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What should I do?

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Discussion Starter #1
As of 1/22 I have traded the 5AT for the 5MT. MPG is up by 3-4 so far. Loving the manual.

In what could make me the person to have a Mazda 3 for the shortest period of time, I am facing a dilemma.

My 3 5AT has been getting ~19 mpg since I got it in mostly highway trips, light to moderate acceleration, rarely reaching the 4,000 RPM mark. I am really not liking the car because of this.

I took the vehicle to the dealer and they found nothing wrong with the car. They are going to contact Mazda to see if they have any idea of what could be causing the exceptionally low mileage.

The dealer has also offered to take the car back with me taking a hit, and getting me the exact same vehicle but with a manual transmission. The payments would be $16 more a month (which I could more than make up for in gas if I got just 3 more mpg) or I could put an additional $1,000 down. Basically it will cost me $2,000 extra to get a new car, the $1,000 extra down and the $1,000 I've lost on the price of the automatic option. They are also going to see if they can pressure Mazda to see if they will kickback some money to cover the extra $1,000 which is basically taxes and fees.

So I'm asking for opinions. Should I keep the 5AT and be dissatisfied with the mileage, or pay the $1,000 (or less depending on Mazda) and get the 5MT with better mileage (HOPEFULLY!) and more fun to drive. What do you think?
 

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Without a dooubt get the 5 speed!!!!!! I had a 2006 Mazda3 GT manual it it was a blast to drive - got 28 to 32 mpg all the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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If you do get a 3 with an MTX, you may very well see better mileage numbers... but it may not have much to do with your tranny choice. There are plenty of guys on this forum with manual trannies that get less than stellar mileage. I'm not one of them... in fact, I get some of the best mileage! If for no other reason, I would take the hit for a chance to get another car without that problem... even if you have the problem with that one, you'll be having more fun driving it!
 

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A long time ago, I decided that I drive what I want to drive, how I want to drive. My personal enjoyment is worth more than looking at a gas gauge. If a MT is going to put a big silly grin on your face, get one. If an AT makes you tingle, keep it. Quit looking at numbers, life is too short.

One caution however - you pick up any kind of a tranny and you may get more drama than you can handle. :shock:
 

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If you enjoy shifting as much a I do, definitely get the manual tranny. It is a great one and your mileage should improve. I get 27 - 29 mpg mixed based on weather and how much fun I want to have that particular day. I once got 35 mpg on a long highway trip but normally I hit 32 mpg. Can't complain.
 

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I couldn't imagine getting anything other than a manual. They're so much more fun to drive. And I get on average 30mpg with some heavy driving. Go for the MT!
 

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[quote author=sano link=topic=67389.msg1159756#msg1159756 date=1169319247]
Sounds like user error. I get anywhere from 24-32mpg with my auto.
[/quote]

Not necessarily. There have been other threads on complaints of poor gas mileage.
Sure, the driver definitely has an impact on the gas mileage based on how he/she drives, but there is the occasional car that just doesn't perform as expected.
 

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[quote author=sano link=topic=67389.msg1159756#msg1159756 date=1169319247]
Sounds like user error. I get anywhere from 24-32mpg with my auto.
[/quote]

I don't think it's user error. I've read through a lot of the gas mileage threads here, and it seems to me that 3's are split down the middle -- some get great gas mileage, and some get poor (unfortunately, including me). It doesn't seem to matter what tranny you have. I tend to think that there's some mechanical reason for the discrepancy between the mileage numbers. It's not regional, because there are other 3 owners near where I live that use the same gas I do, and get better/the same mileage as I. My thinking is that all of the poor-mileage cars come from one particular factory or assembly line, or have another thing happen to all of them, say, they all were test-driven hard before being bought. I may start a survey thread later to see how the numbers stack up.
 

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We're just into our second tank of gas, but the first tank yielded 26 mpg. That's on a 5-speed hatch, driven to maximize breakin (lots of on-and-off the throttle to vary cylinder pressures, driving in lower gears than necessary, no highway miles at all). Once the engine has loosened up, I expect high 20s in conservative city driving, mid 30s on trips...and much less if I go zoomzoom in the Ozarks, though we usually use the Miata for that. The problem is going to be keeping my wife from using the power just for grins. :)

I think claudius' dealer is making a pretty generous offer, depending on how old the car is. I would take it. One more thing: running the A/C will cost you several mpg, and it's engaged automatically whenever the fan is on and the mode selector is clockwise of 10:30.
 

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[quote author=lanny link=topic=67389.msg1160071#msg1160071 date=1169337423]
One more thing: running the A/C will cost you several mpg, and it's engaged automatically whenever the fan is on and the mode selector is clockwise of 10:30.
[/quote]

Mythbusters tested that, they had one vehicle with the A/C on and the otther with it off and the windows down and they were pretty close to the same mpg.

"Tests were performed under varying conditions (55 mph versus 45 mph). Also, the 55 mph test was using a computer to estimate fuel efficiency based on air intake, not actual fuel consumption, and showed A/C was more efficient. The 45 mph test consisted of running the tank until it was empty, and showed open windows were more efficient"
 

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On long trips when i use the cruise control my 4speed auto gets around 27 mpg. On average highway driving mixed in with some city...I average 22.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
RE User error: I can assure you that ~19 mpg is not from me driving like an idiot in a new car. I had a 1997 Chevy Cavalier Z24 5MT with 107,000 miles that had a 2.4 liter 150 hp / 155 ft-lb engine. That car, I drove like an idiot. By that I mean fairly aggressive throttle a majority of the time and if I was accelerating onto a highway, I was almost guaranteed to be shifting right around the fuel cut off through 2nd and into 3rd at full throttle. In that car, the lowest mileage I ever saw was 22 mpg in 100% city driving and usually averaging 24 or 25 in my normal mix and normal aggressiveness. I was expecting similar results in a similar car that was 10 years newer. I have driven the 5AT 3 with care, rarely exceeding 4,000 rpm on acceleration or even 3,500 most times and never reaching redline before the recommended break in period, and then only to redline maybe 2-3 times after break in on the one tank.

RE Test drives: I too think that this car may have been test driven exceptionally hard and that is causing problem(s).

RE A/C: I did not know that the A/C would come on automatically. By clockwise of 10:30 do you mean on modes like the defrost? My Cavi would turn the A/C on in the defrost mode, but the A/C indicator light came on too. I have had the car almost constantly on the lowest fan speed at the defrost mode setting. Perhaps the A/C came on and I didn't know it and that could have caused some of the problem.

RE Mythbusters: True about the A/C, but what about A/C on with the defrost setting and windows up versus A/C off and windows up? I'm sure that would have caused a difference, maybe Jaime and Adam should do a followup, just showing what A/C on and A/C off do without the factor of extra wind resistance of open or closed windows.

RE Manual enjoyment: I did usually enjoy having a manual for the 4 years that I drove one, but occasionally I wished I didn't have to shift. After having an automatic for a month, I do kind of miss the control of a clutch and a stick, and the low mileage makes the manual seem much more attractive. I thought the auto-stick would make up for most of the lost control, and it did for the most part, but the slight loss of that control combined with the bad mileage made me really reconsider the choice of automatic.

Now for more of my experience...

After driving the car home from service, I went out later that night and noticed a weird tapping sound that matched the revs of the engine. It was pretty cold, so I hoped it was that, but the tapping persisted after the engine warmed up. I thought it might be valve tapping. Tonight, after work, I had a friend look at the engine with the hood open as I started it and revved it, to see if maybe the engine cover was loose from when service looked at it or something else benign, but nothing seemed to be loose. Upon further auditory exploration outside the car with the hood closed, the sound seemed to be louder from the front passenger side. It almost sounded like an exhaust leak from outside, but I don't see how it could be that already.

Also, I have noticed that the chrome finisher on the exhaust has some soot around it, what seems to be an excessive amount for a car with only a little more than 1,000 miles. This seems to obviously indicate to me that something somewhere is not quite right.

The dealer has located a vehicle from another dealership that is exactly the same except for a manual transmission (and hopefully the mileage!). Monday they should get the car in from what it looks like, and I will have my second Mazda 3 in just over 1 month.

I must say that the dealer has been understanding of my plight, and especially the sales guy. When I started to become concerned with the mileage, I contacted the general manager. But instead, but the GM and the sales guy worked with me. I figured I bought the car, the sales guy's job was over, but he has been committed to making me happy. I'm not sure on the rules governing mentioning dealerships or sales peoples names, but I must say I have been telling anyone I know who is buying a new car to go to my guy. Excellent service.

Normally, I think the experience I have had with problems on this car would turn me off. But I still want a 3. I think that speaks volumes for what the styling and most especially what the driving dynamics of a car can do.
 

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For some reason most of the bad milage threads are for 2.3 engine.
My 2.0 AT gets 25-26 mpg in 95% city driving. And in Toronto it is stop and go all the time.
On a 600 mile trip I got 39 mpg. (I did calculate this the old school way), with AC on and cruising at 75-80 mph.
I say get a 2.0. I know peaople will say that it is slower, but you want to by a MT, so you will not loose any performance and it will save you some money.
 

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All U.S. hatchbacks are 3s (2.3) models. All U.S. 3i (2.0) cars are sedans. Stupid, but nobody at Mazda asked me for advice.
 

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[quote author=Mazda3Pride link=topic=67389.msg1159759#msg1159759 date=1169319502]
I couldn't imagine getting anything other than a manual. They're so much more fun to drive. And I get on average 30mpg with some heavy driving. Go for the MT!
[/quote]


MT :klavergreg: MT 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) MT Rules
Get the MT dude :klavergreg: :D :D :D :D 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

Auto trannies are for grannies and wussys and wieners :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I guess I should have updated this thread...

I picked up the manual 3 on January 22. I should have gotten the manual in the first place, but I didn't. Live and learn I guess.

First full tank with 195 total miles on the odo and mostly city < 5 mile trips, one spirited trip up and down the Catoctin mountains, and a 40 mile round trip on the highway.

171.1 miles on 7.412 gallons for 23.08 mpg. I am thoroughly satisfied with this mileage considering the low miles of the car and the small percentage of highway miles. I'm already getting 3+ mpg more than I was in the 5AT 3 on mostly highway. Once the engine gets broken in, I expect the mileage to increase to at least 25 mpg or more with more highway miles.
 

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In the beggining I got about 24-25(mixed driving) and now it's gone up a bit to around 26-28 (mixed), I also have to deal with a city full of hills.

That's weird to get only 19mpg on a 4 banger. I average 19 MPG on my 1990 Mustang and it's got a V-8!
 
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