Test Drove a Mazda3 Hatchback Today

Discussion in 'Mazda' started by Jay, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    My sister is in the market for a new car and today we drove 180 miles (one way!) to the nearest good Mazda dealer in our area. I have been hyping the Mazda3 to her for some time and today we finally got the chance to drive one. This car is near the top of my wish list as well and I may be in the market soon. She chose a red 2015 iTouring auto. to drive. The iTouring is the "mid" model with the 2.0L engine.

    Initial impressions from first looking over and sitting in the car are quite good. The build quality is high. Fit and finish are very good. The interior quality is excellent for the price. The quality of the glass and paint were very good. Interestingly, this car was made in Japan not Salamanca, MX. There's ample space around the engine to work on things and if you were wondering about the "dual" exhausts on an inline four, there is a single exhaust coming from the engine that meets a transverse muffler at the back and the two exhaust tips exit each end of the muffler. The underside of the car looks pretty clean.

    Our test ride went through lots of low-speed winding road and then onto a 70mph freeway for the ride back. The road was quite bumpy in areas. The car always felt very solid and planted. Feedback from the wheels was outstanding in that I could feel exactly where every wheel was and what every wheel was doing. It felt pretty neat! Feedback from the electric power steering: not so good. I was thinking, "I really like the suspension". :stickshift: My sister was thinking, "This car jostles me around too much." I think I would go for the manual transmission, but I could find no fault with the auto. Accelerating onto the freeway was no trouble and my overall driving impression was that it was a perfectly competent car with no drivability problems. Visibility out the back was poor, however, and the gauges were spectacularly awful. They were, in fact, the worst gauges I've ever seen.

    Front legroom could be better, but it was generous compared to the hybrid Accord I recently test drove. Foot room, headroom, and legroom in the back seat, with the front all the way back, was very good, but not as good as the Honda Fit. The rear seats fold down flat, but you have to fiddle with the front seats to make them do that (if the front seats are all the way back).

    I'm sure I could be happy with this car. The problem is: I could also be happy with the Honda Fit and the dealer is in town. My sister didn't like the stiff ride, so we she probably won't be springing for one. I will wait for the 10th gen Civics before making up my mind.
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jay:

    The only real fault I found with the 3 is interior noise and it is a bit confining for a taller/wider driver.

    Good handling, good FE and beyond good R&H. Like a poor mans BMW without the maintenance expense. :)

  3. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

    "dual" exhausts on an inline four :confused:
  4. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    That's what I thought when I saw the pics. I figured that one tip must be fake, but they're both active and at either end of a transverse muffler at the back.

    It's hard not to like the Mazda, but the Fit actually has more cargo space in a smaller, lighter, package. Both have about the same EPA mpg ratings. I'd much rather drive the Mazda, I think. Decisions decisions.
  5. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Would that make it the "smart man's" BMW ?
  6. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    As a Fit driver, this makes me happy. :) The Mazda would be on my must-see list if I were to replace it.

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