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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Are the paddle shifters on the 2014 mazda 3 / 2.5 responsive and useful in practice,, or merely a gimmick, especially given that the mazda 3 doesn't have a true dual clutch transmission?

For what it's worth, I drive both manual and auto transmissions but haven't really owned a car with paddle shifters.

Thanks
 

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Are the paddle shifters on the 2014 mazda 3 / 2.5 responsive and useful in practice,, or merely a gimmick, especially given that the mazda 3 doesn't have a true dual clutch transmission?

For what it's worth, I can drive both manual and auto transmissions but haven't really owned a car with paddle shifters.

Thanks
I believe the paddle shifters are for the automatic only not the standard transmission .,
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I believe the paddle shifters are for the automatic only not the standard transmission .,
I understand that. Just wondering what people who have spent time with them think.

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I test drove a 2.5L auto before purchasing the manual transmission. I don't remember exactly how the tranny responded to the paddle shifters (I obviously did play with them while test driving) but there's really only one way to test them, to see if the transmission responds to your input or if it's all a BS gimmick...

Whole who have the paddle shifters can respond and let us know.

TEST: with the paddle shifters engaged, bring the revs up to redline in whatever gear you want (1st, 2nd, 3rd, whatever) but don't shift into the next gear. If you end up bouncing off the rev limiter while the transmission waits for your input to shift into the next gear = paddle shifters are LEGIT.

If you bring the revs up to redline and the transmission automatically shifts into the next gear, even without you telling it to shift = paddle shifters are BOGUS because they don't allow the driver complete control over the transmission.

My 2011 Toyota Avalon has the Tiptronic option but if I leave it in 2nd gear and redline, it will automatically shift into the next gear, even though I didn't tell it too.

I test drove a 2014 Acura TSX Sport Wagon while shopping for a hatchback and the auto tranny with paddle shifters in that thing was legit. It will let you bounce off the rev limiter and won't shift into the next gear until you tell it too (which is how it's suppose to be, if you're in charge of the gear changes, which in paddle shifter mode).

So, can someone test this in the 3 and respond back?
 

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So I used to own a M3 with a DCT transmission.. a very good transmission, very fast shifts. First the Mazda 3 is no DCT, its not as fast, that said its not a normal automatic transmission either, its a hybrid manual/auto. I will say the downshifts seem faster then the up-shifts, which when you think about it, is probably the better way to be when racing. I think the downshifts happen almost as fast as a DCT, but the up-shifts feel more like an automatic when going up through the gears. So on a scale of 1-10, with the M3 probably being about a 8 on the scale of transmissions, and Ferarri's being a 10 and a modern automatic with manual shifting modes being about a 5. I'd say the Mazda 3 is about a 6.5. If they could make it upshift faster I'd give it a 7.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's what I needed to know. I'll be sure to investigate the paddles in the mazda 3 when i test drive them (both the 2.0 manual and the 2.5 auto).

My daily driver is an older BMW M3 but it can be a dog in daily driving because of the close ratio transmission and especially because of the heavy clutch.
 

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That's what I needed to know. I'll be sure to investigate the paddles in the mazda 3 when i test drive them (both the 2.0 manual and the 2.5 auto).

My daily driver is an older BMW M3 but it can be a dog in daily driving because of the close ratio transmission and especially because of the heavy clutch.


Then you'll really like the 3 with manual tranny because the clutch is very light for easy daily driving.
 

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I'm one of those awful people that don't want a manual transmission but love to drive a great handling car. I've driven standards but I don't want to have to shift all the time. I've played with the paddles and they are fun to drive with. Yes they will bounce off the rev limiter if you don't shift up in time. Yes they will override your shift if you try to go down but would have red-lined doing so. I haven't driven many automatics manually shifting (usually because of snow or mountains). To me the paddle shifters work very well and are fun to drive with on those special roads we cherish our time upon.
 
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Then you'll really like the 3 with manual tranny because the clutch is very light for easy daily driving.
Indeed it is, clutch engagement is daily driver friendly...obviously not a race clutch with that brutally hard/truck feel but its just like any other Honda/Toyota. What I especially like is the smoothness of the gearbox, barely if any notchy feel and the shifts just clack into gear with positive reassurance...even more so with a weighted knob.

The Mazda 3 with a manual trans is the way to go.

That is just my opinion, get whichever tranny makes you happy.

I feel like paddle shifters are only good on high performance/exotic cars.

The cars I got to test drive with the paddle shifters were a Lexus IS-F and an EVO X.....legit.

We had a tiptronic in our 02 Acura TL....that thing would shift on its own when nearing the redline so that was gimmicky unlike the Lexus IS-F and Mitsubishi EVO which allows you to still maintain control.
 

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So I used to own a M3 with a DCT transmission.. a very good transmission, very fast shifts. First the Mazda 3 is no DCT, its not as fast, that said its not a normal automatic transmission either, its a hybrid manual/auto. I will say the downshifts seem faster then the up-shifts, which when you think about it, is probably the better way to be when racing. I think the downshifts happen almost as fast as a DCT, but the up-shifts feel more like an automatic when going up through the gears. So on a scale of 1-10, with the M3 probably being about a 8 on the scale of transmissions, and Ferarri's being a 10 and a modern automatic with manual shifting modes being about a 5. I'd say the Mazda 3 is about a 6.5. If they could make it upshift faster I'd give it a 7.
^Spot on, agreed.
 

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I agree with a lot of the posts here, and came from a fairly decent dual-clutch setup immediately prior (but no M3.)

The upshifts and downshifts aren't as quick, but they're not as abrupt either. The auto is pretty solid though-- comparable to the best torque converter automatics I've driven and close to an entry level dual clutch. The paddle shifters do have some neat tricks that aren't immediately obvious, though, even if you're familiar with a manumatic.

- Throw the shifter into full manual mode (pull the stick left) and you can alternate between using the stick +/- *or* the paddle +/- whichever is more comfortable.

- In Drive (normal automatic mode) you can use the paddle shifters to immediately override the automatic. For me typical usage would be to kick it down one gear if I know I'm going up a hill or need a little more oomph. If you leave it in the gear you'd otherwise normally be in, it reverts to drive after a few seconds. If you want to cancel manual shifting, hold + down for 2 seconds and it reverts to drive. For the paddles, this is honestly the most useful mode I've found so far but I need to get more comfortable with the system.

- The Sport mode on the 2.5 is what most people feel to be more useful. Throw it in Sport and not only will the transmission stay in gear longer-- optimized for performance not mileage-- it also changes the throttle response for the car and the shifts feel faster as well (the higher RPM shifts are more abrupt and it just does that more often.)

- You can combine sport mode and either of the manual shifting modes.

- Mazdas have a button under the gas pedal such that if you press down all the way it forces a downshift.

Definitely try all the different ways to shift. The car does give you a pretty solid degree of control. In manumatic mode it'll still keep you from doing stuff that's "dumb", so there is some intelligence there. It won't left you over-rev or put the car into too high of a gear. If you're driving along at high speed and come to a stop, it'll downshift back down to 1st automatically if you forget to, etc.
 

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I test drove a 2.5L auto before purchasing the manual transmission. I don't remember exactly how the tranny responded to the paddle shifters (I obviously did play with them while test driving) but there's really only one way to test them, to see if the transmission responds to your input or if it's all a BS gimmick...

Whole who have the paddle shifters can respond and let us know.

TEST: with the paddle shifters engaged, bring the revs up to redline in whatever gear you want (1st, 2nd, 3rd, whatever) but don't shift into the next gear. If you end up bouncing off the rev limiter while the transmission waits for your input to shift into the next gear = paddle shifters are LEGIT.

If you bring the revs up to redline and the transmission automatically shifts into the next gear, even without you telling it to shift = paddle shifters are BOGUS because they don't allow the driver complete control over the transmission.

My 2011 Toyota Avalon has the Tiptronic option but if I leave it in 2nd gear and redline, it will automatically shift into the next gear, even though I didn't tell it too.

I test drove a 2014 Acura TSX Sport Wagon while shopping for a hatchback and the auto tranny with paddle shifters in that thing was legit. It will let you bounce off the rev limiter and won't shift into the next gear until you tell it too (which is how it's suppose to be, if you're in charge of the gear changes, which in paddle shifter mode).

So, can someone test this in the 3 and respond back?
Bogus vs legit seems like a bit black and white to me. The paddle shifters are bogus by your definition, though.

The response above mine by OvrSteer provides a much more complete picture of what the paddle shifters are and are not. I don't think they're either legit or bogus, but rather they're a fun, occasionally functional feature. By being smart, the system takes some control away from the driver, but not all of it.

It's up to the driver to determine if the feature set of these particular paddle shifters is worthwhile for their driving style. And even then, since all the s trim levels come with them, you're getting them one way or another if you get an s. I can understand how, if the paddle shifters are crucial to determining if you will get an s, the decision might be tricky.
 

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- Mazdas have a button under the gas pedal such that if you press down all the way it forces a downshift.
This would explain a lot even though to me it just explains why this happens while I'm in manual mode..no paddles. Is there any way to disengage or deactivate that button? Is there any reason it would be unsafe to?
 

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This would explain a lot even though to me it just explains why this happens while I'm in manual mode..no paddles. Is there any way to disengage or deactivate that button? Is there any reason it would be unsafe to?
Not sure about deactivating the button, but you should only hit the button if you push the pedal all the way. Should be able to stop just at the cusp of hitting the button because there's some resistance there before you hit that click that is the sign that you've hit it.
 

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Not sure about deactivating the button, but you should only hit the button if you push the pedal all the way. Should be able to stop just at the cusp of hitting the button because there's some resistance there before you hit that click that is the sign that you've hit it.
Yeah, that's why it's a button, so you can feel the resistance and stop, vs some other automatics that force a downshift when you push all the way to the floor.
 

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Have to clear up the kick down switch and downshifting explained above... it doesn't force a downshift... it just forces maximum power from the engine which should result in a downshift... However (and I tried this today without a downshift) it doesn't force it or mean it automatically happens...
 

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Thanks for all the above explanations. Problem with this feature (for me) is the only time I floor it is at a time where I get on it quick and hard and wouldn't (haven't ever) notice the click...only the resulting downshift. Having said that the downshift generally comes at a very inopportune time and has startled me when not expecting it. That is why I ask if it can be removed or deactivated. I'm talking at times I'm at highway speed and need to make a quick pass....not some crazy bad driving habit lol. Although I do suppose if this button cannot be removed I will be forced to regulate myself until I'm used to it.
 

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I have paddles on my 3. I rarely use them. I used to have a MarkVI GTI and I used the paddle shifters alot more. They are handy to have though.
 

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One other feature. If you use paddles without moving your shifter from "D", the transmission will shift back to drive when you stop the car. You can see the switch back indicated on the dash when the indicator light switches from "M" to "D" upon stopping.
 

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One other feature. If you use paddles without moving your shifter from "D", the transmission will shift back to drive when you stop the car. You can see the switch back indicated on the dash when the indicator light switches from "M" to "D" upon stopping.
It wont just wait till you stop the car. If I tap the paddle shifter to downshift to engine break down a hill it will keep it in manual mode. Once I return to normal driving it will at some point decide to go back to full automatic mode.
 
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