After test driving the Civic, Focus and Elantra, I decided on the 3 because of that fun factor.
It doesn't necessarily feel like an economy car when driving.
I'm getting the advertised 32-33 combined mpg.
40+ highway mpg is feasible if you stay below 70mph.
I've found 37-38mpg is more realistic if you're like me and tend to drive faster than 70mph on the highway.
It's aged pretty good for an almost 3 year old design.
I think newer designs like the civic and Elantra already look aged compared to the 3.
SkyActiv is no gimic.
Bluetooth connection with steering wheel controls.
Interior does feel a bit cramped, even for not so tall folks like me.
Road noise is excessive compared to others.
Dash display creates glare in windshield at night.
AC is weak, not cold enough.
-02 Protege 5
Many things remain the same through the years. Sporty handling, quirky but some how attractive interior, road noise, fun-to-drive, best hatch for the money, etc.
What was new and enticing was the Skyactiv drivetrain and a Mazda3 getting over 30mpg.. let alone nearly 40mpg. Haven't quite gotten there yet on average, but it seems possible. If you keep the RPM around 1800-1900 which is close to 60mph.. you'll break 40mpg. After that it seems to dissipate pretty quickly. You'd be lucky getting over 30mpg at 70mph.
At the end of the day, you can pick one of these up for under $17K brand new at some dealers.
Best car made under $17K.
Price, mpg, bluetooth phone/audio, interior lighting, capacity for dog/sports gear, bikes, music equip., blue treatment around headlamps, leather wrapped wheel
Improved gearing to run at 2,000 RPM or less at 70mph, mirror turn signals, sunglass storage, additonal Skyactiv brand treatment within interior... (blue stitching, light up shifter knob) and keep the blue LED lighting kit
2012 Mazda 3 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
great car! love the styling and interior, shifter and clutch are probably the best in its class of cars.
I'm easily getting 38-42mpg with mix of country back roads/highway.
Why by a boring Yotarolla when you can have something with more style and fun to drive.
Being really picky:
There is a small light rattle in the passenger front door area that I haven't hunt down yet.
Bluetooth on mid i-touring package, stick and clutch are super smooth on this car.
keep reducing the weight and adding more efficiencies to future "skyactiv" engine/tran.
2012 Mazda 3 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I've had this car for about 2 months and while I do enjoy driving it, I've noticed the computer's MPG is off.
I've checked it several times by filling up my gas tank, resetting the trip meter and then resetting the computer's MPG.
After running it for about 300 miles I filled the tank back up.
I then divided the miles on the trip meter by the number of gallons I put in the car.
My latest manual observation was 27.2 MPG while the computer's MPG was 29.8.
So far my driving has been about 90/10 city/highway, so I'd expect the MPG to be low.
But I would have expected the computer's MPG to be more accurate.
It's been off on every test I've made.
I drove a Protege5 for 10 years and I loved that car. I fully expected to love my new 2012 Mazda 3 but have been disappointed--no love yet. Yes, it gets awesome gas mileage -- but it is not nearly as spirited or fun to drive as the Protege5. Hugs the road well, but
quite sluggish acceleration. If you have the 6 spd manual, plan to do
a LOT of shifting very quickly.
Disappointing driving experience compared to Protege5.
Interior cabin is cramped due to enormous dash and console, and ceiling in rear is much lower than Protege so if you have a dog in the back, it better be a short one.
Miles per gallon.
Ability to display current mpg can make you a little obsessive but does aid in learning best shift points, etc.
Ability to set cruise control, then bump it up or down without resetting cruise.
Rear window washer.
Pretty good speakers without upgrading sound system
-cup holders--have to reach slightly backwards and take my eyes off the road to use
-cavernous, unlit glove compartment too deep to find anything-- it's crazy! No lock
-cabin space is odd and poorly planned. Several narrow, deep holes in the dash but nothing to keep change organized, nowhere for glasses or pens. You can put water bottles in all the door pockets, but if you do, there is no room for anything else.
-cheap floor mats held in place with little plastic nubs right under your feet
-seats uncomfortable compared to protege--lumbar support is too high up seat.
-rear seats do not fold flat so stuff slides to the rear
-I'm small (5'2)and the cabin is very uncomfortable and tight