Our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 reminds me of my old Acura Integra.
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I own an Integra GS 99 and since Honda/Acura doesn't have any car close to the fun Integra to drive, I was looking at GTI, WRX, BRZ/FR-S and Mazdaspeed3 (which is not ready yet). I just ordered a WRX, base model with STI short throw shifter. But I'm wondering if Honda will bring the 2 doors European Civic TypeR (2l turbo direct injection for around 280hp) as the new integra...
I've never driven either, but
"I like small feisty cars. I also like big cars. OK, I like cars."
^this I can relate to!
My first car was a manual '92 Integra GS. Not particularly powerful compared to modern cars, but in the 8 years I owned it, nothing ever broke on that car. I even sold it with the original brake pads.
Your problem is you got the wrong Mazda 3. My 3i touring with the six speed manual is at least 10 times more fun than the automatic, even with the bigger engine. I drove both, the manual is one of the best shifters around. I have never found the 2 liter to be underpowered, and I am averaging 35 MPG.
I had a 1987 5 door, 1.6L, 5 speed MT Acura Integra. It was before vtec, but it revved smoothly to 7000 rpm and had nice pull on the right side of the tach. I loved driving it. And the practicality of hatchback was a bonus.
I now drive a 2010 4 door, 2.0L, 5 speed MT Mazda3. It revs smoothly to 6500 rpm, and also has nice pull on the right side of the tach. It feels like an upgraded Integra to me... a little bigger, a little more powerful, a little more content, and just as fun and responsive on the road.
I definitely feel a connection between these two cars. It's weird... some had hoped the Acura ILX would herald the unofficial return of the Integra, but I too think the Mazda3 comes closest in today's market.
I had an '87 manual hatch and a '94 GS-R sedan. They were fantastically engineered cars with some of the best manual shifters I've ever driven. I drove a Mazda 3i manual recently, and it reminded me of those peppy Integras. The steering is very good for electric assist, right up there with the new GTI. The 2015 Mazda 3 2.5L is shipping soon with a manual. I think that car will be something special.
i like it too. it's a good car if you are in a vacuum however looking at what else you can get for the money i find it hard to pull the trigger on this vehicle especially the "fully loaded" example.
Mazda's silly pricing/packaging schemes drive many (myself included) away, toward other brands.
As a 2007 MS3 owner I'm waiting on the next iteration. I hope Mazda continues to offer it without a hole in the roof...
Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica
Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i
Son's: 2009 328i; 2018 330i xDrive
I took delivery of my fully loaded s GT version recently with the Tech Package and it has met my high expectations since then. I do plenty of highway driving on the weekends and the Active Cruise is terrific, plus the other fuel-saving features are neat. Achieved 6,7 l/100km on my first tank (36 US mpg). Some call it "bad value", but I value and actually use all the features on a regular basis, and it's not like I can afford a 50k $ German sedan for the same safety features. Props to Mazda for offering it in the US with the full-range of safety features.
Like I mentioned in other posts, I mounted summer tires from the very get-go and appreciate the sharper handling response and higher limits. The car is probably 30% quieter than the all-seasons; the interior noise levels are a smidge high for its class.
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