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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I have just done 200 miles with '19 Mazda 3 2.5l AT AWD hatch and I love it.

Mazda has more tech so I'm not going to comment about that. Given that my memory is still fresh with the previous experience with the Mk7 GTI DSG (Performance Pack), here are the most noticeable things for me:

  • the car is much better insulated, the NVH is superior;
  • the engine is more silent and with much less vibrations;
  • the gearbox in 'D' is much better than DSG for normal driving; it seems to change gears quite fast in normal mode but haven't actually tested the manual mode to be able to do a good comparison;
  • the steering seems to be a bit more precise; it is definitely heavier and seems to react at least as good as the GTI's;
  • the higher steering ratio is noticeable; you need to push the steering wheel more in tight turns to get the car to turn in; the GTI had variable steering ration between 9:1-14:1 and I liked that;
  • the seats are more soft and comfortable;
  • Bose sound system is much better than the standard one on the GTI (I can't say how it would compare with the Fender one);
  • the body roll seems just a little bit more in the Mazda 3 but the seats are doing a good job to keep me in place;
  • you need to push the brake pedal harder; it seems to be much more progressive and easier to brake smoothly;
  • the accelerator pedal seems more linear; on the GTI I had a feeling that I was pressing 20% and getting 40% from the engine;
  • parking the car and driving bumper to bumper is much more smoother than the DSG box;
  • interior quality is superior with soft touch materials even on the rear seats, much better design and nicer materials;
  • infotainment system much better;
  • rear leg room is worser than in the GTI; headroom is worser than the GTI as well, especially in the rear;
  • the trunk is smaller and doesn't have any interesting things like 12V socket or shopping bag hooks like the GTI;
  • I haven't feel in any way the AWD system as I'm still during the break in period and it's dry around here;
  • no rear climate vents;
  • no hydraulic struts for the hood hood;
  • I cannot fell the torsion beam at the rear; if I didn't knew it had one, I couldn't tell;
  • the mileage on the same road that I've done many times with the GTI is exactly the same: 33mpg which is in line with what EPA says;
I am quite impressed on how good the Mazda 3 is compared with the GTI in terms of road feel, steering feel and handling. I cannot yet comment how much slower the Mazda 3 is compared with the GTI as I haven't pushed it.
I also cannot comment on how the gearbox behaves in the manual mode; because 'D' was so shitty on the DSG, I drove it mostly in manual mode and some time in sport.

Here are my red ex-GTI and my current red Mazda3:
 

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Also, from me: many thx; excellent post. Very interesting comment re the DSG and how it operates in Drive. I have heard that it's pretty rough and I do know it shifts at super low rpm's and as a result the engine sounds "grumbly". I have also heard that sometimes the DSG can misinterpret the driver's intentions...
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Yeah, the DSG in 'D' is very sloppy; it shifts too early in the rev band (the GTI has max torque from ~2000RPM so probably they try to make use of that) but even on a slight uphill it will hesitate to downshift and keep the engine a bit under 2000RPM where it will have noticeable vibration and a diesel like sound. I hated a lot the 'D' mode on the DSG and cannot possibly understand how they considered that the 'normal' mode during R&D.

DSG in 'D' mode is even worse than the CVT I had on the Civic 1.5t.

In sport/manual mode everything changes and I was driving 90-95% in manual mode where I believe I was getting the best of both worlds: manual control, direct feel and super fast shifting; a normal torque converter gearbox (the ones that are in this price range for compact cars) cannot match the shift speed of a dual-clutch when you shift up on powerful acceleration or shift down during braking and I think that's the sweet spot of the dual clutch.

I don't like driving in manual mode with the Mazda as it's not that responsive as the DSG but I also don't need to: Drive mode is way better and you get the feeling that indeed you drive an automatic car that does things better on auto mode; Mazda's gearbox is much eager to downshift on uphills and also will keep the revs. Above 2500RPM from the 2nd gear will also lock the converter more and get a direct feel.

I learned how to drive on a manual car, had my first automatic car after 13 years of driving manuals (which I don't ever wanna go back to (I'm not with "save the manuals")) but I do like the direct feel (the reason I hate CVTs) and manual control when I want to have it.
 

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I had driven MINI's (2 MINI Cooper S's and a Paceman S AWD) before I switched to Mazda. The Paceman was such a piece of junk that it turned me off of MINI's altogether and manual transes in general. I get stuck in a lot of stop-and-go traffic on my daily work commute, and I'm no spring chicken any more, so manual trans was no longer a driving factor when I got fed up with that Paceman.

Now, Paceman aside, there aren't many cars that handle like a MINI. Even my wife's Countryman feels like it's on rails compared to most passenger cars, and it's not a passenger car. So when I dumped the Pacemen, I still wanted something that handled fairly well but was a little more compliant over RI's worst roads in the country (yes, it's been documented and confirmed what we already knew) for my aging bones. One test drive of a Mazda3 back in 2015 told me all I needed to know -- it was the perfect balance of handling and comfort, and more features than I wanted or need.

Great car, but a couple of winters in and I was badly missing AWD. My only options at that point were CX-3 or CX-5, and the CX-3 was more of a step down than I was willing to make, so a CX-5 it was. Nice vehicle, definitely a step up feature-wise from the 3, but not as much fun to drive. And more car than I need, making me wonder if I should have bitten the bullet and stepped 'down' to the CX-3 instead.

Then Mazda announced that AWD would be available in the new 3 along with a redesigned exterior. A few more ponies would have been a nice addition as well, but my stop-light drag racing days are mostly behind me now, and the 2.5 in my previous 3 was usually up to the task for whatever I asked of it. And of course, once my 33-month lease was over two years old, the local stealer started bugging me to do my part to help them clear out inventory before the end of the year. That turned out to not be my most pleasant dealer experience, but I'll save that story for another time.

Long story short, they put me in a new AWD 3 hatchback nine months early for a lower monthly payment, and everybody was (eventually) happy.

Long story shorter, while the Mazda3 is no MINI, it's still hella fun to drive. AWD hasn't noticeably drained any of its zip, the seats are more comfortable, it seems to handle even better than my previous 3, it's quieter, and it just feels like an all around better and more refined car. It's significantly cheaper than a comparably equipped MINI, like the OP I cannot feel a difference with the twist-beam rear end over multi-link (and I usually notice even subtle issues with handling), and I'm overall very happy with this car. As long as nothing major goes south on it, there's a very good chance I'll be buying it out when the lease is up.

As noted a few times already, I do wish Mazda offered another engine option with a little more punch; but I don't need it that badly that a lack of one will send me to another brand. The 2.5 n/a is no slug, and everything else the car offers certainly makes up for a second added to its 0-60 time. For me, anyway.
 

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I learned how to drive on a manual car, had my first automatic car after 13 years of driving manuals (which I don't ever wanna go back to (I'm not with "save the manuals")) but I do like the direct feel (the reason I hate CVTs) and manual control when I want to have it.
Don't get me wrong... I like automatics... But I have been driving for some 45 years and I have not gotten manual transmissions out of my system yet, as "off-the-ark" a technology that they are. 'Hafta have one (at least) in my stable. Then again it HAS TO BE an automatic in heavy traffic... The DSG I find intriguing. Does some things in a brilliant manner. Other things, not so much. Don't know about synchronizer longevity. Not really sure it's totally ready for prime time just quite yet...
 

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I was quite impressed how well the AWD Mazda3 does donuts in the snow!! You can power steer the car in the rain and snow as well... With the 1.1% overdrive to the rear with traction control off you can break the back end free no problem if you want! When applying power I have noticed the back differential is always engaged! Car also gets alot zipper after about 5,000km i'm at 30,000km now.
 

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@Tric, I'm glad someone is posting about just having fun with these cars. Sometimes we get all serious and into long debates about such small things that we forget why most of us like driving. I've said before that I chose my 3 after having ordered a Beemer and I don't regret it for a minute. This is a dependable, little car that you can have a blast with without worrying too much. The BMW would have been a much more serious car but it wouldn't be very often that I would get an opportunity to push its limits.
 

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I had driven MINI's (2 MINI Cooper S's and a Paceman S AWD) before I switched to Mazda. The Paceman was such a piece of junk that it turned me off of MINI's altogether and manual transes in general. I get stuck in a lot of stop-and-go traffic on my daily work commute, and I'm no spring chicken any more, so manual trans was no longer a driving factor when I got fed up with that Paceman.

Now, Paceman aside, there aren't many cars that handle like a MINI. Even my wife's Countryman feels like it's on rails compared to most passenger cars, and it's not a passenger car. So when I dumped the Pacemen, I still wanted something that handled fairly well but was a little more compliant over RI's worst roads in the country (yes, it's been documented and confirmed what we already knew) for my aging bones. One test drive of a Mazda3 back in 2015 told me all I needed to know -- it was the perfect balance of handling and comfort, and more features than I wanted or need.

Great car, but a couple of winters in and I was badly missing AWD. My only options at that point were CX-3 or CX-5, and the CX-3 was more of a step down than I was willing to make, so a CX-5 it was. Nice vehicle, definitely a step up feature-wise from the 3, but not as much fun to drive. And more car than I need, making me wonder if I should have bitten the bullet and stepped 'down' to the CX-3 instead.

Then Mazda announced that AWD would be available in the new 3 along with a redesigned exterior. A few more ponies would have been a nice addition as well, but my stop-light drag racing days are mostly behind me now, and the 2.5 in my previous 3 was usually up to the task for whatever I asked of it. And of course, once my 33-month lease was over two years old, the local stealer started bugging me to do my part to help them clear out inventory before the end of the year. That turned out to not be my most pleasant dealer experience, but I'll save that story for another time.

Long story short, they put me in a new AWD 3 hatchback nine months early for a lower monthly payment, and everybody was (eventually) happy.

Long story shorter, while the Mazda3 is no MINI, it's still hella fun to drive. AWD hasn't noticeably drained any of its zip, the seats are more comfortable, it seems to handle even better than my previous 3, it's quieter, and it just feels like an all around better and more refined car. It's significantly cheaper than a comparably equipped MINI, like the OP I cannot feel a difference with the twist-beam rear end over multi-link (and I usually notice even subtle issues with handling), and I'm overall very happy with this car. As long as nothing major goes south on it, there's a very good chance I'll be buying it out when the lease is up.

As noted a few times already, I do wish Mazda offered another engine option with a little more punch; but I don't need it that badly that a lack of one will send me to another brand. The 2.5 n/a is no slug, and everything else the car offers certainly makes up for a second added to its 0-60 time. For me, anyway.
Regarding that 0-60 time, I've seen so much variation in reported times. Have you tested it and what did it come out to?
 

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I asked
I was quite impressed how well the AWD Mazda3 does donuts in the snow!! You can power steer the car in the rain and snow as well... With the 1.1% overdrive to the rear with traction control off you can break the back end free no problem if you want! When applying power I have noticed the back differential is always engaged! Car also gets alot zipper after about 5,000km i'm at 30,000km now.
I asked one of the other posters, but have you tested 0-60 on your car? Im really debating between this and the GTI. I know I'd be sacrificing some power between the two so I'm just trying to gauge if the difference in power would be a turnoff. I'm planning to test drive both soon, but it's good news at least that you notice some increase after 5000km.
 

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Regarding that 0-60 time, I've seen so much variation in reported times. Have you tested it and what did it come out to?
I have tested mine in these categories:
  1. 0-60 MPH
  2. 0-100 MPH
  3. 1/4 Mile
I can find my recorded times if you're interested. Frankly, I haven't posted because I am not interested in a pissing contest where people just want to argue. I did it for myself, just to know and ultimately, to contrast with the times after I get my tune from Rafael.
 

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I have tested mine in these categories:
  1. 0-60 MPH
  2. 0-100 MPH
  3. 1/4 Mile
I can find my recorded times if you're interested. Frankly, I haven't posted because I am not interested in a pissing contest where people just want to argue. I did it for myself, just to know and ultimately, to contrast with the times after I get my tune from Rafael.
If you could find those and share I'd really appreciate it. I've seen some people say it's around 9 seconds, which I found a bit hard to believe though and anything more than 8 would start to deter me from the car.
 

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If you could find those and share I'd really appreciate it. I've seen some people say it's around 9 seconds, which I found a bit hard to believe though and anything more than 8 would start to deter me from the car.
No sir, it's nowhere near 9, or even 8 seconds. It's much quicker than that. I will find the files in my external drive and post them here for you.
 

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No sir, it's nowhere near 9, or even 8 seconds. It's much quicker than that. I will find the files in my external drive and post them here for you.
Well that's good to hear at least. You've got the AWD version right?

Not a problem. Whenever you get around to it of course. Appreciated nonetheless.
 

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Well that's good to hear at least. You've got the AWD version right?

Not a problem. Whenever you get around to it of course. Appreciated nonetheless.
No, I don't. Sorry about that. The specs on mine are:

2016 Mazda3 sport Grand Touring Hatchback Automatic (all stock)

Let me know if still want the information.
 

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Hello,

I have just done 200 miles with '19 Mazda 3 2.5l AT AWD hatch and I love it.

Mazda has more tech so I'm not going to comment about that. Given that my memory is still fresh with the previous experience with the Mk7 GTI DSG (Performance Pack), here are the most noticeable things for me:

  • the car is much better insulated, the NVH is superior;
  • the engine is more silent and with much less vibrations;
  • the gearbox in 'D' is much better than DSG for normal driving; it seems to change gears quite fast in normal mode but haven't actually tested the manual mode to be able to do a good comparison;
  • the steering seems to be a bit more precise; it is definitely heavier and seems to react at least as good as the GTI's;
  • the higher steering ratio is noticeable; you need to push the steering wheel more in tight turns to get the car to turn in; the GTI had variable steering ration between 9:1-14:1 and I liked that;
  • the seats are more soft and comfortable;
  • Bose sound system is much better than the standard one on the GTI (I can't say how it would compare with the Fender one);
  • the body roll seems just a little bit more in the Mazda 3 but the seats are doing a good job to keep me in place;
  • you need to push the brake pedal harder; it seems to be much more progressive and easier to brake smoothly;
  • the accelerator pedal seems more linear; on the GTI I had a feeling that I was pressing 20% and getting 40% from the engine;
  • parking the car and driving bumper to bumper is much more smoother than the DSG box;
  • interior quality is superior with soft touch materials even on the rear seats, much better design and nicer materials;
  • infotainment system much better;
  • rear leg room is worser than in the GTI; headroom is worser than the GTI as well, especially in the rear;
  • the trunk is smaller and doesn't have any interesting things like 12V socket or shopping bag hooks like the GTI;
  • I haven't feel in any way the AWD system as I'm still during the break in period and it's dry around here;
  • no rear climate vents;
  • no hydraulic struts for the hood hood;
  • I cannot fell the torsion beam at the rear; if I didn't knew it had one, I couldn't tell;
  • the mileage on the same road that I've done many times with the GTI is exactly the same: 33mpg which is in line with what EPA says;
I am quite impressed on how good the Mazda 3 is compared with the GTI in terms of road feel, steering feel and handling. I cannot yet comment how much slower the Mazda 3 is compared with the GTI as I haven't pushed it.
I also cannot comment on how the gearbox behaves in the manual mode; because 'D' was so shitty on the DSG, I drove it mostly in manual mode and some time in sport.

Here are my red ex-GTI and my current red Mazda3:
I want my black 1984 VW GTI back !.They've suddenly become a collectible.
 

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I'm not shy about posting my 0-60. 2020 2wd hatch auto. There is some delay when the gas is floored so I started the watch as I began to feel the car roll. 7.8 one way, 7.9 the other, with about 1000 miles on it. As my cx 5 went from 9.4 to 8.8 after it loosened up some, I would expect the 3 to get a bit quicker too. At least I would hope so. At this point it is no quicker than my 160 hp 2013 ford focus or 2016 170hp Golf. With no grunt on the bottom, it feels slower than the Golf, never mind a GTI. I will check again at 5000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I know I'd be sacrificing some power between the two so I'm just trying to gauge if the difference in power would be a turnoff.
If performance is what you search for, look at other brands as Mazda3 is behind the competition on acceleration.
The GTI engine is in a different league but it really struggles with FWD only to put the power down (and I had the version with electronic limited slip diff); you cannot use WOT in the 1st gear as it will break traction all the time and when it's wet, not even 2nd gear which was my biggest frustration.

For me, without AWD, I would have not chosen the Mazda3 and between a GTI FWD and a Mazda3 FWD, I would pick the GTI anytime.
Golf R is ~$12-14k more than the Mazda3 AWD and that would indeed be the 'perfect car' for me, if I would have got the money .

If you value more driving comfort, 'NVH', design, audio quality and also get a car that has a steering feel very close to the GTI, Mazda3 is a great option.

I got 7.3s on my AWD at 4000 miles (I had 8.6s before that; maybe it was a bit downhill and the first one uphill, or difference in gas, I don't know and I only tried it twice):


On the GTI I got 7s without launch control (with launch control it can go down to 6.4s but I never tried it on my car).
 
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