2012 Mazda Mazda3 Long Term Road Test

2012 Mazda Mazda3 Skyactiv: Welcome to Monterey

August 20, 2012

2012 Mazda Mazda3

"We've been waiting for you," the really very young valet guy told me as the Mazda 3 and I pulled into a hotel parking garage near Monterey's Cannery Row.


"Yeah, there's a spot saved for you."

"Are you sure I won't get towed?" I asked as I backed into this very spot.

Ten minutes later, it turned out he was not. He'd mistaken me for a McLaren executive. And I don't know about the Mazda 3... perhaps it's the front-engine, front-drive hatchback McLaren would build if it was in the business of building of front-engine, front-drive hatchbacks?

In any case, the 3 was relocated to steerage and I was given a normal valet ticket.

I'd been on the road for hours at that point, but I was in a good mood. Driver-seat comfort in the Mazda isn't bad, and in spite of the car's reputation as the sporty car of the budget car class, the ride is sufficiently compliant.


2012 Mazda Mazda3

The headlights are also very good if you end up with the Grand Touring model. They're adaptive xenons, and the adaptability of said lights when you add steering input is about as good as any high-end car with this feature. I had no problems seeing through the turns on Highway 68 and 17-Mile Drive in the dark -- and this came in handy as I made repeated runs down these roads during my weekend on the Monterey Peninsula.

I'll post fuel economy numbers from the trip later this week.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,414 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