2012 Mazda 3: Just GTFM
February 08, 2012
Our Mazda3's six-speed auto, set in default drive mode, is pretty sluggish on the throttle input. It's a little out of character for a car, and brand, known for sharp reactions. In manual mode though, it calls up the neighboring cog surprisingly quick. Since I spend most of my time in traffic flicking the lever up or tapping it back, I figure my left foot should also do something useful. If you're shopping this car, just get the manual.
If you must have the auto -- someone in the family can't drive stick and refuses to learn -- or you just want that seven percent improvement in fuel economy over the previous auto, this is not a bad box to live with. Just know that you'll be rowing back and forth a lot. I'd be curious to spend an entire tank of fuel with this car to see how that style impacts our average fuel economy.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor