This week we’re looking at the 2010 Mazda 3 Touring 4-door Sedan. Boy, this is a really difficult field to pick from in a very numerous Compact class. I’ve tested them all albeit not all 2009 or 2010 model years and I have to say I like them all. I fall in love too easily… as the song goes.
I would however be wary of those noted below with more high priced badges as I mentioned where they include high end luxury models in their lineup. It has been my experience that those brands tend to more expensive to maintain and repair.
Parts – Japan 95%
Assembly – Houfu, Japan
Class: – Compact
Cars: – CX-7, CX-9, Mazda 3, 5, 6, MazdaSpeed3, MX-5 Miata, RX 8, Tribute, Tribute Hybrid and Truck.
Very good indeed. Front wheel drive isn’t my favorite but they do hug the road in the curves better than rear wheel drive.
I’m always amazed at how responsive a car can be with only 148 horsepower, because we in America have grown up with cars that had to have muscle or your weren’t cool. I think that image is not as important today in part because even cars like this Mazda with 148 hp will do 0-60 in 6-7 seconds.
One thing was a bit annoying to me and that was the sensitive or touchy brake and accelerator pedals. Not a deal breaker because in time I would get used to them but it needs attention Mazda.
It is easy to like, for me, but colleague and friend Merkel is put off by the big smiling face from the front view. Kind of like a Halloween Pumpkin. Well we all see things differently and Merkel is a picky car designer and to those guys no styling is as good as theirs.
Fit and Finish:
Very good. The plastic doesn’t look plastic. And I didn’t hear rattle or squeak one.
Good value in a Compact commuter car because it is also a competent family sedan. It wouldn’t work for son Mike with 4 kids, but for an average family it is a good value.
Conveniences and comfort:
My test vehicle, equipped as it was, with the standard things listed below priced out right at $18,000 and it included everything I would want on my car. I can live without a moon roof and I don’t like to pay for radio any more than I think I should pay for a toll road anywhere, so I would opt out of the Sirius radio.
And they say the auto industry is in trouble? Take a good look at all the brands in this compact class and keep in mind that we’ve come to expect a car for all seasons and all reasons. The lineup of affordable cars to pick from in class borders on ‘overkill’. What it tells me is that there is a large demand and second it is a profitable model for the car makers.
From the inside the driving experience isn’t magnitudes less than cars twice the price and it is important to remember that when you think you need to spend big bucks for transportation. Compact is beginning to take on a whole new meaning. I haven’t driven some of these in a while, but if this Mazda 3 is any indication of where this class has come to you have to be impressed. The fact of the matter is that the differences are smaller and smaller as you climb the price ladder.
Beginning with cars with a full back seat, a reasonable trunk, and all the creature comforts the lines become very blurred between this and other more expensive options. I suggest as a rule of thumb you stay away from the luxury ‘badges’ – that is, brands that have very expensive models in their lineups. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz tend to be more expensive to service at the dealerships. And cars today are being made that ‘make’ you go back to the dealer for even simple things. Lights and bells and whistles go off to tell you it is time for service or repairs may be needed. And to turn off those warning lights you ‘have’ to go to the dealer. Tag, you’re it!
Mazda 3 $15-22,000, Audi A3 $27-31,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $15-25,000, Chevrolet HHR $19-26,000, Dodge Caliber $16-25,000, Ford Focus $16-18,000, Honda Civic $15-25,000, Honda Civic Hybrid $24-27,000, Hyundai Elantra $14-18,000, Hyundai Elantra Touring $16-20,000, Kia Forte $14-17,000, Kia Forte Koup $17-18,000, Kia Spectra $14-16,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $15-27,000, Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback $19-28,000, Nissan Sentra $15-20,000, Pontiac G5 $17-20,000, Pontiac Vibe $16-21,000, Saturn Astra $17-20,000, Scion tC $17-18,000, Subaru Impreza $17-27,000, Suzuki SX4 Crossover $16-19,000, Suzuki SX4 Sport $13-18,000, Toyota Corolla $15-20,000 Toyota Matrix $17-22,000, Volkswagen Golf $17-23,000, Volkswagen Rabbit $16-19,000 and Volkswagen R32 $32,990.
Very good fuel economy and it is priced well. I like the styling Merkel even if you don’t.
Touchy brake and accelerator pedals.
2.0 liter 148 horsepower I4-cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, front wheel drive, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with electronic brake distribution, dynamic stability control, traction control, variable assist power steering, front & rear stabilizers, independent suspension, power mirrors, power windows and locks, air conditioning, front & rear armrests, front, side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, AM/FM with CD / MP3 & 6 speaker audio system, steering wheel mounted audio, cruise & Bluetooth controls, tilt & telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, remote keyless entry, 16” alloy wheels, cloth seating, 60/40 split fold down rear seat.
Options: Sirius satellite radio, power moon roof, Bose package upgrade, pearl paint – $2,025.
$2.79/ Gal avg. December 20 ‘09
for more information.
24 City and 33 Highway MPG
MSRP $18,350, with options $20,375.
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