2012 Mazda Mazda3 i Touring 4dr Sedan w/SKYACTIV-G (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I've now owned my 2012 Mazda3 Skyactiv (auto) for almost 21 months, and I still love the car as if I bought it yesterday.
In true Mazda fashion, the 3 delivers the fun-to-drive factor - it has razor-sharp steering and handling. It really makes the car handle predictably and makes me feel very connected to the road. However, that close connection to the road reduces ride comfort because of the firmer suspension. This is usually the compromise with a sporty-handling car. Reliability has proven to be rock solid. I was very nervous about purchasing the Skyactiv model with its completely new engine and transmission design, but my fears were unfounded.
As I already indicated, handling is phenomenal. The car feels very agile, and it's a blast to drive.
The automatic transmission, for the most part, shifts smooth as butter. The engine is also very responsive and is mated well to the transmission.
The glovebox is surprisingly large and very deep - excellent storage capacity. The trunk opens and closes with a hydraulic system that does not intrude into the cargo area. I don't have to worry about a trunk hinge crushing anything.
The radio and climate controls are simple with big knobs and buttons that are very easy to grasp at a first glance.
Road noise is pronounced, especially on the highway; it can get tiring on long trips. This car needs more sound-dampening materials.
The centre console armrest does not extend far enough and doesn't allow me to rest my arm while driving.
The engine sounds a bit coarse and loud on a cold start. The RPM drops instantly, however, when the car is placed in gear. This is perfectly normal operation by the way, as the car is retarding ignition timing to quickly heat up the catalytic converter to reduce emissions.
I forgot to mention a few other things in my review. Gas mileage is amazing. I've tracked my mileage since I've owned the car, and I average 34 MPG (or 7.0L/100 KM). Mazda is a bit optimistic when it comes to their fuel economy calculations like all other manufacturers. Regardless, I am still very satisfied with the numbers I'm achieving.
I have to add the lack of room in the back seat to my list of complaints. I'm a single person and the back seat is rarely used, which is why I consider this to be a minor complaint. As for front seat room, I find it to be adequate, but I'm only 5'8" and 150 lbs. I do wish the telescoping steering wheel had a longer range of adjustment. It can be a reach, making it uncomfortable on a longer commute.
Another gripe is that the trunk doesn't pop open when the button is released. It was a handy feature on my previous car, and I miss it.
In a nutshell, if you expect this to be a great family car, please look elsewhere. A Toyota Corolla would be much more suitable. If you're a single person or a couple who rarely uses the back seat and doesn't mind a less comfortable ride in exchange for responsive handling, this car is a perfect fit.