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2012 Mazda3

backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
I was surprised there was no discussion yet for the 2012 Mazda3, which has a new engine option: the 2.0L Skyactiv that gets up to 40 mpg in the Mazda3. Unfortunately, that engine is available only on the mid-line trims. But it makes the Mazda3 competitive in fuel economy with the latest compacts e.g. Civic, Cruze, Elantra, and Focus.

Anyone drive the new Skyactiv Mazda3 yet?
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Comments

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I drove the Skyactiv Mazda3 today. Our store received 9 overnight. We ended up selling 4 throughout the day.

    As far as handling, steering, braking and overall driving dynamics, it was a typical Mazda3....excellent.

    The new Skyactiv 2.0L engine does feel different. It is supper quiet at idle, and when driving it is very smooth, never raspy. Power delivery is best in mid-range and excellent on the highway. The transmission is very different. It shifts much better than the old 5-speed mill. A better direct, more precise feel is the best way to describe it.

    In all, it felt extremely refined. Power is plentyful and according to the first few reviews, the 40mpg highway is underrated and getting over 30 in all types of driving is for real.

    Backy, the Skyactiv is available in all trims except the " i Sport", which lists at $18,450 for an automatic transmission and the Skyactiv "i Touring" is $20,095 with the A/T. The Mazda3 i SV that Mazda advertises is not avaible to purchase unless you are given authorization by the factory to even order one. It's just used as a price leader and is really a mythical car. I sell hundreds of Mazda3's a year, and we have never had an opportunity to order a Mazda3 i SV. I really do not agree with Mazda for even offering the car since you really can't buy one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    When I go to mazdausa.com and list the specs on the 2012 Mazda3, I see 5 trim levels (for sedan; 3 for hatch not including MazdaSpeed3). It shows the Skyactiv available with 2 of those trim levels: the i Touring and i Grand Touring. Is that an error?

    Would be nice if the Skyactiv were dropped into the i Sport at least.

    Advertising a car that cannot be purchased is pretty lame.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    edited October 2011
    backy-

    Here are the trim levels you can actually buy:

    Sedan:
    Mazda3 i Sport: MZR 2.0
    Mazda3 i Touring: SKYACTIV-G 2.0
    Mazda3 i Grand Touring: SKYACTIV-G 2.0
    Mazda3 s Touring: MZR 2.5
    Mazda3 s Grand Touring: MZR 2.5

    5-door hatchback
    Mazda3 i Touring: SKYACTIV-G 2.0
    Mazda3 i Grand Touring: SKYACTIV-G 2.0
    Mazda3 s Touring: MZR 2.5
    Mazda3 s Grand Touring: MZR 2.5
    Mazdaspeed3: MZR DISI 2.3L Turbo

    The Mazda3 i and s Touring and Grand Touring have virtually the same features.

    Mazda has told us that the SKYACTIV 2.0 will be the volume seller, by far. Most future allocations will be for the SKYACTIV engine with a small amount for the MZR 2.0 and 2.5.

    I think for 2013 the MZR 2.0 will be discontinued and replaced with the SKYACTIV 2.0 while the MZR 2.5 will still be available, unless we see a SKYACTIV 2.5, which is supposed to be in the cards for the future at some point. Believe it or not, there is still a pretty big demand for 2.5L equipped Mazda3's. That may change now that there is a more potent and fuel efficient 2.0L, but, we shall see.

    I agree with the i SV being lame. Again, I have never seen one. Mazda is not the first to offer this type of car, but I still don't think it is right.

    We have seen some pretty big interest so far. Mazda has done a pretty good job of getting their name out there for the 40mpg club and promoting their technology. It's always exciting when something new and desirable comes out. In the end, it's the customers who win. In this very fast paced evolving market, it can make car buying fun for everyone.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited October 2011
    My big complaint is that I want a fully tarted up car which also gets good gas mileage; something you cannot achieve with the Mazda3 here in the States. If one wants the SkyActiv-G engine and/or any of the following options, sorry, they're going to be out of luck:
    - 17" wheels (versus the 16" wheels of the SkyActiv models)
    - 11.8"/11.0" Front/Rear brake rotors (versus the 10.9"/10.4" for the SkyActiv models)
    - 15.9 gallon fuel tank (versus 14.5 for the SkyActiv models)
    - Fog Lights
    - Dual power side mirrors with integrated turn signal
    - Dual-zone automatic climate control
    - Keyless entry with push-button start
    - Sliding center console armrest

    For my part, the 17" wheel/tire combination, the larger brakes (the 10.9" setup on my 2009 Mazda3 have already proven to be unable to generate more clamping force than a high quality set of tires have grip), the Climate Control, and the Keyless entry systems are mandatory on my next car (assuming it's a Mazda3), however, there's no way I'll accept an "s" model with the inefficient 2.5 liter motor.

    My only hope is that Mazda comes to its senses and allows a fully optioned Mazda3 with the SkyActiv-D to be added to the configuration mix. Yeah, now we're talking, a Mazda3 s GT with a SkyActiv-D and a 6-Speed manual transmission. :)

    Edit:
    I just tried to configure up a Mazda3 i GT 5-Door with a 6-Speed manual transmission, and I failed. Why? Because the SkyActiv GT models can only be had with an automatic transmission. Epic fail on Mazda's part. The Mazda3 SkyActiv has just been removed from further consideration as the replacement for my 2009 Mazda3.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    edited October 2011
    Are you really getting in a fuss over the size of the rotors? Really?

    Fog lights and a sliding arm rest are available on the SKYACTIV equipped models. They do also have power mirrors. Who else makes a 40mpg car with dual climate control that is affordable? I think the Focus does in the Titanium model, but that is $27K and it only gets 37mpg.

    Remember, the cost has to be kept low. Many competitors have their 40mpg equipped vehicles priced at or below $20K.

    Granted, these items are on your wish list, but, this is just the first implementation of their new technology. It may be available in the future. I think you are jumping the gun on your observation. If this were any other manufacturer, I bet you would be applauding them with what is offered.

    BTW, rumor has it the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 is coming to the Mazda3......I sure hope that is true! 170hp 310ft-lbs of torque, now we're talkin'! :shades:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Are you really getting in a fuss over the size of the rotors? Really?"

    All it takes is one incident for them to prove useful, and unfortunately I've already had such an incident. On a dark night in mid September an older driver pulled out literally right in front of me on a narrow winding two-lane road; he pulled out from behind some heavy foliage in his black car and I didn't see him until I saw the taillights. As there was on-coming traffic and a nasty drop-off into a ditch on the right side of the road, my only option was to drop anchor. When I did, the brakes of my Mazda3 i didn't have enough grab to reach the point of incipient lock-up (i.e. when the ABS starts kicking in); BANG! Right smack into his rear bumper. The hit wasn't hard enough to do much damage (my car broke a few alignment clips under the bumper, squished the license plate holder and bent the plate), but had I had the larger brakes, I'm quite sure I would never have hit him at all.

    As of this point our insurance companies are arguing about the responsibility for the repairs to the two cars; there is no question he failed to yield right-of-way, but it is my word against his and as such, it can go either way. I would much rather have avoided the situation entirely, and it is my assertion that the larger brakes would have done the job.

    "Fog lights and a sliding arm rest are available on the SKYACTIV equipped models."

    Per the Mazda USA web site, the Fog Lights are not available from the factory but they are a dealer installed item. The Sliding Armrest isn't available at all.

    "They do also have power mirrors."

    I never said Power Mirrors weren't available, what I said was:
    - Dual power side mirrors with integrated turn signal

    Who else makes a 40mpg car with dual climate control that is affordable? I think the Focus does in the Titanium model, but that is $27K and it only gets 37mpg.

    Remember, the cost has to be kept low. Many competitors have their 40mpg equipped vehicles priced at or below $20K.


    That's not the issue here, what Mazda has clearly indicated (prior to this point in time) is that the Mazda3 GT would be available with the SkyActiv engine; they never said there would be limitations on the options for the SkyActiv models. Then there's the idiotic requirement to buy an automatic transmission if you want the "i GT" models; what brain trust decided that the "s GT" models could have a stick but buyers wanting hugely better fuel economy than offered by the grossly inefficient 2.5 liter motor would have to drive an emasculated car?

    Keep in mind, all Mazda had to do was to offer the exact same options for the two GT models, just different engines; hell, I wouldn't even care if the two were the same price, just give me the option of a fully loaded "s GT" with a SkyActive engine and a manual transmission.

    Car shopping for my wife’s next car started this afternoon, and it is quite certain there will not be any visits to a Mazda dealer near us.

    Regarding the SkyActiv-D version of the Mazda3; I’ll be car shopping right about then, and if Mazda decides to imbue the car with that sweet diesel they're currently developing, along with a 6-Speed manual and the full option package of the Mazda3 s GT, I’ll take a very good hard look. If not, then the new BMW F30 320d will most likely get my money.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    All it takes is one incident for them to prove useful, and unfortunately I've already had such an incident

    Well, I will never complain when it comes to safety, but the Mazda3 has one of the best braking systems around and their accident avoidence ability is fantastic. Your incodent was very unfortunate, I hope everyone involved was OK. But, I don't think margionally larger rotors would help this situation. Unfortunately, we will never know.

    Per the Mazda USA web site, the Fog Lights are not available from the factory but they are a dealer installed item. The Sliding Armrest isn't available at all.

    The Mazda3 i GT has a sliding arm rest, standard. There is on on my showroom floor. My point was you can get fog's on a SKYACTIV Mazda3.

    I understand your wish for the extra features, and I really can't blame you for that. Perhaps if they offered a "tech package for those who wanted those features, it would have been a better way to go. What do you think?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Well, I will never complain when it comes to safety, but the Mazda3 has one of the best braking systems around and their accident avoidence ability is fantastic. Your incodent was very unfortunate, I hope everyone involved was OK. But, I don't think margionally larger rotors would help this situation. Unfortunately, we will never know."

    I've owned and driven lots of cars, and while the brakes on my Mazda3 i are decent, they are far from "one of the best around" (unless all you are comparing them to is lesser U.S. and Asian economy cars). As for the rotors of the "s" models being "marginally larger", by my math they are significantly larger in that the swept area of the "s" model cars is a whopping 104.52 square inches larger than the "i" models. That and the larger the diameter of the rotor, the more "Arm" (which translates to greater torque for any given amount of friction) the better the stopping power even if the swept area was the same.

    Slice it and dice it any way you want, the brakes of the "s" model cars can apply a whole order of magnitude greater stopping power to the car when compared to the brakes of the "i" models.

    In the case of my accident, it was such a near-run thing between hitting the guy who pulled out right in front of me, and not hitting him at all, and given that the tires had yet to approach their limit of friction, there is no question in my mind the larger brakes of the "s" models would have allowed me to avoid the accident.

    FWIW, I'm toying with the idea of replacing the brackets, calipers, pads and rotors on my car with the complete Mazda3 s configuration. Apparently it is a fairly common modification for the Mazda3 i models.

    "The Mazda3 i GT has a sliding arm rest, standard. There is on on my showroom floor."

    Good to know; I wonder why the blatent disconnect between what you're seeing on the floor and the official specs of the car.

    "I understand your wish for the extra features, and I really can't blame you for that. Perhaps if they offered a "tech package for those who wanted those features, it would have been a better way to go. What do you think?"

    I suppose that would work as well. My question is, "Why bother?" I'm thinking it would just be easier from a manufacturing and supply chain perspective to simply offer the two different engines and their two respective transmissions as options for the "s" models and leave everything else the same.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Mazda may be worried about competing with the upcoming CX-5 (Which we don't have a forum for yet either). Not having automatic climate control is sort of a deal breaker for me. I'm tired of manually adjusting climate settings.

    I miss my old Mazda3 but so far I'm waiting to see how the CX-5 will stack up. That grin is a lot uglier than my old 04 that I miss so much (despite the 2.3L throwing a rod on me and having to unload it).
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'm in the same boat, I want to spend my time driving my car and shifting my gears not fiddling about with wiper and HVAC controls. Fortunately enough for me, there is still a chance the 2013 Mazda3 with the SkyActiv-D engine will feature the full allocation of options as well as a manual transmission. If the car falls short then I'll move back into the BMW camp and buy the new F30 320d with a 6-Speed manual. :shades:
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I have my eyes on the CX_5 as well. It will most likley be my next car. We will see what's in store for the U.S. at the LA Auto Show in November.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Wish they'd announce it at SEMA. I"ll actually be AT SEMA...
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,683
    http://www.windingroad.com/articles/reviews/driven-2012-mazda3-skyactiv/

    ....In the manual transmission, Skyactiv means less weight, less effort, and a shorter throw. Friction has been reduced quite a bit to make up for the loss of leverage of the shorter shift lever, and the result is a quick-shifting, super-smooth, very precise, and fast manual gearbox, as we’d find out on the curvy mountain roads outside of LA. In fact, according to Mazda, it features the shortest, and nearly the lightest, throw of any passenger car with a back seat.

    For the automatic transmission, the goal was essentially twofold: more efficiency and less intrusive operation. Starting with a clean slate, Mazda looked at the pros and cons of the various transmissions available. “CVTs were pretty easy to rule out,” said Product Development Engineer Dave Coleman, a true car guy (and car geek) as far as we’re concerned. That left the traditional torque converter or a dual-clutch transmission. Rather than sacrifice efficiency and smoothness for low-speed prowess, Mazda combined the two ideas. The result is the best of both worlds, distilled by Mazda engineers into a simple, light, efficient autobox that shifts quickly and smoothly, and still makes it easy to drive at low speeds and launch relatively quickly from a standstill. (Again, Miersma’s previous Skyactiv article gives more details on the basic brilliance of this new approach to changing gears.)

    Mazda tweaked other areas of the 3’s design and engineering to make the new Skyactiv model a complete and holistically ideal car in the eyes of this team. Aiming for driving dynamics (and efficiency) to match those of the new engine and transmissions, the Skyactiv features a stronger, more rigid structure, with more weld points, increased thickness in parts of the frame, a more rigid front crossmember, and added brace bar. Aerodynamics have been improved, giving the four-door a 0.27 coefficient of drag (the same as a Nissan GT-R), with a 0.29 drag coefficient for the five-door. The Mazda3 has updated steering and suspension, improving handling and shedding weight. Inside, the cabin uses a new cloth material, which we found much more pleasing both to the touch and to the eye. In front of us were black backgrounds and a silver finish on a lot of the controls, which not only look better, but are easier to spot and use without taking your eyes of the road. Complaints about a rental-car feeling inside the car are no longer valid.

    But all these words, all this technology, and these ideas mean very little on a practical (or, for the enthusiast, spiritual) level until one gets behind the wheel of the car, which we soon did. In our entry-level, manual-transmission-equipped Mazda3 Skyactiv, we headed into the hills.

    When stepping on the gas, the 2.0-liter engine pushes the car smoothly and directly from the line. Acceleration isn’t very fast, but it comes on smooth and easy, and doesn’t feel like there are notable weak points in the rev range. The engine isn’t very loud, but it sounds good; it gives off a manly growl as it pushes toward the redline, and doesn’t ever sound buzzy or wheezy. There is a bit of road noise from the tires, but the suspension doesn’t transmit a lot of sound, and wind noise is kept in check.

    When it comes time to shift, the clutch offers a low-effort feel, and gives a good sense of what is going on underfoot, making smooth transitions from gear to gear an easy operation. The best part of the shift experience, though, comes from the right hand. The gear lever slides into place very smoothly, with a palpable settling into the gear. The throw really is remarkably short, and very light, which, as one would guess, makes it very fast. Between that feeling and that of the leftmost pedal, it really is a treat flicking through all the cogs. It’s an experience that we can honestly say rivals that of the MX-5 in terms of sporty, heroic feel.

    We’re not even disappointed that the Mazda3 isn’t really fast (acceleratively). Getting through the gears up to a thrilling speed is fun and involving. Even better, in true Mazda fashion, a lot of the excitement comes from carrying speed through the corners. On the variably curvaceous Angeles Crest Highway, we found ourselves dispatching corners with greater speed than we would have though possible. Despite the very light steering feel, our confidence was high as we threw the steering wheel, and resultantly the car, from side to side, easily avoiding a flight off the side of the road into the canyon far below. While easy to hold a smooth, precise line, the Mazda3 also responded well to mid-corner corrections and fast steering inputs. Thankfully, the brakes felt great too, offering progressive and appropriate response when we needed it. Overall, we had a good sense of what was going on at the wheels and the load on the suspension (especially in front) as we braked, turned, and accelerated (repeat, repeat, repeat).

    Grip levels were very good, and we had no problems with traction as we piled on the lateral g-forces. The car also felt very balanced between the front and the rear, and we really had to push the 3 in some funny ways to get it to exhibit understeer. Roll was kept in check very well, and the suspension did a good job of communicating grip levels and road surface. Tuned a bit more toward sportiness than outright comfort, as far as we could tell, it was clear we were driving a true, practical driver’s car.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    If it just had automatic climate control on the SkyActive I might bypass the CX-5. Then again, the CX-5 is better looking, and I just do NOT get why the SkyActiv isn't available in Velocity Red Mica? Just black, white and blue? Police cruisers maybe? I refuse to consider a shade of grey on a Mazda, it's just not right. :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    Yeah, I did a double-take when I saw the color palette for the Skyactiv Mazda3. BORRRRRR-ing. Gotta have red available on that car.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    While agree there should be Velocity Red offered, or some sort of red, it has been around since 2004 and has not really been a big sales success, on the Mazda3 anyway...

    Mazda has a tricky delima....they want to appeal to those who are driving enthusiast but it is not good business practice to offer items to those that will only appeal to a very, very select few.

    Unfortunately, every other manufacturer gets a pass on this, but Mazda gets blasted. It is something they have delt with for a while.

    On a side note, the Sky Blue is an awesome color! At least they got that right!
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    They're offering it on the S models. No reason to not offer it on the SkyActiv models as well.

    If I buy one I want my own paint booth and an unlimited supply of Velocity Red Mica paint.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    edited October 2011
    It is offered, but no dealers order it because it does not sell. Out of the 50 Mazda3's I have in inventory, I have one Mazdaspeed3 in Velocity Red and one 5-door s Grand Touring in Velocity Red.

    I love the color, but it appears the majority of consumers do not feel the same way.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Well, having blue as the only color of note isn't a good thing either you know. How about a green or an orange or something?

    Honestly, three shades of grey is overkill. Keep the graphite and dump the rest. Get a forest green in or something. And a beige. Three shades of grey but no beige? :)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,859
    Hard to say. People get really picky about colors and it wouldn't surprise me if three shades of gray might sell more cars than one gray and a green. Color names can play a big part too. Some people might looks at a charcoal and say, "That doesn't look like charcoal to ME" even though they might like the actual color.

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  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The Dolphin Gray, Graphite and Liquid silver are all very different. The Graphite is the only real "gray" color. The others are silver and Dolphin Gray looks more like a sea foam.

    Mazda has never done well with tans or golds or forest greens. Those colors are for Toyota and Subaru.

    Indigo Lights is a new color as is the Dolphin Gray along with Sky Blue.

    Buyers prefer white, silver, black and gray the most. The others are spot sellers. Always have been, always will be.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I dunno, just doesn't seem right to not have a red available. I mean, the Graphite looks pretty decent at least, if I could force myself into ANOTHER grey car but... *shudder* sea foam? Foamy zoom zoom? Sorry but silver looks grey to me, just a light grey. Other than one beige car and my previous Velocity Red can of zoom-zoom, every car I've ever owned was grey...66% of them.

    Kind of hard to tell without actual color chips (and yes I am waiting for a brochure) but on my screen that Dolphin gray looked about 98% grey and 2% green.

    I like Indigo Lights, but the Graphite actually seems to hide/camouflage the grin a little better.

    Still seems like a little bit of a blah color pallette, especially with the red still available on the S models. Still, if they aren't selling I guess I can't blame them. I just hope if they are phasing it out they replace it with another color with some pop...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    Unfortunately, every other manufacturer gets a pass on this, but Mazda gets blasted.

    Every other manufacturer offers something other than white, silver, gray, or blue. Like... red.

    For example, have you seen the Desert Bronze on the Elantra? I think that's a very sharp color. Oh... they offer red also. That looks good also IMO.

    And GM (and others) offer a gorgeous medium red metallic on their cars, including the Cruze. Oh yes... Ford offers red also. Just about everyone offers red. Even a niche player like Subaru offers red. Heck, they offer TWO reds on the Impreza.

    I didn't think Mazda was trying to cater to the masses but to people who like a little excitement in their driving. How about catering to those who like a little excitement in the color of their cars?
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Not to mention the fact that we expect better of Mazda than we do GM, Hyundai, Ford, and Subaru. :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    Yes... I used to. Looks like Mazda has done some needed catching-up with the Skyactiv. Just need to catch up in the Paint dept.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Yes... I used to. Looks like Mazda has done some needed catching-up with the Skyactiv. Just need to catch up in the Paint dept."

    To that I'd add that they need to expand how one can configure a car with the SkyActive engine, doubly so if you want to drive that slick new manual gearbox they spent so much money developing. Think about it, there is one 4-Door and one 5-Door trim which offers the SkyActive engine and manual transmission combination; pretty grim.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    At least they OFFER a manual!

    Fortunately I don't need/want many gizmos on a car, so the trims with stick will be sufficient. Just need to find one of the boring colors I could live with...
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I on the other hand absolutely need gadgets and gizmos. I spend at least 2 hours a day in my car and I need to enjoy it. Some of that time is while stuck in traffic. Stuff like Sirius/XM, auto climate control, and a USB port or other way to play my MP3s on the sound system are pretty important.
  • It's true. I don't care if it's yet another gray. I think many people who see a 3 in that color in person will end up driving one home.

    Ironically, I probably could have talked my dealer into locating a red car when I bought my new s 5door.

    But my problem is that sometimes I drive the s like it's an s. :p

    No red for me. Nope, I need camouflage. Liquid silver it is.
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