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My 2005 Toyota Prius has been a very good car. Reliable, Efficient, and as much fun to drive as a toaster.

In thinking about my next vehicle, I wanted something that was safe and reliable, but also enjoyable to drive, well appointed and reasonably priced. As I began researching potential vehicles, the Mazda3 kept popping up again and again.

I've owned Saabs, VWs, Hondas, Acuras, and now a Toyota. I never really considered Mazda, although i couldn't tell you why not.

On paper, The Grand Touring with MT seems like an ideal candidate, but having zero experience with Mazda, I thought I would ask the people who know....

1) How is reliability? Scores I've seen are mixed. My VW had lots of annoying little problems with switches, sensors, trim pieces, but really nothing that was mission critical. How reliable are mazda's core systems...engine, brakes, suspension, etc?

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?

5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?


Thanks to everyone for your responses.
 

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Reliability overall for most owners seems very good.
There are known problems with the rear brakes dragging on some cars but no major widespread issues. Engine, transmission, suspension etc are apparently very reliable.
OEM tires are crap. They should be replaced either before delivery or soon after.
For some the entertainment/navigation software leaves much to be desired. No Apple Carplay etc.
Longer trips are not a problem for me but that may be different for some one else.
Something else? Yeah but I couldn't find a GT-R for $22k.:smile2:

Lots of information on all aspects of your questions including a list of Mazda TSBs can be found on the various subforums here.
 

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I am a first time Mazda owner and I am glad I purchased a Mazda over the competitors. Had my car for 3 and a half years now and have had no problems except the poor ride quality of the OEM Dunlap tires that came on my car which I have changed out and have gotten rid of a lot of the road noise. I have the Japan spec 165 hp 2.0 liter engine with an automatic transmission and am happy with the performance and handling. The 2.5 liter is not available in Thailand but if you are into performance you might consider it as it has 184hp vs. the 155hp 2 liter American version engine.
 

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I just bought my first Mazda 3 having previously owned Accords and various Nissans. The car is fine apart from the following issues and niggles. I do use the car for non-stop 300 mile drives and the 2.0 petrol gives c. 50mpg (that's UK gallons). I have had to buy some basic noise cancelling earphones for these trips due to the road noise mentioned below.

The road noise on my Mazda 3 having 18" wheels with Dunlop Sport Maxx TT tyres is poor on rough roads. Tyre choice for the wheel size is limited in the UK so I haven't fixed this yet. Why Mazda knowingly fit poor tyres to a new car is beyond me.

The engine fast idle noise on cold start is a bit off putting but stops after about a minute.

Rear visibility can be difficult due to the darkened rear windows on my car. There can also be significant reflections in the front window in sunny weather.

Lower back support was poor for me but I fixed this with a lumbar cushion.

I've had a couple of frozen infotainment screens but a software update is booked in.
 

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Road noise but after a while you tend to get used to it.

The brakes aren't that linear. There is a lot more pedal travel than I want it before adequate brake pressure is applied. But nevertheless, they're not bad but could be better.

Rear visibility is a joke but you have the backup camera which helps. (For better visibility, get the sedan instead of the hatch)
 

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My 2005 Toyota Prius has been a very good car. Reliable, Efficient, and as much fun to drive as a toaster.

In thinking about my next vehicle, I wanted something that was safe and reliable, but also enjoyable to drive, well appointed and reasonably priced. As I began researching potential vehicles, the Mazda3 kept popping up again and again.

I've owned Saabs, VWs, Hondas, Acuras, and now a Toyota. I never really considered Mazda, although i couldn't tell you why not.

On paper, The Grand Touring with MT seems like an ideal candidate, but having zero experience with Mazda, I thought I would ask the people who know....

1) How is reliability? Scores I've seen are mixed. My VW had lots of annoying little problems with switches, sensors, trim pieces, but really nothing that was mission critical. How reliable are mazda's core systems...engine, brakes, suspension, etc?

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?

5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?


Thanks to everyone for your responses.
I've been driving for over 30 years, and have owned somewhere around 25 cars, my 17 Mazda 3 GT with the manual is hands down the most fun to drive of all my cars.
1.) Reliability should be fine as long as the vehicle is maintained and treated well.
2.) Never had an issue with the road noise, this car is so much quieter than my 15 Subaru Forester XT.
3.) I really enjoy driving again, whether going for short run for groceries or a hard run up the canyon.
4.) I have taken two 500 mile road trips with my wife and son, and it has proven to be an excellent long trip cruiser. It tracks dead straight down the highway, gets great fuel economy, and has plenty of passing power on the two lane highways. The last trip I had two mountain bikes on the tow hitch rack and loaded to the hilt, and it was very buttoned down.
5.) I am very pleased with this vehicle purchase, if you value driving dynamics, this is a great choice. It is not the fastest or best handling car out there, but it does everything very well. I wanted a 17 Honda Civic Hatchback, but it was impossible to find a manual in my area. Might be shopping for a Type R in a couple of years when the hype dies down a bit.
Good luck!
 

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I've had the 2015 iSport hatch for 1+ years.

1) How is reliability?
So far so good. This car has fared way better than my VW golf. The golf had a turbo, so it came with a bit more pep, but overall, the mechanical and electrical problems made it more of a headache. VW lost me permanently as a customer because of this.

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?
I had to think about this one for a bit, because I really enjoy the Mazda3. iSport is the base model, and I don't love the hot/cold air control on it. Even though the controls make it look like a temperature gradient (i.e. center position should be somewhat hot, somewhat cold), it feels more like either hot or cold air, which means I need to adjust manually more often during each trip to keep the temperature comfortable. I don't think this is an issue on the GT though...

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?
I thought it was fun to drive at the dealership, but now that I've learned how this car takes turns and accelerates, it's become more fun to drive. This is probably even more apparent in the GT.

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?
I would say yes, my wife would say no. We end up taking her Prius on longer drives because it's a bit more spacious and the seats sit slightly more upright with more padding. Now if you're talking about turning a 10 hour road-trip into an 8 hour road trip, Mazda is what we'd take.

5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?
Absolutely happy, and this isn't even the GT.
 

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All our cars must be "driver's car," and the Mazda 3 sure fits that bill in regards to spirited-handling around curvy, country corners. It is a big fun car to drive!
 

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Well, I'll try this again.

1) How is reliability? Scores I've seen are mixed. My VW had lots of annoying little problems with switches, sensors, trim pieces, but really nothing that was mission critical. How reliable are mazda's core systems...engine, brakes, suspension, etc?

Absolutely no problems at just over a year.

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?

Road noise is on par with our VW Jetta TDI. See no problem with it.

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?

Drives better than the Jetta in all situations. Only thing worse is getting at that oil filter underneath the car.

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?

Been on 2 trips a little over 400 miles each way over the WVa mountains to Columbus, OH. On par with the Jetta for the driver. As a passenger, I suffer from not being able to recline the front seat. We've the sGT with lumbar support.

5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?

So happy that we bought another Mazda, a 2013 MX-5 GT in December. Absolutely love it.

Mileage has been 35.2 mpg vs. 40.1 on the TDI. Not bad. Hwy mileage is usually about 36-37.
 

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1) How is reliability? Scores I've seen are mixed. My VW had lots of annoying little problems with switches, sensors, trim pieces, but really nothing that was mission critical. How reliable are mazda's core systems...engine, brakes, suspension, etc?

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?

5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?


Thanks to everyone for your responses.
- I can't speak for long term reliability but zero issues in the last 7 months of ownership, but that is to be expected for a Japanese car.

- I have a few gripes with the infotainment system, nothing major, i'm sure other cars have their own issues, the biggest negative for me is fuel economy which is pretty dismal... I get 22-23mpg in the city. I had a Acura TL Type S many years ago that gave 21mpg in the city and that had close to 300hp and was a V6 so I really expected better from a small 4 banger especially when Mazda markets efficiency as one of the key traits of their engines.

- Yes, car is extremely comfortable, longest trip I took is from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (4 hrs) and it was terrific, I have the radar cruise which was amazing!

- Yes, very happy with the purchase overall. No regrets.
 

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1- Granted that I've owned this vehicle for only 3 months, there was 1 major and a few minor things from the start that I had to get the dealership to fix (which is what warranty was for). Those things were BSM sensor replacement, front rotors replacement (cracks), auto transmission replacement, and Smart City Brake software update - otherwise, the car runs fantastic, even though I was a unlucky few that got an defected AT, but since you're getting an MT, there shouldn't be any issue.

2- Biggest negatives is the mpg, I do a lot of city driving and it's not really living up to the mpg they have presented, but granted that I only put 1,600~ miles on it, so it should continue to get better as most car does. Another thing is to get used to the skyactiv transmission is a must, but once you're used to it, it's definitely forgiving. Especially if you're coming from e-CVT.

3- The car is still fun - so if you're thinking of leaving your Prius for 3, you'll have a lot of fun from turning, accelerating and etc.

4- Leather bucket seat is uncomfortable but once you find your spot, it gets better. My passengers love the seat, so it's road-trip suited. The interior of the car is easy to get used to and I love all of the luxury aspect of the cabin in this car.

5- I'm not really happy, I wish I've gone with an Honda Accord V6 or Golf GTI. But at least I don't hate the car. :p
 

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I've only had mine since mid-ish May so I can't speak to long term but....

1) It's definitely more reliable than my VW TDi Golf was at delivery. I ended up getting rid of that thing at around 30k miles. The next shortest number of miles I've put on a personal car is over 100k.

2) Road noise is a matter of what car you're coming from I feel. My previous three cars to this have been far noisier but those were a Honda Element (well known to have zero insulation), the TDi (a diesel), and a Nissan pick up with AT's on them. So far, I mostly ride with the sunroof open and the radio at 30 which means I don't think I'd hear it any way. The times that I do close it all up, the only noise complaint I'd have is that any decent rain sounds like small hail. I suspect the roof metal isn't very thick.

3) As others have said, the driving was expected to be decent but has actually gotten better as I got used to what it could do stock. Looking forward to upgrading the tires and RSB.

4) I went on a 5600+ mile road trip a month and a half after getting this car. I hit eleven states in about two weeks of driving. It drove really great on everything from wide open straights to twisty coastal and mountain roads. I did better than sticker for the 2.5 engine. I only ran AC for 50 of those miles, sunroof rest of the time. I was even able to sleep in the back but I wouldn't try that with two people and I would only use it when all other options fail.

5) Definitely happy. I wasn't really sure where I was going to go after my Element. I loved that thing, it was literally the best road trip vehicle ever, but I don't see gas prices staying low and this is a move in the right direction for me. I got a 2017 Touring 2.5 and that really was a good bang for the buck.
 

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I have the 2016 6MT 2.5

1) How is reliability?
No problems for me, and have not seen any "common" problems to critical systems on here for the gen 3

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?
Road noise should be much better on 2017+, but not a big issue for me in 2016. Might biggest gripe might be rear visibility...which i've gotten used to due to the tech in the GT

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?
I wanted a fun to drive car, but the sporting feel of the car is above my expectations - long term i'm still having good fun driving it.

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?
Have driven 6-8 hours quite a few times with wife or teenage daughter. I'm 6'3", I enjoy it...

5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?
Yes...once in awhile i glance over at the WRX, but back in reality i realize at the similar price range i'd be driving with a comparatively barebones interior, while the GT trim is near luxury car level and i have a wife to think about driving around in class. I did not want to go VW for reliability - so mazda had better be reliable and so far it has been - all accounts seem to point to the skyactiv engine being basically bulletproof.
 

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Quickly put:

I reaaaaaally like my 2014 Mazda 3s Touring. Had the car for close to 3 years. No problems/regrets at all. This car is hard to beat in regards to looks, custom availabilities (except more HP stuff as of today) to make the car look even more unique, good/fun handling car, and gas mileage. I'm super satisfied with the Mazda 3, and from what I've heard from others, all in all, everyone really enjoys their car:)
 

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1) How is reliability? Scores I've seen are mixed. My VW had lots of annoying little problems with switches, sensors, trim pieces, but really nothing that was mission critical. How reliable are mazda's core systems...engine, brakes, suspension, etc?

2015 model 2.5 touring automatic hatch

rearview mirror really warped from factory - apparently lots are - i asked the dealer about it and they let me look around their lot and we found one that was ok-ish and swapped it.
no idea if the auto dimming model is better

rear passenger door lock whines especially when cold (since new) - been meaning to have them fix that

windows seem to freeze up easy in winter - had several days last winter with no precipitation just severe cold and windows wouldnt come down. door flexes a few mm when u try - bit disconcerting

bit more major - something in my ac system broke - compressor i think? fixed under warranty but i was without ac for a few weeks waiting for part to come from japan

bose system has white noise that plays constantly even with sound off

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?

for me- its road noise even after changing to better tires - probably wind noise more specifically as i do a lot of cruising at 80mph. i hear the 2017 model (not sure if all trim) has better glass or more sound dampening material?

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?

when i first got it i was continually amazed at how responsive the car was to steering input and how accurate everything felt. i travel for work and every new city i end up in rentals and id say the only vehicle to come close was a camaro rs - i am always happy to get back in my mazda when coming home even if i have to crank the radio on the drive back from ohare to help with the loud wind noise. i swear i have hit 85+ cruising on my trips back and i feel like theres a point where it actually gets a little quieter - maybe the road surface was changing.

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?

im 5'11 and very comfortable in this car, have taken many longer 300+ mile trips for work or family and it was always great. at one point i had 5 people stuffed in it for about 70 miles and it was alright in a pinch

i really love how the driver area is laid out - everything is intuitive and easy to use - i have never had a problem not having apple icar or android auto - i hugely dislike touch screens and cars that require you to use them while driving to make changes - this car has none of that (the touchscreen is disabled when moving, you have easy/intuitive command knob in upper trims)


5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?

very happy - at times i wish i had bought a few year old lexus boat or something in that line as i dont often exercise this cars driver oriented character. my buddy bought a gti shortly after me and im pretty impressed with that car- more money but it seems like the next step up in terms of power / handling / interior / road noise - vw maintenance / reliability was kinda off putting to me though and i never considered one too hard - he has had zero problems with his car though while i have had a few.


Thanks to everyone for your responses.[/QUOTE]
 

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1) How is reliability? Scores I've seen are mixed. My VW had lots of annoying little problems with switches, sensors, trim pieces, but really nothing that was mission critical. How reliable are mazda's core systems...engine, brakes, suspension, etc?

I bought mine ('17 GT hatch automatic) and have so far had no issues

2)Aside from road noise, which gets lots of discussion, what do you think are the biggest negatives that have popped up during your ownership?

Road noise is a complete non-issue for me. Like you I heard it was bad. They made some upgrades for the 2017 model which I guess helped. I usually have the radio going so I wouldn't hear it anyway.

3) Is there any aspect of ownership that was better than anticipated?

I love the automatic wipers and the adaptive headlights. Especially the wipers. That wasn't something I even thought about but not having to fiddle with that during rain is great. Adaptive headlights also aren't something I gave much thought to, but they're great on dark windy roads as they turn with your turns.

4) is the cabin comfortable for 2 on longer drives? is it a car you would willingly take on a road trip, or is it more of a commuter/city vehicle?

I mostly use it as a commuter but I did take it on a 4-hour drive from San Jose to Tahoe (and another 4-hour drive back) and it was comfortable, no issues at all. I didn't have anyone in the back seats, as that might be an issue but as far as the front seats go they were fine. Also the trip back was during a severe heat wave, and the air conditioning worked great despite 110 degree weather most of the trip home.

5) are you happy with your purchase or wish you had chosen something else?

I haven't owned it for long, but I'm completely satisfied with the purchase. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have gone with the manual. Also I wish it had android auto but that's coming soon, so I've heard.
 
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