2012 Mazda MAZDA3 Skyactiv-G: Not-Quite Road Trip Report
July 05, 2012
Just spent a couple days in our long-term 2012 Mazda 3, and it's a nice car to have when you've just moved to a new place, as all manner of small home improvement projects immediately suggest themselves. The day before the holiday, I had to run an errand to San Diego, and I hopped in the 3.
I noticed the loose driver seat when accelerating from stoplights (and if I'm honest, the slightly delayed throttle response when diving for holes in traffic), but overall, I was pleased with the Mazda's long-haul potential. For sure, the ride is on the firm side, and it feels firmer over certain freeways (the ones that haven't repaved recently), but it's just compliant enough to keep me content. The cabin isn't super quiet for a budget hatchback, but again, it's quiet enough.
Sometimes -- usually when merging onto freeways via a short onramp -- I'd wish I could get a little more torque from the direct-injected 2.0-liter engine, but then, the six-speed automatic would give me such a nice, prompt downshift, it was hard to dwell on any deficiency in grunt. If I had to get to an automatic transmission in a compact car, this would be it.
There weren't any interesting roads along my route, but I like that I didn't spend much time thinking about the steering and the brakes -- because they're pretty much exactly how I'd want them. Brake pedal feel is good, and the steering feels nice and stable on-center and appropriately quick and precise off center.
What I like least about our Mazda 3 is the driving position. It has nothing to do with the funky seat issue, rather it's the positioning of the seat relative to the steering wheel. Our car has power driver-seat adjustments so there are plenty, but the steering wheel doesn't telescope quite enough for optimum comfort. It's not a big deal, just something I noticed during half a day in the car.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,928 miles