Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Mazda3 Hatchback



  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Sit on cloth at any temperature and I sweat. Can't explain it. I'm utterly miserable on cloth.

    Again, simple explanation. You'd rather sit on skin than cloth.

    You're a nudist! :P

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Nothing feels quite as nice as lounging on a leather couch on a cool morning. Um, yummy.

    Oh, I get it now! Really! I just read your profile and discovered that you live in never-hot, never-cold, never-humid, comfy California.

    There's the difference.

    I live in always-humid, 100-degree-summers Central Virginia. Sit on leather seats anytime between, oh, June and September, and you'll find yourself having to peel the back of your sweat-soaked shirt and pants from your seat -- ample a/c or not.

    My apologies, and I envy your climate.

  • ptown23ptown23 Posts: 7
    yeah all that talk makes me second guess the leather choice. i live in michigan and the summers get pretty humid and hot, so i guess cloth with do.
    anybody have any info on the rear skirt diffuser?
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    Back in the old days vinyl seats were awful with all the sweating, and being too hot to sit down. I did not try leather for a long time because of that experience. The last 3 cars that I have owned with leather have been excellent. Never too hot to sit in and no sweating. With the heat reflecting glass and excellent climate control systems, I have not had a single problem. All have been grey or tan in color; I have not had the courage for black.

    Oh yeah, this is in Alabama, so Virginia and Michigan should be no problem at all. Florida could be a different story though.

    Now if you are one of those oddballs with a nice vehicle and drive in 90 degree temps and high humidity with the windows down (no A/C on) then you deserve to sweat. Those cloth seats are also getting the sweat too; they just wick it away from you and store the odors and mildew for future enjoyment.

    I don't think the climate controlled seats have anything to do with leather. If vehicles that fall in the price category for climate controlled seats had cloth, then those would have it too. There aren't too many $40k+ cars without leather.
  • npaladin2000npaladin2000 Posts: 593
    "Those cloth seats are also getting the sweat too; they just wick it away from you and store the odors and mildew for future enjoyment."

    One word: Febreeze. :)
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    suggesting that something that costs more might not be better for everyone is un-American.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    buy leather seats and protect them with a cloth cover. :P

    p.s. Meade, you're in fine form. Not only are your drives spirited so are your postings. Look for the latest iteration of my great American drive in your in-box later today.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Unfortunately the sub-thread of leather, faux, fabric took a turn for the juvenille worse this morning. Let's get back to discussing the Mazda3 without potty humor. Thanks!
  • ptown23ptown23 Posts: 7
    does ANYBODY have anything on the rear skirt diffuser - i am going to the dearship tomorrow and want to know if its worth the 175 bucks. please.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Not in my lifetime.

    What do you need to know about it? It's a doohickey that hangs on the bottom of the rear bumper:


  • fowler3fowler3 Posts: 1,919
    Some people will go for anything no matter how useless. Sheesh!!

    And don't spring for the "chrome" gas filler door cover! It isn't chrome -- it's aluminum wrap which cracks and flakes off like tissue paper leaving ugly black pastic showing.

  • joe249joe249 Posts: 95
    Thank you for your help,I was apprehensive because of the firm suspension.Edmunds calls it stiff.
    I'll try the 3S H.B. It's H E double L to get old. :)
  • fowler3fowler3 Posts: 1,919
    I don't know your age, agree with your H E double L. The stiff suspension isn't really bad on the MZ3. It's firmer on the previous models, Protegés, and takes getting use to. I'm almost 75 and have found that better tires go a L-O-N-G way in softing up those bumps. My Protegé rides like a different car and still handles good. ;)

  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Please note that all of the posts about shopping, fees, what price should I pay, S-plan, etc. have been moved to the discussion Mazda3: Prices Paid & Buying Experiences.

    All pricing posts go there so we can keep this discussion about the features, attributes and performance of the vehicle.

  • I notice you state that you drive short distances in the city and that you don't care about gas mileage. Hence, pick the comfortable car.

    I own both a 2001 civic lx and a 2004 mazda 3s. I can say for a fact that the mazda is more fun to drive -- but I can't tell if it's the 3 years of youth it has on the civic. The civic feels a lot lighter than the mazda; the sound dampening in the mazda appears to be better. The civic has drum brakes in the rear while the 3 has disc brakes all around [this may be an age thing -- I notice that most new-model cars are sporting rear discs]. The 3 stops a LOT shorter than the Civic -- and the Civic is no slouch in the stopping department. The extra ponies in the 3 (160 vs. 127) certainly give it more ooomph.

    That said, if you customarily haul 30 bags of fertilizer around, I'd get a van. For about the price of either a loaded civic or a 3, you can get a Grand Caravan. It's not nearly as much fun to drive (I also own one of these), but it is extremely comfortable; mine (a 1998) has been quire reliable as well. In mine the seats come out for hauling plywood and such, but the newer ones have drop-down seats that stow beneath the floor.
  • sadlosadlo Posts: 6
    I'm considering a Mazda 3. Looks like a fun little car. Enjoyed my test drive....but that was a while ago. I want to drive it again. I'm wondering how people find the performance of the 2.3 for climbing hills.

    My wife has a 2004 PT Cruiser. It comes with a 2.4L and auto trans. Driving through the mountains in West Virginia and western Maryland really show the car's weaknesses. It doesn't really have enough power and constantly shifts trying to find the power band. I'd most likely buy a manual transmission but wonder how the 2.3 will handle the mountains.

    I'm tired of having underpowered cars. I also tested the new turbo powered Audi A3 but thats about $5K more in its basic format. That car seemed to really put out some power... :D
  • cticti Posts: 134
    The 2.3L engine is the same as the base in the Mazda 6. The 160 HP are similar to the HP in other four cylinder mid-size cars and more than almost all smaller cars.

    In addition, if you get the automatic, you have 'sport-shift' automatic so you won't have to worry about the car hunting for the right gear. Just engage the manual shifting gate and downshift at your command. The limits are very generous and I can't imagine the car would override your gear selection.

    I find people's desire for lots of HP kind of funny. The 160 HP in the Mazda 3 is the most I've had in any car I've driven/owned.

    2005 Mazda 3 hatch - 160HP
    2000 Kia Sephia - 125 HP
    1993(?) Toyota Previa - 138 HP
    1986 Ford Taurus - 140 HP

    I finally broke 150 HP and I feel like I'm living the good life! :shades:
  • What an amazing vehicle! I've had it for only a few hundred miles, yet I'm impressed by the quiet engine, the power, the very smooth shifting automatic transmission, the taut handling and suspension (but you pay for it on potholes in the city), the fit and finish.
    I look forward to seeing what the car will be like after a couple of thousand miles and varied driving experiences.
  • cdnp5cdnp5 Posts: 163
    I use to have a P5 and drove that everywhere. I never had any problems with hills except at 7,000-10,000 feet and then it would feel slugish but it should at that point. The only things that passed me at that point were turbos, big V6s and V8s. I've driven all through WV an NC and never had any problems. I would have to downshift into fourth (manual trans) on some of the really steep ones but otherwise it was fine.
  • npaladin2000npaladin2000 Posts: 593
    The limits are very generous and I can't imagine the car would override your gear selection.

    Actually, it doesn't override your gear selection at all when in manual mode. That's what makes it fairly unique among the manual mode automatics (and much better than the rest of them)...a lot of them aren't true manual mode, because at a certain point an override kicks in and it shifts for you. The Mazda auto tranny doesn't do that at all; you can go right up to redline and hang out there and it won't shift on it's own in manual mode. The ONLY time the mazda auto tranny will do something on it's own in manual mode is when you come to a stop; then it drops back to first gear a little before you stop. You can still take off in 2nd by bumping it after you stop though.
  • lawrence1lawrence1 Posts: 9
    no customary fertilizer!
    Thanks unclesmrgol :)
  • bjewettbjewett Posts: 62
    Hi all,

    I was on this forum earlier as a 2002.5 P5 owner. Sadly the car was totalled in a wreck (it did GREAT - considering it was a huge side impact - what an awesome car). I am looking at Mazda3s.

    I test drove the hatch/manual trans and agree with Car and Driver (they seem to be the only ones that nail it on the head) - great car, refined, power, quiet, just not as tossable/fun as the P5. Sigh.

    That said, my question to you all who own the thing - how do you like your hatch? Was the limited headroom in the sedan an issue in choosing the hatch? Does the small (looks ~ same as P5 to me) trunk bother you? Can you still take onramps at 30 over the posted limit and smile about it?

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421

    Sorry to hear about your P5. As you may have heard, my 1992 Protege LX succumbed in a head-on collision at 45 mph (hydroplaning) at just over 10 months old back in '92 -- but I walked away from it. (And the '92s didn't even have air bags!)

    I've racked up five weeks and 1250 miles on my Velocity Red 5-speed 2005 Mazda3 hatch. (Pause to take a breath) The trunk doesn't bother me at all, and yes, I can take onramps at virtually any speed I want to. I tell ya, when I first got the car, I had a hard time staying at or under the speed limit compared to my 2000 Protege ES. The car is geared taller, and that, along with the eerily quiet (compared to my Protege) interior, and with the combination of the tach and speedo having zero at 6 o'clock, made it VERY easy to realize I was doing 75 when I thought I was going 55.

    Heck, just this past Sunday this guy was hogging the left lane on the highway in front of me, so I kinda zoomed around him in disgust -- never downshifting, and not flooring it either -- by the time I got around him I felt like I might be going a little fast, so I glanced down -- thinking I'd see 70 or 75 -- Brian, I was going NINETY! And the car was just loafing along.

    You'll love the Mazda3 hatch. I sure do!

  • dd123dd123 Posts: 53
    HI Meade,

    I really liked the small review of yours on MZ3S.


  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I've had my (let me take a big breath, OK) Velocity Red 5-speed 2005 Mazda3S wagon since April 7 and have racked up approximately 1,300 miles on said pocket-rocket. I traded my beloved Emerald Mica 5-speed 2000 Protege ES on the car. The Protege, which I owned for 91,100 miles since purchased new in May 2000, was a highly enjoyable, entertaining, sporty, and -- let me be sure to add -- reliable car. The new 3, btw, is the sixth Mazda I have purchased new since 1991.

    OK, enough history. The CAR.

    I'm a big guy -- 280 pounds -- and the first thing that impressed me about the Mazda3 was its roomy interior and headroom (sans moonroof, which robs a little more than an inch of headroom). The 3 has the same amount of headroom that the Protege had, and I fit in the car better than I do in the Mazda6 -- which was a little confusing to me since the 6 is a bigger car. The 3 also has more hip room than the 6 -- I found my arm always rubbing the inside of the door panel and my right leg constantly rubbing on the parking brake in the 6i sedan I rented for a day.

    The 3 has seat-height adjustments like the Protege, but whereas the Protege had separate height-adjustment knobs for the front and rear of the cushion, the 3 only has a yank-up handle that seems to only adjust the rear of the cushion. That said, the Protege didn't have a lumbar adjuster and the 3 does. The 3 also has a steering wheel that telescopes in addition to tilting -- another move up from the Protege.

    I was also impressed by a few creature-comforts they added onto the 3 -- things they had gotten rid of (for cost-savings, I guess) in the third-generation Protege I had. Here's a list of amenities the 3 has that the Protege did not:

    - Illuminated ignition switch
    - Lighted glovebox
    - Locking glovebox
    - Rear defroster timer (you had to switch off the Protege's manually)
    - Locking fold-down seat backs (on the 3 sedan vs. the Protege sedan)
    - Map lights (Protege just had a dome light unless you got the moonroof option)
    - Cupholders in the back seat

    Since I was buying the wagon so I could both haul cargo and haul -- well, you know :shades: , I was very impressed with the trunk area of the 3 wagon. While not as large as the trunk in the Protege, it's more "finished". By that I mean the Protege had very cheesy fibrous panels for a trunk liner, and the trunk floor was nothing but a piece of flimsy particle board material with some fuzz sprayed onto it. I was constantly in fear of cracking the trunk's floorboard with heavy items as it flexed under the load, with only the spare tire to stop its downward movement. The 3, on the other hand, has much thicker materials for trunk walls and floor -- and the floor itself is divided into two plastic compartments for storage underneath the trunk floor but still above the spare. And the covers for those compartments can be used to create horizontal or vertical shelves in the trunk. The trunk also has a total of 10 flip-out tie-down hooks; the Protege had zero.

    The hatch's trunk area has the usual split hatch cover to hide your cargo, and it's on the usual hatch-cover strings that pull the back half of it up when you open the hatch. But a neat new feature is that the front half of that cover has a small handle and is magnetically attached to its mounting point, so someone in the back seat can reach behind the seat back and open the cover to obtain something from the trunk. Interesting!

    The jack handle and lug wrench fit into their own molded spots in the compartments and the jack stores behind its own little door; on the Protege everything was snapped in under the trunk floor except for the bag with the lug wrench in it, which just had to ride on top of the spare. One more thing on the subject of the trunk -- the trunk light has its own switch, and the rear wiper has a fixed-intermittent setting. The rear washer draws its fluid from the main washer-fluid tank under the hood -- I've seen some cars (mainly older Hondas) with a separate fluid reservoir for the rear washer.

    The dash took some getting used to. I've always had an instrument panel I could read in the daytime without artificial illumination. The 3 is different. EVERYTHING lights up from behind; when you look at the dash with the car off, you can't see the tach or speedo at all. I found the "electroluminescent" gauges fun, but annoying in the early morning and evening, when I found the need to switch on the headlights -- which dimmed the gauges so much they were hard to read in the still ambient light of day. Then I discovered that "extra" pushbutton switch up above the tach and speedo that returns the lighting to "daytime" level when you have the headlights on. Thank goodness for that switch.

    While I'm on the subject of lighting, I'll say that the steering wheel controls for the stereo and the cruise control are backlit (in orange, like everything else) too -- a nice touch that makes me feel like I'm in a much more expensive car. The Protege did not have any steering wheel controls, and the cruise controls were on a separate little pod/stalk that stuck out on the right side of the steering column. In five short weeks I have become a huge fan of the steering-wheel-mounted audio controls -- especially volume and mute -- I simply do not know what I ever did without them! :D

    OK, on to performance. This is the area where the Protege, good-handling as it was, fell short. The Protege was just not quite fast enough to bring that smile completely ear-to-ear. Mazda has solved that little dilemma though, upping the horsepower to 160. (The 1.8-liter, DOHC 16-valve Protege's was 125 if I remember correctly). This car simply rockets you away. And after owning nearly 10 cars with manual transmissions since 1985, I can say that the 3's is far and away the smoothest, most refined 5-speed I've used. And speaking of smooth, the balance-shaft-equipped engine is so smooth you literally cannot hear it or feel it when you're stopped at a traffic light. Rack up a few extra points for the fact that this engine (both of the 3's engines, in fact) contains a timing CHAIN as opposed to a belt.

    The engine is so quiet it has almost gotten me in trouble. As I posted a couple of posts back, I have found myself going 90 when I thought I was going at least 20 mph lower than that. Warning to young potential buyers -- this car likes to go fast. If you want your insurance and your driving record to remain spotless, keep an eye on your speedometer!

    (Continued in next post -- I must've exceeded Edmunds' word limit)
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Edmunds chopped off my lengthy post. Continued ...

    Other performance features -- here's another improvement over the third-generation (1999 and 2000) Protege. The 3 has disc brakes on all four wheels. (Interestingly, the first-generation Proteges I had also had four-wheel discs.) The car stops assuringly and swiftly with no grabbing or fading.

    The headlights are a great improvement over the ones on the Protege. Even though I opted out of the xenon package, the stock low- and high-beams are much brighter and farther-throwing than the ones the Protege had. I like the standard driving lights, even though I still don't find much use for them -- they seem to only illuminate a small area right in front of the car -- but they look way cool, and that's what's important, right? :P

    OK, time for some nitpicks. No car is perfect, and although the 3 is the best car I've ever had, it's not perfect either. This list may be on the picky side, but we gotta be fair, right? Here goes, in order of what bugs me the most:

    (1) The damned floor mats! You may have read my description of them in other posts, and after five weeks I stand behind it: They're dryer-lint-covered fruit rollups. I talked my dealer into throwing in a set of $90 "deluxe carpeted floor mats" -- and they're more what you'd expect in a set of floor mats. While I'm on the subject of underfoot accommodations, I'll also point out that the "carpet" on the Mazda3's floor is fuzz on some kind of thin liner -- it doesn't look durable at all. And there's a large "dead pedal" area for your left foot, but no vinyl pad or anything there -- your foot's just resting on that thin fuzzy floor covering. It's going to wear quickly, and the driver's side floor mat doesn't come anywhere near that area. I'm going to see if I can find some kind of stick-on vinyl padding to cover that footrest area. Come on, Mazda. How much extra would some real by-God carpet cost?

    (2) The driver's headrest has a mind of its own. I'm not sure whether this is the touted "whiplash protection" feature I've read about, but the headrest magically rises to a level that's a little higher than I like -- and higher than most safety people call for. Can anyone else verify this? Put the headrest all the way down, go for a drive, and it's risen up two or three stops.

    (3) The speedo gauge reads "0 mph" at the 6 o'clock position, and the top mark of 140 is at about 2 o'clock. The useful range of the speedometer -- up past the legal speed limit -- is only covered in about a third of its full arc. I'm getting used to it now, but it's hard to come from a car with a "normal" speedo to this car where 60 mph is only at about 9 o'clock. It seems Mazda could put in a more realistic speedometer -- say with a 125-mph top end (the car is governed to 118 anyway) -- that would give us a little more useful range.

    (4) You MUST use the keyfob control to open the trunk on the hatch. There is no keyhole back there (none on the passenger's door either, fwiw), and there's no remote hatch release inside the car. If it's locked, you have to use the keyfob remote. There's even a big "how-to" in the owner's manual showing you how to get into your locked hatch if, say, the car battery is dead. It requires climbing through the car, popping off a plastic cover and throwing a lever. Now, wouldn't it have been easier to simply put a keyed lock back there???

    (5) Not really Mazda's fault, other than by choice, but the tires they chose for the "S" models are Goodyear Eagle RS-As. This car could benefit from MUCH NICER tires that are still all-season, high-performance, and WAY CHEAPER. Go read the customer (and professional) reviews of this tire at 'Nuff said.

    All in all, a very fun, spirited, smile-inducing car that does not forget how to squeeze 27 mpg out of my spirited driving and occasional (OK, frequent) stomp on the accelerator pedal. I still have yet to take a long road trip in the car; that may have to wait until late June when I spend a weekend in the mountains about four hours from home.

    Five weeks and loving it,

  • npaladin2000npaladin2000 Posts: 593
    (4) You MUST use the keyfob control to open the trunk on the hatch. There is no keyhole back there (none on the passenger's door either, fwiw), and there's no remote hatch release inside the car.

    You'll find that's because it counts as a "door." That means using the master lock/unlock button on the inside of the driver's door opens up all four doors AND the hatch. That's your remote trunk release. ;)

    Incidentally, turn the key in the driver's side door and hold it, and all the doors will unlock. Which I'm not sure I get since double-clicking the fob will do the same thing. And yeah, i dread the day that the battery dies, but at least I can get the driver's side open, pop the hood, and get my jumper cables out of the GLOVEBOX (since keeping them in the hatch is OBVIOUSLY not a terribly good idea in the case of a dead battery and a locked car).

    On second though you're right. We really need a keyhole back there. But I guess no car is perfect, right?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Right (like I said)!

    Hey -- I have one more "like" and one more "HUH?!" about this car. See if you agree.

    First, the like.

    Have you noticed the cutouts for the rear lap belt buckles in the rear seat, so those of us who prefer not to have our passengers sitting on those buckles can tuck them away? Have you also noticed that, once you disconnect the stupid rear-center shoulder belt and allow it to retract, Mazda conveniently placed two slots up beside the parcel shelf that you can "plug" the belt into so it won't just dangle around back there? Nice touches.

    Now, the "HUH?!"

    Have any of you noticed (gee, I sure hope you have) that the anchor point for the driver's seat belt is on the bottom of the B-pillar, where most cars have them, but the anchor point for the passenger's seat belt is on the SEAT? (I noticed that the Mazda6 has the same arrangement.)

    Anyone want to explain that to me? I know it must have to do with the air bags, but why would the passenger's seat require a different belt configuration? If anything, it seems backward: The passenger seat has more stuff inside it (the sensors for seat occupancy and weight for the airbag function) than the driver's seat. It would seem the passenger's seat would need the extra space and locate the belt anchor point out on the B-pillar.

    So ... what's up with that? I want to know this car!

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Possible (although far-fetched) explanation for seat belt design: are there any two-door configurations of the Mazda3 anywhere in the world, now or planned?
  • dd123dd123 Posts: 53

    Nice and Long review.


This discussion has been closed.