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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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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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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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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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