2017 Mazda 3 Sport GT 2.5L Premium, Auto, Soul Red
+ OEM mud guards, front floor liners, dod dash cam, oil based undercoating
I do not drive much and kept my last car (Toyota Celica GT) 14 years. I want to keep this one 14 years as well. This is the third year for this model, so any bugs should be worked out by now. I wanted a normally aspirated engine. I do not know how long the new small turbo engines (e.g. Civic) will last? The automatic has 6 actual gears rather than a CVT.
Driving a manual in Toronto traffic has become more than a nuisance, so this is my first automatic. It is fun to drive. The handling compares well to my Celica. The engine/transmission has plenty of pep for merging onto the highway and passing. Mileage is excellent. The fit, finish and initial quality has been very good -- no squeaks or rattles. The interior is quite luxurious for a any car, especially for one in this class. It is comfortable during long trips.
The heated exterior mirrors will be great in the Canadian winter. I have already used the heat to de-mist the mirrors on the highway. In all the years with cloth seats I never thought “my ass is cold – I wish I had heated seats”. I would have preferred cloth seats, but these are not available with sunroof and active safety stuff. If you need to heat leather seats in winter, you also need to actively cool them in summer— just run a hose from the A/C into the seats. The rimmed rubber front floor liners look good and will keep the melted snow contained.
The interior is fairly quiet. I measured 66 dBA at right ear level on smooth new asphalt at 75 mph and 68 dBA at left ear level. It get noisier on rough pavement, but quieter than the 76-78 dBA I recorded in my Celica with winter tires at 75 mph. On a recent 2.5 hour trip on good roads at 65-70 mph, I did not find the sound levels to be intrusive.
Computed using distance and fuel pumped, fuel consumption has averaged 7.9 l/100km (30 mpg US) over 917 km (569 mi) combined city/highway. On a 434 km (270 mi) highway trip, it was 6.8 l/100km (34.6 mpg US). On the highway trip, the car’s computer recorded better mileage at 6.3 l/100km (37 mpg US). In another instance, the car recorded worse mileage and in other, it was the same.
The Bose sound system is very good. Once you get a destination into it, the navigation is also very good. The blind spot monitoring, rear view camera, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control are the greatest thing since sliced bread. The HUD is excellent and shows just what you need to know. I would have preferred that the HUD was projected on to windscreen. Auto headlights, wipers and climate control are excellent ideas and add to safety by not distracting the driver from the road.
The entire infotainment software setup is just OK. Finding a destination in the Nav using the search function is frustrating. Mazda reports “nothing found” while Google would have reported “showing results for”. I leave a thumb drive with all my tunes in a USB port. The system has to reload the albums, artists etc. every time. It should know that the contents of the drive have not changed. The car companies are all trying to reinvent the wheel. They should leave these things to the professionals like Garmin and Google. I know that Android and Apple will be available “in the fullness of time”, but they should have been standard.
This is my second Mazda. The first was a 1982 Mazda GLC 5 sp hatch – grandfather of the Mazda 3. Its 68 hp engine would send it lumbering from 0 – 60 mph in 12.4 sec (downhill with a tailwind). Rear visibility was great. It had seatbelts, a radio and no A/C.
If you watch a few minutes of car crash videos on YouTube, you will rush out and buy a dash cam. There are many idiots out there. A dash cam will easily resolve an “it was a red light, GREEN light, red light, GREEN light” issue.
All in all, I am very pleased with this car. It is excellent value for the money. If available, I would have bought a 1st choice - Mazda 3 with AWD or 2nd choice - CX3 with the 2.5L engine.