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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2008 Mazda 3 GT w/ 2.3L and I have been somewhat concerned about the quality of these cars. It has 2,500 miles. I am seriously contemplating trading it in for a 2009 Toyota Corolla. Even the Mazda mechanic told me face-to-face that Mazda3's are nowhere near as reliable as Corollas. He stated the fit and finish on Mazda's are lacking.

I have issues on my car that will be brought in to the dealership:

1 - Engine tapping sound. Determined that Variable Intake Manifold needs replacing (very common problem on 2.3L).

2 - Entire front windshield squeaks like crazy when temps hit 40F or colder. It is REALLY bad and annoying.

3 - Exhaust rattle around 2,000 RPM - 4,000 RPM. It drives me crazy. Sounds like marbles in a tin can.

4 - A/C really stinks. Doesn't blow as cold as it should.
 

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I used to be a die-hard Toyota fan, and they still make *reliable* cars that's for sure, but the top of the line Corolla XRS I test drove at the same time as my 3 (and a Civic Si, and a Sentra Spec-V... those were my final 4 choices) was an absolute joke. It was by far the worst out of all of these four cars I narrowed it down to. The handling was abysmal, the fit and finish of the interior was laughable, and the engine buzzed and rattled like a lawnmower. And good luck trying to get it into the right gear with what's arguably the worst manual transmission on the market.

Of course, this was in 2005, but the newer Corolla still doesn't impress me (though I've only been in it, not driven it). I guess what I'm saying is, reliability does not equal a great car. The Corolla is definitely reliable, but does not have any more fit and finish than the 3. Test drive one yourself and see what you think... I have a feeling you'll find even more annoying quirks with it.
 

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Don't kid yourself about quality either ... Toyota's rating is hugely based on the Camry of which many owners just drive it without worrying about it (mainly families that aren't "drivers"). I had an 06 Tacoma that had engine ticking sound from new, tailgate cracks, etc. ... all within tolerances allowed by Toyota. Also had a co-worker that had the oil sludge problem with his Sienna minivan.

Now my parents used to drive 'yotas and they seemed to have better quality then; but I think they have gotten caught up in the hype that they are #1 ... I'm betting they cut corners to get there. Good look!
 

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I agree about the A/C, but aside from that, my 07 GT hasn't had a single mechanical or cosmetic problem, and that's with a fender bender and plenty of pothole action. So for me, Mazda's build quality has been the least of my concerns over the past 35,000 miles.

As for Toyota, it's a fine cheap car. I've driven Corollas, and while I'm sure they last a long time and have good gas mileage, I wouldn't pass up the handling, feel and look of my 3 for a Corolla.

IMO, you should just get your 3 fixed under warranty and enjoy it for all the reasons it's superior to a Corolla. And if you still feel that way when the warranty is about to expire, you can always sell it.
 

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I will vouch for #3. I have no idea why it does this. Not going to let it break the enjoyment of the car for me though.

#4 isn't true... mine blows fine. I usually get cold and have to flick it off after a long drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am going in to the dealer tomorrow. Hopefully these issues get resolved. The intake has been redesigned by Mazda, so hopefully this new one does not make that noise.
 

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I've never had a problem with my 3. Bought it used last year! If I HAVE to find a problem, it would probably be the AC, but only in the summer time. Last summer was pretty brutal, and having a new car where I wasn't used to the AC handling didn't really help. But I agree with the above statement about it getting a little chilly to where I have to turn it off. All in all, my car has been awesome. It's quite a step up from the '98 Maxima I had before. Granted, it was a wonderful car, it was getting to its breaking point at almost 200k miles.

While I like the look of the new Corollas....I know they don't prove to be the same on the inside. I've heard stories (including the above statements) that they are all just show and no go. If you're gonna seriously contemplate getting a new car cuz you're having a few problems with your 3, get something that at least competes with the 3 on driveability and such.
 

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Ah, yet another quality thread. Well my 2003 Civic had far more problems than my 2006 Mazda 3 which is just hit 80k miles without a SINGLE MECHANICAL PROBLEM OF ANY KIND.
 

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Get a Subaru if you're not happy.
20k on our Impreza and not one thing has gone wrong yet. Aside from user error.

My Mazda has been in the shop plenty of times, but it's been good as of late. Only a few minor annoyances still remain, but nothing that would bother me too much at this point.
 

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I can speak for about 400 miles of renting a 2009 Toyota Matrix XRS. I took it on a long backroad and was not really impressed with it.
The steering didn't feel tight and responsive like the Mazda 3's. The Matrix didn't make me want to pick the pace up. Matrix is closely related to a Corolla, so thought to mention.
 

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[quote author=cycledrum link=topic=137773.msg2979219#msg2979219 date=1236317652]
I can speak for about 400 miles of renting a 2009 Toyota Matrix XRS. I took it on a long backroad and was not really impressed with it.
The steering didn't feel tight and responsive like the Mazda 3's. The Matrix didn't make me want to pick the pace up. Matrix is closely related to a Corolla, so thought to mention.
[/quote]

Matrix is plagued by the same fault as all Toyotas. Lifeless electric steering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
[quote author=cycledrum link=topic=137773.msg2979219#msg2979219 date=1236317652]


Matrix is plagued by the same fault as all Toyotas. Lifeless electric steering.
[/quote]

When I test drove a 2009 Corolla, I also did NOT like the steering. Felt disconnected from the road feedback.
 

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I have had, and continue to have, this same internal debate, but not for a new corolla, but rather a used lexus or of similiar price margin sorts. But, after two years and 31k miles with our 07 GT, I just can't make myself do it. Ours has been somewhat of a pain in certain areas. One in particular has been a funky noise in the mornings that has required two new idler pullies, belt, and even a new a/c unit "all under warranty", and yet I still have that noise. In addition, at 31k miles, my windshield now ticks too on cold days "search for the solution, it's on here", and I have my first check engine light this week for the famous P0441 EVAC error "yes, my gas cap is on tight". Plus, my rear brakes scream like little girls at a Justin Timberlake concert, and they're not even close to being worn out, and the road noise is loud on concrete.

But, when I get into the car, flip on those heated seats, the Bose stereo, watch the automatic windshield wipers do their thing, and zip around town in it, I find myself loving it too much to part with it. If you use a good quality full synthetic motor oil, it'll smooth out the engine a bit more. A good synthic transmission fluid will smooth that out as well, with clean and crisp shifts. If you have the automatic like I do, this little change is a must do. I drive in the manumatic mode 99% of the time, and love it. I came from a 95 Lexus LS400, which undoubtably was and is one of the best cars ever built. Yet, this little Mazda is so much fun to drive, I don't miss the big lumbering Lexus at all. I am amazed at how well this little car has held up too, especially in the rattle department. Yes, it's got a rattle here and there "ie windshield, some plastic parts in the engine like the air intake chamber, sometimes the hood latch, etc" but over all, I still have no rattles from the interior. The center counsol is as solid as any car I've ever had before. It's not like a chevy or ford, where you can wiggle the entire counsol left and right with your hand. Going over bumps, considering the low profile tires and tight suspension, I'm amazed at how tight the car remains.

If you don't expect the car to be more than it is, you'll love it. No, it's not a bullet proof Toyota that will run for 500k miles without a single check engine light or rattle. But, it's not exactly a 1982 Fiat Spider either, but just as fun to drive! Which is something you'll have a very tough time finding in any other car on the market that it's in the 3's price range. And considering you've got the GT, which I assume is the fully loaded model like ours? It's pretty tough to ignore all the toys you get for the price. I mean, stabilityy control, auto wipers, heated seats, Bose 6 disc, computer, tpms, manu-matic gear box, leather, sunroof, wheels, 8 air bags, ipod hookup/satelite radio, hid lights, a volvo frame, tilt/telescope wheel, and enough room for a passenger to cross their legs, all for around $20K? You can't beat that!

I don't think you can judge the car in the short time you've had it though. I'd give it to 5k before you start to form an opinion that can motivate you to replace it. I'd at least drive it long enough to get the depreciation hit value out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
[quote author=NC211 link=topic=137773.msg2980288#msg2980288 date=1236440814]
In addition, at 31k miles, my windshield now ticks too on cold days "search for the solution, it's on here", and I have my first check engine light this week for the famous P0441 EVAC error "yes, my gas cap is on tight"....

A good synthic transmission fluid will smooth that out as well, with clean and crisp shifts. If you have the automatic like I do, this little change is a must do. I drive in the manumatic mode 99% of the time, and love it....

If you don't expect the car to be more than it is, you'll love it. No, it's not a bullet proof Toyota that will run for 500k miles without a single check engine light or rattle....

And considering you've got the GT, which I assume is the fully loaded model like ours? It's pretty tough to ignore all the toys you get for the price. I mean, stabilityy control, auto wipers, heated seats, Bose 6 disc, computer, tpms, manu-matic gear box, leather, sunroof, wheels, 8 air bags, ipod hookup/satelite radio, hid lights, a volvo frame, tilt/telescope wheel, and enough room for a passenger to cross their legs, all for around $20K? You can't beat that!

I don't think you can judge the car in the short time you've had it though. I'd give it to 5k before you start to form an opinion that can motivate you to replace it. I'd at least drive it long enough to get the depreciation hit value out of it.
[/quote]

Great write up! You hit on a lot of good points. I have the S Touring model, so I don't have the leather or SAT radio but I do have the Ipod, 6-disc, moonroof, etc., setup but it is pretty loaded.

When I looked at the 09 Corolla, they wanted around $2K-$3K more than what I was getting the Mazda3 for. I got my new Mazda for $17.2K plus TTL.

I'm going to switch to synthetic at around 4K miles. The engine should be broken in by then. Which synthetic trans fluid do most people go with?

I also have that annoying front window creak when it's cold out.

I do enjoy driving the car. Thanks for the post...
 

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I too had the annoying windshield creak, but my girl fixed it for me!
She took car to work. Truck in front of her flipped rock & cracked windshield. I replaced windshield.
Voila, windshield doesn't creak anymore!
 

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I drove good couple of cars before deciding to buy my 04 hatch.... i drove VW golf, toyota celica, nissan altima, sentra ser, but i decided on a 04 hatch MTX. Just simply because of the "fun" factor.. and a price tag....... i love the red illumination on radio controls and gauges... love taking turns quicker, the car just begs to be driven fast in corners... As far as the squeaking goes... trust me.. every component inside of my car squeaks.. but i just turn up the radio and keep on having fun....
It's all about what you like, and what your looking for in a car...
 

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[quote author=Lbear link=topic=137773.msg2980406#msg2980406 date=1236452756]
[quote author=NC211 link=topic=137773.msg2980288#msg2980288 date=1236440814]
In addition, at 31k miles, my windshield now ticks too on cold days "search for the solution, it's on here", and I have my first check engine light this week for the famous P0441 EVAC error "yes, my gas cap is on tight"....

A good synthic transmission fluid will smooth that out as well, with clean and crisp shifts. If you have the automatic like I do, this little change is a must do. I drive in the manumatic mode 99% of the time, and love it....

If you don't expect the car to be more than it is, you'll love it. No, it's not a bullet proof Toyota that will run for 500k miles without a single check engine light or rattle....

And considering you've got the GT, which I assume is the fully loaded model like ours? It's pretty tough to ignore all the toys you get for the price. I mean, stabilityy control, auto wipers, heated seats, Bose 6 disc, computer, tpms, manu-matic gear box, leather, sunroof, wheels, 8 air bags, ipod hookup/satelite radio, hid lights, a volvo frame, tilt/telescope wheel, and enough room for a passenger to cross their legs, all for around $20K? You can't beat that!

I don't think you can judge the car in the short time you've had it though. I'd give it to 5k before you start to form an opinion that can motivate you to replace it. I'd at least drive it long enough to get the depreciation hit value out of it.
[/quote]

Great write up! You hit on a lot of good points. I have the S Touring model, so I don't have the leather or SAT radio but I do have the Ipod, 6-disc, moonroof, etc., setup but it is pretty loaded.

When I looked at the 09 Corolla, they wanted around $2K-$3K more than what I was getting the Mazda3 for. I got my new Mazda for $17.2K plus TTL.

I'm going to switch to synthetic at around 4K miles. The engine should be broken in by then. Which synthetic trans fluid do most people go with?

I also have that annoying front window creak when it's cold out.

I do enjoy driving the car. Thanks for the post...
[/quote]

Personally, I'm a Mobile 1 fan myself. One thing you'll certainly want to do is the transmission fluid change. The oem fluid gets eaten alive by this transmission at around 15k-20k. Mine was black and started to smell burnt at 18k, when I switched over to Mobile 1 MV transmission fluid. If you run a search with keywords of transmission fluid and such, you should see several good tutorials on how to do this, it's very easy to do! I just checked the fluid a few weeks ago at 30k, still cherry red and smelling new.

I certainly won't argue that Toyota makes a superior vehicle "I have an 05' 4runner V8 with 70k". Our 4runner is simply fantastic! My old 95' LS400 was sold in 07 with 132,000 miles, and it was still like new. In fact, we got our Mazda for my wife, and I got rid of my Lexus because she wasn't comfortable driving it and would never switch cars with me. I really wanted to drive the 3 more. Since then, we had our first child, so she has the 4runner now, and I've got the 3! And love it!

Don't know your location, but if you're in a northern state with lots of road salt in the winter, you'll want to stay on top of keeping it washed. Some have reported rust showing up in the wheel well areas, and around the trunk highmount tail light. If you're a "detailing" kind of guy, I would also highly recommend doing a full clay bar detail, as this will bring out the shine of your paint like you wouldn't beleive. We just moved to Chicago a few weeks ago from Raleigh, NC. Our 3 was professionally shipped on a flatbed. The day before it was picked up to be shipped, I simply washed it in the driveway. That was on Feb, 12th. I've driven it in the slushy mess up here a few times to my office, have yet to wash it, and get comments on how shiny and clean it looks. Ours is white. I did a full clay bar detail last spring, with two coats of polish and two coats of wax. Haven't done a thing since, other than the occasional driveway wash. Claybarring makes a difference!

Your tires won't last long. I'm a casual driver "too old for hotdog stuff at 35 years", and got 28k on the oem tires. According to most, I did pretty darn well on them. I replaced them with a set of Dunlop Signature Sports, all season tires. I can assure you, the ride is considerably quieter now! A bit stiffer, due to stiffer sidewalls "oem's have the softest sidewalls for the 17 inch size, but cost the most for the worst traction, go figure". The handeling is even sharper now with the Dunlops.

Simply put, the 3 is a great little car. But it will require a little more upkeep than a Toyota. The rewards though show when you're zipping around in traffic, taking turns faster then you're comfortable with "at first", and you've found your ideal power band and driving habit, and realize you're actually going 65mph when you thought you were going 45! I've driven a few corollas as rentals during business trips. I am not impressed with them, at all. I find them to be uncomfortable, very buzzy, and weak. The Mazda has a sporty car sound and feel, as where the Corolla has a "beat that gerbal under the hood" sound and feel.

Plus, motor mounts for a 3 are like $40 bucks, and very easy to replace. The normal wear and tear stuff is much cheaper than on a Toyota product.

You'll also like to know that only a Lamborgini Merceaglomojo-nodough "can't spell it worth a damn" is the only car that stops in a shorter distance then the 3 gt. I believe I read that in either Road and Track, or Motor Trend a few weeks ago, while waiting for my tires to be installed.

You'll also find that your seat bottom will soften up and start to conform to your seating style. When we first got ours, my right leg would cramp up after a couple of hours "we've got a beach house on the outer banks we use to drive to on the weekeds from Raleigh". But after about 5k miles, when the car started to feel like it was broken in, the seat became a lot more comfortable. I've since driven it on 450 mile drives with no problems, other then a sore left elbow due to the hard molding on the driver's door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
[quote author=NC211 link=topic=137773.msg2981183#msg2981183 date=1236487083]
Personally, I'm a Mobile 1 fan myself. One thing you'll certainly want to do is the transmission fluid change. The oem fluid gets eaten alive by this transmission at around 15k-20k. Mine was black and started to smell burnt at 18k, when I switched over to Mobile 1 MV transmission fluid.
[/quote]

I will do the switch to synthetic Mobil 1 trans fluid. Looks pretty easy to do.

[quote author=NC211 link=topic=137773.msg2981183#msg2981183 date=1236487083]

Don't know your location, but if you're in a northern state with lots of road salt in the winter, you'll want to stay on top of keeping it washed. Some have reported rust showing up in the wheel well areas, and around the trunk highmount tail light. Claybarring makes a difference![/quote]

I am out in Arizona so rust will not be an issue. I already clay-barred the car and used ZAINO wax, 4 coats of it. It was time consuming but worth it.

[quote author=NC211 link=topic=137773.msg2981183#msg2981183 date=1236487083]
Your tires won't last long. I'm a casual driver "too old for hotdog stuff at 35 years", and got 28k on the oem tires. [/quote]

I already changed out the OEM tires and got some better tires. I was able to sell them and use the money to offset the costs of new tires.

[quote author=NC211 link=topic=137773.msg2981183#msg2981183 date=1236487083]

Plus, motor mounts for a 3 are like $40 bucks, and very easy to replace. The normal wear and tear stuff is much cheaper than on a Toyota product.
[/quote]

Are the motor mounts an issue on 2008's? Can I swap them out for better urethane mounts?

Thanks for the info.

What weight of Mobil 1 oil do you recommend? 5w20 or 5w30
The factory says 5w20 but I read that the reason is because of MPG issues. In the Arizona heat (115F during summer), I believe Mobil 1 5w30 would be better.

Also, do you think 3,000 miles is TOO SOON to change to synthetic oil?
 
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