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Mazda3 Real World MPG

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,019
    I'd keep the MS3 and concentrate on refining my driving habits. I have a 2007 MS3 and I've put 23,500 miles on it over the past 12 months. During that period I've had exactly 3 tanks average below 25 mpg- and most tanks averaged 27-29 mpg. Finally, here's a recent excerpt from a column I write for a local newspaper:


    DON'T PANIC!- With talk of $5.00/gallon gasoline making headlines I thought I should revisit and update an issue I discussed about one year ago. I'm already starting to hear "screamer" ads on television and radio telling people to "TRADE IN YOUR OLD GAS GUZZLER FOR A NEW XYZ MOTORS SEDAN- WITH 40 MPG ECONOMY!!!" And I'm sure you've heard people say, "Gas prices are eating me alive, I just have to buy a new car."
    The fact of the matter is, high fuel prices are no excuse for making a poor automotive purchasing decision. The last time gas prices spiked I remember people were buying those terribly mediocre Smart cars for list price- or even higher. These "shrewd" buyers were then stuck on a waiting list- and by the time their Smart car arrived gas prices had settled down and they were stuck with a tiny car that really wasn't suited for anything more than urban commuting. That is why I always say that you have to do the math.
    Here's an example: I recently found a very nice 2010 Mini Cooper for sale. It had less than 10,000 miles on the odometer and had every option I wanted. The Mini gets 39 mpg while my 2007 Mazda averaged about 23 mpg. After doing a little research I determined that I could probably get the Mini by trading in my Mazda and paying $10,000. Great deal, right? An almost-new car that gets 15 more mpg for "only" $10,000. As it turns out, running the numbers showed that it wasn't a great deal. Let's assume gas is $5.00 per gallon and that I drive 20,000 miles per year. The Mazda's annual fuel cost will be $4,348 while the Mini would use $2,564 worth of gas- an annual savings of $1,784. Fantastic! The only problem is the fact that I have to pay $10,000 in order to "save" that money. Dividing the purchase cost by the annual fuel savings shows that I would have to drive the Mini for 5.6 years before I actually started saving money. And if I drove 15,000 miles per year I would have to drive the Mini for almost 7.5 years just to break even! Also note that I'm not taking into account the cost of interest on a car loan, increased insurance costs, or higher property taxes due to the Mini being a newer vehicle. As it turns out, I started utilizing some smart driving habits and discovered that I was able to increase the Mazda's average fuel economy to 27 mpg- which at $5.00 per gallon saves me $644 outright. Now, I'm certainly not saying that you shouldn't consider a vehicle's fuel efficiency when buying a new or used car, but I AM saying that trading a car solely to save money on fuel costs almost never makes financial sense.

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

  • nick779nick779 Posts: 3
    i agree with everything you said, but for the past month ive been focusing on shifting around 2500 with gentle acceleration, and much more use of 6th gear even when only doing 50mph and staying out of boost. and i still get 20-21 mpg, as it stands i owe 19k on the speed, the blue book on it is around $21.5k, so i could theoretically have a $2500 down payment on a 3 sedan, and over a 2 year period save $1600+ in gas (depending on the observed mileage with the 3 sedan)and also i wouldnt have to buy a set of 18 inch tires or brakes which will wear out in these next 2 years, and i would come out of school with a higher monthly payment, but only a year left to pay it on instead of 3 with a $100 lower payment. now i doubt my work commute would be as far as my school commute, but the 3 sedan would keep saving me money in the long run i think.

    wouldnt that make financial sense?
    payments on speed 3 will be $7656 during school, payments on sedan would be around $10,137, so roughly $2500 more, gas savings would be $1600+, so at the most i would have $900 extra coming from the savings account total.
    after school, i would owe $319 for 36 months on the speed, and ~$422 for 12 months on the sedan.
  • chickraechickrae Posts: 44
    I would say I go over 3 mountain passes (Wasatch Mountains in Utah) and true I do somewhat coast on the way down, so maybe I am not losing that much going uphill. I was traveling south to north and not really going west or east.
    I will see how the mileage goes on my trip to Vegas this weekend.
  • whobodymwhobodym Posts: 151
    I disagree about mountain roads, unless you mean the kind where there is so much braking you are converting a lot of your gasoline straight to waste heat (the brake friction). My MZ3sGT 2.5L 6MT's best tank ever was Butte MT - Wisdom MT - Lost Trail Pass - Hamilton MT - Lolo Pass - Lewiston ID - Othello WA, a total of 560 miles, driven about as fast as comfortable (which I admit is quite a bit slower than the 75mph I would have been doing on I-90). The tank mileage was 36mpg.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    Get the 3 skyactiv and save the money. If you keep the car for a long time the savings keep adding up, and yes you will have a newer car that will last longer.

    You can also get the 3 for well below list price.
  • richos76richos76 Posts: 1
    I've had my 3i Touring skyactiv for a couple months now and we've just hit 5000 miles.
    I've recorded the gallons of gas and mileage reading from each fill up and I'm finding that the computer is reporting around 10% high on fuel efficiency which is quite disappointing.
    Over the whole 5000 miles I have an average of 32-33 mpg from my calculations and the computer suggests 35-36 mpg.
    I'm realistic about advertised mileage verses real world; I know I drive a bit too fast on the interstate to get anywhere near optimum (and you'll never actually get the maximum they advertise without risking a serious collision from behind anyway as you drive slower and slower to try to get that 43mpg and a truck plows into you) but I would like a little more accuracy from the computer.
    All in all I love the car and I am reasonably happy with any mileage above 30 (though I'd like to try to get it above 35 consistently) but I'm a little cynical about finding their computer reading such a high error in their favor.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,019
    Don't take offense, but you should be able to get at least 23 mpg without really trying all that hard. Also, you are making a lot of assumptions, such as the value of your current car. If you can't get more for it than the payoff then $2500 "savings" evaporates. As for tires, a decent set of UHP all-seasons shouldn't run over $650 mounted and balanced- and they should last 30,000-35,000 miles. Brakes? I went over 60,000 miles on my front pads/rotors and at 102,000 miles the original rear pads/rotors are still good.
    As for the new car "lasting longer", you are talking about two cars barely a year apart in age- I seriously doubt that you'll keep either car to the age that significant repairs would be an issue.
    It sounds like you want something different to drive, and that's fine; as for me, the only thing that makes FWD tolerable is 287 bhp under my right foot, so I cannot imagine taking a significant power cut unless it meant I'd be driving an entertaining RWD car like a Miata or FR-S. Come to think of it, if you are intent on flipping the MS3, why not find a 2-3 year old Mazda Certified Miata? Save money and drive a much more enjoyable car at the same time.

    I strongly suggest that you float your idea over on the Real-World Trade-In Values topic on the Smart Shoppers board. Several people over there have extremely accurate pricing data and they will be able to tell you if your plan is actually practical.

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

  • chickraechickrae Posts: 44
    I have never gotten below 37-38 with highway/city average. I don't even look at the computer. I just figure it on my own. I only have 1,300 miles on my touring skyactiv but I feel like it is living up to what was advertised. I think 39-40 is what is said it should get. I never heard of the 43mpg.
  • mtaylor301mtaylor301 Posts: 2
    Hey guys, this is my first post on this forum, but I've been following along for a few months to get an idea on what to expect with my new Mazda before I bought it. I just bought the 2012 Mazda 3 i Touring Skyactiv Hatchback with the Manual Transmission in Sky Blue about two weeks ago.

    I had my first fill up yesterday after having driven 328.5 miles on the first tank which averages to 22.6 mpg assuming the gas was topped off at 14.5 gallons. I'm know my mileage will get progressively better since I'm actually learning to drive stick on this car and my shifts probably aren't the most fuel efficient. Your probably wondering why I bothered getting manual not knowing how to drive one; my main reason is because I've been wanting to learn since I started driving 6 years ago(Mazda's new skyactiv transmission seemed liked a good opportunity for me to learn on) and I've been riding dirt bikes for a few years so shifting gears isn't entirely foreign to me. I know the car is still breaking in as well with under 500 miles on it so I'm sure over time that might help with the fuel economy. To be fair though my miles I've driven have been about 90% city/10% highway driving so I'll be aiming for at least the 27mpg that this cars EPA shows it should be getting in the city.

    With more practice driving stick and possibly a little less spirited driving I can hopefully achieve that goal of 27+ mpg in the near future.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    You are probably used to shifting at pretty high rpm's on a dirt bike. Shifting at fairly low rpm's will help with mpg. You'll get used to the torque curve and figure it out.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    You really can tell very little from one fill up. I'm sure after 4-5 fill ups and getting used to driving the manual your avg mpg will go up and the number of fills averaged out will give you a lot better picture of where you're at mpg wise. Good luck and congrats on the new car.
  • mtaylor301mtaylor301 Posts: 2
    Thanks, yeah I'm not too worried about the mpg for this car. Like you said only time will tell, I thought I'd just put in my 2 cents on my mpg thus far, but I'll continue to keep track of my mileage from here on out and send in updates.
  • chickraechickrae Posts: 44
    Just making a note. I got 470 miles on my second tank of gas. Said I had 60 more miles left, but I filled up when the gas light came on. I can't believe I got so many miles on one tank. Of course I was used to a mustang and a montero that eats gas like crazy. Getting ready to go on another short trip. Will post mpg when I get back.
  • Great mileage, and my best was in flat Illinois, but it was better than yours (and in a 2007 MS3). I got a bit over 37 mpg round tip over 360 miles. Now, I was hyper-miling it for all that I could, but it did achieve the 37 mpg.
  • whobodymwhobodym Posts: 151
    In the vein of fuel economy experimentation, more than driving on real roads, I've calibrated my trip computer results with actual road mileposts, and actual gallons purchased, and then done constant-speed cruise-control, no-stopping (well, 1 quick stop sign at the turn around) 15-mile loops on an empty stretch of interstate outside my hometown. This essentially cancels out elevation change and wind. At 45mph, the slowest I dared go, in 6th gear, my 2010 MZ3s GT 6MT gets 44mpg. (and at 70mph in 4th, 23mpg, among other datapoints)
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,019
    Last month my 104,000 mile 2007 MS3 covered 1,769 miles.
    Best tank: 29.8
    Worst tank: 24.8
    Average for May: 28.4

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

  • k2qk2q Posts: 2
    I replaced my 2007 Mazda 3 sedan with a 2012 Mazda 3 hatchback with manual transmission a couple months ago. With my 2007 Mazda 3, I would routinely achieve 36-37 mpg during late spring and summer months so I figured I should be able to beat the sticker highway rating with my new car by around 2 mpg or so in similar driving. Here are my first four fill-ups:

    Miles driven: 412 Gallons: 11.10 MPG 37.1
    Miles driven: 511 Gallons: 13.14 MPG 38.9
    Miles driven: 463 Gallons: 12.04 MPG 38.5
    Miles driven: 436 Gallons: 10.73 MPG 40.6

    My last fill-up was the first that really met expectations, but a lot of that seems to be driven by an unusual number of accidents the past couple of months during the commute causing more stop-and-go driving than usual. I would describe my driving style as extremely light-footed on acceleration and the mileage mix would roughly equate to about 75/25 highway.

    I have yet to do a long road trip. However, based on trip computer ratings (which seem to be optimistic by 0.5 to 1.0 mpg on average), this car should easily be able to get 45 mpg in 65 mph driving with little traffic. At the end of the day, I'm happy Mazda finally came out with the hatchback in the base engine and that I'm able to beat the mileage I was getting with the sedan.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    edited June 2012
    The total of your four fillups amounts to 47.01 gallons to drive 1,822 miles primarily in the city or an average of 38.76 mpg. Excellent!
  • k2qk2q Posts: 2
    Sorry - to clarify, my 75/25 split was meant to be read as 75% highway. I should have made that a little clearer.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    That's still a very, very good avg.
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