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Mazdaspeed test drives



  • jrbjrjrbjr Posts: 3
    My wife is getting about 23 MPG on her daily commute on congested, stop/go surface streets and freeways. We haven't taken the MS3 on a long open freeway drive yet, but when we do, I expect we'll be getting about 28 MPG.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Thanks ! How far did you drive to get there...? Did you talk trade-in value over the phone...?
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Those are very acceptable #s considering performance potential..thanks!!
  • 23109vc23109vc Posts: 218
    i am in the market for a small fun somewhat practical car. I already have a large family SUV for family trips. I have thrree small children and *sometimes* I take/pickup one or two at an MS3 or RX8 would fit my needs.

    i test drove the 8 and while it was nto the fastest car i've ever driven...i got to take it on some twisty road sections and WOW. it was VERY much like a boxster I have driven before. i was very impressed with the handling, the high redline, and the FUN factor. total blast to drive.

    for those of you who have driven BOTH the MS3 and RX8....which is more FUN.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "for those of you who have driven BOTH the MS3 and RX8....which is more FUN."

    Define "FUN".

    My point is that what I, or you, or any number of other folks will think is "fun" (or, which is more "fun") is completely subjective.

    My advice - find a dealer with both RX8's and Speed3's on the lot and do back to back test drives. The 8 will excel in handling over the Speed3 (simply due, IMO, to it's RWD layout). But the Speed3 will be better from a shear grunt (torque - woo hoo!!) aspect.

    Which is more 'fun' is ultimately up to the potential buyer. Go have fun..... ;)
  • 1320mlx1320mlx Posts: 1
    I just bought a black Speed 3 GT with Nav for $99 over invoice. The first dealer wanted $4k over MSRP and wouldn't honor S-Plan. So I drove 15 miles down the road to the next dealer and they were willing to sell it for the S-Plan price.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    So how much below sticker was that? I spoke to a guy yesterday that had a test drive, he called it that just a matter of getting used to the vehicle?
  • mrsermrser Posts: 9
    I've had two test drives on the MS3. I loved the responsivness of the steering. It's "go kart like", which suits me fine.
    Two questions:
    1)I would "assume" they'll continue making this car as a limited production vehicle in '08. Can anyone confirm?
    (my lease on my current ride isn't up until 1/25/08)
    2) Why is the hood so heavy on this car? Crash test purposes?
  • stallionrestallionre Posts: 205
    Good Job!! Now that is a deal. ;)
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "2) Why is the hood so heavy on this car? Crash test purposes?"

    The Speed3 has a top mounted intercooler (sitting on top of the engine). It doesn't make much sense to simply suck up hot air from the engine compartment to run through the intercooler. The inside of the hood incorporates some ductwork that takes cool air coming in though the grill and routes it through the ducts to the intercooler. The inside of the hood is also supposed to seal against the top of the intercooler with the hood closed.

    This way, the engine can get (somewhat) cool air without resorting to a hood scoop like the WRX (btw - I'm not saying that the Mazda method for getting cool air is as efficient; just why the hood is heavier than a standard Mazda3 hood).
  • mrsermrser Posts: 9
    I'll have to inspect the inside of the hood the next time I'm at the dealer.
    A black '08 MS3 is in my future, unless they add white as a choice next year.
  • stallionrestallionre Posts: 205
    I think the hood for both cars feel the same. I felt them last night, to me they both feel heavy. I bet it is because of the insulated. Not sure.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    first dealer wanted $4k over MSRP and wouldn't honor S-Plan

    Well ,technically, there is no S-Plan on the Mazdaspeed3. A dealer can sell one for invoice if they choose, which would be the S-Plan price.
  • stallionrestallionre Posts: 205
    This is true. I read this.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    you went to a dealer just to feel the hood? :P

    actually the ms3 has LESS insulation than the regular 3, for a sporiter experience/sound while driving.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    you've checked the hood insulation on the speed3 vs. the regular 3?

    sounds like stallionre isn't the ONLY one with a hood fetish... :P
  • mugwompmugwomp Posts: 21
    After a test drive, I'm leaning towards a 2007 Subaru WRX-TR but a part of me wants a speedy wagon, a WRX wagon was @ $3000 more at my dealer.

    Didn't enjoy the Speed 3's FWD at all, felt it at all times - thought I was being careful with the throttle but was getting slippage, especially over one slightly gravely part of a road. Too much power on the front wheels - I guess I learned I'm really not an FWD driver/fan.

    Biggest turn off was sharp edge between plastics chaffing my right leg. An almost horizontal seam between lower/upper console area going into my upper calf. Only drove it 10 minutes tops and my leg was starting to hurt from the rubbing. I'll probably test drive one again without wearing shorts but the idea I have to wear pants or put tape over parts of my interior doesn't get me excited.

    A few other turn-offs;
    *The engine sound. WRX has nice, aggressive grind to it with nice note - all I could hear from the MS3 was the muffler and some engine, I guess - but I dunno, the WRX was the one saying zoom, zoom, zoom; sounds like an engine should sound.
    *Colors - I don't want a black car but black was the only color I liked. The soft blue was disappointing. (The color of the one I tested)
    *The clear tail lights - I don't like nor even understand the trend and look forward to its demise. Can't seem to find tradition replacements online.
    *Leg area in general wasn't leg friendly, chaffing sucked. WRX was more spartan but I liked its simplicity.
    *Looking at WRX sedan vs. MS3, which is a wagon - WRX's very clear and intuitive view versus MS3s blindspots.
    *The 18" wheels - 17" wheels seems fine and more economical.

    MS3 Pros;
    *More cupholders. Rear passengers have door ones and elbow rest ones.
    *Stereo - much nicer but reading from owners it isn't that great. Still, much better than Subarus - the TR's sucks.
    *Goodies; WRX TR has none. Stepping out of TR instantly adds $1000, getting any other goodies quickly adds even more duckets.

    *Can't really say the power, would've rather had less with AWD or less period - I have no interest in spinning out on my front wheels. But the shifting was much smoother than the WRX / but I also enjoyed the notchiness of the WRX's shifter. Sheer power numbers = MS3 / sheer usable power on all 4 wheels = WRX.
    *It is a nice black though. Very subtle sparkles - nothing crazy but great paint job. Paint quality is better than WRX's. Colors = WRX / Quality = MS3.
    *Interior materials. Neither seemed that much better than the other. Different things I liked about both. Mazda's interior feels "newer". Subaru's felt better to my body but looks okay. The center area is serviceable but not neat/cool. Mazda's stick and pedals and steering wheel were definitely a nicer quality and you get controls on the wheel. Which in a way, I liked that the WRX is very simple and is all about the driving experience.
    *Looks; call me crazy, I like the 3-part Tribeca schnoz. The TR I was looking at was a sweet blue, but also liked the white ones too. The WRX is very recognizable and kinda funky, the MS3 looks almost exactly like a Mazda 3, which are everywhere which is basically a Protoge...

    I guess I should try them both again - take notes or something. I'm in no rush but would like to get something by the summer.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Tip: Whatever you choose, check with your insurance company before you purchase to avoid any surprises. In Canada (and likely the States) the WRX is in the top 10 list of costliest vehicles to insure due to theft, collision, and comprehensive claims. The rates look staggering.
  • mugwompmugwomp Posts: 21
    Insurance doesn't look too bad. And the driving pleasure is worth it.

    The winner is the WRX (non-TR, white - just going to have to save up a few extra thousand - the MS3 was $22k the WRX sedan, over $25 - can't afford the wagon). But a day after the test drive I can't think of anything I liked about the MS3 and I can't get my mind off the WRX.

    Simply put, the MS3 was the last FWD car I'll ever test drive.

    There's no way I can convince myself that $22k + 250+HP FWD = one ounce of fun. And I'm sorry, drove the regular Mazda3 and that's an econowagon at best. It seemed to have enough power to drive on highways and probably make it up hills, but beyond that - a moped or public transportation seem like reasonable ways to save money.

    Forgot one MAJOR difference between the two; accelerating...

    Back to the miserable FWD experience, the whole having all the power on the front/steering wheels was simply the most unenjoyable experience I've ever had behind the wheel of a powerful car. It kind of ducks and pulls left and right, all the while my friggin' front wheels are kicking gravel at the rest of the car. And after that, driving the WRX - completely different experience. I can only best put it as a driver's car. Compared to the experience of dragging the weight of a wagon by an overpowered engine - just having the [non-permissible content removed] end slide around. Less like driving, more like water skiing or something. With the WRX - well, Subaru makes some of the best handling cars on the road and it shows. You can drift through a turn - no drag from anywhere - just useable power. And after testing the "zoom, zoom" of the MS3 - I realized the power seemed useless if I didn't enjoy its application. I guess I'm leaning towards the verdicts of the Euro reviews over the gleaming American ones.

    Driving the WRX put a smile on my face - the MS3, I was pretty much dumbfounded. I didn't get it. If I want a powerful FWD car (basically an overpowered Protoge), I'll probably consider an old Ford Contour SVT.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Mugwomp, just read your post to the Miata driver back on 3/11....BEST POST EVER!!!!!
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    hoods are very sexy! ;)

    actually i stopped by the mazda dealer a few weeks ago, just to look at the 3's and they had 2 mazdaspeeds in stock. A red and blue one. I popped the hood of the blue one to look at the engine and the salesman pointed out the lack of additional sound deadening materials.

    But yeah it was a turn on. :)
  • mugwompmugwomp Posts: 21
    Thanks smogdung. Didn't get a chance to test drive one of those but I sat in one while I was there. Very nice, simple cockpit, but definitely not me - though its simplicity towards focusing on the driving experience reminded me of the WRX-TR. Too bad the RX-8 is so strange looking; very neat interior, fun to sit in - they had a used one for $22k (sadly the bozo owner before painted the wheels black, most likely with a blindfold on). Eldaino, was that not the heaviest hood you've ever tried to lift in your life? Didn't seem safe to me - sad the MS3 didn't have a hood scoop. Between replacing the hood with a lighter one, replacing the clear tail-lights, fixing the sharp interior plastics and perhaps getting it painted a different color - it could be $6k to get the MS3 to make me happy and that's not including that fact its still FWD... Probably going to test drive it again today for a longer drive, without the salesman, and see if I can tolerate it.
  • mugwompmugwomp Posts: 21
    Test drove the car again ended up getting a job. This may influence my decision so I'm going to hold off for a month. If I enjoy working at Mazda it makes much more sense to drive what I sell - especially if I can get a discount. Still a few things concern me about the car;

    *I can live with black and I guess I'll get used to the tail lights until I can find conservative replacements.
    *Something seems strange about the pushing against the springiness, then up to shift into first. Only driven 5-speeds, I guess. The pushing against springiness then down and in for reverse was something I had never dealt with before either.
    *Not sure how to deal with sharp edge by leg. Maybe point it out to the shop, have them sand the edge away.
    *Not sure how much I'll like the FWD in windy roads.
    *AWD for my trips to Tahoe sounds so much better.

    Still, a great deal for the money - no hurry. I think I'll be driving these a lot now, regardless if I buy one, so I'll be taking notes...
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Congrats on the job, I can retire from Fed this month...wife says no new car unless I get another FT there's some cognitive dissonance (or something).
  • mugwompmugwomp Posts: 21
    Doing more research - Canada sells white ones - Australia sells a much more colorful blue. Hmmmm - I have a suspicion the 2008s in the U.S. may (hopefully) offer at least one new color to choose from along with the black, red, blue, silver. Guess we shall wait and see... I had also mentioned not being crazy about the exhaust note - reading on some Mazda forums of people being pulled over for having too loud of a car - and these are stock!!! That doesn't seem fair or legal to get harassed for driving a completely street legal car cuz a grumpy cop wants to give you a hard time.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    So when do you start at the Mazda dealer? How much is the discount? Walser in Burnsville MN was selling em at 1500 < sticker...430 miles from me ...but that would be worth the drive ....Fed offering 25% retention pay to stay...wonder who they want me to kill?
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    def heavy! Have not lifted one heavier. i guess a hood scoop was out of the question, given the sleeper effect mazda was going for.

    Saw one this weekend, true red. Very nice. But my wife couldn't tell the difference. Sleeper indeed.

    Congrats on the job!
  • When I took my test drive I was sold on the Speed 3. I tested the VW GTI and the Honda Civic si and they paled in comparison to the Mazda. The Subaru WRX and Lancer Evo look like cheap sedans with wings, something that young kids should drive. The Mazdaspeed 3 looks like a sleeper. It's faster than the VW and Honda and it's at least $10,000 cheaper than some of the other cars with the same performance.

    We left the dealer's lot and I punched it and a big smile came on my face. That smile stayed on the entire 15 minute test drive. The salesman was with us and he told me to drop down a gear and nail it when I was cruising at 80 and the Speed 3 just took off to 110mph when I shut it down. Amazing car and a great value for the money.

    With only 5000 available in the US it is a rare bird. There must be 200 GTIs and 300 Civic SIs in my city, but there is only 1 Mazdaspeed and that's mine. :)
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    CONGRATS! Were you able to get it for sticker?
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    congrats on your purchase!

    still dunno if i would say it has the same 'performance' as an evo or sti though... ;)
This discussion has been closed.