2012 Mazda 3: Not a Slug-A-Matic
May 21, 2012
As some of my colleagues have noted, our Mazda 3 has a praiseworthy automatic tranny. It's smooth, cooperative and even rev-matches its downshifts. But its performance is all the more impressive considering it's part of a powertrain geared towards high fuel efficiency. Unlike most automatics fitted to gas misers, this one doesn't tax your patience when you want a downshift. Yet it still allows strong fuel economy.
When you need it to step down to pass that lane-drifting zombie yacking on the cell phone, it does so swiftly and without requiring you to mash the gas to the floor and wait one-thousand-one before it gets its act together and moves the car out. Factor in the 3's thrifty fuel mileage, nice interior, comfortable seats and good stereo and you see why this Mazda is one of my favorites in a segment full of good cars.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 9,658 miles