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Discussion Starter #1
After posting and reading about the 3 for probaby a month, I finally got my ass into a dealership and went out for a ride. The saleswoman smiled and gave me the keys to a GFX. O..Kaay... maybe not the best move on her part.

Speed
Took it up to 170 kph for about a 10 minute stretch of highway. Car held quite well but I could definitely "feel" the speed, which was something I was testing NOT to feel. A nice ride, but it does lack the "planted" feel of a german car that Mazda Japan was trying to achieve. Shock and spring mods will help a lot.

Handling/Noise
Took some fast turns off the highway and was suprised and impressed. Don't remember who did the suspension (Ford Europe?) but this stock GFX held its own in this department. There is good road feel on this car...not a go-kart like a Civic or Mini (if you like that) but you are hardly secluded from road conditions. For those that say this car is quiet, to the point of not knowing when to shift....ummm...no. Yes the car is quiet...when you are stopped at a light. But on the road the 3 is hardly quiet. If you are relying of engine noise to shift it is there in abudance....there is also a gauge on the left called a tachometer.

Engine/Acceration/Manual Transmission/Brakes
The engine certainly did not struggle, but also did not inspire me to drive with "the cards on the table." ie. the engine was willing... but was just beginning to border on "heyumm.. I am not supposed to be doing this" :shock:
Clutch takeup and contact point was perfect. I found it to be more German than Japanese. Same goes for the shifter. Precise, slightly notchy, confident. Braking is strong and linear. A lower torque band would help in spades. Downshifts and acceleration were good, although I can't imagine what an automatic would feel like.

Ergonomics
Everything in this car seems to be where it should be. The radio gauges and lighting seems a bit cheesy for me, but the general layout and important functions are done right which so many cars fail to do. Seat adjustments and tilt/tele steering wheel...very nice. Seat support is also above average for a Japanese car.
I only wish they would have not used those round side vents and cheap turning markers on the outside. Design wise, they are an eyesore and those round air vents are from a 1980's Toyota parts bin. Also dont know if I can take the fancy lighting and fast n furious gauges all the time. Saturday night yes...but Sunday morning coffee...and your car is still looks hungover.

Pricing
Listing at an MSRP of CDN$24K and change before coffee, this represents a significant jump on the price point from its base car, especially in this target market. The GFX then begins to border on VW's, Mini's etc., other markets.

Personal design gripes aside, This is some very nice work from Mazda! Mazda is way ahead with this car and I think other auto manufacturers just got a hard wake up call. What can I say...Velocity Red? I think so! :D

BetterByDesign.
 

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heheh nice info you got there .... I test drove it .... and I felt the same with you ... but no way I can put those into words like that ... but hey ... instead of talking about it ... I bought it 3 days after test driving it lol
 

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Just to offer a contrasting point of view:

Speed:
My opinion of the Mazda3's compusure at speed is just the opposite of yours. I thought Mazda just about suceeded in producing a car that drove heavier than its own weight. This combined with stiff suspension action at low speed is the closest rendition of a BMW this side of $25K. On the other hand, VW has managed to make the Golf/GTI/Jetta nervous and jittery at all speeds. As for MB, well, lets keep our discussion to cars with genuine sporting intentions.

"Sensation of speed" is primarily caused by flex in the chassis, which results in cowl shake, and constant steering wandering as the body twists over road surface changes. A stiff chassis as the one in the Mazda3 gives the impression of driving around in a rigid slab. Given this, shock and spring tuning is not going to do much to improve the sense of stability one feels in a Mazda3 at high speed.

Handling/Noise
I never thought of the Civic as being go-kart like in terms of handling. Well, maybe the previous Civic Si, but certinly no current Civic in stock form handles with the precision of a go-kart. I haven't driven a Mini Cooper.

Engine
With 160HP and a nice fat torque curve, the engine is definitely capable and willing. Are we getting too blase these days about engine performance? Is 0-60 in 7.4 second no longer good enough? I think the 2.3L engine in the Mazda3 was very willing to rev, providing peak HP at redline, like a Honda engine, just not as smooth.

In terms of acceleration, the Mazda3 is comparable to a VW at the same price point. It may lag beyind the higher powered VWs once price get beyond $20K. In terms of everythign else, the Mazda3 is significantly superior. And I doubt the Mazda3 competes with the Mini at all since the Mini has only two doors.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just to offer a contrasting point of view: My opinion of the Mazda3's compusure at speed is just the opposite of yours
LeeLee, a row of GTI's just passed you :shock: but you probably missed it....I really don't think you understand.

If you are comparing acceleration of a Mazda3 to VW's at a similar price point, try the GFX which is what I tested vs. a GTI 1.8T. The GFX lists at Cdn$24K and change. The GTI1.8T lists at Cdn$26K and change...sound fair? Because that's where the similarities end in this area.

No need to step into the showroom before knowing this:

The GTI 1.8T whomps you with 173 lbs STARTING @1950.
The GFX doesnt even START to kick until 4500.

When you lump the GTI, Golf and Jetta into one comment, I really doubt you have driven them, because like each model of the Mazda3, each has a different purpose.

If you are suggesting changing the shocks and springs on a car have no effect on handling at high speeds...please introduce yourself to a company called Bilstein. Yes, a stiffer chassis would also help...umm so Lee, exactly how would you suggest that be done? Let me know.?

Finally, to address your strange comments about high speed. I refer again to the following site after I made my intial observations: http://www.mazda3.com.sg/3rd/story1_1.html

Please actually go into it and read about your car....It is commonly understood and accepted in the industry that Europeans have a hold on building cars that handle exceeding better than others, including and especially at high speeds. Mr. Tanioka, Progam Manager of the Mazda3 in Japan cites several makes: Peugeot, Alfa Romeo and...hey VW! as cars that carry a high amount of driving confidence...at speed. Mr. Tanioka also cites this to be something missing in Japanese cars. I applaud Mr. Tanioka's efforts on the Mazda3 but it still falls short in this area.

If you disagree with me that is fine, but if you think the Program Manager at MazdaJapan that helped design you car is full of it...it may have been a mute effort in responding to you at all.

Nevertheless, Iam still considering the Mazda3 because there are so many other good points that I appreciate..and that is OKAY!!!

Now get out there and DRIVE!

BetterByDesign
 

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If you must make that comparison, you need to take equipment into account. A fairer comparison would be the base GT (cloth/16 inch wheels/no sunroof) and the base GTI. the difference there is closer to $5000 in Canada. your 24K and change figure nets you equipment that you would also pay extra for in the GTI
In terms of acceleration, no question the GTI vaults ahead. In terms of handling/stability/road noise, I'd call it a draw.
 

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BETTERBYDESIGN said:
LeeLee, a row of GTI's just passed you :shock: but you probably missed it....I really don't think you understand.
Sigh... here we go. Hope this clarifies some things...

BETTERBYDESIGN said:
If you are comparing acceleration of a Mazda3 to VW's at a similar price point, try the GFX which is what I tested vs. a GTI 1.8T. The GFX lists at Cdn$24K and change. The GTI1.8T lists at Cdn$26K and change...sound fair? Because that's where the similarities end in this area.

No need to step into the showroom before knowing this:

The GTI 1.8T whomps you with 173 lbs STARTING @1950.
The GFX doesnt even START to kick until 4500.
That is *if* you had full boost in the GTI. In the Mazda3, you step on it and go. In the GTI, you step on it and wait for the turbo to spool up since you are at such a low RPM. It takes about a second but before it does, you get enough torque to maintain current speed. Also, 4500RPM is peak torque for the Mazda3. There is 135lb-ft available at 2000RPMs, versus 150lb-ft at peak. I implore you to look at the HP and torque plots for a Mazda3 before going on further. The wide and broad torque curve of the Mazda3 is more condusive to sprited driving than the relatively peaky torque curve of the 1.8T GTI. Why are you talking about crank torque anyway? Is that a meaningful discussion without considering gearing?

BETTERBYDESIGN said:
When you lump the GTI, Golf and Jetta into one comment, I really doubt you have driven them, because like each model of the Mazda3, each has a different purpose.
They are based off similar chassis and have similar sense of stability at high speed. I've driven all three, on more than one occasion, with a variety of engines. None of them have the high speed feeling of solidness of the Mazda3, which is why I lumped them together in that context.

BETTERBYDESIGN said:
If you are suggesting changing the shocks and springs on a car have no effect on handling at high speeds...please introduce yourself to a company called Bilstein. Yes, a stiffer chassis would also help...umm so Lee, exactly how would you suggest that be done? Let me know.?
That's not what I said. Re-read what I wrote.

BETTERBYDESIGN said:
Finally, to address your strange comments about high speed. I refer again to the following site after I made my intial observations: http://www.mazda3.com.sg/3rd/story1_1.html

Please actually go into it and read about your car....It is commonly understood and accepted in the industry that Europeans have a hold on building cars that handle exceeding better than others, including and especially at high speeds. Mr. Tanioka, Progam Manager of the Mazda3 in Japan cites several makes: Peugeot, Alfa Romeo and...hey VW! as cars that carry a high amount of driving confidence...at speed. Mr. Tanioka also cites this to be something missing in Japanese cars. I applaud Mr. Tanioka's efforts on the Mazda3 but it still falls short in this area.
Ahhh... the site says Coming Soon. In any case, I'll just go off of what you've written. I was commenting on the Golf/GTI/Jetta specifically, whereas Mr. Tanioka was talking about VW in general. I have driven a VW Passat on many occasions and yes that car does feel very stable at speed. The same can be said of Audi vehicles. So I can understand where Mr. Tanioka is coming from. The Golf/GTI/Jetta in their current incarnation does not carry the same composure as the other VW and Audi vehicles. Their ride does not convey a sense of substantial confidence. Both my cousin and I at one time or another seriously considered a GTI for purchase, both of us found it to be serverely lacking. My cousin ended up with a WRX Wagon.

BETTERBYDESIGN said:
If you disagree with me that is fine, but if you think the Program Manager at MazdaJapan that helped design you car is full of it...it may have been a mute effort in responding to you at all.
Take a step back, re-read what I wrote. I just offered a different point of view. Your misunderstandings of torque and the relationship between suspension/chassis led you to make some rather silly comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So anyways... here it is... Unfortunately this portion of the site (which I just copied from another thread) The Story of the Mazda3 is currently under construction...but there's lots more stuff for fans of the Mazda3 that like talking about their cars rather than themselves. To clarify... European C-segment include examples like the A3 and of course, Golf among many others. I hope to add a GFX to my garage soon...for lots of good reasons. Also respect the below is coming from Mr. Tanioka, Progam Manager for your Mazda3 at MazdaJapan. It's pretty neat stuff.

Quote from, The Story of The Mazda3:

"On the flight back to Japan from Europe, Tanioka spent his time alone and deep in thought. He had driven some of the competitive European C-segment cars from VW, BMW, Peugeot and Alfa Romeo on Germany's autobahns and he was thinking that when driving fast, even at around 200km/h, his confidence in these cars was largely sustained by the narrower field of vision at that speed.

But traveling at even 160km/h in a Japanese car of the same class somehow resulted in a loss of driving confidence. Reflecting on how he had felt while driving, Tanioka was aware that he had been sensing various "danger signs" in the Japanese cars, including the sound of the engine as speed increased and vibration of the steering wheel. Such sounds and movement communicate an impression of impending danger to the driver, giving rise to a feeling of uneasiness.

In contrast, he had felt no such feeling when driving the competitive European models. All that he had been aware of with increasing speed was the narrowing visual field and a feeling of confidence that grew with it. And suddenly, Tanioka realized one of the keys to Mazda3's development: they would raise the speed at which confidence could still be felt.

Tanioka returned to Mazda head office, called Mr. Wada, who was in charge of vehicle handling, and asked him to raise the "feeling of confident driving" speed."
Pretty cool to find someone positive in the industry that knows what he is talking about, recognizes a weakness and begins to take neccessary first steps to make things better.

BetterByDesign.
 

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Geezus, you are in Canada, trying to discredit what I wrote about the US market GTI based on what was written about European market GTIs?

Unless you can show me that the European GTIs are tuned the same as US or Canadian Spec GTIs, what you've posted is irrelevant.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Unless you can show me that...
Wha..?

Sigh...Geezus is right. What color is the sky in your world?
This a Mazda3 forum, not the LeeLee show me forum. Earth to LeeLee: Tanioka's observations have nothing to do with your opinions..or mine.

Geezus...you're like a tiny itch not worth scratching.
 

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BETTERBYDESIGN said:
Unless you can show me that...
Wha..?

Sigh...Geezus is right. What color is the sky in your world?
This a Mazda3 forum, not a LeeLee show me forum.

Like an itch you don't bother to scratch.
As part of any intelligent argument, you need to show proof, a factual basis, or other means of support for your position to whom ever you are having a discussion with.

If you have nothing of the sort, then admit your arguments are baseless assertions.
 

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BETTERBYDESIGN said:
Geezus...and you're from Virginia....I suppose that's very intelligent observation to you. Damn this itch.
You know, when other people throw around personal insults on here, they at least made sense.
 

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Its funny that those "cheap" circular air vents are also used on the RSX, and the new Ford F-150. I actually thought they look great, especially for a car of this price. Bah...to each their own.
 
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