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2012 Mazda3



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "People that drive very conservatively can beat the averages and the speedsters can't come close."

    Depends upon the car. Both of my I6 BMWs (both manual transmissions) would easily top their EPA highway numbers by nearly a third; all I had to do was drive at speeds a few mph either side of 75. If I was to slow down to whatever the stupid speed the EPA uses for testing (isn't it somewhere in the fifties?), my mileage would drop considerably.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    edited January 2012
    I'm not talking about unverifiable anectdotal reports. I'm talking about a 100% reproducible test under identical conditions applied to each powertrain. Now, given the weight and aerodynamic differences I don't expect the CX-5 manual to hit 38 MPG like the Mazda3 manual (let's be fair and use the hatch), and I don't expect the CX-5 automatic to hit Mazda3's 39 MPG. But when the auto gets 39 in the Mazda3 and 32 in the CX-5, but the manual gets 38 in the Mazda3 and 35 in the CX-5, that means there are other significantly different factors and I want to know what they are. This is not a driving style difference, this has to be some drastically different tuning in both the engine and transmission, and possibly different shift points and gear ratios in the manual. Otherwise this should be a very linear and predictable change, and the CX-5 manual should be getting between 30 and 32 MPG highway in the EPA test.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Granted the quantity of anecdotal reports are still pretty low, but at some point anecdotal reports start gathering weight and encroach upon the realm of empirical data. If any one anecdotal report seems unreasonable or too over the top, it is easy to dismiss; however, if hundreds or even thousands of such reports are similar in nature then one can dismiss them only at their peril.

    The reason I keep working this angle is because the SkyActiv Mazdas aren't the only vehicles where the official EPA results show similar or even better fuel economy numbers for Automatic models, but yet the vast majority of anecdotal field reports show quite the reverse (the current Mazda5 is a prime example of this).

    The cause? Hard to tell, but some have suggested the EPA testing of Manual transmission models is skewed because said test is conducted as if the person operating the transmission is an idiot.

    So, long story short, I predict that when the anecdotal field reports of the SkyActiv Mazda3 number in the thousands, the Manual transmission versions will show consistently better fuel economy than the Automatic models. I know you don't want to believe it, and fortunately you won't have to for some time yet; sooner or later the sheer quantity of anecdotal data will become compelling enough to make it difficult to argue against.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Consumer Reports does very good fuel economy tests and they clearly show that manual have an advantage in fuel economy and acceleration. Even the VW DSG is less efficient and slower than the manual. This despite better or equel EPA numbers for the automatics.

    Yes the EPA test requires a very precise driving pattern and automatics can be programmed to do well on the test. Manuals are forced to over rev and stay in too high a gear.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,175
    Nobody said that many people can't get better MPG with a manual least I didn't. I just said that the average driver will probably get similar results with both transmissions. The posters in here, being mostly people that have a great interest in cars, are most likely better able to shift at the most opportune times for good MPG. If you really look at the criteria the EPA uses it is not rocket science or a highly unusual convoluted test cycle. I'm certainly not a defender of the EPA but I have had no trouble beating the EPA hwy numbers either before or after the 2008 revision with an automatic. And I've read many "ancedotal reports from the driving public" that they do the same. I've also read many reports that many manual drivers beat the EPA numbers by even more.

    What does all this prove? Just what I said. That a good driver can beat the EPA numbers with either transmission and the very good stick driver can probably beat it by a little more. BUT, these are not the average driver which the EPA tends to try and duplicate to give decent estimates. So this endless circle discussion of which is better is just childish and a waste of time. Drive what you like but don't denigrate others for the decision that fits their lifestyle.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Long story short, again you're getting toward anecdotal stuff which has nothing to do with the difference in the repeatable EPA test that we're discussing. Long story short, we have an anomaly here that is not explained, and either the EPA test is not consistent (highly unlikely) or something changed in that manual transmission and engine between the Mazda3 and Mazda CX-5 (where the tranny is supposedly the same SkyActiv manual). And for such a significant change in recorded EPA highway mileage results, that something has to be significant.

    And finally, long story short, I predict you'll change the subject to your predictions about how wonderful manual transmissions are. Again. :shades:
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,175
    If you compare the 2.5 drivetrains in the Mazda3 and the Mazda6 they are the same(I'm pretty sure anyway). But the Mazda6, a bigger heavier car, gets better mpg. I assume, even though it's the same tranny, that the gearing is slightly different. The salesman of course when I pointed it out, one....didn't even know they were different and the 6 got better mpg, and two....didn't have a clue as to why. Could this be a similar reason for the difference you're talking about?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Nope, I'm sticking with my prediction; the manual will deliver better mileage than the automatic in real world driving for both the Mazda3 and the CX-5. As one of our fellow TownHall members is fond of saying, "Often wrong, never uncertain." ;)

    Oh, and it simply goes without saying that the manual is more fun and more engaging to drive. :shades:
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    And it is now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can predict the future.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    That would have to be some pretty drastic gearing change, unless they're changing the shift points somewhat drastically as well. We know they "tuned" the engine between the 3 and the CX-5. I wonder if they're using different engine tuning between the auto and manual as well.

    I'd like to know a list of what changed between the auto and manual on the CX-5. Doubt we'll get it, but I'd like to know.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,175
    Oh, and it simply goes without saying that the manual is more fun and more engaging to drive

    It sure would be nice if it did go without saying.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469 -with-a-stick-shift-10-08/overview/manual-vs-auto-ov.htm

    The above is actual testing of automatic and manual - there is no comparison. Manual wins by a mile.

    Wish Mazda offered the manual in all their trims.
  • All in all, not a bad start. 10.6 gallons on the first fill up, and 351 miles driven with a lot of city driving and accelerating/decelerating to help break in the drivetrain.
  • I did read a review of the new Mazda where it is mentioned that the SkyActiv engine was rushed to production. I just had my 2005 Mazda3 totaled and have been looking into options for my next car, but am worried about the new Mazdas. The 2011s have terrible gas mileage compared with mine, and the 2012 sounds like it comes equipped with a "beta" engine. Not something I'd want to drop near $20K on.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I did read a review of the new Mazda where it is mentioned that the SkyActiv engine was rushed to production.

    Link please? Not one article I have read makes such mention. Did you happen to read this in a Honda thread?

    2012 sounds like it comes equipped with a "beta" engine. Not something I'd want to drop near $20K on

    Mazda has been developing this technology for years. They announced it over 3 years ago. The "beta" engines were being tested on roads about a year and a half ago.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Any word on modifications for 2013 yet? Will we be able to get SkyActiv with s-level equipment, such as automatic climate control?
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I take it this forum is dead because everyone's out actually driving their Mazda3s? :shades:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,966
    It's called data gathering! :P

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  • 34pete34pete Posts: 4
    My girl and I are thinking about cars as we are going to leave NYC and will need a ride. I am a very tall person though 6'5" and with long legs.

    I am wondering if any combination of bigger engine and no moonroof exists besides the Mazda3 speed. I rented a mazda 3 a while back and liked it well enough for an economy car.

    Also how is that blind spot monitoring thing? That only comes with the top of the line? I don't care about many of the other options (maybe just an aux jack and AC good enough for me) but that seems kinda cool.

    The last car I had a 96 Honda Civic had a moon roof and it forever ticked me off.. How much can the seat lower? I also hate ducking down to see stop lights.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Speaking of data gathering... I was doing a lot of that at my local auto show today, always a highlight of the year for me. Mazda had a Mazda3i Touring sedan and a hatch there. I prefer the hatch. They had one in deep blue with the tan interior, which was great because I favor the tan interior. Comparing it in close proximity to the competition let me confirm that it's at the top of my shopping list for next year. It has several advantages over competitors like the Focus SE, such as a flat-folding rear seat (or nearly flat), very adequate if not expansive rear leg room, and a nicely-styled interior. The slick short-throw 6MT is a big plus also.

    Unless the new Elantra GT (a no-show at the auto show) can unseat the Mazda3i from its perch atop my list, and assuming I am not smitten when I drive the new Dart (which is a fantastic-looking car), looks like it will come down to the Mazda3i Touring, with the Golf (used), Impreza, and Prius (used) as alternatives if I can't get a good enough deal on the Mazda3.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Based just on the pics of the Elantra GT and the MPG reports from the regular Elantra I'd cross it off the list. Yeah something like BlueLink would be nice but they had to hamstring their engine to get a theoretical 40 MPG (torque is pretty low), which a lot of people have trouble meeting on the Hyundais. Also, is it just me or do their wheels look way too small on all of their cars?

    How would you say the rear legroom compares to the Impreza? I found the Impreza to be incredibly spacious in the back, and I'm a 6-footer. I also found the Focus back seat to be comparable to a Mustang back seat. :shades: At this time I'm missing my old Mazda so much I'm only barely considering an Impreza, but this is the Northeast and all, and AWD has a certain appeal. Maybe a WRX announcement...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I kinda like the looks of the Elantra GT. Also I've had no problems exceeding the EPA FE ratings on the 2011+ Elantra when I've driven it as a rental, so I don't see a problem there. I'm not buying the car for speed. If so I'd go with the Mazdaspeed3. :)

    The Impreza has more knee room than the Mazda3 but the toe space in the Impreza is a little tighter, so it's not a big difference for me. The Focus definitely is tighter in back than the Mazda3 or Impreza--barely sufficient leg space, and that's only because the Focus' rear seat is pretty high.

    Given I live in a city (Twin Cities) where snow removal is a science, and all new cars now have ABS/traction/ESC, I think I can live w/o AWD. I have for all these years.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    The big AWD expense I keep thinking about (besides the 3 MPG highway loss) is the tires. No more replacing 2 at a time for the most part.

    I think the Elantra GT looks OK but the wheels look too small. They look too small on the Elantra also. They're not, I know, but they LOOK it, probably because there's too much body panel above the wheel wells.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    What do you want... 20" wheels? :confuse: :surprise:


    I'm not a fan of low-profile tires (with big wheels) myself... I've found ride quality suffers. On the frost-heaved, pot-holed roads I drive on every day, I like a little rubber between me and the road. The 16" wheels on the Mazda3i Touring (and standard 16" wheels on the Elantra GT) are just fine for me. Also, if you are concerned about the price of tires, you should be concerned about the higher cost of replacing low-profile tires, and potentially those big rims!
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,175
    Agree the wheels/tires look small on the ELantra but you nailed it with the expanse of body panel above especially the rear wheel well. Makes the tires look tiny but they are not. They fill the wheelwell fine. The front doesn't look bad, it's the rear view that really stands out. I noticed this the other day too when I was driving next to one on the expressway.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    You drove next to an Elantra GT? They aren't even for sale until summer! :surprise:
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,175
    They look too small on the Elantra also. They're not, I know, but they LOOK it, probably because there's too much body panel above the wheel wells.

    I was replying and agreeing to this part of his/her post which I thought would be obvious but apparently not. I like the Elantra sedan's looks but do think the side in the back looks a little strange.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    edited March 2012
    OK, but the GT, which we were comparing here to the Mazda3 hatch, is a different exterior design than the Elantra sedan and has different wheels also.

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    edited March 2012
    Different exterior design, different wheels...but the same problem.

    20 inch wheels would help if they also expanded the wheel wells and didn't change anything else on the car. But since we're Mazda fans we want it to look uglier than the Mazda3 anyway. :shades:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I actually like the wheel design on the Elantra GT much better than the lame wheels on the 3i Touring. :P But they'll do.

    20" wheels?! No thanks. I don't need the dental bills.

    The Elantra GT will have to be a pretty great car to top the 3i Touring on my shopping list. And Elantras aren't cheap anymore. My fully loaded 2004 GT with leather, moonroof, every available option was only $13.2k + TTL. I don't expect the GT equipped the way I'd want it to cost much less than the 3i Touring.
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