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A number of commentators have suggested that the 2019 models have somewhat less responsive handling than previously available, perhaps to enhance a more "luxurious" ride. Whether or not this is true, the latest issue of Consumer Reports magazine (CR) seems to agree with this assessment. In the August 2019 issue (page 63) can be found brief driving impressions of both the Mazda3 sedan and the BMW 3 Series. Overall, CR is very favorably disposed to the Mazda giving it high marks for its interior, quiet cabin, braking, fuel economy and "an engine and transmission which deliver power without hesitation." However, CR characterizes the Mazda3 as "A Slick Sedan Loses Driving Verve." It goes on to say, "The new car is also less fun to drive. It's responsive and competent but lacks the engaging handling that has been a hallmark." As a Mazda owner since 2002, I have always followed with interest CR's road test reports of the various Mazda models and, through the years, they have always been consistent in praising the handling of the 3. Therefore, the current assessment represents a noticeable departure from previous views. While it's true that CR does not present enthusiast views of the cars they road test such as one obtains from R&T or C&D, still their reports are quite comprehensive and informative. How important or significant this factor is up to each individual prospective owner, or driver, of course.


By contrast, CR describes the BMW 3 Series sedan as "A Driver's Dream With Punch and Grace." It gives high marks to the car's handling, acceleration, braking, transmission and fit and finish. It's powertrain consists of a 255 BHP, 2.0 L turbocharged 4 cyl engine and an 8-speed AT with all-wheel drive. Of course, the model as tested cost $52,995 compared with Mazda3's cost of $24,115.

Oh well, you pays your money and you takes your choice.
 

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I had the Honda Civic 1.5t (my worst new car ever), VW Mk7 GTI DSG (unfortunately totaled) and now the Mazda 3.

I did not had the "Sport" trim on the Civic (that has the 18" wheels) but rather the EX-L with shitty CVT gearbox and it had more body lean in the corners than the Mazda, the engine was not as smooth, CVT sucks and it had worser NVH but the steering was much quicker.


GTI had an even quicker steering than the Civic and I think this is where Mazda falls behind with 'sporty' felling. I've posted my initial impressions on the new Mazda 3 compared with my previous GTI here: https://mazda3revolution.com/forums/2019-mazda-3-discussion/235041-first-200-miles-19-hatch-coming-17-mk7-gti-dsg.html
 

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I did the smart thing and tested a Miata , 3 and turbo 6 back to back to back and came away loving the overall balance the 3 hatch offered so much so I traded in my 2016 6 touring early for the 3. The driving dynamics are every bit as fun a the 6 but will admit to some things being better due to the different suspension setup G-vectoring NVH (matters to the perception of driving more than one thinks) on a day to day (my reality) basis I'll take the 3 all day long as it feels and drives like a premium sports car do its appointments etc... for the lack of a better word of course.
 

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They also altered the steering and G-vectoring BS to compensate for the rear torsion beam.

The goal being less responsive steering to create smoother and wider turns in general. Basically, you can't have a super responsive front end with a brick for a back end...
CK
 

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This discussion is funny -- in a good way, oddly. Ms. Badger was very reluctant to part with our '15 Sport GT/premium for exactly these reasons (handling). However (and it was her decision), she wanted the new active safety features -- all of 'em -- not available even on an '18 3 Sport GT/premium, and so made the decision to let our '15 go rather than buying it out off-lease.

I, on the other hand, find the handling etc. of the new one just fine, and above all else love the massive reduction in nhv. I'm also a sucker for the Audi-esque interior, whereas Ms. Badger couldn't care less, and actually preferred the interior of our '15.

FWIW, we are both 67; somehow Mazda caught both of us with this new 3, so perhaps they are switching demographic targets with this new generation?
 

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FWIW, here is the Mazda3 program manager, Kouta Beppu, saying that they compromised handling when they changed to a torsion beam...

“So, if you were… driving around a circuit, [at a] track day or whatever, and you’re going around a high-G corner, of course, multi-link, in that particular instance, will have its advantage,” said Beppu. “But, if you think about real daily driving, the vast majority of cases there’s no difference between the two in this area.”

https://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2018/12/why-the-h-ll-does-the-2020-mazda3-have-a-torsion-beam-rear-suspension-.html
 

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This discussion is funny -- in a good way, oddly. Ms. Badger was very reluctant to part with our '15 Sport GT/premium for exactly these reasons (handling). However (and it was her decision), she wanted the new active safety features -- all of 'em -- not available even on an '18 3 Sport GT/premium, and so made the decision to let our '15 go rather than buying it out off-lease.

I, on the other hand, find the handling etc. of the new one just fine, and above all else love the massive reduction in nhv. I'm also a sucker for the Audi-esque interior, whereas Ms. Badger couldn't care less, and actually preferred the interior of our '15.

FWIW, we are both 67; somehow Mazda caught both of us with this new 3, so perhaps they are switching demographic targets with this new generation?
Definitely shooting at an older crowd. I'm 67. I have a Honda S2000 to play in. I know what good handling is. This new 3 is very good as a cruiser or commuter, plenty of fun to drive in that way. I see no problem with the rear suspension, in fact, it seems quite good to me. I have zero interest in driving this 3 on the track. I suspect its not ideal on the track.
 

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Megane RS is one of the hot hatches known for great handling and it has torsion beam at the rear; yes, the Mk4 Megane RS has 4-wheel-steer (yes, 4 Wheel Steer with torsion beam at the rear) but the benchmark was Mk3 Megane RS for handling.
I still believe the entire feeling of less dynamic comes from the increased ratio of the steering wheel.
 

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The new Volvo S60 (premium $50k car) has leaf springs in the rear. Careful what you wish for!

I bet most of us wouldn't even notice if we didn't knew!
Thats not a traditional leaf spring rear suspension. The S60 has a multi-link rear suspension just like the 3rd gen Mazda 3 but uses a transverse leaf instead of the coils. Huge difference.....
 

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Don't forget that you can upgrade the previous multi link suspension to make it handle far better than stock. Upgraded rear sway bar, adjustable camber and toe arms, adjustable end links.

You can't do that with a torsion beam rear suspension. It is what it is.
CK
 

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I didn't own a third gen '3, so I can't compare it to the 4th gen in terms of handling and ride quality, but I did previously own a 2nd gen 2010 '3 w/ a multi-link rear suspension and now own a 4th gen AWD hatch, top of the line model. I can say without a shred of doubt in my mind that the 2019 model's ride and handling is far superior to my 2010 in every single way, including in tight corners. IMO, it's not even up for debate. Now, handling aside, is the 2019 *more fun* to drive than my 2010 was? Depends. My 2010 was a 6 speed manual, and the 2019 a 6 speed auto. In some ways, the manual made the 2010 a little more fun to drive, but if you'd stick the manual in the 2019, the 2019 would win in every single category, including the fun to drive one.

I feel like the Mazda3 crowd is also suffering from a lot of confirmation bias - that a rear torsion beam can't be good no matter what and that going to that from a MLRS automatically makes the car suffer in handling and "less good", even when presented with contradictory evidence. (i.e; owner reviews and impressions.) If you've driven the 2019 and didn't like what you felt, no problem. But if you haven't driven one and are just on the hate bandwagon, you owe yourself to actually drive one.
 

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Well I'll tell you what...this suspension design dates back to the mid 1970s when VW first used it on the Rabbit. It was not so good then.....Still not so good. A new car always "drives better than my old car"...because its new....then it gets a couple years older and you realize that its not quite as good as you thought it was......
The torsion beam is fine if all you want is a boring commuter car. Mazda has had a reputation been building "drivers cars", not econoboxes for the masses. Mazda cheaped out to cut costs, no other way to look at it.
 

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Well I'll tell you what...this suspension design dates back to the mid 1970s when VW first used it on the Rabbit. It was not so good then.....Still not so good. A new car always "drives better than my old car"...because its new....then it gets a couple years older and you realize that its not quite as good as you thought it was......
The torsion beam is fine if all you want is a boring commuter car. Mazda has had a reputation been building "drivers cars", not econoboxes for the masses. Mazda cheaped out to cut costs, no other way to look at it.
So!!!! Have you driven one?>:)
 
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