Author Topic: 8 months and 6,500 miles later  (Read 3606 times)

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Offline gorgerak

  • S Class
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Gender: Male
  • I need to update my signature strip!!!
  • Body: Fastback
  • Colour: Deep Crystal Blue Metallic (42M)
  • Engine: 2.2L
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Model: Mazda 3
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Trim: Sport
  • Year: 2014
8 months and 6,500 miles later
« on: April 12, 2015, 01:07:55 PM »
I purchased my Mazda 3 Fastback Sport Nav 2.2 Diesel back in September 2014 and I wanted to summarise how i feel about the car 8 months later after some good running time.

Exterior and Looks

I maintain my first impressions from when I first saw it. Wow this car looks great!

I was first attracted to a Mazda after I followed a 6 estate home one evening and could not shake how good the car looked from the rear 3/4 view. So I popped down to the Mazda dealership to take a butchers. When I got there, they had a 3 hatch and a 6 saloon next to each other in the showroom. The sharp new edges around the grill and the haunches over the front wheels make the car look muscular and impressive. The long bonnet is another feature I particularly like and the car definitely stands out from the crowd in traffic. It was a tough choice between the 6 and the 3 but eventually I went for the 3 and chose the fastback body over the hatch, maybe not the smartest decision I've made as I have a dog and now he cant go in the boot but I tend to buy with my heart and the fastback just had something the hatchback didn't. Don't ask me exactly what that is because I don't truly know.

I have received, and still get, compliments on the car from complete strangers. Maybe it's because you dont see many 3's about, compared to astras and focus' and golfs but its a refreshing and modern look. Going for the fastback meant that I have sacrificed a rear windscreen wiper. This is something that still gets me a bit as morning dew and dust wont shift off the rear window until your travelling at speed, so I constantly find myself driving out of my estate in the morning not knowing what's going on behind me. I could just get out and clean the rear window but I'm too lazy. As someone who has always had a rear wiper, the transition took time but I wouldn't get rid of the car for it.

As I have bought a Sport Nav, I have the larger 18" alloys, the lower trim levels make do with 16" alloys. Personally this is no bad thing, the 18" alloys look great and the ride is firm but not uncomfortable. I don't get any complaints from passengers and tbh the firmness is as much down to the poor quality of the roads as the car. Tyres have not been a problem so far - Mazda recommend swapping the back and front tyres every 6 months. I haven't done this yet, I may do so but its not a priority. New tyres should only cost £100-£120 each so that wont break the bank either.

ONe of the reasons why I chose a 3 over a 6 is because of tyres. At the Sport trim for the 6 you get 19" wheels and the tyres are £210-£230 each!! I'm sorry Mazda but that is just too much and the fact that you cannot have smaller wheels built onto the car at the factory is a definite negative. But hey, that's the 6, the 3 is much more reasonable. The only snag about the 18" wheels on my 3 is that they can be a bugger to clean properly and they look ace when clean.

Paint colours are a personal choice, I chose Deep Crystal Blue, simply because I love a deep dark blue. The Soul Red is another very attractive colour. I'm not too sure about white or the reflex (lighter) blue, but this is a choice you make yourself, get the one you like and the car will look great.

My only big downside to the exterior on my fastback is the exhaust. I really like the way the chrome exhausts stick out below the bumper on the 6 and they do just that on the 3 hatch. Alas, the 3 fastback ends up with the exhaust outlets not finished in chrome and hidden under the rear bumper. Its a shame and having the chrome exhausts would've made the back of the car look tip top, as it is, I will have to leave it at good.


Engine, Performance and Fuel economy

I'm a fan of Mazda's decision to buck the trend and stay with larger capacity engines. The 2.2l Diesel is a big one compared to other hatchback diesels with their 1.4 and 1.6 litre engines. It gives more stability in the mid range and more clout overall than my friends 1.6 focus diesel. The engine is relatively strong and will pull itself up a relatively steep hill in 2nd gear at 10mph. Like all diesels there is an impressive amount of torque at 2,000 rpm and overtaking is a doddle, but you do feel the surge drop off dramatically once your past 3,000 rpm. I haven't officially tested the acceleration but I'm happy to accept Mazda's claim that the car will do 0-60 in 8 seconds, its certainly not far off.

The engine is quiet and at a stand still its almost silent which is very nice to have. On the motorway my girlfriend and I can have a conversation without the engine drowning us out. All in all this car is a very good cruiser.

I do have an intermittent issue with the engine that Mazda have looked at but not found the cause. Ill be driving down the road - usually happens shortly after leaving home but has happened at other times - and I'll notice that my fuel consumption is really low (like cruising at 30mph and its returning a steady 28mpg!),  the engine will be sluggish as well with poor performance. If I take my foot off the accelerator then the car slows quicker than you would expect for engine breaking. I have also noticed a very strong smell coming from the front wheels. My deduction from this is that the brakes are sticking on. SO I sent the car back to Mazda - they had it for two days but couldn't replicate the issue, but it has happened since - so issue is clearly not resolved. The only problem is that if I cannot get it to replicate on demand I'm very skeptical that Mazda will be able to do anything about it... Has anyone else had this - or a similar issue?

I need to talk about economy and I was rather hoping i wouldn't because this is, for me, the worst part of the Mazda 3 Fastback. I know you have to take manufacturers quoted values with a pinch of salt, I know you have to be realistic, I know you shouldn't believe what you read in the brochure. But unfortunately, this car is a big disappointment on the fuel.

The guideline state that a combined cycle for this engine will produce an average of 72.4 mpg. Well I'm sorry mazda but no, it just doesn't. My daily commute is an 18.5 mile journey each way, of that 15 miles are spent on a dual carriageway doing 70mph. I would class that as the sort of journey where you should expect to be getting close to a combined figure. How close? You would expect 60mpg, maybe 65 with a quoted value of 72.4. Well I get 50mpg. If I take the dual carriage way at 60 instead of 70, I can average 55mpg over the whole 37 miles. I like to think myself a pretty conservative driver. In my petrol ford focus, i could average 36mpg on the same journey. Then when I changed to a Astra GTC 2.0l diesel i could average 48-50mpg from an acclaimed combined figure of 55mpg. So to still be getting 50mpg with and engine that is apparently capable to 20mpg more is a big disappointment. I haven't spoken to mazda about it, but not sure they would be able to do anything... It would be nice to hear from other 3 owners with the diesel engine to see what your fuel experiences are.

Anyway, rant over and back onto more pleasurable experiences. The Gearbox. You can really tell Mazda have tried to make all of their cars drive like the MX-5 and the gearbox is no different. It a precise, short throw box which is situated perfectly for the drivers position so it feels sporty and quick. The clutch action is also light, smooth and easy to get to grips with.


Interior and Quality

To leather or not to leather? That was a big question when buying my 3, In the end it was answered for me as the choice i had was; get cloth and the deep crystal blue paint or get leather and have another paint. The paint won that battle, although my girlfriend constantly reminding me that the leather is twice the price of paint may have also had an input. I'm happy with the cloth though, its soft, not scratchy and durable as my dog has not managed to harm it during his many outing on the back seat.

The rest of the car fairs just as well in this regard, the soft touch plastics on the dashboard and doors help carry the premium feel from the exterior design to the interior of the car. The leather steering wheel, handbrake and gear stick are excellent and all of the buttons and dials feel solid and perfectly able to stand up to a 4 year old's best removal efforts. The various dials and controls are well laid out and easy to find without taking your mind off the road. A couple of niggles with the controls would be that one touch electric windows are only available for the drivers window and not the others, that's a mild nuisance. The next niggle though is plain frustrating. The fuel filler cap release is a small black plastic lever down to the drivers right hand side, just above the accelerator pedal. The bonnet release is a small black plastic lever down to the drivers right hand side, just above the accelerator pedal and just next to the fuel filler cap release. I have lost count of the number of times I have pulled up at a petrol station, stopped the car, reached down and opened up the bonnet!

In the back seat there is plenty of room for adults and you can fit 3 adults in the back. Although, not hugely comfortable on long journeys. I'm not sure about how comfortable the boot is but, it is certainly spacious and although the back seats don't fold flat, I haven't had a problem with carrying luggage yet and in December all the family's christmas presents fitted in fine and made it down to Devon without breakage or mishap.


Tech and Gadgets

This is where I rub my hand together and get excited, because now I get to talk about my favourite part of the car - the Heads Up display! Like most other people, when I first saw the heads up display, I was skeptical (to say the least). A nice gimmick that you show off to your friends and everyone looks at you like you are trying to compensate for something. Well I took the thing for a test drive and within 10 minutes the heads up display was as natural to me as the accelerator pedal being on the right. I'm so used to it now that I find the analogue speedo on my girlfriend's Ford Ka strange and difficult to read! The HUD gives you your speed as a digital readout, it is clear and, importantly, it is literally just below your normal eyeline. A small flick downwards and i can read my current speed and be back to the road instantly.

When the sat nav is running, the directions are also displayed on the HUD, with your speed readout being temporarily minimized to the top left corner - still readable. The instructions are clear to read and I don't have to use the infotainment screen as much as I would've done in other sat nav systems.

If you haven't used the HUD yourself and are (understandably) unconvinced by the above then - I urge you to at least take a car on a decent length test drive and give it a chance.

Other tech in the car includes radio (no DAB though), CD player (not used), aux port, 2x USB ports (use all the time), the sat nav itself, multimedia commander, range of information available on the dash. I have a USB stick with all of my music on it and play this through the car's stereo. This works well but is not without its faults. The big plus is that the multimedia system will happily play lots of different file types, not just MP3 files which is excellent. The multimedia commander works very well throughout the infotainment suite and I prefer to use it than the touchscreen. (which at least saves me from finger print makes littering the screen. The system is not flawless and occasionally the system forgets which song/playlist I was listening to last drive and starts again from the first song in the list. Also, occasionally the system freezes mid song and I cant get it going again unless I stop and start the engine. (not useful midway down the motorway). The fuel economy monitor is very useful and allows you to see your fuel consumption over "This Drive" and your whole trip since last reset. The screen itself is clear and I dont tend to have problems with sun glare. The menu systems are logical and easy to navigate. On the whole a well thought out and designed software package.

The dash has an 'info' section with 5 or 6 different things to scroll through, instant fuel consumption, miles left in the tank, average speed, average fuel and possibly a couple of others I cant remember. The only glaring omission in this list for me is the number of miles driven since last reset of the trip. would make it easier to work out how many miles I'm getting out of each tank.

Overall I'm very pleased with the purchase and it is the best car I have ever owned. Looking to the future I can see myself upgrading to a 6, to get the estate boot. The sweet spot for me would be a Mazda 3 MPS estate. But neither of those options are making it to the new Mazda 3. Shame.

Hope you guys found this useful and informative if you are looking at the possibility of buying a new 3. If you have any questions or comments on any of the above points please comment. I'm happy to chat.

Offline Willpower

  • Administrator
  • Super Ultimate Class
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  • Posts: 6390
  • Gender: Male
  • East Anglia Mountain Rescue Team
  • Body: Saloon
  • Colour: Winning Blue (27B) Metallic
  • Engine: 2.0L
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Model: Mazda 3
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Trim: Sport
  • Year: 2004
Re: 8 months and 6,500 miles later
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2015, 02:21:43 PM »
What an excellent review.  Thank you very much for taking the time to do this. I'm sure it will be extremely useful for those debating their next purchase.
Look at life through the windscreen, not the rearview mirror.
2004 Winning Blue 2Ltr Sport Saloon.  Laser Blue Main beams.

Offline RichardC

  • Takara Class
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  • Posts: 75
  • Gender: Male
  • I need to update my signature strip!!!
  • Body: Saloon
  • Colour: Soul Red Metallic (41V)
  • Engine: 2.0L
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Model: Mazda 3
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Trim: Sport
  • Year: 2014
Re: 8 months and 6,500 miles later
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2015, 07:20:35 PM »
Hi gorgerak,

A very useful appraisal of a wonderful motor car. I wrote a review for honest john after nearly 4 months of ownership. My review attempted to comment on the many adverse comments by 'experts'. This review is available on http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/owner-reviews/mazda/3-2014.

Since July my views are unchanged, it is very good motor car. Fuel consumption for my petrol Auto Sport Nav is 39.0mpg using brim to brim method over 5250 miles. This is very close to 80% of the manufacturers figure which is all you can expect in the real world. My 2.5 mile journeys from cold in winter are not conducive to good mpg. Winter, almost all local trips return 33mpg whereas a 300 mile trip gives 44.8 mpg.
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Offline gorgerak

  • S Class
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Gender: Male
  • I need to update my signature strip!!!
  • Body: Fastback
  • Colour: Deep Crystal Blue Metallic (42M)
  • Engine: 2.2L
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Model: Mazda 3
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Trim: Sport
  • Year: 2014
Re: 8 months and 6,500 miles later
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 12:48:36 PM »
Nice one that's a good review. I hadn't thought about the wing mirrors when I was writing my review. I'll have to pay closer attention to them on my next drive.

Mazda 3 Forums UK

Re: 8 months and 6,500 miles later
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 12:48:36 PM »