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Mazda3 Real World MPG



  • 424 miles, 11.5 gallons, equals 37 mpg. Filled up yesterday. About what I expected from my Mazda3S MT.
  • First mpg result from my brand-new Mazda3s manual transmission:

    25.5 mpg

    Mixed city/highway, probably more city, with the AC running most of the time.
  • ecm56ecm56 Posts: 16
    Just finished the third tankfull of gas (I didn't measure the first tank because it didn't start completely full) - 2005 Mazda 3i manual transmission - 32.48 mpg mostly stop and go suburban driving with the A/C running most of the time. A little over 1000 miles on the car.
    As I recall the last tank was 33.6 but there was some highway driving in there. I still haven't made any highway trips to see how it does on the road.

  • glygly Posts: 12
    ...if you want better fuel economy, get the stick.
    ...I think Mazda claims 5th gear is an overdrive, it's more like a true fifth gear.

    That may have been true in the past (that MTs get better mileage than ATs), but it's not necessarily true today. A lot depends upon the final drive ratio. A number of Japanese auto manufacturers give a higher final drive ratio to MTs than ATs, and this would tend to lower the gas mileage of MTs vis-a-vis ATs. They do this because of cruise control: when going up a hill under cruise control, an AT automatically downshifts; an MT will not, and it will seem to the driver of an MT that his car loses power going up a hill. To counter this complaint, the auto manufacturers give the MT a slightly higher final drive ratio than the AT. And because of torque converter lock-up, there is no slippage in torque converters as there was in the (distant) past.

    For the Mazda3, the final drive ratio for the MT is reported to be 4.105; for the AT, the final drive ratios bracket the MT value: 3.685 (i-model) and 4.416 (s-model). Based on these values alone, I would predict better gas mileage (at constant highway speeds) to ATs in the s-model, and to MTs in the i-model. (I don't put much faith in EPA estimates.)

    Finally, both 4th and 5th gears in the MT are overdrive (output shaft spins faster than the input shaft) although 4th gear is almost (but not quite) 1:1. But 5th gear is very much an overdrive; the 5th gear ratio is 0.755:1.

    I almost bought a Mazda3 this summer. My family was down to one car and I desperately needed something fast. I test drove a Mazda3 and liked it, but in July in my area there was very little to choose from, and I had no idea when the 2006 Mazdas would arrive. I eventually bought another 2005 Japanese car at a good end-of-model year price.

    My principal hesitation about Mazda is that the company is majority owned by Ford (at 33% ownership, Ford is the principal stockholder). The two Mazda engines are derived from the Ford Duratec. I think Ford, like GM, cannot put as much money into R&D as the independent Japanese companies, due to their high union wages and medical benefits paid to their employees and their enormous commitment (pension and medical) to their retirees. I would hate to see 1/3 of my money going to Ford.

    A second point of concern is that Mazda does not have a wide dealer network in the part of the country where I live.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Interesting. A few questions for you, gly.

    I eventually bought another 2005 Japanese car a 2005 Honda Accord?

    Mazda ... is majority owned by Ford ... The two Mazda engines are derived from the Ford Duratec.
    Ford also exercises control over Volvo and Jaguar. My understanding is that Mazda reworks the engines to their needs, so for example a Focus and Mazda3 deliver different results.

    I think Ford, like GM, cannot put as much money into R&D as the independent Japanese companies, due to their high union wages and medical benefits paid to their employees and their enormous commitment (pension and medical) to their retirees. I would hate to see 1/3 of my money going to Ford.
    My understanding is that the Asian brands, like Toyota and Honda, offer similar wages and benefits to their employees in order to match union settlements. This is the case in Canada but I'm not sure if this is true for the US also. I share your concern about Ford and GM but hope the real problem is solved, product lineup, and not have the blame shifted.

    Mazda does not have a wide dealer network ... where I live.
    Where is that?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The two Mazda engines are derived from the Ford Duratec.

    Maybe a little more research would've changed your mind. Here's the truth, from a Mazda tech website:

    In 2004, Ford dropped the development of the 4-cylinder Zetec engine in favor of Mazda's MZR 4-cylinder. Thus, 2005+ Duratec 4 cylinder engines are Mazdas. This includes the 2.0 liter Duratec 20 and 2.3 liter Duratec 23.

    Duratec 23

    The Duratec 23 is a 2.3 L (2261 cc) version of the Mazda-designed Duratec 20. Bore is 87.4 mm and stroke is 94 mm. It has an aluminum engine block with cast iron cylinder liners and aluminum DOHC cylinder heads. It uses SFI fuel injection, has 4 valves per cylinder with VCT and features fracture-split forged powder metal connecting rods and a one-piece cast camshaft.

    The 2.0L and 2.3L Mazda3 engines are called Duratecs (in Ford products; they're called ZZRs in Mazda products) -- but they're designed and built by Mazda for Mazda and Ford applications.

  • Right on the money again. The Duratec 23 was a joint collaboration between Mazda/Ford just as the Tribute/Escape. In other words, a Mazda team from Japan and a Ford team from Detroit butted heads. And just as in the Tribute/Escape, Mazda took the lead in the whole project to replace not only their own 2.0 (Protégé), but also the Ford Zetec with more environmentally friendly (if not more powerful) engines; in fact, they were solely in charge of setting up (charges were shared) the mfg. plant to produce these engines (range, if I remember correctly, was from 1.6 to 2.3 with the potential to go even higher to a 5 in-line).
  • Well, this is a late response to your question about the rear pads, but my 04 mazda 3 with only 3750 miles has thrown off a lot of brake dust in the rear. It is now at the dealer, who, unsurprisingly said that it met specs. But this is very unusual because we all know that the front pads are always the problem before the rear. He is keeping it overnight to see some more tomorrow. I saw some postings a while back from other owners about this.
    BTW, I am lucky to get 25 MPG so far. Mostly hwy with an auto tranny. It is definitely a fun car, and I chose it for impractical reasons!
  • mpg60mpg60 Posts: 71
    I don't understand this obsession with the brake dust. I have a friend who owns a Infinity g-35 and the previous owner of the company i work for recently purchased one of the new beemers and both those cars have just as much or if not more brake dust on their alloy wheels than my 3s. I don't necessarily see this as a problem as other cars in a "premium class" exhibit the same?

    the only problem i see is it is annoying to constantly have to clean the alloy wheels
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    The dust on the rear wheels - although a pain to clean is not the problem - it is the rapid wear of the rear brake pads. I rotated my tires a few days ago - the rear pads are wearing out much faster than the front. I guess that my rear pads will need to be replaced (plus the rear rotors) by the time I hit 20K miles.

    Does replacing rear pads at 20K seem normal?
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    The wearing down of the rear pads is also a main concern for me to. We've never had a car with 4 whell discs before, so I don't know if this is normal or not. It would be nice to have all the brake pads wear at the similar pace or close to it.
    It looks like I will be inheriting the car soon as the wife can't see to well on the right side of the car...she's already had 3 near misses and wants to go with me to the South Florida Auto Show next month to find another car. Any car with low head rests and compact size is what she's looking for. Any suggestions? I offered to swap my '03 Sentra with her, as the vision is great, but she wants a car with more power.

    The Sandman :)
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Does replacing rear pads at 20K seem normal?
    No and No. Firstly, 20K seems premature wear. Secondly, on a front wheel drive shouldn't most of the braking be happening with the front discs? I would expect the fronts to wear out first.

    By way of comparison, my 2002 Mazda Protege5 (also equipped with 4 discs) has exceeded 37K miles (60K km) on the original brakes; I'm hoping they reach 45K miles. I was advised by a Mazda service rep to get brakes lubed annually to ensure they don't bind. I did had that service once but I likely won't do it annually.
  • aaykayaaykay Posts: 539
    424 miles, 11.5 gallons, equals 37 mpg. Filled up yesterday. About what I expected from my Mazda3S MT.

    Going by what others have been reporting, this mileage is incredible to say the least. Almost as if a 100 miles have been added to the true miles, with the gallons remaining constant. So if it were 324 miles (reducing the reported miles by 100) and 11.5 gallons, that would make it around 28-29mpg....sounds more like what everyone else gets...when they drive their 3s conservatively. Of course, you may be getting what you are claiming, even though I personally find it hard to believe....not simply because you have been reporting these incredible mileages (always in the 36+ range, even when driven in a spirited manner with AC) in quite a few of the discussions, repeatedly. JMHO.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I think waygrabow lives up in the mountains -

    I see the lowest MPG when the outside temps are high (95+) with humidity (always high in Houston) I get down to around 16 MPG in these conditions.

    In the winter months - temps around 50 degrees - not as much humidity I will get a hair over 20 MPG.

    Part of this is the increased AC usage - but I think the engine also runs more efficiently when the air is cooler & dryer - just what you would see up in the mountains.

    BTW my MPG are based on 90+% city stop and go.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    I sent you an email a week or so ago and have not received a reply. Please send me an email at your earliest opportunity.

    And are not in trouble. ;)

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  • aaykayaaykay Posts: 539
    I think a normally aspirated (NA) engine (like the Mazda 3S engine) would be wheezing in the mountains, since the air becomes thinner, the higher we go. As we know, the engine needs a mixture of air/fuel to operate....the denser the air, the higher the efficiency. The same applies in summer, when the air heats up and becomes less dense. In the mountains, the NA engine would strain to generate the power that it would normally generate at sea level, and consequently use up more fuel. This is completely different from a Turbo-charged engine, which would not experience the same drop in performance.
  • The best mileage I've gotten on the highway with my 3H AT is 31 mpg (cruise control at 75); for normal driving (which does not involve interstates and includes a 10 mile roundtrip stop-and-go commute), I get about 23 mpg.

    I could probably get slightly better mileage if I were more conservative in driving - but I bought the 3 in part because it was fun to drive, so I'm loathe to give that up. Not that there are that many opportunities for fun driving on my commute, anyway.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Then drove about 60 miles around town running errands yesterday, and filled up my 2005 Mazda3 hatch (5-speed) this morning. 355 miles, exactly 11 gallons of gas. That's just over 32 mpg. I'm happy, considering I kept up with the average traffic speed on I-95 between Richmond and D.C. amd back again, which meant I was going anywhere from 75 to 90 (in a posted 65-mph zone) the whole trip!!

    I also experienced another significant number yesterday. Rolled the odo to 10,000 miles!

    BTW, one the errands I performed yesterday was getting all four sets of brake pads replaced on my wife's 2002 Protege5 automatic. The car has 55,000 miles on it and this was her first brake service! The rear inner pads were very thin (they're what prompted me to take the car in) but the outer ones, especially on the front, had appreciably more left on them -- but I went ahead and had everything done and all four rotors turned. I'll be interested to see how many miles I get on my 3's rear pads!

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    all four sets of brake pads replaced on my wife's 2002 Protege5 automatic ... 55,000 miles
    Terrific numbers, Meade, and kudos to your better half! Did you want to share details about the brake work, like time, cost ... ? I heard from a talking head that rotors are so inexpensive these days that he recommends them being replaced rather than turned.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Tell ya what ... I'll respond, but I'll respond over on the Protege5 discussion where this belongs. Call it a pre-emptive strike against another nastygram ...

  • I am considering buying a Mazda 3s, 5-speed Hatchback, when the 2006's are available. The idea is to improve on the gas mileage that I get from my 2002 Mustang GT V8 hardtop, 5 speed manual.

    While I really like the looks of the Mazda 3 Hatch, and I've read it handles nicely and has sufficient power, I am disappointed with what I am reading here as far as Mazda 3 mileage goes. My Mustang gets 28-29 when I'm strictly on the highway or freeway, at 65 - 70 mph. I get 23-24 mpg combined (about 60/40 highway/city). And 18-19 city with no highway or freeway miles. Note that 5th gear in the Mustang is a very "tall" overdrive ratio which greatly enhances gas mileage. I also run the AC most of the time in spring/summer/fall as it is quite hot and humid here in sourthern Indiana.

    Seems to me the real world mileage figures I'm seeing on this board are not a heck of a lot better than I'm getting now. Maybe I'll keep the 'Stang for a few more years and see what develops in the way of higher gas-mileage cars.
  • on the highway you won't notice much difference......but in city/suburban driving you will.
    My Mazda 3 hatchback manual transmission gets 27
    MPG in the city
    (Madison WI.... cruising around on hte westside... if anyone wants to know). Havn't had opportunity to get highway mileage.
    the car is only 1600 miles "old"... so it could get better. (AC was runing all the time)
    I try to stay below 2000 rpm.... but accelerating at stop lights sometimes yields up to 3000 rpm. More rpm are only reached when I need to show one of those domestic "wanna be sport cars" what a car is :-)
    In my opinion 160 hp are too much... the car would drive well with 130 hp too. but mileag would be better....
    but, that car is comaprable to a Camry or Accord... so the mileage is OK
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Gecko ...

    Thank you for letting us be your audience while you answered your own question!


    In 10,000 miles I've been getting roughly 27 in town and 32-33 on the highway, running a/c constantly, in my 2005 Mazda3 hatch with 5-speed and a heavy foot!

  • Thanks to both mdaffron and herrkaleu for the feedback. Indeed, the city mileage figures will make a very big difference. Even with $3 gas I can't make a case for getting rid of the Mustang ... yet. The Mazda 3 is at very top of my list for when I do make my move. Fortunately I have plenty of time to obsess before I buy. Anyone consider the Pontiac Vibe / Toyota Matrix?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Use the Browse by Vehicle search to your left to find topics concerning Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix.

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    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • chacobleuchacobleu Posts: 228
    Som of Edmunds Long-term test mules to compare MPG

    Scion tc 2.4L I-4 5MT
    Current Odometer: 10,862
    Best Fuel Economy: 31.6 mpg
    Worst Fuel Economy: 21.6 mpg
    Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 21.6 mpg

    Volvo XC90 SUV T6 AWD 4AT
    Final Odometer Reading: 28,565
    Best Fuel Economy: 19.6 mpg
    Worst Fuel Economy: 15.1 mpg
    Average Fuel Economy: 17.7 mpg

    Chevy Cobalt 2.2L I-4 4AT
    Current Odometer: 1,569
    Best Fuel Economy: 27.3 mpg
    Worst Fuel Economy: 20.2 mpg
    Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 24.9 mpg

    VW Jetta 2.5L I-5 6AT
    Current Odometer: 1,269
    Best Fuel Economy: 21 mpg
    Worst Fuel Economy: 15 mpg
    Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 17.7 mpg

    Honda Accord 2.4L I-4 5MT
    Best Fuel Economy: 30.0 mpg
    Worst Fuel Economy: 14.5 mpg
    Average Fuel Economy: 24.1 mpg

    VW Jetta owners might as well be driving an SUV instead – their MPG is comparable to Volvo’s SUV. Ok, ok, so the VW is not yet broken in. On the other hand, nor does the VW have a turbo, awd, and a 4 speed auto (vs. VW 6 speed auto).

    Note: the Scion tc average fuel economy doesn't make sense; IMO should be higher (3-4 mpg) based strictly on the info presented
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I looked first here at Edmunds, but they don't have a Mazda3 in their long-term test fleet. Motor Trend magazine is long-term-testing one, however, a 2005 Mazda3s hatch.

    Their average fuel economy is 24.4 mpg, placing it in second place right behind the Cobalt here.

  • waygrabowwaygrabow Posts: 214
    I stopped posting here because it appeared that people had heard enough about excellent gas mileage. Now a neighbor of mine has bought a new 2006 Mazda3s MT, and he says that he gets about the same gas mileage as I do. The worst gas mileage that my Mazda3s MT has registered in the past year is about 35mpg. The car now has almost 25,000 miles, but even on the first tankfull the Mz3 got 30mpg.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I hate to debate you, Wayne, but no freakin' way. I live in Virginia too, I drive a 3s MT (hatch -- but no big difference there), and in 10,700 miles I've only averaged about 27 mpg. The highest I ever got was on an all-highway trip to Pittsburgh, and in one of the tankfuls that was highway only (and nearly 100% on cruise control), I managed about 33 mpg. There's no way you're getting 35 mpg in everyday driving, unless it's all downhill on interstates. :P Tell me how you measure your gas mileage.

  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    I agree....except that...

    Maybe the dude only runs his "3" at 40 miles per hour. That could possibly net him 35 mpg (very lowest). Aahaha.
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