my loved ones around in a couple of virtual death traps! I shudder at the thought...

    Saving a few $$ by turning over a vehicle that lacks most of the safety features required as standard equipment today to one of my kids would not be worth the risk to me.

    I'll tell you what, I'll give you my name and phone number to my local Social Services office. When I give my son the keys to the '02 you can call them and report me.
    Deal?
    ;) :P

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Road, I tell all my coworkers to enroll their kids in street survival and look for programs that teach their kids how to handle extreme circumstances in a controlled environment. They act like I'm telling them to teach their kids how to speed. Argh. They don't seem to get that a teen can safely learn more about a car on a track in a day or two than she can learn doing several months of straight forward road driving.

    If my kids gets an 8 year old car he should thank his stars.
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