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Discussion Starter #1
I was doing research on my 3's towing ability. I'm thinking of getting a small boat. I found lots of past discussions on this forum but it's mostly opinion vs opinion and some informative posts like how the 3 has a towing capacity for its euro model but not on the U.S. model probably due to laws.

but I found this very good towing review of the 3. For the test, I think they used the 2.0 liter and they tried to tow a 1256kg or 2769lb!!! mobile home! They said the 3 handled very well with the extra weight behind the car. You must watch it to believe it, lol. I was shocked that they ran that car with a mobile home through some slaloms on a narrow road. Those Europeans sure know how to make the most out of their efficient cars. This kind of convinces me that it is okay to tow a small boat on a trailer especially with the 2.5L engine.

Practical Caravan's Mazda 3 tow car review - YouTube

At the end of the video, they show the legal towing limit for the UK model is 1300kg or 2866lb!
 

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I was doing research on my 3's towing ability. I'm thinking of getting a small boat. I found lots of past discussions on this forum but it's mostly opinion vs opinion and some informative posts like how the 3 has a towing capacity for its euro model but not on the U.S. model probably due to laws.

but I found this very good towing review of the 3. For the test, I think they used the 2.0 liter and they tried to tow a 1256kg or 2769lb!!! mobile home! They said the 3 handled very well with the extra weight behind the car. You must watch it to believe it, lol. I was shocked that they ran that car with a mobile home through some slaloms on a narrow road. Those Europeans sure know how to make the most out of their efficient cars. This kind of convinces me that it is okay to tow a small boat on a trailer especially with the 2.5L engine.

At the end of the video, they show the legal towing limit for the UK model is 1300kg or 2866lb!
Aye, but here is the rub... The limiting factor are the brakes. The limit of 1300kg is ONLY if you wire the car for trailer brakes. If you don't have trailer brakes, I believe the limit is about 1200 pounds. Also note that the tongue weight limit is 165 pounds which is rather low. A normal class I hitch has a weight limit of 200 lbs. To add trailer brakes, you will need a brake controller and an installation kit.

I installed my hitch wiring without a brake controller. The Mazda hitch you find in other countries does not look to be as strong as the Curt hitch, which is the one that I would recommend. However, the Mazda hitch is more hidden than the Curt hitch. You will also need a raised ball as the hitch sits quite low. Since I use the hitch for a small utility trailer and bikes, I'm not putting a lot of stress on it. I've found absolutely no driveability problems with a small utility trailer. The Mazda hitch does not seem to be available in the U.S. I'm not worried about warranty problems as you can always say that you only carry bikes. However, I am concerned about accidents as the insurance company might void coverage of an accident when a trailer is attached. Therefore, I don't pull a trailer often.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I'm not comfortable towing the same weight as my car's curb weight. the boat + trailer will probably weigh in less than 1000lbs I think lol...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the tip about insurance when towing a trailer.
That might make me hop for a cx-5 or something else... :undecided:
 

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I have said this before and will continue to preach it. cars are not designed for towing. If you must use a small trailer to move a lawn mower across town or something that's ok but for your own safety please don't tow heavier things like boats and campers with a car on the highway or interstate. There are many many more factors that come into play than power and tongue weight.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
well, subaru impreza is a car with a manufacturer specified towing capacity of 2000 lbs. not even talking about the wrx with tougher suspension and brakes. maybe i should have got a wrx...
 

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Here is the Mazda 3 towbar available in Austrailia. I wish it were available here:

Accessory Details
 

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well, subaru impreza is a car with a manufacturer specified towing capacity of 2000 lbs. not even talking about the wrx with tougher suspension and brakes. maybe i should have got a wrx...
Look, a car being able to tow is totaly different than doing it safely.
When a manufacture rates the cars towing capacity, they only rate its chassies stracture and drive trains ability. But to tow a trailer, boat, or camper, the towing vehicle needs to weight way more than a normal car, and always have a bunch of power and torque in spare, as if you were hit by a cross wind its all about your vehicles weight and the extra power to keep it in streight line.

I curently drive 18 wheel trucks and recently spend lots of my time on highway, so I have seen and know exacly what you are trying to do.

About couple of days ago I was driving from Phoenix, Az toward Los Angeles and there I saw a black Mazda 3 gen 2 skyactive towing a short and small uhaul trailer. Not sure about the weight of cargo and trailer, but trust me on any uphills my 35ton truck could leave the mazda in the dusts. Literally there were times when the Mazdas speed dropped from 65-70 mph to about 35 miles.

There is a section in this route called desert center, which strong winds below. Mazda was all over the place, so bad that I backed off just in case if the car rolls or jacknifes.


Then it comes to boating ramps where you lunch your boat to waters, or pick it up at the end of the day. You probably have never seen one, because if you had, you would never ever for you life, come up with an idea of towing a boat with a Mazda 3. Please go there and wear you swim suit and only try to walk on those ramp, well, dont!!! They are slipery as a thin ice.
Youtube can be a good resource to watch some boat ramp accidents where trucks were pulled into water rather than boat out of the waterr.


If you are planing to do something please do it the right way, and not like the idiots who ends up risking his family and others life.

If you have the extra cash to buy and register a boat for a year to only use it once or twice a year, you should have enough money to buy an old 4x4 truck for the same purpose. And trust me you going to need one for sure because as it looks simple, a lot of thing are needed, so your going to need the extra space of that truck. Some extra fuel, some tools, a cooler full of ice food and drinks, the boat cover, spare tire for trailer are some of the stuffs you are most likely need and the Mazda 3 might not have the enough space for. :beerchug 1:
 

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I have said this before and will continue to preach it. cars are not designed for towing. If you must use a small trailer to move a lawn mower across town or something that's ok but for your own safety please don't tow heavier things like boats and campers with a car on the highway or interstate. There are many many more factors that come into play than power and tongue weight.
I do have a hitch and use it mostly for bikes and a very small utility trailer to carry things home from Home Depot or take my lawnmower/snowblower to a repair shop. That said, I totally agree with your statement and would never take a trailer on a trip with this car. Even where they allow towing with our car, the maximum trailer weight without electric brakes is about 1200 pounds or so. Even a small enclosed U-Haul filled up would be over the max. There are trailers that would work with a small car like this that are low and aerodynamic, but they are not practical because they just don't hold much. My next door neighbor bought a tiny camper that opens up but the closed height is about 4 feet from top to bottom.

That said, it is totally true that Mazda encourages people in places like Austrailia to tow trailers as long as they stick to the max limits. They would not do that if it weren't somewhat safe for their type of driving, speed limits, and roads.

Here is a trailer that would work with this car as an example and they aren't cheap:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
safety is my first concern that's for sure and many valid points are raised here. I'm looking into a very light weight boat ~175lb + 100lb motor + 300lb trailer + 100lb for a few gallons of gas and misc gear. That's a total of ~675lb. I searched the boating forums for previously asked questions on cars towing light boats and the feedback from existing sedan owners who are towing light boats are positive. I guess I'll find out and let you know how it works. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
OK time for an update...

I bought my 200 lb all aluminum fishing boat with a 100 lb johnson 20 hp outboard motor and some 100 lb of wood floors put in by the previous owner. The trailer I just weighted is 420 lb by itself.

I've towed this boat a total of 5 or 6 times now from 20 to 40 miles from my house one way. I've launched at 4 different boat ramps, 3 were paved by u.s. army corps of engineers, so concrete with deep diamond pattern grooves in them. One ramp I launched at is unpaved sand and gravel. The incline is very mild.

Conclusions:
Towing - acceleration on flat ground - 0 problems with the 2.5L automatic. Going up a steep hill, no problem if I bury the throttle into the floor (because the damn automatic computer won't downshift even if I am at 80% throttle)

Braking is also not a problem at all. I can stop quite easily from highway speeds. It does take more pedal pressure than without the boat but normal stopping is very natural. Only panic stops feels a little lacking in the brakes but it still stops quickly when the brake pedal is firmly pressed.

Handling is very good in the mazda 3 even when towing a boat. I've driven through some very curvy roads when going to some lakes here around Austin and the car and trailer hugged the road just fine traveling at normal speeds.

Launching - zero problems with traction at all the boat ramps. Funny thing is I see those big trucks spinning their rear tires when my FWD does not spin any front tires. It's probably because their rear tires are semi submerged in the water while my front tires are still on dry ground.

Pulling boat out of the water - zero problem at all ramps. I don't even spin any tires. Just pull the hand brake, press on the accelerator to put some load on the front tires before releasing the hand brake. Even at the primitive unpaved sand the gravel ramp, I pulled by boat out of the water just fine. Slight wheel spin from stand still but pulls the boat out just fine. I see all trucks spin their rear tires even on concrete ramps.

From this I conclude the mazda 3 is completely capable of towing a trailer totaling around 700 lbs.

I always feel it's a funny site when I see my little mazda 3 parked in between a bunch F150s and F350s in the trailer parking lots.
 

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Towing - acceleration on flat ground - 0 problems with the 2.5L automatic. Going up a steep hill, no problem if I bury the throttle into the floor (because the damn automatic computer won't downshift even if I am at 80% throttle)
I've had no problems with a small trailer as well. To solve the acceleration problem I just use the paddle shifters.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
well a couple weeks after posting, the unpaved ramp got beat up so bad that my car got stuck trying to boat out of the water. Had to get a big truck to pull it out for me. No problems on all the paved ramps even the steep ones though...
 
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