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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

Thanks for all the good info on the forums, I've done a lot of searching and am still torn on whether to go with an I touring or S touring manual. If you have experience, the following are what we're hanging up on:

Stock base stereo. Old car was a Subaru with the premium 7 speaker stereo and the sub under the seat. Not very picky on tunes, but is the base good enough for most? Is the bose that much better?

2.0L performance. Coming from a turbo car I don't expect the Mz3 to feel as quick, but I rarely get the chance to use the full power of the Subie anyway. Given that most of my driving is dinking around in city traffic, I wanted better handling and a manual to make getting around more fun. Are people with the 2l disappointed in it?

2.5L economy. Really do spend a lot of time in stop and go traffic. What are the people that spend a lot of time eating it in traffic seeing for MPG?

Snow. Obviously accel and getting around corners won't be as good as the Subie, especially on stock tires, but does the car like snow? My last fwd car was an Integra GSR which was an absolute joy in snow. Would like to get snow tires as well but curious to hear how the stockers do.

Thanks very much for any information on the above. Really looking forward to getting a new hatchback when the time comes.
 

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Hi all

Thanks for all the good info on the forums, I've done a lot of searching and am still torn on whether to go with an I touring or S touring manual. If you have experience, the following are what we're hanging up on:

Stock base stereo. Old car was a Subaru with the premium 7 speaker stereo and the sub under the seat. Not very picky on tunes, but is the base good enough for most? Is the bose that much better?

2.0L performance. Coming from a turbo car I don't expect the Mz3 to feel as quick, but I rarely get the chance to use the full power of the Subie anyway. Given that most of my driving is dinking around in city traffic, I wanted better handling and a manual to make getting around more fun. Are people with the 2l disappointed in it?

2.5L economy. Really do spend a lot of time in stop and go traffic. What are the people that spend a lot of time eating it in traffic seeing for MPG?

Snow. Obviously accel and getting around corners won't be as good as the Subie, especially on stock tires, but does the car like snow? My last fwd car was an Integra GSR which was an absolute joy in snow. Would like to get snow tires as well but curious to hear how the stockers do.

Thanks very much for any information on the above. Really looking forward to getting a new hatchback when the time comes.
I don't have the manual, so I can't comment on that piece. What I can tell you, is that the i series will probably get you much better gas mileage in the city. The 2.5 isn't bad and I do a lot of highway driving, so I'm really impressed with the mileage I'm getting. I drove both the 2.0 and 2.5 and thought both were fun. I just liked the power of the 2.5 more. I do spend some time in traffic, depending when I go in or leave work, but I'm not always stopped for extended periods of time, like you would be at a traffic light.

As for the stereo, I think the Bose is MUCH better than the stock radio. The bass is kind of lacking on the low end though. It's tuned more for the mid-range bass that's in more of today's pop and hip-hop music. So, if you're listening to a newer bass-y pop-y song, you'll feel more bass than if you listen to some kind of techno or pop or something from 10 years ago. However, it seems that you can add a subwoofer fairly easily to these cars, which would take care of that low-end bass.
 

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Did you have the 2.5 or the 2l? The 2l will feel a little gutless compared to the 2.5. I had a EJ25 hybrid and the extra .5l was great for city driving. Both engines are great with gas if your not a lead foot. The gas isn't too much of an issue since it's only 1-2mpg difference. The 2l in the Mazda is a very linear bandwidth. The torque is great for lugging around town for such a small motor.

On the manual feel, the Mazda is by far hands down better. The transmission is much more crisp, tight, and precise. The WRX was good but it wasn't the best. The Mazda throw might be a little longer if you had a short shifter but it's pretty easy to get used to.

The WRX has the better clutch feel. Mazda 3 has a disconnect with the driver, more like an on and off button. You don't really feel the bite in the foot but it's there. I would like to enhance the feel of the clutch but hey, you can only do so much with hydraulic fluids.... The Mazda clutch will be much less fatigue on a longer drive and is easier to modulate then the WRX. I had a stage 1 Exeddy and that was pretty close to feel to a stock clutch.

If your gonna drive in the snow, the stock yoko's are alright. They aren't the best and it's best to take it slow. They'll get you to A-B but just plan for the trip. Overall, the Mazda is very planted in the snow and the stability control is pretty intuitive when the back steps out.

Overall, go take a test drive on both models back to back and see how you'll like them. Great cars overall.... Mazda did a great job. Although I do miss my WRX from time to time, the amount I drive everyday says otherwise. Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies, it's really good reading.

I'm currently driving a Legacy 2.5GT. Great car and bonkers fun in the snow, but the fuel economy stinks and while it's actually been pretty reliable I don't have great feelings about a 10+yr turbo car. Have an auto now so really looking forward to a little more fun with the stick. My wife has a 2l WRX so I know about the trans. Gets the power done but about as much fun to operate as a washing machine.

I've driven the 2 and 2.5, preferred the 2.5 but really don't know how often I'll get to enjoy the extra power and can think of lots of ways to use the extra $4g Then again, the 2.5 reminds me of that GSR and makes me want to autocross again. Tough call!

The funny thing is if I calc the gas costs and payment for the 2l Mazda3, it's actually less than just gas on the Legacy.

Another weird question: do the stock 16" rims from the i fit over the s brakes? I would seriously consider trading someone the 18's for the 16's as we're in the city and 18's just won't last on the streets around here.

I'll let you guys know what I end up doing. No matter what I'm looking for something that likes to play in the turns.
 

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I was in a similar situation as you as far as choosing between the iGT and sT in manual. I test drove both of them and liked the extra power that the 2.5L had in 2nd and 3rd gears. I ended up getting the sT because I was quoted for $22900, which was actually less than the iGT!

I'm glad I was able to get the sT for it's larger engine, rims, and the driver console. The Bose 9 speaker system is better that the stock speakers, but like a previous post, it doesn't have that heavy bass.

MPG-wise, I was able to get 32-34 mpg in highway/city driving. Granted, I only owned my car for a little less than a week and drove a total of 200 miles on it.

If you came from WRX and GSRs, I would strongly suggest the 2.5L engine!
 

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I can only speak for the 2.0L i Touring automatic, but I drove around four adults every day for the past week and I can tell you that I was impressed with its ability to accelerate.

It feels powerful no matter how many people are riding, specially compared to my old (145 hp / 161 ft-lb) 2.4L naturally-aspirated Mitsu Galant that always felt like it was struggling with four people in it. The Galant with just me was always fine, but it doesn't even compare to the new Mazda3 2.0L i Touring (that weighs the same!) So basically the Mazda 2.0L feels like a significant step up for me; for you, with a WRX, I'm almost certain the 2.0L would feel like a step down, but I'm also sure it would beat the hell out of most cars of the same price-ish.

The 2.0 Mazda3, in itself, doesn't feel that much different with one adult or with four adults. It feels a little different of course, but the torque feels pretty powerful for the size of the engine, especially over 2500 rpms. I never once felt like it was struggling when starting from a stop, or when getting onto a highway, or when passing. It always felt very responsive, even when packed full of people.

Here is one thing to consider, and you might not care, but: 2015 2.5L are still made in Japan, while 2.0L are now made in Mexico. It might not matter; I'm not sure, but my budget was $20,000 so I jumped on a 2014 i Touring that was made in late 2013, back when the 2.0L were still made in Japan too.

The stock 16" will fit over 2.5L brakes. I was looking at tires, and this is just a retail price example, so discount places will vary, but I was looking at 205/60-16 Firestone Firehawks and they are $94.00 USD each. The 215/45-18 that the 2.5L S models take are $160.00 each! That's a pretty big difference, and when multiplied by four -- it adds up.

I know a lot of people here opted for the S models, so no judgment, but I feel like a sub $20,000 Mazda3 is more appealing than a $25,000 or even a $30,000 Mazda3, and yes, it can be that high with every option added. It's still an economy car -- a very attractive and nice handling car, but it's supposed to be an inexpensive almost-entry-level compact. I'm not sure if paying 20 - 25% more than what is necessary is prudent for most people looking for a car in this bracket -- it's also why the i Touring is the best-selling trim.
 

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I don't think these 2.0 vs 2.5 comparison makes much sense. If you test drive both, of course you are going to prefer the more powerful 2.5L. But, it's not about the power. It's about the tradeoffs. Is MPG, price, etc, more important than sheer power? Only you can answer these questions.

For me, I never test drove the 2.5. I test drove the 2.0, decided it has enough power for my purpose, and liked the price much better. So that's what I got. If anything, it's a lot of fun pushing pedal to the metal more often and still get decent mpg.

Oh, as of last month, some of the 2015 2.0Ls are still made/assembled in Japan.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is really good info.

The s or i decision would honestly be a lot easier if the 2l had an analog tach! Driving a manual is more fun for me because of the driver being more involved. The digital bars tach seems counter productive to me. What an odd decision.

I think I need a little more seat time in the 2l. I really liked the 2.5 to drive, but would like to try the stock stereo a bit more.

At this point I think what my current vehicle sells for will be a large part of determining which model we go with. There is only one dealer around with the S manuals, and they are also generally the highest priced. Currently have a price of 19851 with dest/docs for a 2l manual hatch, but the 2.5 they're asking sticker for.
 

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I would agree that there are a lot of trade offs in this decision. I was also in the same boat a couple months ago. I had a 2012 2.0 skyactiv, manual, but my wife couldn't drive a stick, so I needed to get an automatic. I had every intention on getting an iT (what I had previously) or hopefully and iGT to get some of the added features. Well, I drove both, after the salesman kept pushing me to drive the S (bastard...) and well needless to say I got the S Touring instead, lol.

But, having driven both engines, and having owned the 2.0 as a manual, I can say that I was very happy with that engine/transmission combo, and even with the additional power in my current S, I miss that car some. For the engine size, that 2.0 did fantastic. It never felt like it was struggling, and it could move when it needed to. It was a very fun car to drive as a manual. Also, the 2.0 was far more forgiving for having a lead foot. I could drive that car like I stole it for an entire thank, and I still got 35mpg. The S I have now, while it does great for the extra power I have, its fuel economy fluctuates a lot more depending on my driving style.

So, put simple, from the way it sounds, you'll be happy with either engine, the 2.0 certainly isn't a disappointment, but the added power of the 2.5 was very nice, and I'm glad I have it now. For you, I would look more at the other features that change between the models. I haven't kept up with the '15s, but look at stereo (the Bose is far better than stock...) HIDs vs Halogen headlights, and all the other feature differences. For the 14s, there were quite a few changes between the S and iGT, and at my dealership, the price difference was less than $1000, so it was a no brainer for me.

Either way, good luck, and I'm sure you'll enjoy what you get.
 

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Try to get a better price for a 2015 2.0 manual hatch.

I paid $19,150(dest/doc) + tax for 2014 2.0 auto sedan. (No rebates)

-1000 manual
+500 hatch
+500 2015

Yep try to talk them down to $19,150ish plus tax. You can squeeze out another $700 I bet.

Unfortunately the 2.5L manuals JUST came out, so good luck with that!


Having the auto, I don't care about the tachometer so much, but I will tell you this: you will NOT be seeing the tach unless you take your eyes off the road and stare at it. As far as peripheral vision goes, it's damn near invisible, so if you get the 2.0 in manual, you better learn the feel of it very quickly. Mazda should have used the S cluster on all the manuals. I don't know what they were thinking. The two clusters should have been auto vs manual as opposed to I vs S.

I'm perfectly happy with the base stereo. I even have the crappy non-touchscreen version that came in the 2014s (not an issue for you). It took a few weeks for the speakers to break in, just like every stereo, so if it sounds bad on the lot, it'll get better with time.
 

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If you're stuck in traffic for most of your drives, I would recommend the 2.0L.

I have the 2.5L and my MPG is horrible in LA traffic. I'm stuck around 14mpg until I reach that one stretch of highway that let's me move a bit, which ends with me getting about 30mpg average on the way to work. On the way back traffic is even worse, I usually get around 20mpg. All told, my first three fillups so far averaged 28mpg, 25mpg, and 27mpg.

If you DON'T have traffic, the 2.5L is nice. Drove from LA to Fresno this past weekend and got about 35mpg. Driving back was even better, the computer was telling me I averaged 39.2mpg!

I only wish that I could have gotten the i with all the features found on the S models, then I probably would have gotten the i instead.
 

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Hi all

Thanks for all the good info on the forums, I've done a lot of searching and am still torn on whether to go with an I touring or S touring manual.
Wouldn't it be a more even comparison to look at the i Grand Touring and s Touring? That was my dilemma and I decided on the i GT. Fuel economy was one of my top priorities and while the s is no slouch the i made more sense. I've got a 2014 HB automatic and am on my first tank so I have nothing but the computer info so far. It is showing 32mpg average with mostly local short trips, the worst possible economy test.

I believe some models let you swap the speedometer and tach as the primary gauge so you could have the large tach readout you want. I didn't drive a 2.5 so I can't help you with the power question other than mine has sufficient. Being in Houston I can't help with snow questions either.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't really need the features above the I touring (although the better stereo would be nice) and was mostly interested in the stronger engine. Really wish there was a manual S Sport with just the min equipment.

Swapping the gauges seems like it would be a considerable undertaking since the entire panel seems different and is probably quite expensive, also it may include the odometer which could cause issues!

We'll see what I can get for the current ride and determine which model works based off of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Believe it or not the decision is down to the tach

I love analog gauges in general, and the tach is pretty key. I'm used to watching it even with an auto, and don't know if the digital lines are going to do it.

3s manuals are in extraordinarily short supply, so I may have to wait anyway. Did get an offer on one for 23500 with dest (no doc, tax etc) and have 2 offers on 3i for 19500.
 

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I have the I Touring with the 2.0 6 speed manual and it is a blast to drive. I get on average of 38 mpg where I am at. It's not bumper to bumper stuff, lights every mile or so on the bypass around town. When I went to Denver and it was bumper to bumper I still 36-37 mpg's. The stock stereo does jus fine for me, decent bass but I did add some 3.5 speakers in the empty dash spots. That really helped with the mids and highs. The only draw back I have found to the 2.0 is when encountering a pretty decent hill I have to down shift out of 6th to 5th to get the rpm's up to maintain my current speed.
 

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Not a fan of the digital tach/analog speedo at all. Mazda should either kill that gauge entirely or relegate it to cars with autos. My CR-Z probably has the best instrumentation that I have ever seen, with its big tach and even BIGGER digital speedo that floats and changes color depending on how hard you're gassing it.
 

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I can only speak for the 2.0L i Touring automatic, but I drove around four adults every day for the past week and I can tell you that I was impressed with its ability to accelerate.


Here is one thing to consider, and you might not care, but: 2015 2.5L are still made in Japan, while 2.0L are now made in Mexico. It might not matter; I'm not sure, but my budget was $20,000 so I jumped on a 2014 i Touring that was made in late 2013, back when the 2.0L were still made in Japan too.


I know a lot of people here opted for the S models, so no judgment, but I feel like a sub $20,000 Mazda3 is more appealing than a $25,000 or even a $30,000 Mazda3, and yes, it can be that high with every option added. It's still an economy car -- a very attractive and nice handling car, but it's supposed to be an inexpensive almost-entry-level compact. I'm not sure if paying 20 - 25% more than what is necessary is prudent for most people looking for a car in this bracket -- it's also why the i Touring is the best-selling trim.

Excellent points. I ended up with the 2015 M3i 2.0L Touring + Tech and was on the edge of my budget around $24K. Mine is a 'J' VIN (made in Japan) although when looking through the dealer inventory many of the 3i were '3' VIN (made in the Mexico factory). No judgement but I wanted a Japanese car built in Japan. If where it is made is important to you, just check the inside door jam VIN number for each car you look at/test drive to determine source of manufacture.

Thumbs up on the Bose 9 speaker system ... it is sweet cherry pie for a factory systems (despite the bass as others have noted).
 

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I bought the sGT and have no regrets, I was also considering a model with the 2.0 but I'm so glad I went with the 2.5. I've come to love some features I didn't really care if I had before, like the blind spot monitoring, not necessary but it's very convenient. as for MPG I've been very pleased, I drive about 90% city in rush hour traffic in the northern VA/DC area every day and average 35mpg overall. Some days on the way to work when traffic is moving but just crawling I see 39-40mpg.

I couldn't be happier with my purchase.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Everyone has different pet peeves. It depends on what yours are. Personally, if I had to do over again, I would get the sport instead of the touring. The only reason I got the touring was the 2013 version didn't have the skyactiv in the sport. My pet peeve? The AKE. I'd rather not have it. If you lose/damage a key, it is going to cost you big time. I don't know of many people who don't eventually damage/destroy/lose a key and you need a new one. If you trade in your car every 5-7 years, probably nothing to concern about. If you tend to keep a car over 10 years, however...
 

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I think a lot depends on what kind of driver you are and what kind of driving you do.

If you tend to drive with the pedal to the floor quite a bit regardless of the motor you have, and are concerned at all with MPG over quickness, get the 2.0 . Sounds a little strange I know, but that's just the way some people seem to drive in some parts of the country. Everyone pedal to the floor at lights and such regardless what they are driving and whats under the hood.

If you like stronger acceleration but base throttle input on power available...in other words if you tend to drive smaller weaker engines harder but are easier on the pedal on larger more powerful engines to net generally the same forward movement...you may actually be better off with the larger engine.

If you drive mostly highways, the smaller engine would be more ideal since it's all the same at speed and the smaller will get you better MPG. You might lack some additional passing power, but if you aren't constantly putting the pedal to the floor passing people, the MPG should handily outweigh that.

If you drive a lot of stop and go, then the larger engine may be more ideal. MPG will be bad on most vehicles in constant traffic like this...but if you aren't a pedal to the floor all the time type....the larger engine will get you moving more efficiently since it doesn't have to work quite as hard and could get you a bit better MPG if not at least about the same in that situation...and of course having that stronger engine is a lot more tangible since you are constantly accelerating and slowing down vs getting up to speed and more or less staying there.

If you want more power regardless of efficiency or best potential MPG regardless of power, it's obviously cut and dry, but the above are some of the things to consider if your torn between the 2. There is no right or wrong answer, and mostly comes down to your driving habits and all.
 
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