2012 Mazda 3 Skyactiv: Running Out of Time - 2012 Mazda 3 Long-Term Road Test

2012 Mazda 3 Long-Term Road Test

2012 Mazda 3 Skyactiv: Running Out of Time

October 19, 2012


A couple days ago, I realized our 2012 Mazda 3 i Touring Skyactiv will be leaving us in less than a month. I don't know if we'll make it to the 20,000 miles, unless somebody takes a last-minute road trip to Seattle.

I figured I better grab a night in this car while I still can. You already know I like this car. It's my baseline for any future family car I might buy. Yeah, there are some days where I might want something like a VW GTI* (nicer cabin materials, extra rear legroom) or a Honda CR-V (larger cabin with tons of storage slots and cargo capacity), but the reality is that this Mazda does everything I need it to do.

It has just enough room for two adults (and a kid), and enough cargo room for 90 percent of my hauling jobs. It's comfortable enough for a long commute. The cabin furnishings are nice enough that I'm not always thinking about being in an inexpensive car. The controls are easy to use.

And somehow, I manage to have fun every time I go down the freeway in this 155-hp budget hatchback with an automatic transmission. For me, it's about the controlled ride, the impressive steering feel (impressive among the non-so-hot hatches anyway), the lively engine (OK, throttle response isn't perfect, but man, it revs like it cares) and the transmission's quick shifts. 'Course I'd probably shift slower if I had one of these with the manual gearbox, but I'd make that compromise any day of the week.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 17,477 miles

*Yah, that's a GTI in the driveway, along with a couple really stunning waste receptacles.

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