Track Tested: 2010 Mazda 3 i Touring


2010 Mazda 3 i Touring

Edmunds.com tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "IL Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

It's rare that we get a Mazda 3 that doesn't have the bigger of the two four-cylinder engines the company offers in its compact sedan. And make no mistake, we like the 2010 Mazda 3 a great deal with the company's 167-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. We voted to give this car one of our 2010 Editors' Most Wanted Awards.

But the Mazda 3 is pricey for a compact. Realistically, if you want to buy one near the $20K mark, it's going to be an i model with the 148-hp 2.0-liter engine. Recently, a Mazda 3 i Touring showed up here with the optional five-speed automatic transmission (a five-speed manual gearbox is standard).

We took it to the track. And the word of the day is tires.

Vehicle: 2010 Mazda 3 i Touring
Odometer: 6,474
Date: October 20, 2009
Driver: Chris Walton
Base price: $19,495
Options on car: Moonroof/6CD/Bose Package ($1,395), Satellite Radio ($430), Pearl Paint ($200)
Price as tested: $21,500

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 5-speed automatic
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,999/122
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 144 @ 6,500 (148 for non-PZEV cars)
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 132 @ 4,500 (135 for non-PZEV cars)
Brake Type (front): 10.9-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): 10.4-inch solid disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Steering System: Electric-assist power rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P205/55R16 89H
Tire Size (rear): P205/55R16 89H
Tire Brand: Bridgestone
Tire Model: Turanza EL400
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 16-by-6.5-inch front and rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,951

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.6 (3.6 traction control on)
0 - 45 (sec): 6.3 (6.6 TC on)
0 - 60 (sec): 9.9 (10.2 TC on)
0 - 75 (sec): 14.8 (15.5 TC on)
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 17.2 @ 80.9 (17.4 @ 79.8 TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 9.6 (9.8 TC on)
30 - 0 (ft): 33
60 - 0 (ft): 135
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 63.5 (62.3 stability control on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.76 (same with stability control on)
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 35.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 66.3
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 61.2

Acceleration Comments: No real technique here, but it did drop 0.3 second with brake-torquing -- yet it's still painfully slow. I also notice the car auto-upshifts at the indicated 6,500-rpm redline, but will go past 7,000 in manual mode.

Braking Comments: Quite a lot of dive and screeching tires. Average or slightly below-average distances with good fade resistance.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Very low limit on the skidpad as indicated by the screaming tires. Decent balance with a pronounced tendency for understeer that you can easily counteract with throttle manipulation. Leaving the stability control on produced nearly identical results, thus showing a proper intervention threshold for this driver safety aid. Slalom: Crisp turn-in, floppy transitions and low-limit tires make this the least capable version of Mazda's otherwise entertaining 3. The tendency to roll oversteer is pronounced with the stability control off. With stability control on, this is effectively dealt with, but the ultimate speed drops off considerably. Tires go greasy after a few passes, too, ultimately limiting the slalom performance of the Mazda 3 i.

Note: This Mazda 3 i was part of a comparison test published on the Edmunds Daily blog. It's well worth a read, as are our tests on the 2010 Mazda 3 s sedan and Mazda 3 hatchback.

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