2004 to 2020 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We have a 2011 Mazda 2.5 s manual, which we love (our favorite car ever, even over our 2007 Acura TL type S and 2007 350z). So, we decided to buy a second one. We ending up buying a 2012 Mazda 3 i Skyactiv Touring last year (manual). However, I was really disappointed in the handling. The car does not feel nearly as stable as the 2.5s. At higher speeds on the interstate, it actually feels a little unsafe. However, I just chocked it up to being the 2.0 Skyactiv as opposed to 2.5s, which is sportier.

Fast foward to a year later, and I finally had to take my 2.5s into the shop for the first time in 2 years, and they gave me a 2012 Mazda i Grand Touring Automatic as a loaner. I was blown away by how well the car handled. It was night and day better than our 2012 i Touring manual. The Grand Touring felt much more stable, as where one touch on the steering wheel of our Touring jerks the car, and the Touring feels lighter.

So my question is, is there a different suspension on the Grand Touring than the Touring. Also, ours is a manual and the loaner is an automatic. They both have the same engine, tires, and wheels. Or, could there be a problem with our Touring?

Any help is appreciated to solving this problem. If this has been posted already, forgive me. I have searched but not found the answer. Hopefully there is a simple fix, because we loved driving the Grand Touring skyactiv model.

Tim
 

·
Da belle of da ball.
Joined
·
3,542 Posts
The skyactiv is lighter up front than the 2.5 and even the old 2.0 non skyactiv, but from what I understand, it has the same suspension setup. That could make for a difference in handling. Also the skyactiv has some shit tires.

As for the difference between that and the i grand touring, I don't know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
975 Posts
Zero differences between all models (except the speed)

As said the only things that are likely different are tires, which make 90% of the difference in handling for any car.

Wheel sizes as well make a huge difference.
Miles also matter depending on how worn in bushes and dampers are etc.
Other than that, the springs are the same, geometry is the same, everything is the same, the 2.5 weighs a bit more up front as said, other than that, it is the exact same car.

Have you tried putting your wheels on the Sky? See if that makes a difference; the tall sidewall on the i models can give the car a very odd floaty feeling with all the sidewall flex.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies, but I really just comparing the following two cars:

2012 i Touring skyactiv manual 12000 miles (bad handling)
2012 i Grand Touring skyactiv automatic 3500 miles (good handling)

They have the same tires, and the iTouring drives the same as it did when it was brand new.
 

·
Aspiring Mad Scientist
Joined
·
1,716 Posts
Alignment tolerances, if you ask me. From the factory it's OK for the 3's to have toe in or out at the front wheels, and it can have a lot of toe in or nearly zero at the rear wheels. It's entirely possible that the loaner car has toe in everywhere and the one you own has toe out in the front, causing the major handling discrepancy.

My car used to be more stable at 0.00 front toe as compared to the current -0.05deg front toe. Now it tramlines over tar lines (much less before) and gives up a little stability for sharper steering response, and this was noticeable from just 0.05 degrees. The factory tolerances are almost ten times that if I remember correctly. You can imagine what havoc this could wreak on a car at the extremes of the tolerance range.
 
  • Like
Reactions: yellowjacket

·
Registered
Joined
·
975 Posts
Thanks for the replies, but I really just comparing the following two cars:

2012 i Touring skyactiv manual 12000 miles (bad handling)
2012 i Grand Touring skyactiv automatic 3500 miles (good handling)

They have the same tires, and the iTouring drives the same as it did when it was brand new.
Oh woops, I thought the good one was an S model, not an i model sorry for the misread.

It probably is alignment, that or tire pressures. Alignment and pressures may not seem like a big deal to some people, but they absolutely are the BIGGEST difference anyone can make with the handling on a car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The tire pressures are the same between the two (I made sure of that before I drove them), and I bounce checked the struts. All front end struts seemed to react the same between the two cars. I will get the car checked out though for that and alignment.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
We have a 2011 Mazda 2.5 s manual, which we love (our favorite car ever, even over our 2007 Acura TL type S and 2007 350z). So, we decided to buy a second one. We ending up buying a 2012 Mazda 3 i Skyactiv Touring last year (manual). However, I was really disappointed in the handling. The car does not feel nearly as stable as the 2.5s. At higher speeds on the interstate, it actually feels a little unsafe. However, I just chocked it up to being the 2.0 Skyactiv as opposed to 2.5s, which is sportier.

Fast foward to a year later, and I finally had to take my 2.5s into the shop for the first time in 2 years, and they gave me a 2012 Mazda i Grand Touring Automatic as a loaner. I was blown away by how well the car handled. It was night and day better than our 2012 i Touring manual. The Grand Touring felt much more stable, as where one touch on the steering wheel of our Touring jerks the car, and the Touring feels lighter.
First off, hats off to yellowjacket for being able to sense the difference. Based on his description of the difference, I would join the others here in suspecting alignment, and that perhaps his 2012 i Touring has a touch of toe-out in the front.

BTW, I'm also a former '07 Acura TL-S owner who ditched it for the Skyactiv Grand Touring (they were both automatics and served as a daily driver for my wife, who at the time was doing over an hour each way to work and back in traffic). I miss the passing power and sound of the TL-S @ WOT, but otherwise we don't miss it at all. The suspension/wheels on the TL-S were completely stock, and I thought it rode like shit. This coming from a guy who has a highly modified race vehicle with minimal suspension travel and that runs 800 and 1100#/in. spring rates (and sometimes still drives this car on the street).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
I am having the tramlining issue and unstable feel on the freeway with my brand new i sport automatic sedan.
The service manager drove the car and said the alignment feels like it should so didn't check the specs, but he was driving it over roads that weren't grooved like by where I live. As soon as I get it on that part of the freeway the ride gets unstable and tramlines.
He said it was probably the tires since different tread patterns will cause tramlining and I can attest to this with my Cobalt-when I switched from Michelin Primacy to Yokohama YK580 (only found at Discount Tire) the tramlining and stability improved.
I am also thinking of adding alloy wheels because I've also heard that they improve the ride over the steel wheels and hubcaps the Sport model came with.
I don't know if it would make a difference to switch to 17 inch tires and wheels because I definitely want to improve the ride quality and I think larger tires would do the opposite.
 

·
Celest Zoom-Zoom
Joined
·
4,919 Posts
My opinion is 17 inch tires offer the best mix of handling and ride quality. 18's handle great but rode rougher. 16's have to much sidewall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Wouldn't 17s ride rougher than 16s if they have less rubber?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,437 Posts
Swerv is talking about the balance between ride roughness and handling...larger the wheel, the better the handling but the worse the ride comfort...he's saying that 17s achieve the best balance between the two.

Wouldn't 17s ride rougher than 16s if they have less rubber?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I am also thinking of adding alloy wheels because I've also heard that they improve the ride over the steel wheels and hubcaps the Sport model came with.
I don't know if it would make a difference to switch to 17 inch tires and wheels because I definitely want to improve the ride quality and I think larger tires would do the opposite.
If you can feel the difference in ride quality between like-sized wheels made of cast aluminum alloy versus stamped steel, you would be the automotive equivalent of the princess and the pea.

Tire pressure, tire/wheel size (i.e., sidewall height), the tire itself (the specific tire model and its design parameters), and damper quality are the factors that will affect your car's ride quality the most. If you choose to lower your car, reducing damper travel and/or increasing spring rate will typically negatively impact ride quality as well.

All else being equal, larger diameter wheel = shorter tire sidewall = harsher ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Then sticking with the 16s is the way to go because I'm looking for ride comfort.
I thought I had read somewhere that since alloy wheels are lighter than steel that the ride would improve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Then sticking with the 16s is the way to go because I'm looking for ride comfort.
I thought I had read somewhere that since alloy wheels are lighter than steel that the ride would improve.
In theory, lighter wheels and tires might make a tiny improvement in ride quality because the dampers would have a slightly easier time controlling their mass. In reality, OEM alloy wheels are engineered primarily to be low cost and extremely strong/overbuilt, so they're not really much lighter than stamped steel wheels, as expensive forged or MAT-technology (aka as "rotary forged") cast aftermarket wheels (e.g., Enkei RPF1s, TSW Nurburgring or Interlagos) can be.

Even if you could save 10 pounds per corner with aftermarket wheels—nearly impossible, practically speaking—the other factors I mentioned before are still much more influential on ride quality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
In theory, lighter wheels and tires might make a tiny improvement in ride quality because the dampers would have a slightly easier time controlling their mass. In reality, OEM alloy wheels are engineered primarily to be low cost and extremely strong/overbuilt, so they're not really much lighter than stamped steel wheels, as expensive forged or MAT-technology (aka as "rotary forged") cast aftermarket wheels (e.g., Enkei RPF1s, TSW Nurburgring or Interlagos) can be.

Even if you could save 10 pounds per corner with aftermarket wheels—nearly impossible, practically speaking—the other factors I mentioned before are still much more influential on ride quality.
So basically if I'm expecting any improvement with aftermarket alloy wheels over the oem steel wheels with hubcaps it isn't gonna happen?
I was just thinking about it because I can't stand the tires that came with the car and I want to change them immediately so I was thinking of getting alloys at the same time. If it won't help I probably won't bother
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
So basically if I'm expecting any improvement with aftermarket alloy wheels over the oem steel wheels with hubcaps it isn't gonna happen?
Right. Changing to aftermarket wheels is about improving the aesthetics of the car, not the ride quality.

But feel free to call Tire Rack and ask them the same question—they sell tons of aftermarket wheels and I'm assuming they get that question sometimes. I'd assume a competent rep could also recommend tires that would improve the ride quality a bit as compared to the OEM tires.

If you want the car to ride softer, just try reducing the air pressure by 3–4 psi. You'll lose a little MPG though.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top