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Mazda3 Real World MPG



  • x5918x5918 Posts: 30
    It has now become apparent to me, why I will never have the chance to meet the EPA highway mpg. Why would anyone drive 48 mph on a highway! (inconsiderate and outright dangerous). The solution, would be, for the Environmental Protection Agency to introduce two more mpg's called "freeway" and "expressway". How about this: highway = 48 mph, freeway = 58 mph , expressway = 68 mph. All three mileages would be quoted, together with the nominal speed. End of confusion.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    You're not the first person to be disappointed by failing to meet the EPA heights for fuel economy. Personally, I use them as relative rather than absolute numbers. In other words, compared to a Toyota Corolla the Mazda3 is a less fuel efficient vehicle and the EPA numbers as well as a test drive will prove that. If you were aiming at reaching the EPA figures you would have to be driving very conservatively (under the speed limit, with minimal short stops and avoiding a host of other gas wasting activities). You can try changing your driving style or, like me, learn to love the borg.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    A car getting 3 mpg more than mine will go maybe 36 miles more on a tank of gas, or about a gallon and some change. These days it costs me $26 to fill up my Mazda3, so an extra 36 miles per tankful would put about $2.75 back in my pocket. What would you rather have -- a car that's BORING AS HELL, or one less Big Mac a week?

    I'll give up the Big Mac and keep on Zoomin'!

  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Filled up the Mazda3 today - the low fuel light came on just as I pulled up to the pump - 12.7 gallons - 227 miles - 17.9 MPG!

    The Mazda3 is NOT a Performance car - NOT a Sports car - NOT a Luxury car - and with 17.9 MPG NOT even an Economy car.

    My full size SUV gets better MPG -
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    bill - You might want to get an emissions test. If the car is out-of-spec Mazda would have to fix it, and this could be related to the lousy fuel mileage! (just an idea)
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    If something was wrong with the emissions wouldn't a CEL come on?

    The engine seems to run fine.

    The only thing that I have changed is my tire PSI.

    The dealership told me that I had 35 PSI - in all of my tires - they adjusted them to 32 PSI.

    I check the tires every few weeks with a digital gauge - and always set them at 32.5 - I checked them when I got home from the dealership and got 29.5 PSI - so I dug around and found 3 more tire gauges - they all read 32 - seems that my digital gauge is off by 2.5 PSI.

    My tires are now at 32 PSI - I know that tire pressure can impact MPG - but didn't think 3 PSI could make this much difference.
  • damien3damien3 Posts: 1
    I was averaging similar mpg figures as you with a MZ3s 4 spd sedan (strato blue 17s & leather/moonroof) until it hit approx 10,000 miles. I then started to notice improvement. I am now at 13,800 miles (after owning the vehicle 11 mos. - 4 oil changes). I tracked the mpg on my last fill-up. I let it run down to 1/4 tank @ 260 miles. Fill took a little over 10 gal. I'm averaging 25 mpg's with 60/40 highway to city driving under average load.

    I live outside of Manhattan but commute daily and sometimes have 1-3 members of my family with me. They love the 3, in fact, were split between the sedan/5 dr. Fortunately, we all agreed on the color & ultimately, I decided on the sedan.

    P.S. It's OK to track your fills/mpg's, but be careful not to run the tank down too often. It puts a burden/wear on the fuel pump.

    Enjoy the car. For the money, it can't be beat. Have no regrets. Was researching and test driving for months before my purchase last August @ Smith Cairns up on Cenral Ave. in Yonkers, N.Y. (they were great). If you've read the boards you'll see the pros/cons, but all in all, this is a terrific little car for the money and such a pleasure to drive. It's the best ride in the compact category and can compete with many vehicles a "step up." I test drove those too, during my search. The bottom line is, I think we should just say THANK YOU MAZDA.

    By the way, this is my first message on these boards, but I've been checking them out for the past 12 months or so and would like to extend my appreciation to those who participate. It has been very informative.

    Special hello and thank you to Meade. What's up Meade (:>)
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    If something was wrong with the emissions wouldn't a CEL come on?

    Well, it should, but as we always say at work, "should is the key word here". ;)
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    It's been 3 weks since we got our 3s sedan and we're very happy with the car. It's really a blast to drive and it does feel more upscale than the Corolla, Civic, or even the Sentra which is my ride. I checked out the Protege back in '03, but the price I got for my Sentra was to good to pass up.
    Hopefully the mileage will improve at about 5k miles or so, but that's my only complaint up till now. I think I might end up with the 3 within the next 18 to 24 months.

    I'd be very happy to get it!!
    Zoom Zoom.

    The Sandman :)
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    You are using more than just 1st gear to get around, aren't you?


  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I normally just put it in reverse and drive backwards every where I go!

    My low MPG is still Mazda's fault - they should have designed an auto tranny with more that one reverse gear!
  • First, how could anyone interested in an economy car or a sporty car choose an automatic?

    Second, and more importantly, do you, like 99% of drivers, accelerate toward red lights? If so, do you run toward obviously locked doors? In the latter's case, at least you're burning calories; in the former's, I guess you think burning more fuel is worth the fun. If that's the case, then don't complain about mileage.

    Third, have you noticed the maddening climate control issues that thwart good gas mileage? For example, the air conditioner comes on when the vents are directed to the floor, the floor and defroster, and the defroster only. In other words, if you want to run the fan and not have the air conditioner come on, you have to choose the dash vents or dash and floor vents. Ironically, when the default a/c is on, the car automatically brings in fresh air; this is strange in that, in winter, it's much more efficient to recirculate the newly warmed air (albeit re-dehumidifying it).

    We also own a 1998 Sienna, and I'm just now getting used to the defroster turning on the air conditioning by default. Still, there are times when the passenger compartment's air doesn't need dehumidifying and warm air will clear the windows. At least in the Sienna, I can choose floor/defroster and keep the windows cleared and the car warm without running the a/c and wasting fuel.

    In the Mazda, the only way to warm the car (i.e. including your feet) without wasting fuel is to choose dash/floor. That means, to clear the windows, you have to run the a/c.

    The worst thing about this phenomenon is that the 3 doesn't even let you know that all of these over-rides are taking place. If the default a/c is on, the a/c indicator light doesn't even illuminate! One day, we were driving with the windows and moonroof open; I decided to turn on the floor fan to push any hot air from the floor to simply cool our feet with blown air. My wife noticed how really cold that air was. We also noticed really cold air wafting out of the defroster vents. I looked down at the a/c indicator light, and, nope, it wasn't on. Still, I noticed that our engine power decreased. It was only after thoroughly reading the driver's manual that I understood what's going on.

    So, if you want good mileage, slow down and only use the dash and dash/floor vents.
  • x5918x5918 Posts: 30
    I have also wondered why soo many people begin a seemlessy pointless, and energy wasting race towards a traffic light already turned red. I myself try to coast slowly towards the light in the hope that it will turn green again. In about 30% cases I can continue on 2nd gear. My explanation to the red racing is that these people are so very much annoyed by the obstructionists running in front of them for the last 3 or 4 lights, that they are trying very hard to get a better karma.

    From own experience, I can tell that consistently passing 1 or 2 cars between each traffic light controlled intersection makes a huge difference. Very often I see myself as the last car going through the green wave, when a whole bunch of cars behind me are stuck on amber and red. Maybe they just enjoy spending time traffic?
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    First of all the Mazda3 is not a sports car.

    I understand that a manual will almost always give you better MPG & performance - but since this car is also used by my wife and will soon be taken over by my 16 year old daughter - plus we drive in real crappy traffic - stop and go - on a good day - stop and slow on most days - the auto was A BETTER CHOICE FOR OUR NEEDS. The manual VS auto has been debated many times before - not much anyone can add to that. I have nothing against a manual - have owned both cars and trucks that had them - but I buy what fits my needs.
  • herrkaleuherrkaleu Posts: 62
    @heelundtoe: that AC phenomenum is really bad.... especially since I use the defroster when I start the car in winter and the coolant is still cold. the AC would make it even colder... Also, I like to blow air to the windshield all the time. So it doesn't fog and the air is distributed more evenly. since that would mean with a Mazda 3, that mileage would be even worse, I almost tend not to buy one. I really do like it... the only disadvantage compared to a civic or corolla is the mileage. And Mazda makes it even worse with the AC. Even cars with auto-climate control allow an economy modus w/o AC. Is ther eany way to turn that automatism off? some cars have secret ways to reprogram (i.e. by pushing buttons in a certain order etcetera).
    I currently own a Seat Ibiza (which is a VW.... I'm still in germany, but move to te US in August). That AC DOESN'T turn on when when outside temperature is below 5°C. but it never turns on without me turning it on. just the way it is supposed to.
    I hate when designers make the car more expensice (with that AC control) just for the designins sake... and make the car worse....
    don't your windschields fog in winter when the air only goes to the dash and the feet?`
  • Bill,

    I said "sporty," not "sports."

    I live in one of the top-10 traffic-congested cities in the US and I still wouldn't get a slush-box.

    I would never dictate what tranny a person should choose; I am just saying that if you want a "sporty" car, or if you want better fuel economy, get the stick.

    I will say, though, that although (i think) Mazda claims 5th gear is an overdrive, it's more like a true fifth gear. The car needs a 6-speed.
  • Herr Kaleu,

    I don't know of an over-ride, but if you find one, please post it!

    I live in the northern US (probably where you're moving, given the number of Germans we have here!), and I haven't had to test the climate control system in cold weather; but, with my experience with our Sienna, I think I could keep the windows cleared without running the defroster. The only exception is usually after running or skiing, when warm bodies require the a/c be on.

    It will be interesting if you have the same concerns about fuel mileage, err, I mean economy, when you get here. The Germans here are typically so surprised by the relatively cheap gas prices they run out an get a pickup or SUV!
  • smariasmaria Posts: 279
    Somewhat off topic, but my 2002 Honda Civic Coupe does the same thing. It's impossible for me to blow air onto the windshield without the A/C automatically coming on. I thought I was the only one who was annoyed by this, since it lowers gas mileage and doesn't allow any manual control of the A/C system...glad to hear that other people hate this "feature" too.
  • jmillsjmills Posts: 77
    26 MPG mixed City Hwy avverage
    29.9 MPG Max Interstate at 75 MPH

    2004 Mazda 3 5 door with automatic.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    At what mileage did you start getting those figure? Our 3 S 4 door with automatic is not near your figures yet. But we've only got about 1500 miles on her.

    The Sandman :)
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    First I understand why people want the control - rather than some auto pilot system - or at least the ability to turn auto pilot off. So don't jump on me too hard!

    But -
    Has anyone ever noticed if the AC compressor even comes on when the outside temp is - say 30 degrees or less? Since once the evaperator gets down around 32 degrees a sensor tells the compressor to shut off (to prevent it from freezing over).

    So - I think when the outside temp is cold the AC compressor will not run - so no drop in MPG.

    I bet that the auto companies have been sued a few times when someone turned on the defroster and warm moist air fogged over the windshield - then the driver ran into something. Since no one can take any responsibility for anything - blame the manufacturer!
  • Sandman,

    We have about 1100 miles on our 3s. I just got back from a 263 mile trip, today. 99% of it was freeway or highway. I went 70mph in the 70 zones and 60mph in the few 55 zones. I did not use the a/c (using the dash/floor vents with no fan) and I only opened the moonroof. It took 7.4 gallons to fill 'er up (and I added .2 gallons just to be sure). That's about 36mpg.

    The 5th gear in the stick really helps. I'm turning about 3K @ 70mph. What's the rev.-rate in the auto?

    Again, I didn't accelerate to the few red lights I encountered, and having the windows rolled up, I think, made a big difference. I saw someone else commenting on drag coefficients; what's the use, if your windows are down?

    Believe me, I do "have fun" with the car; I just know that "fun" has a price. For those who tout the mileage figures that Civics and Corollas get, look at what the automotive press and these anecdotal forums say: The 3 is more fun to drive.

    Utilitarians tried to quantify pleasure; if my mileage figures and caveats fail to convince you, I'm not going to invent a pleasurometer to prove my point.

    This driving experiment was just to see what kind of mileage I could squeeze out of the car. Oh, and for the car to even having gotten as little as 30 mpg? I would've had to somehow have gotten another 1.5 gallons into it.
  • herrkaleuherrkaleu Posts: 62
    heelundtoe and smaria,

    thanks for the information regarding the winter. I move to Madiso/WI (my wife is from there) so, Winter is cold... and summer requires AC all the time anyway.
    Gas price here is at 5.6 $/gallon. So you understand my fear :-) I have a diesel (4.2$/gallon) which has about 40-45 MPG in real world driving (not afraid to turn on the AC or to pass a slower car). I suppose a sensor will tell the controll to shut up the AC when temperatures are below 5°C (40 F) in order to prevent freezing of the heat exchanger. Also when the Fan is off, the compressor should be off too (my VW does it that way, anyway).
    Unfortunately the 5 door Mazda3 only comes w/ the 2.3 l engine, while the 2 l would be more than enough (manual tranmission). Hope Mazda offers smaller engines in all cars some time.... here they have nice 1.6 l 105 hp engines that do a good job and have about 35 MPG ( I know, EPA has a different kind of measuring than the EU). And 105 hp with manual transmission are enough to be on the left lane on an Autobahn in Germany. So it should be enough to mind the US speed limit :-)
  • x5918x5918 Posts: 30
    Holy Smoke! Dear herrkaleu. You are paying twice of that what we pay for gas here in Texas. Right now, we are going on $2.5 per gallon down here. I read some posts, that there are aftermarket solutions that could "fix" your 2.3L engine so it burns leaner, by adjusting air to fel ratio AFR and/or compression ratio - unfortunatly at the expense of shorter catalyzer lifetime, and higher emissions of NOx (nitrous compounds). So if you think that the gaz guzzling has to stop, then you may have to invest in an engine tuning that is not endorsed by the manufacturer Mazda (Ford). With those gasprices: you should really drive a Civic with VTEC engine - too bad there aren't any Civics hatchbacks offerings in US. I hope you were not deciding to buy the Mazda3s hatchback, solely based on the EPA 25/32 mpg on the dealers window sticker?
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I believe herrkaleu is somewhere in Europe where gas prices are different than in Texas. If gas prices were more realistic many of us would be driving diesels and hybrids.
  • Herr Kaleu ist aus Deutschland! He's moving to Madison.

    Herr Kaleu, again, given the gas and/or Diesel prices in der Vatherland and the almost halved rates here, you'll probably be happy to have the extra power. You might even splurge (i.e. with reduced gas mileage and higher fuel cost) and run your heated seats on a cold Wisconsin winter morning!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    English be spaken here.

    There be verbiage to that effect in thy Member Agreement.


    P.S. My apologies to our German friend. The way he worded his post, it appeared he was already in Cheeseland.
  • herrkaleuherrkaleu Posts: 62
    I was living in Madison for almost 2 years. And will be there in two weeks. the gas prices I was referring to apply to Germany (and most of Europe). Sorry for any confusion I may have caused. I'm almost there and already have quotes from dealers for Mazda 3 and Corolla.
    That's why my profile already/still says Madison/WI. Not trying to fake anything. I knew the site. thanks anyway.
    I suppose if you didn't need to look for emission of NOx it'd be easy to reduce fuel cost. but I doubt you could change the compression ratio since that is "hardwired" into the bore/stroke ratio and the dimensions of cylinder/piston.
    the more I think about the consumption I also have to consider that a Mazda 3 5 door has a trunk as big as a Camry (in addition the hatchback makes it more accessible). So I should compare mileage from Mazda 3 and Camry. with that in mind, the Mazda is tnot that bad. Of course, compared to a Civic/Corolla it is. But they are smaller (the most space I need in the trunk anyway) and have less power. In real life the consumption won't be that different (Camry/Accord vs. Mazda 3). In comparison to the corolla, Mazda has 7500 miles oil changes, corolla has 5000 miles. Oil costs money too. Honda has 10000 mile oil changes, but has a valve timeing belt which needs to be replaced, Mazda has a chain. when you figure everything in, all 3 cars are not that different.
    We also looked into a VW Wagon. But in the US VW sells the stone age engines (which were replaced in Germany 10 years ago) that have 115 hp, but need more gas than the Mazda 160 hp engine. Whereas a German 100 hp Golf with FSi engine makes 35 MPG under real world driving.
    done with this now... this is a real World MPG thread..... :-)
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