2012 Mazda Mazda3 Long Term Road Test


2012 Mazda Mazda3 Skyactiv-G: Will People Get the Blue?

January 13, 2012

2012 Mazda Mazda3

Mazda is offering too many engines on the 2012 Mazda 3, and if you haven't read up on the Skyactiv technologies, you're liable to make the wrong choice.

Our long-termer's brand-new, 155-hp, direct-injected, 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine is stuffed in-between the old 148-hp, 2.0-liter MZR engine and the 167-hp, 2.5-liter engine (which is a bored/stroked version of the 2.0 MZR motor).

Neither of these older engines is as efficient as the new Skyactiv-G engine, but several of you have written here that you'd still go for the 2.5-liter for its extra torque (166 lb-ft vs. a 148-lb-ft rating on the new engine). And to that I say, well, you really need to experience the new transmissions that come with the 2.0 Skyactiv-G engine before you make up your mind. Low-end grunt is nice and all, but I'll trade that for the new six-speed automatic's super-smooth upshifts and very quick, rev-matched downshifts any day of the week.

Regrettably, I can't be at every Mazda dealership to tell you what to do. And the automaker is taking a far more subtle approach of letting customers know that there's something special about i Touring and i Grand Touring models with the Skyactiv drivetrains. To start, these models all have blue halos on their gauges; other Mazda 3s have gray rings.

There's another blue ring in each headlight assembly. Since our i Grand Touring model has the Technology package, said headlights are bi-xenons.

 

2012 Mazda Mazda3

Finally, the Skyactiv models have this badge on the lower right side of the their hatch or trunk lid. This area is blank, of course, on sedans with the base MZR engine, while s Touring and s Grand Touring models have the usual 2.5 badge. Now, of course, one of my new commuting games is to tally up all the Skyactiv-badged 3s I see. So far, I've seen very few.

 

2012 Mazda Mazda3

These details are too subtle, I think, and I'm not sure most buyers will notice them.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 3,854 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Mazda Mazda3 in VA is:

$144 per month*
* Explanation
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