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Last weekend we went car shopping, which allowed us to cross the Jetta and Sonata off our list. We did like the Impreza Limited. We were then referred to Mazda. We drove the 3 iGT last night. Sales guy was absolutely horrible...felt like he had ADHD and was coming off of an energy drink high...but at least we got to drive the thing.

My wife likes the vehicle, but I have big reservations. We are expecting our first kid in November, so we are shopping now. Some of the reviews noted that car seats do fit, but rear facing ones are a tight fit if there is a passenger up front. We are curious to know how the experience has been for new parents in these cars.

I'd like to go for the Impreza as I feel the AWD provides better traction control and is roomier. However the main purpose of this vehicle is wife's commute and running around town for dinners and visiting...so there is a need for stoller/supplies/purchases in the back. We have a Mitsubishi Outlander for hauling more stuff or long trips.
 

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The 3 has a more generous back seat than many vehicles in the class. I'll be honest-- if I didn't have an 8 year old, I wouldn't want a car with 4 doors, or even a back seat if it could be helped, but the 3 is pretty favorable in size and the seat is flat enough (and especially not dished towards the sides of the car-- a gimmick used by cars that don't fare well in side impact I think)

I can't speak to rear-facing seats or the quality of the LATCH system since I've thankfully moved past that age.

I will say that it's a good car and a safe car, and safety's about to mean a whole lot more to you...

The last dumb commend I'd make, though, is that for very young kids it's easier to not have to lean down when putting them into a car. That's what makes crossovers and yes... even minivans desirable to a degree. Newborns it's not so big of a deal but about a year or two from now the kiddo will get heavy, but is still a few years away from being able to buckle themselves in. That's the allure of a taller vehicle, at least for the first few years.

I'd be curious to see if you could make it fit, though. Good luck!
 

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Grab a CX-5, you can get a deal on 2014's since 2015's are on lots now. Same motor options, and a little more space. And if you are into aftermarket, There are lots of wheel options, 20" is a popular AM size), and lowering springs if you want a less high/better looking ride (which is still higher than a 3). MPG is 30+ when driven conservatively, and you have a viable tow for small loads if you choose to do that later.
 

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I have 2 kids; a 4 year old and a 7 year old and both require a car seat. As a dad, how could I get anything but a mazda3?

1) Gas is over 4 a gallon, on longer drives I approach 40mpg
2) Running kids around town I get 30mpg
3) The laugh their asses off when I hit corners as fast as I do. Downshifting really brings out the torque and my kids love it.
4) I can fit everyone and tons of stuff in the trunk for all day excursions'
5) car is nice, small, easy to park, and loaded with safety features
6) Kids like the big middle screen, they control their favorite playlists off the phone, they also like monitoring the GPS maps. The audio is the best I've had in a new car

Car NAILS all of the main concerns for a parent:

- safe as shit
- punchy, affordable, and economical
- full featured
- enough room. not too much, not too little. just enough for all day stuff

I have, I'll admit, a mini-van for the big road trips. But the mazda is now doing all day to day stuff with up to 3 times the mileage of the van.

IMHO, the M3 is the best value car you can get if you have children.

Now, if my kids were teens, I would have purchased the 6, or something similar. The backseat is just right for little kids.
 

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Ok i dont have kids or really anyone that regularly rides in my back seat but i will say the couple times I have had to get back there cleaning and what not. Its not very pleasant since the back doors are kinda small. If I had a family I would have went for a CX5 awd
 

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I guess it also depends how close you sit to the steering wheel. Sometimes I see these people sitting about 2 inches from the steering wheel when they are driving. I have had 4 adults in my car (6 footers), the back seat is tight for sure, but for kids its fine.
 

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The forward space is quite nice (I have an iGT), but for back-facing seats it'll be a little tight. Not saying it won't fit OK though. And honestly, it's not like a toddler really needs the extra room as they'll be facing a seat anyways.
Once you go forward though, there should be plenty of room. The back seats are actually quite roomy for a car it's size, and it's comfortable enough to go on long trips with.

I guess this is a more personal choice for you though. Honestly, just get the car you guys are going to want to drive 5 / 10 years from now. You shouldn't really need to worry much about space, unless you are thinking you're going to need more storage space for long family trips very frequently (or your thinking of having 2 more kids like I grew up with). Even as such, you can already easily fit 2-3 large luggage bags in the trunk alone.
 

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I have 2 kids; a 4 year old and a 7 year old and both require a car seat. As a dad, how could I get anything but a mazda3?

1) Gas is over 4 a gallon, on longer drives I approach 40mpg
2) Running kids around town I get 30mpg
3) The laugh their asses off when I hit corners as fast as I do. Downshifting really brings out the torque and my kids love it.
4) I can fit everyone and tons of stuff in the trunk for all day excursions'
5) car is nice, small, easy to park, and loaded with safety features
6) Kids like the big middle screen, they control their favorite playlists off the phone, they also like monitoring the GPS maps. The audio is the best I've had in a new car

Car NAILS all of the main concerns for a parent:

- safe as shit
- punchy, affordable, and economical
- full featured
- enough room. not too much, not too little. just enough for all day stuff

I have, I'll admit, a mini-van for the big road trips. But the mazda is now doing all day to day stuff with up to 3 times the mileage of the van.

IMHO, the M3 is the best value car you can get if you have children.

Now, if my kids were teens, I would have purchased the 6, or something similar. The backseat is just right for little kids.
:rock 1:

Well said.
 

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Haven't put a car seat in yet. Back seats have handled my daughter and her husband just fine, as well as, coworkers for lunch trips just fine.

For car seats, you should take your seat and try it out. They can vary a bit in how much space they need. So, you really need to try out your particular seat. Also, you'll want to see how easy it is to properly install. This can be just as important as the space. Additionally, since you'll want to put a single child in the middle of the back seat, you should check how easy it will be getting the young one in and out from there. Some cars are easier than others to reach the middle depending on clearance and distance from the door. Since you don't have a kiddo yet, you'll need to do a bit of roleplaying and reach into the middle while imagining you are carrying a fragile 10-20# loved one.

Seriously, though, don't take our word on space. Get your car seat or borrow one if you are considering and try it out. It's the only way to be sure.

Lastly, you'll also need to consider the seat material and shape. Try to imagine how easy cleaning juice box spills, crumbs, goldfish, melted gummi bears, etc.. from the material and out from between the seat cushions will be. If you are a seat cover kind of guy, then price those out first as well.

IMHO, the 3 will be an outstanding family car for you. Good luck with what ever car you choose, and congrats on you first little one. Having kids was and is the most amazing experience of my life. I wish the same for you and your wife. ?
 
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