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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A while ago, I made a post about Mazda's claim about the Mazda 3's handling. I was wondering if owners could verify this to be true?

Mazda3 has been tuned for a forward-inclined roll-center axis to achieve exceptional road-holding and straight-line stability, similar to a rear-drive car
www.mazda.ca

Just curious on what this really means in REAL life :)
 

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Well after looking under my new 3 yesterday and noticing the swaybars are very close in diameter from the front to rear I would assume so. Usually front engine/front drive cars have a larger swaybar up front which will create understeer when you begin to push it towards the limit. After driving the car and seeing how flat it stays in the turns I think it's a result of the larger swaybar in the rear, which will most likely give it the ability to be driven with the rear of the car like a rear drive would be. Some of the best handling front drive cars are set-up like this. Actually some front drive cars like MK2 VW Golf, and Honda Civics are set-up for auto-x with no swaybar in the front (but stiffer springs) and a larger swaybar in the rear.
 

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Mz3 RWD feeling

Thanks for that info, I test drove the hatch mz3 and during the test I took an off ramp and I told the saledood to hang tight, he sat comfortably as I pushed the lil hatch towards discomfort, .......but I totally agree about how it feels, I used to own a z28 camaro and the basterd would fishtail on command, .........regardless to say the lil hatch was still hugging the road on the ramp going 45 + and I could feel the backend of the car wanting to go but it didnt........I will be getting the sedan shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
that's great to hear, tek.

When you pushed it, was there any sense of understeer?
 

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i really dont kno how rwd feel, so i cannot comment on that...but handling and cornering are sweeet haha cming from an 89 corolla....
 

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Forward inclined rolling axis is mainly the result of how the weight is distributed, and not due to the sway bar (btw, someone did correct me about the effect of swaybar size and understeer, I couldn't find back the thread, but thanks for that).

I wrote a little note on forward inclined axis few months back on another board, and also in here (dipping rollong axis):

http://groups.msn.com/BrunoLuong/techtalk.msnw
 

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reply to dugrant153

Well I will say that this ramp was tilted so therefore giving the hatch an added grip due to g-forces and weight, but I have easily taken my accord over the line and chirpage followed along with a quick oh shit and correction the accord came back onto course.

As far as understeer goes, I would have to put this car up there with another car I used to own, the RSX type S. When pushed to the extreme limits <albeit stock type s RSX> it would understeer only under extreme EXTREME cornering. So taking this into consideration on a hard right would be to flick the car to the left and sharp right inducing a RWD esk fishtail. But I must say that I was VERY impressed with the 3hatch, dam sharp car, esp for autocrossing.
 

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hmm...

So if it's similar to a RWD drive car, will it also drift (oversteer) like a RWD car? Probably will need to use the e-brake still right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: hmm...

RX7FC3S said:
So if it's similar to a RWD drive car, will it also drift (oversteer) like a RWD car? Probably will need to use the e-brake still right?
You'll probably have to beef up the rear suspension in order to have it oversteer. But then you may end up power understeering too.

But it still a FWD. Don't expect Nissan 240sx drifts ;) hehehe And yeah, you'll need the e-brake for sure.
 

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FWD does not feel like RWD...at all. Totally different.
 

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This is only my second front driver (and maybe my last), I have not autocrossed it yet, but I can tell you from experience that front drivers don't handle anything like a rear driver. It can't.

The weight distribution on a front driver has it pig-heavy in the nose, the front tires have to both steer and drive the vehicle, and unless you have matching length half-shafts (a la Mini) these things suffer from torque steer.

Oh, and while you can make any car oversteer while cornering, the federal government here requires slight understeer be designed in all cars sold here, because the average twit thinks keeping a vehicle between the dashed lines is knowing how to drive. This is what killed the Corvair.

I'm not talking throttle induced oversteer, but steady-state cornering.
 

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Granted i have only taken the 3 on a test drive (although the only reson i don't own one right now is because of a lack of funds which should be solved in time to catch the end of the summer driving season), but all of my previous vehicles have been rwd. A FWD will never handle the same as a rwd car. The physics just won't allow it. For a rear driver your drive wheels gain traction on acceleration while a fwd looses traction. Then, the lack of powered over steer, and something about the transmission being were it is, the weight and balance just will never be the same. That said, i absolutly loved the three when i took it out for a spin, kinda reminded me of a combination of my gremlin and my old E21 320i. The space and almost the grunt down low as the gremlin, then the nice tight handling and sweet revs of the old bmw combined into a great looking hatch, hard to turn down, well unless i find a nice deal on a used and not so abused wrx, but thats not likely. So thats my first post. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Riding in Levitron's Mazda 3, I noticed the car really dived into corners. It FELT like a RWD, but the dynamics for it wasn't there.
There was an odd neutral feeling to the Mazda 3. It didn't push the corners much, even when asked to. It more just dived in.
 
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