2012 Mazda Mazda3 Long Term Road Test


2012 Mazda3 SkyActiv: Mazda "Gets It"... Again

March 14, 2012

2012 Mazda3
Like Mark (who loves the smooth shifts) and Jay (who mentioned, among other things, the proper directional functionality of the manual gate), I also feel the 6-speed automatic in our Mazda3 is engineered and calibrated very well. But I found another Mazda-specific Easter egg that makes me believe people at Mazda really do care about driving...


If your car has an automatic with a manual-shift gate, what happens when you initially select it? Does it stay in the current gear or does it kick down a gear when you snick the shifter over? Our Mazda3 does either/both depending on the throttle position. Why is this a case of Mazda "getting it?"

If you're on the throttle and move the shifter to the manual gate, it retains the current gear -- as if you're readying the car for some sort of "spirited action" ahead. If, on the other hand, you first remove your foot from the throttle (like when you're going down a grade and want some engine braking), the Mazda3 kicks down a gear (and matches the revs, by the way). By the way, is the shift surround supposed to look like the layout of a racetrack?

Thanks for sweating the details, Mazda. We noticed.

I don't know of any other car that does this. Do you?

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 6,339 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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