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Hi, I'm very new to this forum, Mazdas, and modifications so I'm still learning, so I apologize if I'm doing anything wrong or asking dumb questions.

So, I just got my 2016 i Touring hatch last month and love it so far. I'm eager to modify it so much that I made a list of potential places/links to get parts and accessories. These include appearance stuff like front lips, side skirts, rear diffusers, spoiler, window visors; while performance stuff (much later though) would be an SRI, exhaust, rear sway bar, and strut tower bar. Two of the things on the top of my list are to lower it and get wheels.

I've been looking around for lowering solutions, and found that I liked the Eibach the most. I like low cars but for practicality reasons, I don't want to scrape at all, especially when I have to carry big loads or a car full of people. My friend showed me a link to the Megan EZ coilovers which would be a better solution that allows me to adjust the height, instead of being stuck with the 1" drop on the Eibachs.

I also really want wheels because I'm not a fan of the 16" alloys. I know for a fact I want 18" bronze wheels to go with my white hatch. My issue is, being on a budget, I don't know which one I should save up and focus on first. Is it better to lower it first then get the wheels, or get the wheels then lower it? Or is lowering it even necessary? Is there an unspoken rule where if you have nice wheels you should lower it or vice versa?

I mostly want to focus on appearance and get the white on bronze clean look, without sacrificing practicality. What should be my ultimate game plan as well? As in, what mods should I start out with and what should I get after that and then after that? Thank you for your time.
 

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Welcome to the world of Mazda and to the forum!

Nothing you've listed is necessary. Your car goes from point A to point B just fine right out of the lot. If you are on a budget, then enjoy your car as it is without modification dreams. Mods aren't going to add value to your car. You listed a good $5000 worth of stuff there. On top of a new car payment? That's not very budget-friendly thinking.

If you really wanted performance, maybe you should have gotten the 2.5L engine instead of adding an intake and exhaust to an economy-rated engine. The cost-benefit of those two things aren't worth it in my opinion.

If you really want to spend money, do the wheels. At least wheels will have resale value and they will make an impact on how the car looks immediately.

But it is fun to dream. There are some good looking cars on this forum. But be practical and mod smartly within your budget.

Best of luck!
 

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Well said Eadzam.

The appearance certainly can make an impact, if that is what you are after. Indeed, I personally am considering visual mods to differentiate my Soul Red Mazda 3 Neo Hatch from the 50 other Soul Red Mazda 3 Neo Hatches driving around my city of 40,000!

However as for performance mods......the Mazda 3 is such a well engineered car throwing a couple of grand at it won't achieve much, at least that you would actually notice in day to day driving. Indeed, most performance mods will require you to drive like a maniac to get any benefit out of them.
 

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If you really want to spend money, do the wheels. At least wheels will have resale value...

But be practical...

Best of luck!
Big-picture wise, let's not forget the aerodynamic value of lowering, and the attendant and practical reduction in fuel usage that will accompany it.

If he gets lightweight wheels, too, he will see further gains in mileage. It all adds up, if you keep the car long enough to reap the long-term rewards.
 

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How does lowering the vehicle give any aerodynamic advantage or value ?
Probably just stating the obvious. Pulled from eibach website below. Its all preference. Its yours do as you will. Opinions are great but in the end its your preference and decision. IMO I would go for looks, work on improving the ride with suspension mods, and last minor performance mods like intake and exhaust to open her up. Anything more for power would be a waste I would think.

I myself do like a nice set of wheels and the ride a little bit lowered. Shit had the money prob throw air suspension on for fun. But doesn't fit my budget or use. To each his own.

High Performance Handling and Aggressive Good Looks
Lower Center of Gravity — Lowers Vehicle 1.0" - 1.5"
Stop Quicker, Corner Faster and get Better MPG
Progressive Spring Design for Excellent Ride Quality
Part of the Eibach PRO-PLUS and PRO-SYSTEM-PLUS
Million-Mile Warranty
 

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How does lowering the vehicle give any aerodynamic advantage or value?
Lowering the vehicle reduces the frontal area, which in turn contributes to a reduction in the drag coefficient. That reduces the volume of fuel required to push the vehicle through the air.
 

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Everytime you adjust the height on adjustable coilovers it is recommended to get an alignment since the suspension geometry will change. Most people I know with adjustable coilovers don't adjust the height after the initial install and since cheap coilovers won't improve your performance, springs could be a good alternative. If you have a few grand to spend, i would reccomend wheels because as said above they are easy to sell again and make a huge difference in looks.
 

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Lowering the vehicle reduces the frontal area, which in turn contributes to a reduction in the drag coefficient. That reduces the volume of fuel required to push the vehicle through the air.

isnt the frontal area of the car the same dimension no matter if it is 100mm or 150mm off the ground ?


I understand lowering the car can help reduce under body drag but these mazda 3's are fairly flat underneath so any improvement would be negligible.
 

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I personally am considering visual mods to differentiate my Soul Red Mazda 3 Neo Hatch from the 50 other Soul Red Mazda 3 Neo Hatches driving around my city of 40,000!
Seriously. I soon as I got my red hatch, I see another one almost every other day! Now most of them have black interiors and most likely automatics, but still, to the average person, it's just another soul red Mazda3 hatchback.

Rims and reducing the wheel gap would make a nice difference for sure. And how about that aero body kit? Very nice. But...new car payment.
 

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isnt the frontal area of the car the same dimension no matter if it is 100mm or 150mm off the ground ?
Yes and no.... If you're counting only the car's body in the frontal area, you're correct. But if you include the frontal area of the tires in the equation, then the overall frontal area will decrease slightly if the car is lowered.
 

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With your stock alignment specs and 205-section tires, performing a precise alignment is going to get you FAR greater mpg improvement than marginally reducing frontal area. While I never did A/B testing with ride heights controlling for alignment, I can say with certainty that 0.1deg of toe (well within what most alignment shops will consider "OK") will noticeably harm fuel mileage, immediately, while dropping the car 2.5" didn't change my averages any more than the usual variation.

I would also warn that most "performance" suspension/chassis parts don't do squat. Lowering springs are the worst culprit. Explanation:

Because our cars are McPherson strut in front, we don't really gain negative camber (= front bite, up to an extent) as the car rolls due to G-forces. If the car rolls 3deg, so too does the tire (oversimplifying, but it's close). Lowering the car makes this even worse. As the front strut compresses, you'll actually lose negative camber and front grip. You need significantly stiffer springs to overcome this, and said rates will never exist in an OEM-compatible kit.

Not only that, if you drop the car the suspension geometry changes will actually induce MORE body roll than if you left it alone. Again, you need to overcome this with stiff springs or you'll find yourself rolling more than OEM! That quite defeats what most people are looking for, yet if you buy lowering springs only 20-50% stiffer than stock, you're exactly shooting yourself in the foot.

Some details omitted for brevity, so.... source: Valkenburgh's Race Car Engineering and Mechanics

If you intend to never utilize the chassis' cornering capability, then lowering springs will be fine. But for performance driving, the above explanation would be why many brand-name coilover kits (Mazdaspeed, KW, etc) come with nearly triple the stock spring rates. And they are WORTH it.
 
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isnt the frontal area of the car the same dimension no matter if it is 100mm or 150mm off the ground ?


I understand lowering the car can help reduce under body drag but these mazda 3's are fairly flat underneath so any improvement would be negligible.
I believe that frontal area takes into account the car's height from the surface.

I agree that any increase in mileage due to lowering is likely to be very slight. Measurable, to be sure, but very slight in any event.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Welcome to the world of Mazda and to the forum!

Nothing you've listed is necessary. Your car goes from point A to point B just fine right out of the lot. If you are on a budget, then enjoy your car as it is without modification dreams. Mods aren't going to add value to your car. You listed a good $5000 worth of stuff there. On top of a new car payment? That's not very budget-friendly thinking.

If you really wanted performance, maybe you should have gotten the 2.5L engine instead of adding an intake and exhaust to an economy-rated engine. The cost-benefit of those two things aren't worth it in my opinion.

If you really want to spend money, do the wheels. At least wheels will have resale value and they will make an impact on how the car looks immediately.

But it is fun to dream. There are some good looking cars on this forum. But be practical and mod smartly within your budget.

Best of luck!
Thanks so much! Yeah, performance is very low priority for me right now. I really enjoy having a new reliable daily driver. My first goal is to just get the wheels, I just wasn't sure if I could get away with a new set a wheels on stock height, as my friend (he likes his cars slammed) thinks wheel gap is hideous. I just didn't want to get a new set of nice wheels and then have it look bad. I already have my eyes set on a budget friendly set right now, so sooner or later I'll get them!

Well said Eadzam.

The appearance certainly can make an impact, if that is what you are after. Indeed, I personally am considering visual mods to differentiate my Soul Red Mazda 3 Neo Hatch from the 50 other Soul Red Mazda 3 Neo Hatches driving around my city of 40,000!

However as for performance mods......the Mazda 3 is such a well engineered car throwing a couple of grand at it won't achieve much, at least that you would actually notice in day to day driving. Indeed, most performance mods will require you to drive like a maniac to get any benefit out of them.
Exactly. Before buying my car, I thought they're weren't that many on the road, but as soon as I drove off the lot I swear I saw 20 on my drive back home, and I continue to see a handful everyday. I just want to spice it up a bit. Mainly just want to get some nice wheels really.

Probably just stating the obvious. Pulled from eibach website below. Its all preference. Its yours do as you will. Opinions are great but in the end its your preference and decision. IMO I would go for looks, work on improving the ride with suspension mods, and last minor performance mods like intake and exhaust to open her up. Anything more for power would be a waste I would think.

I myself do like a nice set of wheels and the ride a little bit lowered. Shit had the money prob throw air suspension on for fun. But doesn't fit my budget or use. To each his own.

High Performance Handling and Aggressive Good Looks
Lower Center of Gravity — Lowers Vehicle 1.0" - 1.5"
Stop Quicker, Corner Faster and get Better MPG
Progressive Spring Design for Excellent Ride Quality
Part of the Eibach PRO-PLUS and PRO-SYSTEM-PLUS
Million-Mile Warranty
I agree. I mainly want to just focus on appearance, starting with wheels. I only mentioned the performance stuff because coming from a car with an intake and exhaust, I feel like that's what I'm missing from my drives. But ultimately, I just want some nice wheels with a little drop without sacrificing functionality.

Thank you all for replying and being helpful.
 

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Welcome to the world of Mazda and to the forum!

Nothing you've listed is necessary. Your car goes from point A to point B just fine right out of the lot. If you are on a budget, then enjoy your car as it is without modification dreams. Mods aren't going to add value to your car. You listed a good $5000 worth of stuff there. On top of a new car payment? That's not very budget-friendly thinking.

If you really wanted performance, maybe you should have gotten the 2.5L engine instead of adding an intake and exhaust to an economy-rated engine. The cost-benefit of those two things aren't worth it in my opinion.

If you really want to spend money, do the wheels. At least wheels will have resale value and they will make an impact on how the car looks immediately.

But it is fun to dream. There are some good looking cars on this forum. But be practical and mod smartly within your budget.

Best of luck!
 

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With your stock alignment specs and 205-section tires, performing a precise alignment is going to get you FAR greater mpg improvement than marginally reducing frontal area. While I never did A/B testing with ride heights controlling for alignment, I can say with certainty that 0.1deg of toe (well within what most alignment shops will consider "OK") will noticeably harm fuel mileage, immediately, while dropping the car 2.5" didn't change my averages any more than the usual variation.

I would also warn that most "performance" suspension/chassis parts don't do squat. Lowering springs are the worst culprit. Explanation:

Because our cars are McPherson strut in front, we don't really gain negative camber (= front bite, up to an extent) as the car rolls due to G-forces. If the car rolls 3deg, so too does the tire (oversimplifying, but it's close). Lowering the car makes this even worse. As the front strut compresses, you'll actually lose negative camber and front grip. You need significantly stiffer springs to overcome this, and said rates will never exist in an OEM-compatible kit.

Not only that, if you drop the car the suspension geometry changes will actually induce MORE body roll than if you left it alone. Again, you need to overcome this with stiff springs or you'll find yourself rolling more than OEM! That quite defeats what most people are looking for, yet if you buy lowering springs only 20-50% stiffer than stock, you're exactly shooting yourself in the foot.

Some details omitted for brevity, so.... source: Valkenburgh's Race Car Engineering and Mechanics

If you intend to never utilize the chassis' cornering capability, then lowering springs will be fine. But for performance driving, the above explanation would be why many brand-name coilover kits (Mazdaspeed, KW, etc) come with nearly triple the stock spring rates. And they are WORTH it.
Also the 3rdgen 3/6 and genjuan cx-5 have about 2x as much caster built into the front suspension vs previous versions.
 

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Mazda 3 is such a well engineered car throwing a couple of grand at it won't achieve much, at least that you would actually notice in day to day driving. Indeed, most performance mods will require you to drive like a maniac to get any benefit out of them.
I dont agree with this statement.

Yes mazda 3 is a well engineered car...

However... Buying an exhaust, intake, and a tune can make a drastic change over stock car performance. Performance that is noticeable from any kind of driving not just manic driving.
Power and torque delivery can noticeably improve, well beyond butt dyno.

If you shop around all that could be purchased for around 1k

Then again, I drive the 2.5L I cant really speak for the 2.0L so I could be wrong.

Side note, performance parts with no tune you are correct in saying they dont do much. (in case that was what you were referring too)
 

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if you want to improve the visual appearance of the car, while being on a tight budget, start with the clubsport vinyl kit from aliexpress. less than 100$ and this is how it looks like on my car without any other mods (yet, lowering springs and body kit coming soon)

btw, stock 18" rims are dirt cheap directly from mazda dealership, and are not bad at all.
 

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Seriously. I soon as I got my red hatch, I see another one almost every other day! Now most of them have black interiors and most likely automatics, but still, to the average person, it's just another soul red Mazda3 hatchback.

Rims and reducing the wheel gap would make a nice difference for sure. And how about that aero body kit? Very nice. But...new car payment.
Since getting my 3 I have been made redundant so austerity measures have been implemented.
No modifications for me :(
 
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