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Discussion Starter #1
The January, 2004 issue of Car and Driver contains a full review of the Mazda3. They test a 3S with 5-spd manual transmission.

The review is a positive one with some caveats.

Overall summary as reported in "The Verdict"

Highs: Brisk performance, painstaking assembly, handsome interior, a feeling of refinement and substance.

Lows: Abbreviated rear-seat footroom, diminished "joie de drive." (i.e., they lament that it does not feel as well-tuned and as light on its feet as the Protege).

A big plus for the performance is found in numbers section. They turned a 7.4 in the 0-60! 16.0 in the quarter mile, too! They also loved the shifting characteristics.

Haven't seen the review at their on-line site as yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here's a quote from one of the reviews - Peter Lyon:

"... The 160hp, 2.3 liter engine from the 6i has more than enough herbs, and the 3 turns in sharper and truer than any other in its class. And that five-speed manual shifter is just superb. The RX-8's six-speeder boasts nice short throws and a precise touch. The 3's does, too, with arguably the best gearbox in the class."

And here's another excellent number from the tests: Roadholding skidpad: 0.87g !!! Same as the sport-tuned Ford SVT Focus.
 

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sweeeeeet! :)
can only see it in the magazine, eh?
 

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The Verdict:"Mazda revises its case for best in class" :D
The competition better look out there's a new sheriff in town.
Just got my C&D issue in the mail today so I would think they'll have it on their website hopefully next week.
 

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Mazda3s said:
The Verdict:"Mazda revises its case for best in class" :D
The competition better look out there's a new sheriff in town.
Honda Civic? What's that? ;)
 

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I just got the latest issue of Motor Trend, and they just did a comparison test with the ford focus svt, lancer ralliart, subaru impreza rs, and nissan sentra se-r spec v....looks like the focus came out on top and then the ralliart i believe...but they did mention that they did not include the 3 because its not out yet haha ....they said they are going on sale in december bleh.....i dont think i can hold on any longer..
 

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it gets a 7.4 0-60 and only squeaks out a 16 quarter ? EEP!! Did they forget to let off the clutch during that quarter mile run ?
 

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They said,"our tester did the 0-to-60 dash in 7.4 seconds, covered the quarter-mile in 16 seconds flat at 87mph, and attained 100mph in 22.8 seconds. Those are remarkable numbers for a car in this class."
It depends on what you're comparing it to, they say the only comparable performance in the class was from a 180-hp Toyota Matrix.
I'm loving this review the more I re-read it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just a note about C&D published performance times. It isn't just a one-time test run. They use professional drivers on a closed track. The drivers practice in the car for several runs, getting used to the gears, tires, engine performance, etc. Then they time several runs and publish the times that they can consistently achieve.

From their times it looks like the Mazda 3 is pretty quick through the lower gears and then doesn't quite carry that same quickness as it continues to accelerate above 75 or so. Even up top it is quite good for this type of car (sub-$20,000 non-turbo), but it isn't a real speed demon up there.

For comparison here's what they got on some small cars tuned for sportier performance:

Ford SVT Focus: 0-60 7.8 ..... 1/4 16.1 (one issue)
Ford SVT Focus: 0-60 7.7 ..... 1/4 15.9 (another issue, diff drivers)
Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V: 0-60 7.3 .... 1/4 15.6
MazdaSpeed Protege: 0-60 7.1 .... 1/4 15.6

So a stock Mazda3 Hatchback runs very close to these. Actually, surprisingly close IMHO. Remember, the Sedan version should be a bit quicker, so it is likely to be right with the above crowd.

The Nissan SE-R has a 175hp engine with 180 pounds of torque with a 6-spd transmission. It's more sport tuned and thus a rougher, noisier ride. I commend Mazda for churning out a more refined car, that hasn't had any extra tuning applied to the engine, and yet can run right alongside the SE-R.
 

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Bombadil said:
The Nissan SE-R has a 175hp engine with 180 pounds of torque with a 6-spd transmission. It's more sport tuned and thus a rougher, noisier ride. I commend Mazda for churning out a more refined car, that hasn't had any extra tuning applied to the engine, and yet can run right alongside the SE-R.
Nissan SE-R is gonna get...



Note: I was an avid Nissan fan until I found out they made their Spec V in Mexico. Plus the comment of some head Nissan guy made me angry.
 

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Bombadil said:
For comparison here's what they got on some small cars tuned for sportier performance:

Ford SVT Focus: 0-60 7.8 ..... 1/4 16.1 (one issue)
Ford SVT Focus: 0-60 7.7 ..... 1/4 15.9 (another issue, diff drivers)
Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V: 0-60 7.3 .... 1/4 15.6
MazdaSpeed Protege: 0-60 7.1 .... 1/4 15.6

So a stock Mazda3 Hatchback runs very close to these. Actually, surprisingly close IMHO. Remember, the Sedan version should be a bit quicker, so it is likely to be right with the above crowd.
Wow...I'm really happy that the mz3 runs faster than a SVT Focus! *grin* :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It is surprising that the Mz3 is running right there with the SE-R and SVT Focus. Both of those cars have more horsepower and it comes at a lower RPM than the Mazda.

Should Mazda come out with a MazdaSpeed version of the 3, it is likely to be a pretty hot car, given the performance of the standard version.
 

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Bombadil said:
It is surprising that the Mz3 is running right there with the SE-R and SVT Focus. Both of those cars have more horsepower and it comes at a lower RPM than the Mazda.

Should Mazda come out with a MazdaSpeed version of the 3, it is likely to be a pretty hot car, given the performance of the standard version.
Yeah, I noticed that the C&D article only compared the 3s to performance versions of other cars: Matrix XRS, SVT Focus, SE-R. Its acceleration, roadholding and braking equal or beat those cars. The Mazdaspeed 3 will probably (hopefully!) be engineered to take on the next level up in performance: the SRT-4 and WRX.

Oh, and the MZ3 2.3 is actually on par with the SVT Zetec engine. 160 hp/150 ft-lb compared with 170 hp/145 ft-lb. What it gives up in HP it makes up in torque.
 
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