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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings Mazda Junkie!

I am SERIOUSLY considering a 2014 Mazda 3 5-Doors when it’s released and would like some help getting my head around all things Mazda 3.

A bit of history first…I am somewhat of a loyal Honda fan. I had a 2008 Civic I bought when the gas prices skyrocketed and I had to get out of an SUV. I hate, hate, HATED that civic. It felt like an entry level car for High School kids or college students. For a 40 year old guy it was just not sexyJ. It kind of filled the bill on MPG but it was just not me. I went looking to trade it about a year later and was looking for something a tiny bit bigger and also something with a Hatch back. That was the year they released the New Honda Insight. That thing got crazy mileage, felt sporty and was a solid car....just lacked any zippy performance needs...even with Paddle shifters. Fast forward 2 years…I turned 43 and bought a Wave Runner (My mid life crisis). I had to pull that bad boy so I traded my Insight for a 2012 Honda Pilot. That thing has been amazing as SUV’s go. It’s huge and I get about 22 mpg. Well, I have recently gotten over my Waverunner craze and sold it (to pay off some CC Debt and pay for a wedding). Which leads me to my current situation…I am still in my mid life crisis so I want something coolish and sexy yet sensible….which leads me to the Mazda 3 5-Door. I have discovered that I need hatchbacks cuz I spend a lot of time and money at Costco and lowes (few bags of mulch) and find myself hauling lots of stuff. SO my questions:

1. Is the Mazda 3 5-Door gonna put me back in the “Civic” situation. A beginner car? Or is it sporty, sensible? Is there a 'target audience' for this car?
2. Is this car ‘sporty’ performance wise? Fast, Zippy, responsive?
3. I have heard things that are ‘different’ about the steering on Mazda 3’s. What will I notice coming from Honda? Anything major?
4. Is this thing super low to the ground? I have seen cars that have been lowered (aftermarket?) and don’t know how they survive in Memphis (potholeville). We have terrible roads here. Also with my Insight, it was low enough that when I would go to certain parking lots the concrete bumper thing would catch the front plastic grill and ‘gink’ it. Not nice!

I am fully aware that the 2014 is not out yet so I suppose I am just wanting ‘general awareness’ of the Mazda 3 5-Doors. I REALLY want a Porsche or a new Corvette…but I the MPG is exactly the same as my current Pilot. The MAIN reason I am jumping is for MPG but I also want something that is sporty/sexy.

Thanks for any and all input…..

Denicio (Aka Dennis in Memphis)
 

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I bought my 2011 3 hatchback new. It has the tech package with the sun roof and bose sound system.
After 2 years it has been a great car for me (I'm 38 now) The 2.5l is plenty zippy with the 6spd mt.
My only complaints are the stock tires are really terrible on snow and the bose sound system is pretty feeble on bass response and over all sound quality. I honestly think my $10 ear buds sound better.
The car doesn't feel like a beginner car at all and is a huge step up from my previous '93 civic and '03 neon.

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I can only speak for my previous Mazda experience (94 Protege, 96 Miata, 05 3 hatchback, 07 3 hatchback, 08 3 sedan, yeah, just kinda a Mazda loyalist over here.)

My 07 3 doesn't drive like an entry level car. The steering is direct and communicative with the driver, suspension is well damped without punishing the driver, and it just seams to drive like a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's zippy, though I wouldn't chracterize it as fast. The Speed3's on the other hand, are very fast, and if you can stomach a little less gas mileage that's where I'd point anyone looking for more power than the 3 has.

To me, Mazda has always been the car that rewards and communicates with it's driver. It may not be the most refined, but they are always very direct and quick to tell you what's going on around you. I have two tests for cars, and every Mazda passes these.

1. The brakes MUST be progressive, and not overboosted. If the brake booster is too intrusive (pet peeve of Nissans in particular) the brakes just seam to come on way too quickly and too hard, making it difficult to progressively brake. You also get very little brake feedback, which bugs the Hell out of me.

2. Steering feedback. Even with power steering, if I cannot feel the front end grip go away immediately before and while understeering, I will not drive the car. Mazdas, even my 3, pass this test. As you steer harder and harder, the steering effort loads up resisting you turning the wheel. When the front tires lose grip, you can feel that resistance go away. An experienced driver can balance the front tires right on the edge of grip using that feedback.

I'd take a Mazda over a Honda anyday, but if you're talking midlife crisis car and can deal with having two vehicles, make your second one an older Miata. Anything up to about the 2000's are trading hands in the 5-7,000 dollar range, they're Panzer Tank tough, and one of the most rewarding driver's cars ever made. If not for having a young child, and a young mortgage, I'd still have one in my garage.

All that said, if you can only keep one car, get a 3 and don't look back.
 

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Well all the Gen1s had a really nice looking interior, and the 2014s have more of a BMWish feel to everything (better quality materials) but with much nicer gauges. So in that aspect alone, it is not an 'entry level' feeling car.

Secondly, Mazda did a terrific job with making the 3 fun to drive (at least the 2.3L engine setups, can't comment on the others). It is a zippy car andt he steering is fantastic compared to any other car I've tried to date. You really feel connected to the car.

About height, no it is not super low to the ground. There is plenty of clearance... I've driven them through 5 canadian winters (and that includes going up further north snowboarding every week) and live in the city with the worst roads in north america hands down. Personally, I think lowering them on a pro-kit puts the at the perfect height and that is even like 1.5" lower than stock.

Anyhow, only one way to find out if you like it... wait til its out, and take it for a spin :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
THANK YOU ALL for the comments. Keep them coming.

I found myself looking at the Hyundai Velostar thing yesterday (on the web) and by spec alone I am convinced the Mazda 3 is a better car overall. Plus in my day job as a technical recruiter (for engineers) I don't hear such good things about either Korean company in the US. As a matter of fact I feel they are all ticking time bombs. Such a blatant disregard for quality that astounds me.

I am not in a hurry to buy so I can patiently wait for the 2014's to arrive.

If anyone has any more input, its greatly appreciated.

Dennis
 

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I think considering what you've mentioned, the Mazda 3 would be a good car for you. It's not a sports car by any means, but it's 'sporty' and certainly fun to drive. Suspension and steering alone make the car NOT feel like an entry-level car.

Also, something to consider, resale value is high and they've been a top 1-3 ratings wise car for almost 10 years now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So the M3 5-door does not feel underpowered at all?
Around the time I was buying an SUV to pull our new Waverunner I looked at the C7 thing that mazda had. It was a sharp SUV but it seemed grossly underpowered which was confirmed by just about every on line review.
Not expecting a Porsche, but when I hit the gas I want it go move like it has purpose. My Insight did NOT have initial get up and go and a couple of times I was not sure I was gonna make it out of a tight spot.
 

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Hyundai and Kia is a lot better than they used to be and seems to be a worthy purchase. However, I still wouldn't get one, yet.

I've never owned a mazda but always wanted one. Had a mazda 3 as a rental a few years back. It was a 2010 2.0L and it was very fun to drive. It felt underpowered but I kind of got used to it (had it for almost a month while my car was getting fixed). I actually missed that car after getting my car back (09 vibe gt) so I told myself my next car will be a mazda :D

That said, I'm sure the 2014 mazda will be a pretty sporty little car, and from some early reviews it seems to have a smoother quieter ride than before. Looks like a winner to me. I would much rather be seen driving in the mazda3 than a civic, corolla, elantra, or even the focus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just got off the phone with a Sales Mook at the local Mazda dealership. They have no idea when the 2014's are coming in. They are, however, running aggressive deals on the remaining 2013 stock.

Like 0.0% for 72 months! That alone would cause me to take a REAL hard look at the 2013's.

I am gonna drive one tomorrow as I have never ever BEEN in a Mazda 3 in my life. So I will at least get a feel for how it drives.

Then I have to decide how patient I can be.

The salesman said its a total redesign of the M3 5-door...but is that a good thing? I heard the new lighter frame will get a tad bit better MPG. What else is new in the 2014's? Anyone know?
 

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I just got off the phone with a Sales Mook at the local Mazda dealership. They have no idea when the 2014's are coming in.
And they won't have any idea. Know why?

They are, however, running aggressive deals on the remaining 2013 stock.

Like 0.0% for 72 months! That alone would cause me to take a REAL hard look at the 2013's.
They have to get you to do that. ;)

The salesman said its a total redesign of the M3 5-door...but is that a good thing? I heard the new lighter frame will get a tad bit better MPG. What else is new in the 2014's? Anyone know?
It's a complete redesign, and that's a very good thing. The old one was based off of a Ford global platform (the Focus basically). Which is a decent car, but now it's based off of the Mazda-owned CX-5 platform. Meaning Mazda didn't have to make any concessions to a Ford-provided platform.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
And they won't have any idea. Know why?



They have to get you to do that. ;)



It's a complete redesign, and that's a very good thing. The old one was based off of a Ford global platform (the Focus basically). Which is a decent car, but now it's based off of the Mazda-owned CX-5 platform. Meaning Mazda didn't have to make any concessions to a Ford-provided platform.
SO, what would you do then? Wait for the 2014's?

Bare minimum I am gonna drive the 2013 just to get a feel for the car. Then decide. My mind tells me to wait..........
 

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Yes, there were no major design changes between 2012 and 2013. I liked how it drive but couldn't stand the grin, and didn't like the interior a lot. The MPG difference isn't huge, a couple MPG max. The styling is like night and day though

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ALSO****

I had read somewhere on the interwebz that folks were complaining about the Mazda 3's AC. That it was just 'good enough' . I am in Memphis TN, it gets VERY hot during the summer combined with humidity so thick you can slice it with a knife. My Honda pilot gets frigid cold after 10 minutes (having sat in the sun ALL day).

Any thought on the M3's AC?
 

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ALSO****

I had read somewhere on the interwebz that folks were complaining about the Mazda 3's AC. That it was just 'good enough' . I am in Memphis TN, it gets VERY hot during the summer combined with humidity so thick you can slice it with a knife. My Honda pilot gets frigid cold after 10 minutes (having sat in the sun ALL day).

Any thought on the M3's AC?
My 07 isn't the best AC I've ever had, BUT its a dark colored car, with a black interior, untinted windows, and a lot of interior volume(hatchback). Its not horrible in my opinion, and I live in New Orleans. I know heat.

IMHO, I hated the grin on the second gen cars too. I love the first gens. Jury is still out on the 2014's looks but technically it has some nice specs.


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Actually, in another thread we're discussing how we prefer the gen 1's to the 2014's.


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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ford ST is stick only, no thanks. Plus MPG ain't even close to Mazda.

I can appreciate the love of gen1 but I am buying new, especially with my trade in situation.

The AC is a very serious concern to me. Sigh~
 

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I originally bought my 1st gen in Arizona, a/c works pretty good for a mid-size car. I also lived in the Memphis area and I never had a complaint about the a/c during the summer in TN. So, with that said the 2nd gens and newer will have a much higher output for the a/c so I don't it would be any less than the 1st gen.

In my opinion I would not worry about the a/c so much, this platform wasn't designed around comfort ( a/c ) typically only luxury and high end full size sedans are going to get you awesome a/c when you compare it to mid-size cars. Of course there are exceptions...but I have not been in any yet.
 
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