Considering a new Mazda3

elfrocampeadorelfrocampeador Member Posts: 5
edited May 2014 in Mazda

Hi all, not really a car person so I figured I'd ask people who probably know better! I've decided its finally time to replace my 2000 Ford Focus as its maintenance is just not worth it anymore. After doing some research, my favorite of the small cars on the market is the 2014 Mazda3 (probably i Grand Touring if it is suitable and I still like it after taking a road test), but I've got one major concern. I'm 6'3" tall, and while I was happy to find that I fit quite comfortably sitting in one (much more comfortable than my old focus somehow, despite the focus having bigger measurements) I'm concerned that I might not have enough leftover headroom for safety. I don't know for certain (as I didn't measure) but I seemed to have ~1.5-2 inches of headroom leftover with the sunroof.

  • Does anyone know if that is safe enough?
  • Or am I silly to be focusing on small cars at my height?

In a car without the sunroof I had a good 0.5-1 inch more headroom, though going down to the i Touring trim eliminates the nicer, heated seats which I hear are very nice (particularly in a cold northeastern winter), but going up to the s Touring adds paddle shifters which I would probably never use (I drive automatic) and 18" wheels which as I understand have a negative (though not huge) impact on ride comfort.

I'm a fairly conservative driver, and mostly drive to/from work and to visit people, basically any new car is a vast improvement performance wise over my focus, so I don't really care too much about sportyness (though the Mazda3 is really good looking, and hopefully would make driving feel like less of a chore). If I should be focusing on some other car, please let me know (I've mostly based my preference for the Mazda on reviews -- its seems to be widely considered to be the best or second best compact around -- its relatively good price, exceptional gas mileage, and top safety ratings overall).

Sorry for writing so much! I've never bought a new car before, and I'm rather nervous.


  • elfrocampeadorelfrocampeador Member Posts: 5

    Oh, and one other thing. I've been reading all sorts of horror stories about Mazdas even as recently as 2010-2011 with rusting issues. Is that still a problem with the new ones?

    My current 2000 Focus has no noticeable body rust at all, and significant underbody rust only now that its getting on in years.

  • suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,676

    Mazdas are great cars! If you don't want a sunroof, you can have heated seats (and leather too) added aftermarket at the dealers and negotiate as part of total cost of the car. I did that years ago with a Mazda6 wagon.

    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • elfrocampeadorelfrocampeador Member Posts: 5

    I didn't know about that, thanks, I hope that doesn't have any negative effect on the warranty or whatever. By the way, what is the current anti-rust warranty? Some sources say 5 years and some say 8. The mazdausa website doesn't seem to say.

    Does anyone have any idea what a sufficiently safe amount of extra headroom is? The crash test ratings don't give any indication like that. The best info on that I can find is the IIHS roof strength test which gives a value of 6.36, which is well above the threshold value of 4. This means that it should survive 6.36x its own weight before the roof collapses by 5 inches... but I have significantly less than 5 inches of excess room. It looks like the roof plate collapsed by 2 inches (roughly the amount of space I have, I think, though I haven't measured) with 4.6 times its weight, which is over the threshold for "good". This would seem to suggest an adequate safety margin. Am I interpreting this correctly?


  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372

    Not trying to minimize wanting a safe vehicle, but I wouldn't obsess too much over how much headroom is "safe". My Dad always wanted a hardtop car, but always bought sedans because of the added "safety" of the B-pillar which would help keep the roof from crushing down on top of the family. True, but then again, this will only come into play if you plan on having your vehicle roll over.

    I'd wager that I have other bigger problems than headroom if I wind up with the wheels pointing to the sky.

  • elfrocampeadorelfrocampeador Member Posts: 5
    Fair point, and anyway the test numbers are good enough to account for that particular concern.

    Is there anything else I should know/consider?
    Oh, and does anyone have any idea how much map updates will cost after 3 years? Its a little silly, but relatively cheap GPS units come with lifetime updates (and live traffic) these days.
  • novicenovice Member Posts: 64

    We're really pleased with my wife's 2014 Mazda 3 GTS Hatchback. Great driver. Very decent gas mileage. Lots of safety technology. I'm driving it way more than she is--and I have my own car I could be driving. The only beef is an apparent leak in the window washer system and the dealer is trying to claim it's just evaporation. We'll see how that turns out.

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