This week we’re looking at the 2015 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring 5-Door Hatchback. Right off the get-go I ran into an acquaintance who said he loved his Mazda 3 just like my test vehicle. Of course I’m always interested in the feeling of those who put their hard earned money up for the car of their dreams. And yes this guy loved his earlier year model Mazda3. I must say I had already made up my mind that I too had positive vibes from my week of testing.
I often am convinced about a car when I put it through its paces over the mountains that I call the “Crest Test”. The results were impressive as you might have guessed. Its low profile makes negotiating the curves really cool. And it is powerful enough to pull the grades without the need for excessive shifts. It is light and agile and responsive.[huge_it_videogallery id=”3″]
General Information: It is assembled in Hofu, Japan, Classification is Midsize Cars. Cars from Mazda: CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, Mazda6, MazdaSpeed3, MX-5 Miata, RX-8 and Tribute.
Mazda has been known in the past as the car with the Rotary engine. You may recall that engine design was and is also known as the “Wankel” engine. And since some have asked if Mazda still uses this engine I have to say it is alive and well in Mazda’s RX-8 sports car.
The rotary has been used for many years by Mazda, in a variety of cars and trucks. The engine is reliable but does have some quirks. It is prone to flooding, which makes the engine difficult if not impossible to start without service. There is even a technique detailed in the video owner’s manual for the RX-8 which requires “blipping” the throttle immediately before shutting down the engine.
The rotary also has a reputation for poor fuel economy and high emission output. On the plus side for the rotary; they are extremely powerful in terms of displacement compared to horsepower. The early 12A rotaries were only 1146 cc but produced 100 horsepower from a normally aspirated engine that was only slightly larger than a suitcase. Later engines bumped up displacement to about 1300 cc but now produce 236 hp.
Handling & Performance:
As noted above this Mazda3 passed the Crest Test easily. But it points out that it is a performance car that doesn’t necessarily appeal to a wide market. It is a fun car if you love to drive. But I believe most want performance in terms of fuel economy. It proved to be a nice commuter.
The lines are smooth, clean and sporty and clearly at the top of the competition noted below that are very close pricewise.
Fit and Finish:
Take a look at the standard features and you’ll see it is well priced for most of the things I like to see in the cars I drive.
Conveniences and comfort:
The list of features, as noted, long and fits the bill of what I have come to expect in the cars I love to drive and need for a purchase decision.
Of those cars that are similar and noted here I’d look to the VW Golf for being a little more roomy but if I were more interested in sporty and handling characteristics, I would lean to the Mazda3.
Mazda 3 S 5-door Grand Touring $26,000, Honda Civic Si $25,000, Volkswagen Golf 4-door hatchback $25,000, Kia Forte SX Turbo $21,000.
Well priced, outstanding fuel economy, sporty and fun to drive.
Tighter seating space than I like for all around utility.
2.5 liter184 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 18” alloy wheels, rain sensing wipers, heated power side mirrors, halogen fog lights, moonroof, leather trimmed sport seats, 6-way power driver seat, variable heated front seats, dual zone climate control, power windows and locks, keyless entry, push button start/stop, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob and brake handle, anti theft engine immobilizer, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitor, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, traction control, stability control, hill start assist, front side and front and rear side curtain airbags, auto on/off headlights, rear hatch apoiler, 7” color touch screen display, navigation system, Bose 9-speaker centerpoint audio, pandora AHA stitcher audio, AM/FM/.CD, Hd radio, two USB inputs, Sirius XM satellite radio, SMS text message delivery and reply, Bluetooth hands free phone/ audio, cruise control, trip computer, steering wheel mounmted controls with paddle shifters.
$3.19/ Gal avg. November 1, 2014
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26 City and 35 Highway MPG
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