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Mazda3 Real World MPG



  • In 5th gear @ 60 mph the engine in my 3i turns around 2,550 rpm. I've calculated that engines in the 3i atx (4-speed) and post-'05 3s atx (5-speed) turn around 2.2k rpm at 60 mph.

    I'd like for my car to have a taller 5th or add'l 6th gear if it would drop rpm by 500 rpm or so at 60 mph. Unfortunately, from what I've read the 2010 s-models will be equipped w/6-speed manuals, but the i will still only come with a 5-speed manual or an automatic. Also don't know whether the new 6th gear in s-models will be significantly taller than that of the 5-speed manuals in all first-generation Mazda 3 models ('04-'09).

    I've calculated that there is little difference in the final drive gearing between post '05 MX-5 models equipped with 5-speed manual or 6-speed manuals. So my guess would be that the new 6-speed manual 2010 s models won't drop engine rpm much in top gear either, and probably will be geared lower 1st-5th for improved performance and with 6th gear only being slightly taller than the prior cars' 5th gear. Also, from what I've read the 6-speed in Mazda Speed3 models is only geared slightly taller than the 5-speed in non-turbocharged models.

    I have read that there's a taller 5th gear available for 1st generation Mazda 3 manual transmission models through the aftermarket. However, my impression is the difference isn't significant and may only result in a drop of 100-200 rpm @ 60 mph. If so it would not make enough of a difference for me to be willing to spend the $$ to purchase the part & pay for installation.

    From what I've heard late model four-cylinder Accords can be very fuel efficient even when mated to automatics. There's a fellow who contributes to the Mazda 3 forum who owns a '07 or '08 Mazda 3s mtx. His wife drives a fairly new ('06 or '07) Accord I-4 mated to a 5-speed automatic. This guy seems to be more dedicated to hypermiling techniques than I and has posted that his wife's Accord can out-accelerate his 3s at highway speeds, yet can also match or exceed his Mazda 3's mpg results in normal driving.

    My parents own a '07 Toyota Camry (2.4L I-4 w/5-speed automatic). The engine in that car only turns around 1,750-1,800 rpm @ 60 mph, or about the same as their significantly more powerful '04 Toyota Sienna V-6 (3.4L w/5-speed automatic). The Camry's tall gearing is very nice on flat roads, but at the slightest hint of a hill the car's transmission tends to down and upshift a lot. While the tendency to shift so much at highway speeds can be somewhat aggravating, I'd rather have the option of a tall top-gear for flat roads cruising even if the transmission does tend to shift a lot when roads aren't relatively flat.

    You can always manually shift out of 5th gear to reduce the amount of shifting when the roads are less than flat!
  • marcvillmarcvill Posts: 9
    I have a 2004 Mazda3 5d with a manual and 61000 miles. I have been taking mileage reading since the day I bought the car. For the past three years I have been averaging 28.6 miles per gallon. This includes all trips to airports, different states and my daily commute. I am a pretty conservative driver when comes to acceleration and braking. I just had my original brakes changed at 55k. I use my A/C constantly because of a black interior and I live in Florida. I try keep the RPMs down by using neutral when coasting. I use 5th gear a lot because I am lazy and Florida is really flat. Just my notes on MPGs in a Mazda3.
  • Like you I have just under 61k miles on my '05 Mazda 3i (4-door 2.0L engine w/5-speed manual). Average mpg w/my 3i to date is 38.6 mpg based on all fill-ups since new.

    All of my car's results are posted at Look for 2005 Mazda3, 2.0L manual transmission. My car's results are the ones listed for Chesterfield, VA.

    Before choosing to purchase my 3i I researched fuel economy results for both engines (2.0L and 2.3L) w/manual transmissions. Haven't regretted choosing the 3i's 2.0L engine over the 3s's 2.3L. Although the difference in performance is relatively minor between the two engines @ less than 15 hp, the difference in real-world fuel economy results can be significant.

    Btw, my car still has the original brake pads AND the original equipment tires (16" 205/55 Toyos)! Although the tires are getting close to needing replacements, when recently rotating them I observed that the brake pads are only about half worn out.

    Needless to say, in general I drive my 3i fairly gently.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    I will second the efficiency of Accords (especially last generation stick models). I have a 2007 stick shift I4 and have averaged 33.7 mpg over 58,000 miles. I have recorded as high as 39.8 over 10 consecutive tanks and have had tanks as high as 45 mpg (well over 600 miles). This is for slower speed state highways not high speed interstates though. I do use 40 psi and 0w-20 mobil one to help out and employ some minor hypermiling - coast to lights and down steep hills, shut off at long lights.

    I was very interested in the Mazda 3, but the SO wanted something larger. I really wish Mazda would put their excellent 2.0 engine in the hatch as an efficient hatch back would have been hard to resist.

    By the same token I would have also been very interested in the 6 wagon if it had the 4-cyl. For some reason Mazda thinks that their most efficiently packaged cars (hatches and wagons) need their least efficient engines. In the case of the Mazda 6 V-6 it actually gets worse EPA mpg than our V-6 minivan - could never convince the wife to go that way.

    Anyway I would love to see a 2.0 hatch with a six speed MT. Great mileage with lots of flexibility, but I don't think it will happen. They would rather sell SUV's to the people that want cargo room - more profit.
  • Congratulations for the excellent long-term results you've achieved w/your '07 Accord mtx dudleyr!

    I agree that it sure would be nice if Mazda would offer their Mazda3 hatchback equipped with the 2.0L engine and 6-speed manual. Also agree that it's not likely to happen though.

    Mazda also offers the 3 equipped with a diesel engine in other countries and from what I've read this engine produces significantly more torque than either of the normally aspirated gas engines available in the U.S., yet is capable of producing fuel economy results above 50 mpg. Of course, it's a costly endeavor for an auto manufacturer to design and certify a diesel engine that will meet EPA standards here in the U.S. Also, since the Mazda3 is generally marketed here as a sports-oriented vehicle, a diesel-engine version probably wouldn't be a huge seller here unless fuel prices rise above $5/gallon again.

    In any case I've been very satisfied w/my '05 3i mtx and wouldn't hesitate to buy another Mazda sometime in the future.

    I'd really like to own an MX-5 after the kids are out of the house! :)
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    I have a 2006 Mazda3 s Sport 5-door with manual transmission. For the first 42,000 miles I had a horrible commute (50 miles round-trip in grid-locked Atlanta traffic). I never managed more than 26mpg. I visit my best friend who lives 200 miles away at least once per month. Driving at 75-80mph on 90% of the trip, I average 27mpg if I'm lucky. If I set the cruise control at 70-72mph on the same trip, with the A/C off, I have hit 30.2mpg for the trip average.

    It's a far cry from the days of my '93 Civic getting 40mpg even during 80mph highway treks, but the Mazda is a lot more fun (and comfortable)! :)
  • mazdazedmazdazed Posts: 34
    I have two 2009 Mazda 3's. One "i" and one "s". Both manuals.
    75% highway driving 65-70 mph.

    3i- With 7,800 miles on the car the "i" is averaging 35-36 mpg with 39 being the highest achieved and 32 being the lowest.

    3s- With 4,000 miles on the car it is averaging 31-32 mpg.

    Running Motorcraft 5w-20 Synthetic Blend oil in both cars.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I have had my Mazda 3i Touring edition sedan (bought new) since 2006 and am consistently averaging 37-39 mpg in about 80/20 (highway/city) driving going 60-80mph.

    It does have the manual transmission but I am not a soft footed driver. If I slowed down and drove softer I am positive I could squeeze at least 2-3 more mpg out of the car.

    The car has had zero issues (not one) since owning. I would buy another in a heartbeat (but will probably keep this one till it dies) and my sister in law is looking into buying one now.
  • Probably around 26mpg in the city.... Not too bad. Wish it was like quadruple that though.
  • acdacd Posts: 11
    My 2007 Mazda3i touring 5speed manual averages about 28 mpg in my urban commute/ short trips. It used to do better before 10% ethonal in gasoline. I just took a long, mostly interstate trip averaging around 72 mph. Over the 1600 miles the car averaged between 35 and 36 MPG. (My highest tank ever on a trip was 37 MPG.) So I'm still happy driving this wonderful little car at almost 37,000 miles. :)
  • I will agree with you that the difference in real world fuel economy between the 2.0 liter engine and the 2.5 liter is significant, but saying the difference in performance is relatively minor is absolutely FALSE. The numbers for power on the 2.0 liter are VERY overrated by Mazda. Corksport did a dyno pull on both engines and the 2.0 liter only put down a measly 118 HP and 110 lbft of torque, while the 2.5 liter put down 158 HP and 161 lbft of torque. I would call 40 horses and 51 lbft of torque a very significant difference in performance.

    Don't get me wrong, the 2.0 liter certainly gets the job done, and has better power and low end torque for good pick up (especially in city driving) than the competition (civic, corolla, etc.). And the gas mileage is incredible, very underrated by Mazda. My girlfriend has an iSport and is getting 34 MPG city and 43 MPG highway! Real world results for the 2.5 liter engine, however, are pretty accurate to the ratings, though reviews have claimed that driving it hard hardly decreases the fuel consumption.

    Just some things to think about. The 2.5 liter DEFINITELY has much more power, about 50% more. But it's up to your priorities, efficiency or performance, that ultimately determines the decision when purchasing. I'll probably go with the 2.0 liter iTouring model and spend the few grand I save over several years on gas and get a sound system and dvd/nav touch screen in the dash.

    And there's my 2 cents.
  • If you read my post again vanquish421 you'll see I was comparing the 2.0 L and 2.3 L engines-not the 2.0 vs. 2.5 L . The 2.5 L was not available when I purchased my '05 3i.

    I'm unfamiliar with corksport and have no idea if their figures are reliable, but since drivetrain power losses s/b similar between two Mazda 3 models I find the differences in crankshaft vs. "at the wheel" results for the two engines out of sync based on the figures you quoted. The 2.5 L is rated by Mazda at 167 hp and 168 lb/ft at the crank and Mazda's published specifications for the 2.0 L and 2.3 L engines models are as follows:

    2.0 L: 148 bhp & 135 lbf•ft
    2.3 L: 156 bhp & 150 lbf•ft
    2.3 L MZR DISI Turbo: Mazdaspeed3: 263 bhp & 280 lbf•ft

    So the 2.3 L is rated for just 8 hp and 15 ft/lb more than the 2.0 L. My lawn mower puts out more than that!

    The 2.5 L of course does better with 19 hp and 33 lb/ft over the 2.0 L. A 19 hp advantage still is hardly earth-shattering, but I can understand how an additional 33 lb/ft could be enough to be appreciated in a small car like the 3. Of course, the 2010 modes ARE also heavier than first generation models too and from what I've read differences in real-world performance between '04-'09 2.3 L models and 2010 3s models w/the new 2.5 L engines are negligible.

    The figures you cited from corksport indicate the 2.0 L engine lost 30 hp and 25 lb/ft to driveline losses from engine to the front wheels, but the 2.5 L only lost 9 hp and 6 lb/ft? If so then either the 2.0 L may have been a poorly running example or the 2.5 L could have been a ringer since driveline losses between the two should have been similar (imo). From what I've read a 10%-12% loss from cranshaft to the wheels is fairly common.

    148 hp x 10% = ~ 15 hp...which would result in 133 hp at the wheel for the 2.0 L
    167 hp x 10% = 17 hp...which would leave 150 hp at the wheel for the 2.5 L

    So the corksport figures don't make sense. If anything, the 2.5 L should have lost more power from crankshaft to wheel vs. the 2.0 L...not less.

    In any case, when browsing the Mazda 3 forums I've read where real-world results have shown a stock 2.0 L mtx can produce n e.t within a 1/2 second of a stock 2.3 L mtx in the quarter. Of course differences in driver experience could easily make more difference than that.

    If bragging rights or racing for pinks is important to you a ½ second difference in the quarter or from 0-60 may be significant. But during my day-to-day commutes I could care less about a ½ second difference for rarely do I need maximum performance from my 3i's 2.0 L anyhow. However, when I have the 2.0 L has been more than powerful enough for my needs. I'd also like pit my 3i mtx against someone with an equally stock 3s w/the 2.3 L atx . If more than a car length separated us by the end of the quarter mile I'd be very surprised.

    In any case, if I wanted high performance in a 3 I'd bypass a 3s motivated by a normally aspirated 2.3 or 2.5 L engines and choose a Speed 3 anyhow.

    It all comes down to what's more important to you. For me, I'd rather pay 25% less at the pump for 99.9% of my driving in lieu of paying at the pump all the time just to have a hair more performance available for the other .1% when I may want to floor the pedal.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    It all comes down to what's more important to you. For me, I'd rather pay 25% less at the pump for 99.9% of my driving in lieu of paying at the pump all the time just to have a hair more performance available for the other .1% when I may want to floor the pedal.

    Well argued. You are not alone!
  • almattialmatti Posts: 164
    vanquish..... I have a 2008.5 3 S Touring, picked up a leftover in April 09. Now has 8,800 miles on it, 95% of the time driven by my son, a young Adult home from College.. Driven in suburbia - mixed 50% local; 50% highway. I am the "sucker" who takes it out on Sunday mornings for Newspapers, Bagels, etc...AND ends up filling 'er Up. I am pretty meticulous about observing the Stars. I am nowhere near 34 MPG, never mind 43MPG!! Every Sunday, with about 270-280 miles on the trip meter, I put in 11-12 gallons of gas. That's about 24-24.5 MPG ... There must be something wrong with the car.....or he drives extremely hard with lots of pulloing over and "idling" - like Tiger Woods. LOL... Anybody in my Court!!! Tell me what I'm doing wrong..THX
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I don't suspect there's much wrong with your car. If I drive hard in lots of urban traffic, I can get the fuel economy down into the mid twenties on my 2009 Mazda3 i Touring 5-Speed, that said, in mixed driving (and driving like a normal sane person), I typically get between 29 and 31 mpg. On three different long trips (New Hampshire to NYC and back) I've managed at least 37 mpg, and on one trip I got over 39. If I ever encounter a nice uncrowded five hundred mile long stretch of interstate, I have little doubt that I can cover it on a single tank of gas, and that would in turn yield an MPG figure well into the forties. ;)

    Best regards,
  • By driving conservatively and applying some hypermiling techniques I once squeezed 626 miles out of a tank in my '05 3i mtx. That tank produced an average of 46.7 mpg (626.0 miles / 13.403 gallons).

    To-date my overall average since purchasing my 3i on 3/1/05 based on all miles driven and gallons purchased is 38.81 mpg (67,771.5 miles/1,746.282 gallons).

    I now average over 40-42 mpg per tank during the warmer months and in the high 30's (38-39 mpg) even when it's cold outside.

  • Really? That good? I'm two tanks into my 2010 GT 5 speed AT and I'm getting 20 MPG with 90% freeway driving. The car's gas mileage is insanely awful.

    I just got out of a car with 300 HP and I was averaging 21-22 mpg per tank in mostly mixed driving. With my 07 Cooper S I got 30 MPG without trying. Both cars I beat on with WOT, lots of high RPM shifts. Yet with the mazda I'm shifting at 2 RPM, no WOT and seeing 20 MPG. What gives?
  • Sadly, judging from fuel economy results posted by other owners ( your experience is not unusual.

    When equipped with the larger engines (2.3L & 2.5L) the Mazda 3 has developed a reputation for producing relatively poor fuel economy results...especially when these engines are mated to automatic transmissions.

    Admittedly my results with a 3i (2.0L & 5-speed manual) are superior to what most 3i owners have been reporting too. However there are other owners of essentially the same model who have reported results which have been similar or even superior to mine from time-to-time. In any case it's fairly common for 3i mtx owners to report results ranging from the high twenties-to-mid 30s.

    Hopefully your results will improve (as my car's did) after a few thousand break-in miles, but judging from what I've read results averaging in the low-to-high twenties in mixed driving and in the high twenties-to-low 30's for highway cruising at moderate cruising speeds may be all you should should reasonably expect to see with your 2010 GT. Sorry.

    Note: you can view my and some other Mazda 3 owners' fuel economy results at

    All of my car's results since purchase are posted there and may be viewed under "Mazda...2005...3 2.0L...manual".
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'm thinking the combination of the 2.5 liter mill and the automagic transmission are the issue here. When I picked up my Mazda3 (a 2.0 liter 5-Speed with three pedals under the dash) I was working a contract that was ~45 miles north of where I live, most of which were "cruise control" miles. For the duration of that contract (which ended prematurely last March) I'm thinking that on average, I drove on the highway about 70% of the time (lots of family errands and such on top of my commuting), and even on tanks when the temperature didn't make it above zero I still managed to get over 29 mpg.

    Now that I'm working a contract ~45 miles in the other direction (the direction with 90% of the traffic) I simply drive 8 miles to the local "Park and Ride" and take a bus into Boston. Unfortunately that means that I only manage to get the car out onto the highway once or twice a week, and with winter here once again, my fuel economy is more like 27ish. :(

    Best regards,
  • Wow, that's horrible. I guess I believed that the epa numbers were conservative given my experience with my Cooper and BMWs which tended to do better than EPA would suggest, especially with my hard driving style.
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