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Mazda3 Real World MPG



  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Great numbers, Wayne, especially for the S model!
    Have you been keeping track of the overall mpg for all the 25K miles? Since numbers fluctuate quite a bit in different seasons and likely in different parts of the country (i.e. snow belt vs. southern comfort) it would be interesting to hear what you and others are averaging long term across the continent.

    For example, in parts of Canada and likely the northern states a big dip (20% to 40%)in fuel efficiency starts happening once the snow falls.
  • When I bought the 3S (I actually went to the dealership to look at the RX8) I thought there was a good chance to beat the published mileage figures because the same engine in the Mazda6 had almost the same advertized mileage figures. The 3, being a smaller car, should be able to do better. I check the mileage for each tank of gas and really haven't seen too much variation. The first tank was 30 mpg. As the car got past the breakin period, the mileage improved to about 33 mpg. Then it went past 35 mpg. I hit a high of 39 mpg for one pure extended highway trip. Now I usually get between 35 to 36.5 mpg.

    I now live in Colorado where we get cold weather but not a real winter, i.e., tomorrow the expected high is about 25 degrees but the next day high will be 50. Our entire winter can be like that. Cold weather does have an influence on gas mileage, like you say, but that influence is not present continuously here as it was when I lived in northern NY.

    While living in Germany and driving on the autobahn routinely, one day when driving at 130 mph, a guy on a motorcycle with his girfriend on the back passed me. At that point I finally realized that going faster than others may not indicate that you have a better car or are a better driver, but simply that you are crazy/reckless. So now getting good gas mileage is my satisfaction.
  • Well 1200 miles into ownership of my 2006 3s Grand Touring w/ AT I have gotten no better than 19mpg. This is based on the trip computer installed in the car which tells you what the average mpg you're doing as well as how many miles on the current tank you've got left and your current gas mileage. (nice feature I might add).

    Bear in mind I live at 4500ft elevation (Nevada) and about 80%+ of my driving is city driving. I'm not a lead foot, but occasionally I do open it up a little (who doesn't) :)

    I'm seriously hoping this improves soon. My Miata got much better mileage!
  • I've had my car for a month now and have been tracking the MPG on an excel file. Average has been 24.9, with tank to tank range of 23.2 MPG to 26.9 MPG. Mostly highway, but a good deal of stop and go traffic (lovely rte 80 in NJ). I was expecting more like 27, but the car revs pretty high in my slightly agressive driving, and if the highway is clear, I usaully cruise at 75-80. So I can't complain too much considering all that
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Average has been 24.9, with tank to tank range of 23.2 MPG to 26.9 MPG. Mostly highway, but a good deal of stop and go traffic

    Try reducing your average speed by 10% for one tankfull. I think you'll find that your mpg will improve significantly. When gas prices hit the skies this fall, I slowed down a bit and was astonished at how much effect it had on my fuel economy. Of course, once the prices levelled off, I resumed fun driving!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    You sure your overdrive is on?

    Also, those trip computers tend to calculate "instant" gas mileage. Do it the easy way ... record your odometer reading next time you fill up. Then take note of how many miles you go on that tankful, and divide that number by the number of gallons you need to fill up the next time.

    My 2005 5-speed hatch has been getting 27 mpg in town and 32 on the highway, like clockwork, for 12,500 miles now ... except for one 700-mile highway trip, where I got 34.


  • Its cold enough in Houston autonomous - thanks for the invite. But your explanations have made me feel better about my gas-guzzling economy car - as someone put it.
  • Meade

    This is my first posting and I hope you or the others can help. What is the deal with the term "5 Speed Overdrive". I E-Mailed Mazda and they gave me the expected answer that there is no overdrive. So, why do they say I have a "5 Speed Overdrive" on my 05 5 door. I am only getting 24.5 MPG and would love to do better. Can you help me?
  • What overdrive means is a gear ratio higher than 1:1.

    In the 5MT Mazda3 the 4th gear has a ratio of 0.970:1 and 5th is 0.755:1. Both the fourth and fifth gears are "overdrive" gears.

    In fact, the auto transmissions available on the 3 both have "overdrive" gears as well (4AT and 5AT).
  • Hey Gang,

    I'm excited to join this forum! After having a "sh-load" of good and bad domestic vehicles, I have decided to take on my first import and after researching long and hard for the "perfect" lux-sport economy car, I decided to take the plunge for a 2006 Mazda 3s GT sedan loaded with every possible option and I am LOVING IT. In addition to the Mazda 3, I have a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Limited which both share the core features that I always wanted on a vehicle: Xenon's, Navigation System, Trip Computer and Premium Audio systems with Satellite radio.

    I opted for the Titanium color since it's very popular whenever I am looking at 3's on the road. BULLIT (as I call her) has approximately 700 miles on the odometer after approximately one-month of ownership. I just relocated from the midwest (Ohio) to California, therefore the vehicle hasn't been driven that much given that I have been traveling back and forth up until now. Today was my first "long drive" experience here in Southern California and I was sure to get acclimated to all the features of the vehicle including the trip computer.

    With moderate to heavy acceleration over a 200+ mile trip, I averaged approximately 27.5 MPG according to the computer. Overall, I found this to be quite impressive given that a good portion of my commute was in heavy traffic. Goldie (my pacifica) would have averaged a horrendous 14 mpg or less given the same scenario. I plan on testing this route again next week once "Goldie" comes off the transportation truck. This will help to give me a good comparison in terms of "real mpg."

    Quick question? What type of octane gasoline are you all using and has there been any correlation to an improvement in MPG given the difference in octane? Thus far, I have used premium fuel just to keep things clean for the first 1K. After this, I plan on switching over to mid-grade gasoline, and dumping the standard oil and switching over to synthetic.

    Thanks for reading and I look forward getting to chat with everyone!

  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    No reason to burn premium gas - it gives you no more power OR MPG and does not burn any cleaner than regular gas. The only thing premium burns better is your money.

    Premium gas is required in vehicles that have a high compression ratio - normally if the ratio is 10.5 to 1 or higher premium will be required. It prevents the fuel from pre-igniting (burning before it should) which will cause engine knock. Octane rating is a measure a fuels ability to prevent this knock.

    Some companies use to advertise that they put special
    additives in premium gas - Chevron was the major one that I know of - now they put it in all grades. Maybe someone is still putting additional additives in their premium gas - but not that I know of - if anyone knows of someone who does - please post it.

    Can't recall when (like 15 years ago maybe) the FCC (or some government agency) forced the major oil companies to STOP advertising that their premium gas was "better" for your car. I think the most memorable ad was something about putting a tiger in your tank (which must have been Exxon)
  • dridedride Posts: 139
    Before November I was getting 28 mpg 70hwy/30city consistently. I have been struggling to get 24 mpg on the last three tanks. Does driving on snow packed roads make that big of a difference? Driving routes have remained basically the same, oil changed at 5k. I did go down to 16" snow tires...
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Why would you use anything other than what Mazda recommends in your owner's manual?

    If that's not enough, read this:

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    From 28 to 24 mpg is about a 15% decrease which sounds reasonable for winter. How long do you warm up the car before driving off? If you want to reduce the hit, try reducing your speed by 10%. Your numbers are comparable to mine here in Canada about 100 miles north of the NY border.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Ditto what auto said ... just one additional point to drive his reasoning home:

    If you're in a state where it actually gets cold in the winter (i.e. not Florida or Texas or California), chances are you're using your defroster a lot more in the wintertime ... which automatically calls your air conditioner compressor online anytime it's running. There's another load (and reduced mpg) on your engine.

  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Even though many cars automatically turn the compressor on when the defroster is turned on - they also have an over ride that shuts it off when the outside temperature is cold - think some are set to turn the compressor off at 40 degrees - others are closer to 32 degrees - cold air is already dry - no reason to run the compressor.

    Maybe someone that lives "up north" where it is cold can tell us if they can hear the compressor actually turning on and off when they run the defroster.

    Filled up today 22 MPG - this is much better than what I was getting in the summer.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769

    ... 22 MPG - this is much better than what I was getting in the summer.

    I didn't think there was anything other than summer in Houston! ;)
  • caylancaylan Posts: 19
    Even though many cars automatically turn the compressor on when the defroster is turned on - they also have an over ride that shuts it off when the outside temperature is cold - think some are set to turn the compressor off at 40 degrees - others are closer to 32 degrees - cold air is already dry - no reason to run the compressor.

    Maybe someone that lives "up north" where it is cold can tell us if they can hear the compressor actually turning on and off when they run the defroster.

    While I call it the windshield deFOGGER ( i call the REAR's deFROSTER): Ican confirm it does comes on @ ~ >32 degrees if you set to the Noon or greater settings.
  • After reading all the wide varying gas mileage on here, I was a bit weary about my new Mazda3s gas mileage. Coming off the gasoholic RX-8 I would have been thankful at anything greater 19mpg. But I was hoping for somewhere in the 25mpg. What I got after 4 fillups was pleasant surprise.

    2006 Mazda3s hatch auto(5spd)


    1182mi 39.626gal $86.82 29.8mpg
    (Note: Both 2nd and 3rd fillups would have been higher if I had not encountered 20 minutes of holiday gridlock on the interstate.)

    My daily commute is short, about 4 miles with little or no stop and go traffic. It's winter in central Florida, which is to say, cool to mild temperature with no A/C. I used light to moderate throttle. This is a departure from the RX-8 where I was moderate to heavy on the gas. Switching from a manual to the automatic slowed my driving habit a bit.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I saw the title of this forum and thought it was a Mazdaspeed3 discussion. For those of you out there wondering about this vehicle, there was a prototype pic in road and track for the SEMA show. Its a hatchback, same powerplant as the Speed6, but most likley no AWD.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    For those of you out there wondering about this vehicle, there was a prototype pic in road and track for the SEMA show. Its a hatchback, same powerplant as the Speed6, but most likley no AWD.

    Are you sure about that? According to another site reporting about the car displayed at SEMA 2005 they made the statement below. In effect, this is a tricked out version of the regular Mazda3 by which Mazda is promoting its Mazdaspeed parts.

    MAZDASPEED-accessorized MAZDA3 -- The already stylish MAZDA3 adds an aggressive front fascia and lower lip spoiler, customized front grille, side sill add-ons, rear under-skirt and lip spoiler and MS-TII aluminum wheels (18x7.5JJ) with diamond-cut carbon-fiber center caps and 225/45R18 Bridgestone tires. A sport shifter for shorter shifts, lightweight flywheel and sport clutch with increased clamp load and torque capacity help improve the performance of the MAZDA3.
  • cticti Posts: 134
    And I am consistently getting EPA estimates for fuel economy in my 2005 hatch with auto (4-spd).

    My short commute takes me on an urban highway for a bit so I get a good mix of city/highway driving. The only downside is that the FE is only 24/29 to begin with.

    For Christmas I drove from Augusta, GA to see my mother in Monroe, LA. A 645 mile trip, 99% of which is on I-20. I drove extra-fast on my way out because I was late, but I drove a cruise-controlled 73 on the way back. And I got spot on 29 mpg.

    That is the highest I've ever managed to get. I'm not particularly happy the highway mileage is so low, but at least I know I can get EPA estimates by driving reasonably.

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    interesting....its funny how contradicting websites and magazines are on the same topic!
  • Today I test drove several Mazda 3, one 2005 3i and two 3s sedans - 2005 & 2006, all auto.

    Driving on flat freeway at 65 MPH,

    2005 3i (17K) = 2500 RPM
    2005 3s (30K) = 3000 RPM
    2006 3s (1.3k)= ~2400 RPM

    This led me to investigate final drive ratio for Mazda 3. Here are what I found:
    Final EPA
    Drive MPG
    2004-2006 Mazda 3i&s MT = 4.105 28/35,25-6/32
    2004-2006 Mazda 3i AT = 3.683 26/34
    2004-2005 Mazda 3s AT = 4.416 24/29
    2006 Mazda 3s AT = 3.863 25/31

    So for all MT regardless of year and model, the final drive has not changed and Highway MPGs remain unchanged.

    However, the 2006 s final drive ratio is smaller than 2004-5, and this allows for a better fuel efficiency and this is reflected in 2+ better MPG. The 2006 s I test drive has sport AT with 5-speed.

    To conclude, if you want fuel efficiency, go with 3i, both auto and manual are okay. The 3i auto with a low final drive ratio 3.683 is pretty good with fuel. If you want the 3s performance but want to save on gas, go with the 3s MT or 2006 3s with 5-speed AT.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769

    As per your list, the fuel economy numbers for the 2006 hatchback (3s) automatic and manual are nearly identical.
    Transmission: City / Highway
    Manual: 25 to 26 / 32
    Automatic: 25 / 31
    What source are you using: EPA, manufacturer, car mag, other? It would be interesting to compare these with the real world numbers that drivers are citing in Edmunds.

    According to Consumer Reports, the EPA numbers are usually very optimistic, up to 30% more than what many drivers get in real world driving.
  • It is from 06 Mazda 3 brochure that I got from local Mazda dealer. It lists 2006 3s 26/32 MT, 25/31 AT. The 04 brochure that I got 2 years ago lists the 2004 3s 25/32 MT, 24/29 AT.
  • According to, the drive ratio is the ratio of the gearset (usually the differential) that is farthest from the engine. A ratio of 3.54:1 means the driveshaft turns 3.54 times for every one turn of the wheels. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the better the vehicle's initial acceleration and pulling power. The lower the number, the better the vehicle's fuel economy.

    Here are the numbers on the 2006 Mazda 3GTs from Mazda website:
    5-Speed manual..................Sport Auto
    Final Drive.....4.105...Final Drive......3.863

    My question is, based on these values wouldn't you expect the automatic to get BETTER mpg than the MT (as well as more torque in 1st and 2nd)?

  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    MT VS auto - final drive ratio.

    Your logic is sound - the thing you are missing is - all automatic trannys have some degree of "slip" - which means some of the power that the engine generates gets lost - a manual has a direct mechanical link from the engine to the drive wheels - although there is still a small amount of slip in a manual - it is much less than an auto.

    Look at it this way - If you have a manual in gear with the clutch out and stop the car the engine will die - an auto will keep running.
  • Just refilled last night: 448.0 miles elapsed, 11.61 gallons filling it until it wouldn't take any more. That is for a 2004 Mazdas3S MT with 27.5K miles, mainly highway driving. That is about what I normally get when driving on highway trips. Overall, the car usually averages about 35 mpg. Worst I have gotten with it in recent times has been 33mpg (stuck in stop & go traffic for about 75 miles).
  • dd123dd123 Posts: 53

    I have 2005 Mazda3s Sedan 5 speed bought in may-2005 Build date march-2005. Right now it has 10,000 Miles and I am consistently getting 28-31 mpg in a 50/50 mix of city/highway traffic with my wife and 2 year son. I am neither a rough driver nor a smooth one
    I never got an opportunity to go for a long highway ride but I expect the gas mileage to be nearly 32 mpg in that case.
    So far absolutely no problem ( TouchWood !!! )
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