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Discussion Starter #1
Saw my fourth Mazda3 on the road yesterday. It was a red 3s sedan in Rockville Maryland (went there for morning dim-sum).

At a stop light, it was right next to a maroon Passat and the 3 looked to be as big or slightly bigger vehicle! When I went home to check out the dimensions, can you guess which car is which?

Head Room (Fr/Rr) ---- 39.1/37.4 ----- 37.8/37.3
Leg Room (Fr/Rr) ------ 41.9/36.3 ----- 41.5/35.3
Shoulder Room (Fr/Rr) 54.9/54.0 ----- 55.8/54.6
Hip Room (Fr/Rr) ------ 54.9/53.9 ----- NL/NL

Wheelbase (Fr/Rr) ---- 103.9 ---------- 106.4
Track ------------------- 60.2/59.6 ----- 59.6/59.6
Length ------------------ 178.7 --------- 185.2
Width ------------------- 69.1 ----------- 68.7
Height ------------------ 57.7 ----------- 57.6

Cargo Volume (EPA/Mfr) 11/11.4 ----- 11/15.0
Pass. Vol. (EPA/Mfr) -----94/94.3 ----- 95/92.3

Okay, so the EPA gave the Passat 1 more cubic feet of space, which makes it into a mid-size, versus compact for the Mazda3. But other than 6.5" in lenth (which is significant) and 2.5" in wheelbase, the Mazda3 is as big as the Passat. And from where I was looking (rear), that's exactly what I saw.

Anyway, I think the Mazda3's size is perfect. I wouldn't want a larger vehicle.
 

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I was doing a side by side compared to the 6, just to see how much smaller the 3 is.. and aside from a few inches here and there, the only major difference was it was about 8 inches shorter in overall length (which is significant). The 3s was actually an inch taller! But thats probably just cuz of the 17 inch wheels opposed to the 6's 16inch wheels.

I'm very satisfied with the dimensions, and by no means would call it a "small" car.
 

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Um, maybe the hatchback, but the one on the right is the Passat sedan, the one on the left is the Mazda 3 sedan, assuming I'm reading it correctly.
 

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FatMorbo said:
I was doing a side by side compared to the 6, just to see how much smaller the 3 is.. and aside from a few inches here and there, the only major difference was it was about 8 inches shorter in overall length (which is significant). The 3s was actually an inch taller! But thats probably just cuz of the 17 inch wheels opposed to the 6's 16inch wheels.

I'm very satisfied with the dimensions, and by no means would call it a "small" car.
Wheel size has no bearing on height - the diameter of wheel+tire is the same.
 

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not to mention that the 6s comes standard with 17" wheels now.

I can't believe the Passat and the 3 are that similar in size-the passat seems huge!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
At first I was really surprised by what I saw. I thought maybe there was some wierd lighting going on, or maybe certain aspects of the Mazda3's styling made it look bigger than it really is. The Mazda3 is much more curvacious while the Passat is a car desgined from slabs and gentle curves. But as the numbers show, the Mazda3 sedan is clearly as big as the Passat sedan in terms of interior dimensions. The Mazda3 is about half a foot shorter, but other than that, it's about the same size as a Passat. I wonder how the Mazda3 stacks up against other "compacts" like the Civic, Corolla, Jetta, Sentra, etc...
 

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LeeLee said:
I wonder how the Mazda3 stacks up against other "compacts" like the Civic, Corolla, Jetta, Sentra, etc...
This is where the little graph/chart comes in - just wait till I get home :)
 

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My neighbor has a Passat and I'd always thought it was huge...well, large at least (way bigger than the MZ6), tho not nec. all THAT roomy inside. But now that I'm helping my sister shop for a car, I've been comparing dimensions - surprise! guess the styling of the Passat is really misleading.

Likewise, the Accord and Camry - the Camry 'looks' much bigger/longer to me but is an inch or so shorter than the Accord sedan.

Can't wait to see your graph, Dinu!
 

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Time for a reality check. Probably our biggest letdown on the Mazda is with their listed dimensions and the myth of rear seat legroom. We have a 99 Passat and an 04 Mazda 3 Hatchback. There is quite simply no way the Mazda and the Passat have the same total legroom. With the front driver seat set comfortably and in a consistent position for me in each car, the Passat has an easy 3-4" additional rear legroom over the Mazda (29" vs 25"). I really cannot fathom how Mazda's dimensions were attained... maybe they pushed the front seat all the way forward? Doesn't matter really, the reality is that my two-year old in her carseat fits quite comfortably in mommy's car, but is rather a bit of a squeeze in daddy's car. Despite the similar numbers, they're simply not the same.
 

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either way it doenst bother me..... as long as it keeps my insurance rates down. It seems that by having a compact car... your insurance rates are a hell of a lot cheaper than with a passat. 1 cubic foot? lol, yeah.. that's a HUGE difference. Yet for insurance companies.. that puts you in a totally different category of being raped. Therefore, I'm VERY happy with this car and its length/size. :)
 

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Yeah, I was a bit alarmed at how little legroom there is in the back seat (honstely, I don't care - but I did notice it) behind me when I'm driving. I actually prefer a up-right - tight seating posture. Normally, when I drive my friends' cars (they're about my height 6.0 ft) - I have to pull the seat forward.

In the 3 - I need to push the drivers' seat all the way back in order to be comfortable.

Of course, it's worse in my Maxima... I had to pull my lower interior trim because my knees kept on hitting it... plus with more leg-room in the back, more people want to take your car instead of theirs.
 

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holeydonut said:
Yeah, I was a bit alarmed at how little legroom there is in the back seat
My sister and her husband, owners of a 2 year old VW Jetta, sat in the back seats of my HB tonight and both agreed that my car had more room than the rear seats of their Jetta. Hmmm...all I've been hearing is how cramped the rear seats of the HB are. So, the Jetta is actually worse?

JT
 

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I was under the impression that the jetta was better - and that mazda is exageratting their interior legroom claims. I feel more legroom is available in a Carolla than the Mazda3.
 

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Jettas are quite a bit smaller than the Passat... more akin to the Mazda, if not smaller as I recall.

I pulled a tapemeasure across our Passat and M3 seats and it's interesting that the seat bottom is about 2" deeper on the Mazda than the VW. More leg support, i suppose, though it does make it a bit more difficult twist to lug 30+ lb two-year old into her centrally-located throne.

Yeah, holeydonut, my seating position sounds similar: upright with seat-butt ratcheted all the way down, just a little bit of tilt to the seatback, head against the headrest... sort of a fetal/gt-racedriver position... Think I'm a couple notches from all-the-way-back in the Mazda. Keeps me comfortable and supported through the pounding of our concrete freeways. No mud guards, on either car...
 

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Might be entertaining to add that this afternoon we piled four two-cubic-foot bags of planting soil, a 15 gal (9~10ft-tall) maple tree, 1 gallon of bug spray and myriad other Home Depot scores into the Mazda (in addition to myself, my wife, and my daughter in her carseat), having to drop only the 40% side of the rear seat to fit the tree in... much to the amazement of the adjacent Chevy Quad-Cab driver with his box of nails. Love the hatchback.
 
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