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Hello everyone! I currently own a 03 Ford Escape XLT V6 4x4(43,000 miles). I love the SUV but can't stand the horrible gas mileage. The best I got this winter has been 18 MPG. I average around 15.4 MPG (60% City 40% Highway). I have always liked the 3. I figure I will buy a new car when I graduate college this May. I have my heart set on a 2.3 S 5 Speed stick. I test drove one yesterday and loved it. The interior is awesome and built with quality parts. I also love the fact that I can get a new 3 for less than $18,000.

I have read many reviews online but would like your input. For example, real world MPG and reliability. Also, I have read that the side impact crash test scores are not that great without side airbags. How about with side bags/curtains. Also, what is the average 0-60/1/4 mile with the 2.3 stick. Thanks for any help/input!
 

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The 2.3 w/ 5speed manual transmission is a good choice. Most folks that have that combo get upper 20's in mixed driving and low 30's on the highway. Most people that have either of the automatic transmissions complain of poor gas mileage. I choose the 2.0 w/5speed manual mostly for the gas mileage- I'm averaging 36.5 mpg on my 62 mile round-trip commute to work everyday with a fairly conservative driving style. Buying something this small (relative to all the suv's and larger cars out there), I decided long before my purchase that I would not buy any vehicle this small with out both ABS and side air bags/curtains. The ABS comes standard on all the 3S models & I think the SAC is only a couple of hundred dollars more. And you're correct that the SAC can significantly reduce your injuries in most side impact collisions (although I don't think it would do much good if you got T-boned by a hummer doing 70 mph). Although I've only had my 3i for around 5,000 miles (and nothing has gone wrong so far), I purchased a Mazda partly for the reliability. It should hold up as well as a toyota or nissan. Good luck with your car search & welcome to the forum.
 

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I've had mine since July 06 (2.3 S touring with manual gearbox). Earlier this week, I found out about the trick to enable the fuel consumption computer display, and as a result all the numbers stored in it were averages over the whole time I've had the car.

The average MPG was 20.3, which is about right. Each time I've calculated it myself I've come up with around 22.

Driving has been almost all urban (45 mph speed limits).

Reliablility has been flawless but that's maybe not surprising in less than a year of ownership, and very low milage to boot.

You have a good point about the airbags, and that's exactly what pushed me from the S to the S touring. I wanted the curtain airbags, and I ideally wanted the side sill extensions. Adding those two things as options to the S basically worked out only marginally cheaper than buying an S touring, so I went for the S touring and got the 17" wheels for only an extra $200 I think it was.

Only a couple of complaints about the car are that the paint is pretty fragile, but that applies to almost all cars in this market sector. It's also just not as quick as I expected it to be, perhaps the odd gear ratios are to blame for this. I never seem to get that feeling of being pushed back in the seat, which I've felt in several other european sporty hatches with smaller engines & less power. The 3 does have fantastic mid range pick-up though.

Since buying it I've had a few cases of 'the grass is always greener' and wondered what something like a cobalt SS or vw rabbit would have been like, but I don't think I'd change now, I really liked this car when I got it and it's just grown on me. The handling is my favorite part about the car, the steering is incredibly precise.
 

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I just bought mine 2 months ago. I was looking at the Rabbit, and Some other cars but decided on the 3. Love the 2.3L engine, has more pick-up then the rabbit. I like the 3 much more than i did the rabbit (this coming from a previous VW owner)

build quilities are up there...no real problems yet...one thing where I was getting condensation on the inside of the windows but that was taken care of (some small weld was missed and allowing water in) they made it seem like it wasnt a big deal, and it was obviously covered under warrenty....

over all 0 complaints thus far on my 5600miles ive driven it

+1 to mazda for a solid "sport" compact
 

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The 2.3L stick shift is a good choice. You should still get decent mileage (I average 27 mpg with 60% highway and 40% city; my best was 35 mpg on a highway trip doing 70-75 mph) and more power with the bigger engine. I find the engine to be a lively one in most situations but you do need to make sure you are in the correct gear for decent acceleration. For example, if you want to pass on the highway, you are better off downshifting to 4th gear.

Reliability has been good (14 months and 21K miles). The only issue was a malfunctioning CD changer when I got the car. Not a drivability issue but several trips to the dealer and about one month of waiting for them to order the part wasn't the best.

Yes - you should order the side airbags/curtains, ABS and maybe even stability control. I haven't seen a crash test of the 3 with side airbags but it didn't do so well without them.

It has definitely been an enjoyable and exciting car.
 

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I've had my 07 manual hatch GT for about 6 weeks and 2k miles now. My current average MPG is 24, with moderate driving (I shift as early as possible, but I shift at 4k-4.5k when I need to), and 50% highway. So it's acceptable, but not great. My biggest complaints are the weak paint and the rattles/creaks of the interior (some people don't have this problem). I have a mild creaking noise problem that I don't always hear. It just bugs me because my (cheaper) 2001 civic had 88k miles on her and the interior was rock solid, and I think the paint was also better.

There are a few other minor problems, but I think they are acceptable for economy cars. Bottomline is, I think Mazda3 is still the best value in its class (if you like to zoom-zoom), however, the quality control is not yet in the same level as Honda or Toyota. But hey, if it was, they would be more expensive.
 

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I had been looking for a 3 for the last year and a half and finally bought mine 4 weeks ago. I absolutely love it. The looks, the color, the interior, the room for lots of modding that isn't ricey, the feeling of "zoom zoom" (i think that campaign has just corrupted my mind lol), and these forums that let you enjoy anything I just said. Although everyone is buying these cars, it still seems like noone has one on my trips and I always enjoyed that with my ZX2. Now since i no longer have that car, I see them everywhere and rarely see any 3's. That's where meets come in which are very nice cause I bet there people meeting in your area somewhere all the time. The only gripe i have right now is the odd feeling in the stick shift when i'm punching it. Then again I rarely red line cars, so it's no worry.
 

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[quote author=andreSF link=topic=70075.msg1269854#msg1269854 date=1173994835]
Oh and 1-60 time is, I think, around 7.5 sec.
[/quote]


why did you write "1" to 60?

also, the weak paint problem is present on any new car you buy (well not sure about cars over 60K CAN, but on the SAAB and Acura forums they were complaining about that too)

How to know if you want this car:
1.Drive it
2.Pull down the sun visor
3.Open up the mirror
4.Look at yourself
5.Are you grinning like an idiot? yea? then you got your answer.

by the way, the idiot grin is still strong with my car 8 months later...
 
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