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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings, just joined yesterday and posting 2nd thread. Pardon my ignorance.

In short, I live in the mountains with routine 4000 feet elevation climb/drop. My son picked up a 2012 Mazda 3 with 2.5 engine. Driving it was a revelation in terms of handling.

So my wife and I are considering a 2017 2.0 automatic in part because they are so affordable with current incentives. Doing research before we decide to purchase. But we would not mind a bit more power for mountain driving but did not want to jump to 2.5.

Two quick questions:

1. Is there a FAQ somewhere that lists out modifications for power gains versus cost

2. On my end, I would not mind basic noninvasive (meaning doesn't wear the car out faster or invalidate warranty) mods that are cost efficient. I realize that 'cost efficient' would be a relative.

Thanks for humoring me as a newbie. And yes, I scanned through six pages of threads here and realize that I better ask the experts here....:smile2:
 

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What I've gathered so far from my initial asking and poking around is this:

First thing that most people do to up the performance is to switch out tires. I haven't had issues with mine but some people have reported the standard ones to be problematic. Looking at them, they will definitely be a weakness come winter... if we get any snow or ice. Really, all of the worthwhile performance mods sound like they're all handling modifications.

Outside of that, there's a couple of threads going about air intake and the best I can gather is that it's a wash when it comes to boosting performance. (Some have mentioned that the stock airbox with a drop in dry filter from someone like AEM has provided better feel.) That's about what I got out of the electronic tuning one too. A few exhaust threads but the most I've gleaned from them is that they're doing it mostly for a better sound. Haven't really seen anyone mention actual performance gains. Mentions of turbos are made here and there but it doesn't sound like that's a good option at the moment either.
 

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Yeah if you want more power you picked the wrong car. Simple mods don't give much gain, as with most cars. The Mazda tends to gain less because they did a pretty good job with the design. This is why many focus on handling.

There have been turbo systems pop up here and there but they are all low boost and difficult to tune right due to the high compression ratio of this engine.

Many have been happy with the orange virus tune but you'd be forced to put premium fuel in the car...if you care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you. Very very helpful posts as this helps me to just abandon this line of thinking.

I'm a bit surprised to see the comments on improving handling beyond tire changes. It already handles so beautifully. I wonder if the handling can be improved substantially without taking a hit with ride comfort.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to the forum. Not much modding can be done on the skyactiv engines as they have such a high compression ratio that they are just about rung out in power in their current forum. You would see a good increase in power from the 2.0 to the 2.5 liter engine as it is 155 vs. 184hp so if you can afford it get the 2.5 liter engine. Most suspension mods will increase handling but sacrifice some ride comfort. Except for my 18 inch wheels my 3 has stock suspension and I don't see the need to increase the handling as a good set of tires will keep up with the Mazda's power. Now if it was pumping out 300 or more horsepower I might consider doing some suspension updates but in current form stock it's great unless you plan on going to the track.
 

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Agreed! This thing was a hoot to drive along the ocean and mountain roads out west. Very smile inducing. The 2.5 pretty much has all the power one needs on any road in the US. You're seriously going to wish you got the manual.
 

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Get the 2.5 put on a rear sway bar, and some racing beat springs to lower it just a tad or go with H&R or Eibach for more aggressive drop. If you do the either of the latter two, I would upgrade the dampers too. You would really be surprised how much it helps the car. Some times its not always about power but maintaining your speed.
 

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I just got my son a 2017 Mazda 3 2.0 and I am really surprised how nice this car is. Getting the 2018 with a 2.5L at the same price is just a crazy steel. Very fun car to drive around.
 

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I bought the 2015 2.0 for fuel efficiency purposes. My coworker has a 2.5L GT.

Biggest difference I noticed when driving his car was the torque.

The 2.0 has 150lb·ft/200N·m of torque at 4000rpm, while the 2.5 has 185lb·ft/251N·m at 3250rpm. More torque earlier. It's very noticeable, which is particularly disappointing when you consider that his car is an auto, while mine is a manual.

If I lived in the mountains, I'd go for the 2.5L.
 
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