Having a 70 mile (round trip) commute to drive every day will make you think long and hard about what you want in a car. I waited about 4 months to write this review so I would have a large sample size to go on. About 80-85% of my driving are freeway miles, in San Francisco Bay Area traffic. Having now put about 9,000 miles on the car, I can tell you unequivocally that I made the right choice in a new vehicle. I am AVERAGING 39 mpg. I could probably get better than 40 if I slowed down a little. I've had the mileage get as high as 44.5 mpg over a 35 mile stretch with the cruise control locked in at 65 mph. YSeats are comfy for extended drives. Manual tranny and clutch are very precise.
Looked at the following Hatchbacks. All Subaru models Nissan Rouge GTI Focus Mazda 3 After looking at everything I was willing to buy, I purchased a 2012 I-touring with Skyactiv Engine and Auto Trans. This power plant it awesome. It is the smoothest I have ever driven. Power really comes on at 2800 to 3000 rpm giving me ability to choose gas mileage or Zoom zoom. The interior is 'Spartan' but still an upgrade from my 2002 Wrangler. I really like the BT hands free phone function. According to the computer I am getting 32.1 MPG since buying the car, (50/50 hwy and city). I checked at the pump and my numbers came back 31.8, that to me is pretty good.
To keep this short and sweet my wife gets almost 500 miles per 11 gallons of fuel. It is a 14 gallon tank so when the fuel light goes on there should be 3 gallons left but it is hard to ignore the fuel light and the range being under 40 miles. Best example of mileage that we have repeated more than once... 60 mph in 6th gear on a straight and level stretch or road with the cruise control and AC on with 4 people in the car 44.7 mpg turn off the ac and it goes up to 47mpg. This is not drafting and the instant mpg readout will hold steady as long as the road is level.
I purchased my Mazda about 4 weeks ago and put just under 2k miles on it. The car has been awesome! I am a car enthusiast and since I currently cannot swing the money for a BMW I landed on the Mazda. It is a drivers car and has all the feautures you want. Great sound (even the stock system without the bose is clear and loud), bluetooth is awesome with my phone and music and the interior layout of the dash and such are clean, sensible, and easy to use. I never thought I woudl get an automatic car but commuting with a manual is just brutal, but the dual-clutch on the mazda is the most responsive ive seen in a car under 21k. Take off the traction control and the car just begs you to drive it!
This car will serve different needs, depending on your mood. If you are feeling economical, the fuel efficiency is great. I got over 41 mpg on a recent road trip. If you want to have some driving fun, the car is very responsive and, although I have the automatic, you can flip it into manual mode for more control. The hatchback is very roomy and I recently brought home my son's dorm refrigerator in it. Great car!