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Mazda3 2.3 vs. '07 VW Rabbit

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Comments

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    So I am wondering, why can a 3200 pound BMW with a 193 hp I6 and a stick shift get mid-30s on the highway and mid-20s in town, while these newer, lighter cars with much smaller engines can't make those numbers? Or why does a 3200 pound mid-sized sedan with a 175 hp I4 get better fuel economy than these smaller, lighter, less powerful cars? :confuse:
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Are you comparing your actual mileage with EPA figures? If so, that is not a good way to do a comparison. You can compare EPA figues, CR figures, or your own figures, but mixing and matching is meaningless. Your BMW may be rated something like 18/26 by EPA (and uses premium).

    While your BMW is a 6 cyl, isn't it just a 2.5? If so the HP and displacement is not much different from many 4 cylinders today (or VW's 5 cyl).

    In particular, here we are talking about the 2.5L 170 HP VW 5cyl and a car that weighs about 3100 pounds in the case of the Rabbit. The Mazda3 2.3 uses the same 2.3 engine that last year's Mazda6 used, though weight is a couple hundred pounds less than the 6 was.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    The BMW is a 2.8L, and the FE numbers were from real world experience, as were the numbers discussed earlier in this thread for the Mazda3 and Rabbit.

    The number for the mid-sized car I mentioned, a 2009 Sonata, were EPA, since I don't have my own real-world numbers on that car. They are 22 city, 32 highway--better than the much smaller Mazda3 and Rabbit even though the Sonata is heavier and more powerful. Other mid-sized cars, e.g. the Malibu and Accord, also get better EPA FE than these two small cars.

    Anyway, that's not the topic here, but I thought I'd mention some other data in support of the earlier post that these two small cars should get better fuel economy.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    So I am wondering, why can a 3200 pound BMW with a 193 hp I6 and a stick shift get mid-30s on the highway and mid-20s in town, while these newer, lighter cars with much smaller engines can't make those numbers?

    A lot depends on the power / torque curve and transmission gearing. Mazda and Volkswagen engines tend to be torquey and have great low end power. That kills city fuel economy. I know Mazda's are geared very high, even in top gear, which hinders highway FE. I'm not sure about VW's.

    Why do you think Honda 4 bangers do so well in FE tests? They have no torque, and the their power band is near the top of the RPM range (that's VTEC for you). They are also have a low top gear. They are built to excel in EPA tests, however, when you get on them, like in performance tests, they usually get beat in the FE category because they are driven to get all the power they can out of them just to keep up with the others in those tests.

    I've never seen the 2.8L I6 power / torque curve from the BMW, but I'm almost certain that there is not much low end power. Their gearing is also low in top gear.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    The BMW 2.8L was evolved from the 2.5L since 1996 w/ nearly the same peak hp but more low end & mpg, even by EPA!

    EPA like to shift manual transmission at certain mph's regardless of gearing. So if you are smart enough, then you will shift as early as possible w/o lugging the engine. That way, you do get better mpg w/ fat-torque engines. Because, under the same output level, engines w/ low-end bias setting involve less total travel friction b/t the piston ring & the cylinder sidewall.

    Engines are most efficient when there is about 0.5 liter per cylinder. Balance shafts also waste fuel. So don't get the 4-cyl Mazda w/ more than 2.0 if you want "the best fuel economy", which was exactly what CR said about the 2.0 Mazda3!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    I've never seen the 2.8L I6 power / torque curve from the BMW, but I'm almost certain that there is not much low end power.

    FYI the numbers for the 2000 328 are 193 hp and 206 lb.-ft. at 3500 rpm. That seems like pretty decent low end power to me, by the numbers and from driving experience. That compares to 156 hp and 150 lb.-ft. at 4500 rpm for the 2.3L engine in the Mazda3, and 150 hp (170 for 2008+) and 170 lb.-ft. at 3750 (177 @ 4250 for 2008+) rpm for the Rabbit. So I'd say the Rabbit has excellent torque for its size, but the Mazda3 is OK but not great there. Not great enough to excuse the relatively low fuel economy, IMO.

    Also, I think you meant the Mazda3 is geared very low and the 328 geared high, not the converse, right? I am assuming you were trying to say that the rpms of the Mazda3 are relatively high at higher speeds and those of the 328 are relatively low. Actually, the top-end gearing on the 328 is pretty low, and the engine spins at higher revs than, for example, my 2.0L Elantra, and any other car with an engine of similar size that I have driven.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Mazda's, as well as other makes, usually far exceed their EPA estimates. Why, I have no idea. Most 2.0L Mazda3 owners report mid to high 30's on the highway, and usually an average of 30mpg. The 2.3L owners tend to get 32-33 highway, and mid 20's in town. Both real world MPG's are in excess of the EPA estimates.

    "Not great enough to excuse the relatively low fuel economy, IMO."

    Maybe so, but, that seems to be the truth. Is there more to it? Probably. Lack of technology could be it too. The new 2.5L seems to be much much better with owners reporting 30+ on the highway with ease.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Mazda's, as well as other makes, usually far exceed their EPA estimates.

    When driven reasonably, yes, I agree. But I know, and you also know if you've followed forums like the "real world fuel economy" discussions here at Edmunds.com, that it is possible and even common to not reach the EPA estimates. For example, I routinely exceed the EPA estimates on any car I drive, but my wife has the proverbial lead foot and doesn't hit the EPA numbers.

    Which Mazda3 is the 2.5L engine available with?
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The 2.5L was in reference to the 09 Mazda6....I should have clarified....My first few highway trips in the 09 6 got 32mpg on the first, and 33.4 on the second. Doing 70 on both with the a/c on.

    2010 Mazda3 will have the new and improved 2.0L with the rumored start-stop system and more power. It will also have the 170hp 2.5L.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I also doubt the clumsy heavy bulky '03 Accord w/ huge turning circle really rides smoother than the Rabbit.

    Dunno about comparing the ride, but for a midsize car, the previous generation Accord has a tidy turning radius, at 36.9 ft, versus the compact Rabbit with 35.8 ft. Considering the class of car, I don't think the Accord's radius is "huge," unless you consider the compact Vee-Dub's radius as "huge" also. :)

    Yeah, I know its an old post, but I read it and couldn't help myself. :shades:
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Agree, they both got huge turning radius. The '03 Passat does have relatively small turning radius, by comparison. :)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Well, to be fair here, the only info I found on the 2003 Passat (1.8L) shows a turning radius of 11400mm, or 37.4 feet - the biggest of them all! :D
  • It may be a small car, but it has the biggest engine in class with the most cylinders as well. Coupled with the weight of the car, this is just fine. Volkswagen does have four cylinder petrols in Europe that can get near 40mpg and diesels that can get near 50 mpg. Their Polo Bluemotion has attained something like 75 mpg.

    The Mazda3 IS noisy. Check out Car&Driver's website if you don't believe. It just doesn't feel as solid as the Volkswagen does. What I stated does in no way go against what most of the auto rags have published.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    The Mazda3 IS noisy.
    In my opinion, many car magazines tend not to be systematic in their testing so I rely on Consumer Reports.

    As it turns out CR agrees with you about the Mazda3, i.e. "road noise is pronounced." Inerestingly Tony Swan, one of the Car and Driver reviewers found the Mazda3 "quiet". When I tested the Mazda3 earlier this fall I did not find the noise excessive.

    Regarding the Rabbit, CR says in the June 2008 issue: "Some road noise is persistent over most surfaces, and the engine can sound gruff when it is revved up, but overall the Rabbit is fairly quiet." I guess I'll have to drive a Rabbit and find out myself.
  • My wife and I have been trying to find a new car for her and we test drove a few cars including the Mazda3 and the VW Rabbit....

    The Mazda 3 was nice but betwen the two of us we both thought the Rabbit was better by far....The interior of the rabbit is outstanding...You can tell a difference just by closing the door...

    The Rabbit = Better interior, fit and finish, less road noise, less wind noise, much stronger engine, better sound system, absorbs bumps more smoothly, similar handling and braking, very solid feel when driving yet very smooth...Traction control, and electronic stability programming ect ect...

    The Mazda3 is nice and both of us thought it was better than the rest of the small cars but we liked the Rabbit better...But it is about $1,500 to $2000 more for us....

    Don't think you would go wrong with the Mazda3 at all...It's nice too we just liked the Rabbit better.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    ...but I bought the Mazda3. Why? Simple, around here at least, finding a black Rabbit with a manual transmission is more difficult than finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. After being asked for the umpteenth time, "Could we interest you in a Rabbit with an automatic transmission?" I went over to my local Mazda dealership and found a Mazda3 i Touring Value Edition that was similarly equipped to the way I'd set the Rabbit up, and for less money too.

    Had a Rabbit 5-Speed been available, I would have bought it over the Mazda3, that said, am I sad that I bought the Mazda? Nope, it's a fine little car. ;-)

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,781
    Funny thing; I started looking at the GTI after Automobile, C/D, and R&T printed such glowing reviews- I was also tired of waiting for a nice CPO M3 or 330i ZHP to turn up. Like you, the VW dealers in Louisville were only interested in selling me what they already had on the lot. The sales guy even acted like special ordering a GTI was just about impossible. My research on the GTI led me to the MS3. That said, the Louisville Mazda dealers also suck, but fortunately I found a great dealer(Kings Mazda) in Cincinnati. Am I sad I bought the Mazda? Well, I wasn't for about nine months- that's when drop-dead gorgeous Sterling Gray/Imola Red 2004 M3 popped up at CPO showroom... :cry: :sick: :cry: :sick: :cry:
    Regardless, the MS3 is a nice car.

    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
    Funny thing, there are a few changes afoot in the Shipo household, and if one particular scenario pans out, we'll be needing a third car. Mrs. Shipo likes driving the Mazda3 i 5-Speed so much she's already decided that its her "new" car; as such, I'm poking around for a good deal on one of the few remaining MKV GTIs. :shades:

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • ahightowerahightower TXPosts: 508
    I know the feeling. I really try to keep myself from browsing after I've made a purchase. Not that I have any regrets, but I can't stop wondering what if. I second guessed myself on passing over a really nice used 2003 Acura TL Type S, of all things, for months after I bought my '08 3i touring. Not something you'd expect to cross shop, but it was a really great car and a good deal. Gorgeous deep blue color, excellent condition. As gas prices went up, I felt affirmed. As they dropped, I felt remorse again :D . Then I tell myself, no, I really really love the manual transmission, wouldn't want an automatic even if it was hooked up to 270 hp. Plus the Mazda was cheaper, and the grocery bill keeps going up. Then I have to give the kids a ride somewhere and kick myself for having such a small back seat. And that's only one of many things I didn't buy. I love window shopping, and test driving, and getting something new, but the downside is the constant second guessing. I can't even quit thinking about the other COLORS of the same car! I love galaxy grey mica, but gosh darn that copper color is nice, or maybe the light blue. But that had tan interior, and I definitely wanted black. Right?... Right. Okay, no more looking. I want what I have, serenity now!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,781
    I love window shopping, and test driving, and getting something new, but the downside is the constant second guessing. I can't even quit thinking about the other COLORS of the same car! I love galaxy grey mica, but gosh darn that copper color is nice, or maybe the light blue. But that had tan interior, and I definitely wanted black. Right?... Right.

    I think we were separated at birth... :P

    Okay, no more looking. I want what I have, serenity now!

    Ley me know if that works out. ;)

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

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,781
    I'm poking around for a good deal on one of the few remaining MKV GTIs.

    Good for you! :)
    I always say that you can never have too many entertaining cars... ;)

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

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