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Mazda3 Real World MPG



  • I will agree with you that the difference in real world fuel economy between the 2.0 liter engine and the 2.5 liter is significant, but saying the difference in performance is relatively minor is absolutely FALSE. The numbers for power on the 2.0 liter are VERY overrated by Mazda. Corksport did a dyno pull on both engines and the 2.0 liter only put down a measly 118 HP and 110 lbft of torque, while the 2.5 liter put down 158 HP and 161 lbft of torque. I would call 40 horses and 51 lbft of torque a very significant difference in performance.

    Don't get me wrong, the 2.0 liter certainly gets the job done, and has better power and low end torque for good pick up (especially in city driving) than the competition (civic, corolla, etc.). And the gas mileage is incredible, very underrated by Mazda. My girlfriend has an iSport and is getting 34 MPG city and 43 MPG highway! Real world results for the 2.5 liter engine, however, are pretty accurate to the ratings, though reviews have claimed that driving it hard hardly decreases the fuel consumption.

    Just some things to think about. The 2.5 liter DEFINITELY has much more power, about 50% more. But it's up to your priorities, efficiency or performance, that ultimately determines the decision when purchasing. I'll probably go with the 2.0 liter iTouring model and spend the few grand I save over several years on gas and get a sound system and dvd/nav touch screen in the dash.

    And there's my 2 cents.
  • If you read my post again vanquish421 you'll see I was comparing the 2.0 L and 2.3 L engines-not the 2.0 vs. 2.5 L . The 2.5 L was not available when I purchased my '05 3i.

    I'm unfamiliar with corksport and have no idea if their figures are reliable, but since drivetrain power losses s/b similar between two Mazda 3 models I find the differences in crankshaft vs. "at the wheel" results for the two engines out of sync based on the figures you quoted. The 2.5 L is rated by Mazda at 167 hp and 168 lb/ft at the crank and Mazda's published specifications for the 2.0 L and 2.3 L engines models are as follows:

    2.0 L: 148 bhp & 135 lbf•ft
    2.3 L: 156 bhp & 150 lbf•ft
    2.3 L MZR DISI Turbo: Mazdaspeed3: 263 bhp & 280 lbf•ft

    So the 2.3 L is rated for just 8 hp and 15 ft/lb more than the 2.0 L. My lawn mower puts out more than that!

    The 2.5 L of course does better with 19 hp and 33 lb/ft over the 2.0 L. A 19 hp advantage still is hardly earth-shattering, but I can understand how an additional 33 lb/ft could be enough to be appreciated in a small car like the 3. Of course, the 2010 modes ARE also heavier than first generation models too and from what I've read differences in real-world performance between '04-'09 2.3 L models and 2010 3s models w/the new 2.5 L engines are negligible.

    The figures you cited from corksport indicate the 2.0 L engine lost 30 hp and 25 lb/ft to driveline losses from engine to the front wheels, but the 2.5 L only lost 9 hp and 6 lb/ft? If so then either the 2.0 L may have been a poorly running example or the 2.5 L could have been a ringer since driveline losses between the two should have been similar (imo). From what I've read a 10%-12% loss from cranshaft to the wheels is fairly common.

    148 hp x 10% = ~ 15 hp...which would result in 133 hp at the wheel for the 2.0 L
    167 hp x 10% = 17 hp...which would leave 150 hp at the wheel for the 2.5 L

    So the corksport figures don't make sense. If anything, the 2.5 L should have lost more power from crankshaft to wheel vs. the 2.0 L...not less.

    In any case, when browsing the Mazda 3 forums I've read where real-world results have shown a stock 2.0 L mtx can produce n e.t within a 1/2 second of a stock 2.3 L mtx in the quarter. Of course differences in driver experience could easily make more difference than that.

    If bragging rights or racing for pinks is important to you a ½ second difference in the quarter or from 0-60 may be significant. But during my day-to-day commutes I could care less about a ½ second difference for rarely do I need maximum performance from my 3i's 2.0 L anyhow. However, when I have the 2.0 L has been more than powerful enough for my needs. I'd also like pit my 3i mtx against someone with an equally stock 3s w/the 2.3 L atx . If more than a car length separated us by the end of the quarter mile I'd be very surprised.

    In any case, if I wanted high performance in a 3 I'd bypass a 3s motivated by a normally aspirated 2.3 or 2.5 L engines and choose a Speed 3 anyhow.

    It all comes down to what's more important to you. For me, I'd rather pay 25% less at the pump for 99.9% of my driving in lieu of paying at the pump all the time just to have a hair more performance available for the other .1% when I may want to floor the pedal.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    It all comes down to what's more important to you. For me, I'd rather pay 25% less at the pump for 99.9% of my driving in lieu of paying at the pump all the time just to have a hair more performance available for the other .1% when I may want to floor the pedal.

    Well argued. You are not alone!
  • almattialmatti Posts: 164
    vanquish..... I have a 2008.5 3 S Touring, picked up a leftover in April 09. Now has 8,800 miles on it, 95% of the time driven by my son, a young Adult home from College.. Driven in suburbia - mixed 50% local; 50% highway. I am the "sucker" who takes it out on Sunday mornings for Newspapers, Bagels, etc...AND ends up filling 'er Up. I am pretty meticulous about observing the Stars. I am nowhere near 34 MPG, never mind 43MPG!! Every Sunday, with about 270-280 miles on the trip meter, I put in 11-12 gallons of gas. That's about 24-24.5 MPG ... There must be something wrong with the car.....or he drives extremely hard with lots of pulloing over and "idling" - like Tiger Woods. LOL... Anybody in my Court!!! Tell me what I'm doing wrong..THX
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I don't suspect there's much wrong with your car. If I drive hard in lots of urban traffic, I can get the fuel economy down into the mid twenties on my 2009 Mazda3 i Touring 5-Speed, that said, in mixed driving (and driving like a normal sane person), I typically get between 29 and 31 mpg. On three different long trips (New Hampshire to NYC and back) I've managed at least 37 mpg, and on one trip I got over 39. If I ever encounter a nice uncrowded five hundred mile long stretch of interstate, I have little doubt that I can cover it on a single tank of gas, and that would in turn yield an MPG figure well into the forties. ;)

    Best regards,
  • By driving conservatively and applying some hypermiling techniques I once squeezed 626 miles out of a tank in my '05 3i mtx. That tank produced an average of 46.7 mpg (626.0 miles / 13.403 gallons).

    To-date my overall average since purchasing my 3i on 3/1/05 based on all miles driven and gallons purchased is 38.81 mpg (67,771.5 miles/1,746.282 gallons).

    I now average over 40-42 mpg per tank during the warmer months and in the high 30's (38-39 mpg) even when it's cold outside.

  • Really? That good? I'm two tanks into my 2010 GT 5 speed AT and I'm getting 20 MPG with 90% freeway driving. The car's gas mileage is insanely awful.

    I just got out of a car with 300 HP and I was averaging 21-22 mpg per tank in mostly mixed driving. With my 07 Cooper S I got 30 MPG without trying. Both cars I beat on with WOT, lots of high RPM shifts. Yet with the mazda I'm shifting at 2 RPM, no WOT and seeing 20 MPG. What gives?
  • Sadly, judging from fuel economy results posted by other owners ( your experience is not unusual.

    When equipped with the larger engines (2.3L & 2.5L) the Mazda 3 has developed a reputation for producing relatively poor fuel economy results...especially when these engines are mated to automatic transmissions.

    Admittedly my results with a 3i (2.0L & 5-speed manual) are superior to what most 3i owners have been reporting too. However there are other owners of essentially the same model who have reported results which have been similar or even superior to mine from time-to-time. In any case it's fairly common for 3i mtx owners to report results ranging from the high twenties-to-mid 30s.

    Hopefully your results will improve (as my car's did) after a few thousand break-in miles, but judging from what I've read results averaging in the low-to-high twenties in mixed driving and in the high twenties-to-low 30's for highway cruising at moderate cruising speeds may be all you should should reasonably expect to see with your 2010 GT. Sorry.

    Note: you can view my and some other Mazda 3 owners' fuel economy results at

    All of my car's results since purchase are posted there and may be viewed under "Mazda...2005...3 2.0L...manual".
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'm thinking the combination of the 2.5 liter mill and the automagic transmission are the issue here. When I picked up my Mazda3 (a 2.0 liter 5-Speed with three pedals under the dash) I was working a contract that was ~45 miles north of where I live, most of which were "cruise control" miles. For the duration of that contract (which ended prematurely last March) I'm thinking that on average, I drove on the highway about 70% of the time (lots of family errands and such on top of my commuting), and even on tanks when the temperature didn't make it above zero I still managed to get over 29 mpg.

    Now that I'm working a contract ~45 miles in the other direction (the direction with 90% of the traffic) I simply drive 8 miles to the local "Park and Ride" and take a bus into Boston. Unfortunately that means that I only manage to get the car out onto the highway once or twice a week, and with winter here once again, my fuel economy is more like 27ish. :(

    Best regards,
  • Wow, that's horrible. I guess I believed that the epa numbers were conservative given my experience with my Cooper and BMWs which tended to do better than EPA would suggest, especially with my hard driving style.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yeah, both of my BMWs were capable of mileage nearly as good as my two liter Mazda3, in spite of the fact that they had roughly 50% more power and weighed quite a bit more as well. The thing is, BMW needs to build their cars to get good mileage at speeds well over 100 MPH, and as such, my bet is that the EPA tests are run at speeds below where BMWs get their best mileage. Case in point, my 530i was able to return 24 miles per gallon at 120 when I had it on the Autobahn, I seriously doubt my Mazda3 would get that kind of fuel economy at 100.

    Best regards,
  • marksandmarksand Posts: 181
    I succeeded on the very first fillup with my new 2010 MZ3 GS 5dr at getting a good reading of the furthest I would ever want to go on a tank, but still completely depend upon (a desire which has led to 1 or 2 fiascos on previous new cars for me). The range computer was down to 3 miles. The gas gauge bar graph had zero squares lit up, and had for a few miles. The auto shutoff on the gas pump tripped at 14-point-something gallons but I was then slowly able to nurse in (slow and steady, not click-click-click) 16.1 total gallons. The car ran perfectly all the way to this point. No need for more experimenting, it holds its advertised capacity.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    By trickle feeding your tank you've effectively overfilled it to the point where the emissions system will be unable to do its job properly. FWIW, had you run your tank dry and then filled up to the point where the pump clicked itself off, you would have gotten the advertised capacity, said another way, the trip computer will show a Distance To Empty of 0 when there are roughly two gallons left in the tank. That said, it is a bad idea to actually use those last two gallons as they are necessary to cool the in-tank fuel pump. Long story short, 14 gallons per tank is about all you should be able to use without harming the car in one way or another.
  • 24 mpg at 120? Was that result obtained at 120 mph or 120 kph? I could believe 24 mpg @ 120 kph, but would have a hard time believing 24 mpg @ 120 mph.

    Note that I also own a BMW convertible
    '99 323ic w/170 hp 2.5L I-6, 5-speed manual, w/~190k miles.

    As much as I enjoy driving my Bimmer my 3i (2.0L 148 hp I-4, 5-speed manual) spanks it soundly in the mpg department. While my 323 does pretty well for what it is and I generally average ~30 mpg with it when driving conservatively, the highest average for a tank I've had so far was in the 31-32 mpg range. On the other hand when commuting between home and work in my 3i I'm averaging in the 39-40 mpg range during the winter months and 40+ when outside temperatures are mild-to-hot.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yes, 24 mpg at 120 mph (my 530i was a U.S. spec European Delivery car).

    Both of my 5-Speed BMWs (a 1999 328i and a 2002 530i) were able to consistently return 33-35 mpg on the highway, and per many-many reports (as well as the EPA rankings of the day), the 323i was unable to achieve the fuel economy of the larger engined 328i and 530i. Why? Primarily due to the much taller gearing of the cars with the larger engines.

    Best regards,
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,388
    My 1995 318ti returns 31 mpg at 80 mph, but fifth gear is direct which means it's turning 4000 rpm at that speed.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Interesting but I must agree with shipo that this is not good experiment in determining fuel economy. Depleting a gas tank and overfilling one are both not wise; it's like choking and then stuffing your face. Also, one fillup does not a fuel economy rating make. The simpler way is record the amount of fuel you have used and the distance you have travelled in a year and then do the math. The average will be a more realistic measure of your driving style and the car's fuel economy performance.
  • marksandmarksand Posts: 181
    thanks for the comments, and I tend to agree. cooling of the fuel pump makes sense -- note I didn't go past Range = 0, so I did have your claimed 2 gal reserve. Plus it was pre-dawn January Pacific NW. I imagine the pump thermal specifications are laid out based on a Phoenix summertime case, or at least they better be. My intuition on emissions control of an overfull tank is that the major issue is potential expansion. That then would be a worry foremost when the temperature in the underground tank at the gas station is much lower than the temperature the gasoline then reaches in the car. The riskiest thing is a very short trip from gas-up to parking inside in a warm garage. I always drive a minimum of several miles after gas-up, and all my usual parking places are outside, cooler, and not a fire or fume risk. So I think I'm not going to get near any worst case.
    Side anecdote: I was sole owner and driver of 97 Integra for 177,000 miles, and probably drove 30-40 miles with yellow gas warning light on, one hundred or more occasions. Doing this would cause an added appx +1 sec of cold-start cranking time, but no other discernible effects. The car was sold last week never having had any fuel pump problems, ever. Any reason to think that Mazda's pump engineering is less robust than Honda's?
  • marksandmarksand Posts: 181
    and about MPG, that's another subject. my only point was trying to get a solid confirmed value of the tank capacity in gallons. my experience with Honda products (several) was that they did NOT quite really have their claimed usable tank capacities.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Side anecdote: I was sole owner and driver of 97 Integra for 177,000 miles, and probably drove 30-40 miles with yellow gas warning light on, one hundred or more occasions. Doing this would cause an added appx +1 sec of cold-start cranking time, but no other discernible effects. The car was sold last week never having had any fuel pump problems, ever. Any reason to think that Mazda's pump engineering is less robust than Honda's?

    Apples to oranges. The low fuel warning light comes on with roughly four gallons before a dry tank, and that gives you plenty of time to fuel up prior to dipping into the last two gallons that are used as coolant for the pump. FWIW, high pressure fuel pumps for fuel injection systems work hard and can even overheat in the arctic if they aren't properly cooled.

    Best regards,
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    In the latest issue of Consumer Reports the Mazda3 s ranks 6th in the hatchback list. The VW Golf TDI is top dog. CR's recommendation is in part due to the Golf TDI's reliability, handling and excellent fuel economy (with a CR rating of 38 mpg combined city-highway). Compare this to the Mazda3 hatchback with a 25 mpg fuel economy rating by CR. These ratings are highly valued as CR is an independent and authoritative source.
  • Having owned both Mazdas and VW/Audis in the recent past (current Audi owner), this is the #1 reason I didn't get a VW/Audi. I dug the TDI. It's a nice, comfy, powerful, efficient, really upscale feeling car. But it's a VW/Audi product and in my experience owning a few (including right now), I couldn't bring myself to go there again.

    My Mazda3 may get lousy gas mileage (22 MPG - 90% freeway driving) and have a bunch of design flaws (the trunk release mechanism for one) but I am confident it will turn on and run. Can't say my wife feels the same about her Audi.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    VW/Audi product and in my experience owning a few (including right now), I couldn't bring myself to go there again.

    In the past, Consumer Reports heard the same concerns from its membership and so marked it with a record of poor reliability. But the latest news is that VW has heard the din of complaints and corrected the situation.

    What VW/AUdi product and model year do you /your wife drive?

    There is, of course, another aspect to the story and that is dealership service. My understanding is that VW is not known for stellar service but perhaps I am spreading unwarranted rumours. How do you find their service record compared to that of Mazda?
  • 2006 Audi and it's still goes in for issues - though we're about to transition to a local mechanic others suggest we use. Regardless it just left warranty 6 months ago and until then it supposedly had 4 years/50k in "free" maintenance bumper to bumper. The reality - only oil changes and one transmission service was covered. Every other problem was declared normal wear and tear (interior parts breaking, trim coming off, light bulbs going out). This mirrored my experiences with VW when I had an included maintenance program before (different dealers).

    My experiences with Mazda were always pleasant but they didn't have a "included maintenance" program like our Audi (and previous VWs and our BMWs/Mini). I only had one warranty issue with my last Mazda. No issues on my new one.

    I really love the feel of Audi/VW cars but their dealer service and lack of warranty support is so disturbing when compared to BMW/Mini that it's tough to accept going back to being treated like a fool for asking that peeling, ripping, breaking parts aren't covered by a warranty.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Still getting horrendous 22 MPG average with mostly freeway driving. This car gets worse mileage than anything we've EVER owned (several BMWs, a Protege, Cooper S, Jetta, A3).
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,388
    Still getting horrendous 22 MPG average with mostly freeway driving.

    Wow. My 2007 MS3 averages about the same- and gets @26 mpg at a steady 80 mph. Do you think there's a problem with the car?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    edited March 2010
    Do you think there's a problem with the car?


    22 mpg for primarily highway driving is significantly lower than what has been advertised by Mazda and what has been found by independent tests both by the government and by Consumer Reports.

    I would check for obvious problems (signs of excessive or strange tire wear, suspicious engine sounds, etc.). At your next service, I would raise the issue and see what they find. Expect to hear that mileage is affected by driving style including aggressive driving and short stops.

  • goosegoose Posts: 77
    I bought a 2010 5 door GT with 24 miles and currently have 1600 miles. I'm getting 30 MPG driving 70 MPH with the last two tank fills. I'm loving the car. I to thought of buying the Golf TDI but I just didn't trust the whole VW record as reported by CR. Plus absolutely no price discount for TDI's. Also the latest TDI has lots of smog control equipment and I had no desire to be a test subject. Oh and about the tires I make sure that the tires are not more than 32 psi cold temperature. Initially the dealer had set my tires to 33 psi and with day time heating the tires would get noisy. A drop to 32 psi made a difference in road noise.
  • smoothsailinsmoothsailin Posts: 73
    edited March 2010
    2005 Mazda 3i (2.0 L w/5-speed manual) purchased 3/1/05

    Totally stock and no repairs or issues what-so-ever to-date. I even still have the original Toyos and brake pads on the car, but am planning to replace the Toyos in May by ~ 75k miles.

    72,121.2 miles/1,858.45 gallons = 38.81 mpg (average)

    Note: since the second year of ownership It's been relatively normal for me to average 40+ mpg in spring, summer and fall months, and in the 38-39 mpg range in mid-December through early March.

    $4,620.78 spent for gas to-date (all regular grade & mostly Shell).

    $.0641/mile (average cost for fuel per mile)

    Just goes to show it's not necessary to pay thousands of additional $$ to purchase a diesel or hybrid for relatively economical vehicle operating costs.

    I'm still so glad I chose my 3i's 2.0 L mtx over a similarly equipped 3s with the 2.3 L. Imo the gap between the two cars in real-world mpg results may be significantly greater than differences in the cars' EPA ratings would seem to suggest.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    That is a very efficient combo - 2.0 with mtx. Wish they offered it in the hatch. Kinda silly that you can only get the hatch with the 2.3.
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