Author Topic: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?  (Read 2946 times)

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Offline Renevator

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Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« on: December 28, 2022, 12:22:29 PM »
Hi all, hope you've had a good Xmas.

I joined here as we're thinking of retiring our 2003 Golf 1.6 - for something like a 2015-2018 Mazda 3 of course :)

It will be a joint and only car, and my wife doesn't want anything too big (otherwise I'd go for a Mazda 6), and I think a Mazda 2 is too small tbh.
We have up to £10,000 (ish) to spend, and will look to keep this car until it falls apart - ideally more than 10 years?
A focus was on the cards until I read all the horror stories about the thin cylinder walls on the newer engines.
Another golf? - we'd be looking at a much older model for that money and, well, the Mazda is a classier machine I reckon.

Wise move? The reason I ask, is we've always run cheap cars. We now have the opportunity to get something slightly more modern, and from all I've read, the Mazda 3 seems like as good a bet as any, for reliability at least. Buying on PCP/PCH seems to be a much more expensive way of motoring, in the long run, unless I've missed something. £10k over 10 years = £84 pm.

So from what I've read (some very useful info here, thanks), an SE-L makes sense. And as late a year model as poss.
Here's my thinking:

1. Tyres on Sport Nav limited choice & very expensive to replace
2. Ride more compliant on 16" wheels, and quieter
3. SE-L Nav best spec after Sport Nav? - am I right? - I seem to only be missing out on reversing camera & heads up display with a full spec SE-L-Nav over Sport Nav
4. 2.0L petrol ideal engine size for us (less than 6,000 miles per year)
5. 2017-2018 model better bet than earlier - although earlier models benefit from £30 tax which is tempting, but govt might change that.
6. I can retrofit android auto if need be?

As I've read here, SE-L Nav's are less common, but I've seen this, and very tempted, as it looks like reasonable value:

https://www.burrowsmotorcompany.co.uk/mazda/used-cars/15390221-mazda-3-2.0-se-l-nav-5dr/

So I'd appreciate any advice really. Obviously I'd look for full service history, and a generally well looked after car.

Any advice on specific mileage - i.e. should I be wary of buying anything over 50,000? - we'd be looking to add 50,000 miles over 10 years ownership. We live in Southport, nr the sea, so yes I appreciate rust might be more of the issue than mechanical gremlins.

Also, what do you make of a Mazda dealership cars and their warranty? - is it worth paying over the odds a bit for a car from a dealer, like this one?

Or would you recommend an entirely different route - say, an older model, with low miles, save myself £3-4k?

Thanks





Offline Engineer Andy

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2022, 01:55:37 PM »
You've essentially given all the relevant points about the car as to pro's and con's of the one you appear to be going for - it's also the version I'd have.  Android Auto can be retrofitted (and by a main dealer), but if I recall, doing so there will cost a few hundred Quid - best to check if you want to go that route.  Most Mazda3s are either Sport or Sport Nav or above, most SE-L level are also Nav.

The updated '2017' version was first introduced in December 2016 (the obvious visual differences are the different DRLs on the front bumber and the change (back) to the rectangular centre arm rest, as well as the introduction of the handbrake button.  Of those, the best of them to go for VED-wise are those registered between the start of 2017 and March 31st 2017, because you get the benefit of the lower-priced 'banded VED at £30pa rather than the latest version which comes in currntly around the £165pa mark if I recall.

Mostly the same car otherwise, with the exception of Android Auto, which was added later on as standard, near the end of the model.  That date should be given *somewhere* on this forum (best to search for that).

I think that the 2L petrol SE-L (Nav) shod on 205/60 R16 tyres is the best value for money, still excellent handling but a better ride than the 18in sidewall tyres on higher spec models and, as you say, much cheaper to replace as well as less susceptible to damage, better on mpg and longer lasting.

You may want to check to see whether any cars on offer come with the optional extra spare wheel/space saver tyre in the underboot area (which is used for ICE in top spec models).  If it has the OEM one (not easy to get another brand as the space is an odd shape and the OEM uses a special-shaped foam cutout), then you've saved yourself £395 (last time I checked) for the Mazda version.  Note that having it dow raise the boot floor up a bit, reducing the overall and useful space of the boot.

The less popular fastback is better looking and has a much bigger boot (lengthways and total, 430L vs 365L approx) but (like my gen-1 car) suffers from a small boot opening which can be a hinderance to get large, cubed-shaped items (large boxes) into the boot, unlike the 5dr hatch version.

The engine is fine, if unspectacular in terms of performance, better than a N/A 1.6 petrol, but not loads better.  Handling is excellent.  It seems to be reliable - I've not heard any bad stories about it.  The diesel versions are another matter, if not used as diesels should be (long distance driving) and should IMHO be avoided unless you 100% know how it was driven beforehand.

I know this is a Mazda3 forum, but you may also want to consider (if you're going for a manual gearbox) the similar era Seat Leon 2014-19 (either 3dr Sc or 5dr versions) in 1.4TSI petrol format, either SE or FR versions.  Some of the earlier versions have an uprated (from the standard 125PS version) 140PS FR version or the later FR 150PS one with cylinder deactivation.  All of them are excellent to drive, though the higher spec FR version did come shod on 17in then 18in rims.

The best compromise was a early 1.4TSI 140PS SE version on 205/55 R16 tyres, but that only has manual A/C - the climate control is only on the FR (standard on the Mazda3 SE-L and above).  Slightly bigger boot than the Mazda3 hatch at 380L.  The 3dr SC is the nicest looking (especially in red or black), particularly in FR format.  Make sure the 1.4TSI version is the belt-driven version, as ealier chain driven ones had issues due to manufacturing faults.

I'd leave the DSG twin clutch gearboxes alone as they can be unreliable and expensive to fix if not used as intended during their life - after all, they really are a manual gearbox, just with two clutches, so they can wear a lot if used in heavy traffic regularly.  The Mazda3 auto is nice, smoth and relaible, but at the expense of some performance and mpg, as it's a torque converter unit.

The main issue with Mazda (as with Seat) is making sure you get a good main dealer to look after it, assuming that's what you're going to do.  Both can vary a LOT in quality of customer service post-sales from what I've read.  If you intend to use a trusted local indie, then just make sure they are ok to work on whatever you choose.

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2022, 05:32:45 PM »
Wow, thanks Andy - that's a lot of very useful info. I'll have a look into the Seat Leons. It was on my list but I've always been drawn to the Mazda looks and overall package more, but defo worth a look from your info there.
Good point on the dealer servicing. Our local Southport Mazda dealer seems to have a good reputation. Funnily enough they've got a very nice Sport Nav, out pf my range at £13.5, but a good talking point to get an idea of how they operate.

Thanks again for all that useful info - invaluable stuff. Gonna see if we can get a test drive on that one I linked to, though it's quite a couple of hours drive away from us. Might be worth it though.

Cheers

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2022, 08:26:45 PM »
Just a few things to add to Andy's info..

1st make sure your power mirrors work as intended they are crap and break regularly on gen 3s for no readily apparent reason. They can usually be scored under warranty.

2nd the later Leons still suffer timing issues and require a belt change every 4 years (along with most modern VW cars)..and the engine still has a rep for pulleys randomly failing and lunching the engine.

3rd if you end up with sport rather than an SEL make sure to turn the stereo up as the speakers are known for coming to bits in the door due to water ingress and sounding awful. Again should be fixable under warranty but best to discover before delivery.

4th being near the sea I'd consider getting it Waxoyled I do not trust Mazda rust proofing...the cars are strong the paint and material quality not so much.

Finally if the car is sold as a Nav make sure the card is with it at pick up..they are ferocious expensive for a genuine replacement and tend to get nicked in dealerships and bunged on eBay.

Of modern cars I'd say one of the more likely ones to give good long term service.

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2022, 05:17:47 PM »
Wow, thanks Andy - that's a lot of very useful info. I'll have a look into the Seat Leons. It was on my list but I've always been drawn to the Mazda looks and overall package more, but defo worth a look from your info there.
Good point on the dealer servicing. Our local Southport Mazda dealer seems to have a good reputation. Funnily enough they've got a very nice Sport Nav, out pf my range at £13.5, but a good talking point to get an idea of how they operate.

Thanks again for all that useful info - invaluable stuff. Gonna see if we can get a test drive on that one I linked to, though it's quite a couple of hours drive away from us. Might be worth it though.

Cheers

To add to your reply and that of Steven's, another possible VAG alternative is another Golf and Leon sister car, the Skoda Octavia (2014-20), in 1.4TSI 150PS SE (or close variants) format.  The good thing about that car is that it has a very large boot, has climate control as standard on the SE and above, is comfortable and looks stylish inside and out.  Essentially the same underneath as the other two VAGs, so any issues Steven mentioned would likely apply to it as well.

The extra size does reduce its handling abilities though, so if you conside one, get a thorough test drive in on a variety of road and surface types and at different speeds to check.  I suspect (though cannot confirm) that the SE would be shod on reasonably sensible tyres, possibly the same 'standard' (and thus cheap to replace) 205/55 R16s the SE Leon was back then.

Worth considering, and again, you'd need to make sure the local main dealer was well regarded for post-sales care before thinking of buying one if you intend to get it serviced at a main dealer.

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2022, 10:28:57 PM »
Thanks guys. Good call on the Waxoyl Steven - I'll look into that. Great tip on the stereo too - I seem to recall reading about that at some point, so thanks for the reminder.
Good alternative suggestions, but I think my wife will find the Octavia a bit too big, and as it's a shared car I'm happy to go with her needs. I junked my car as I'm replacing it with summat italian and 2 wheeled  :D. Mind you - I still want a nice 4 wheeled motor too  :D

Cheers

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2022, 07:41:29 AM »
I think you'd be surprised in terms of dimensions. The 3 is one of the bigger cars in the class the Octavia is the largest but it's only 10mm longer.

Due to the styling and some engineering requirements of skyactiv the length of the 3 doesn't really translate into space in the same way as it does in the Skoda.

Although in this circumstance I suppose it depends which one your wife likes (I'd imagine pretty unlikely to be an Octavia). Few years ago all the research I'd done pointed to my wife getting a Mazda 2, she took all this on board and bought a Citroën anyway which to be fair to it has been a good car.

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2023, 12:31:57 PM »
I think you'd be surprised in terms of dimensions. The 3 is one of the bigger cars in the class the Octavia is the largest but it's only 10mm longer.

Due to the styling and some engineering requirements of skyactiv the length of the 3 doesn't really translate into space in the same way as it does in the Skoda.

Although in this circumstance I suppose it depends which one your wife likes (I'd imagine pretty unlikely to be an Octavia). Few years ago all the research I'd done pointed to my wife getting a Mazda 2, she took all this on board and bought a Citroën anyway which to be fair to it has been a good car.

Ah, I'm surprised on the size of the Octavia v 3, thanks for that, I'll have a look at some Octavia's then. I did wonder if a 3 might feel too long in comparison to our golf, but a test drive soon will confirm that for us both. Cheers.

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2023, 12:55:50 PM »
I think you'd be surprised in terms of dimensions. The 3 is one of the bigger cars in the class the Octavia is the largest but it's only 10mm longer.

Due to the styling and some engineering requirements of skyactiv the length of the 3 doesn't really translate into space in the same way as it does in the Skoda.

Although in this circumstance I suppose it depends which one your wife likes (I'd imagine pretty unlikely to be an Octavia). Few years ago all the research I'd done pointed to my wife getting a Mazda 2, she took all this on board and bought a Citroën anyway which to be fair to it has been a good car.

Ah, I'm surprised on the size of the Octavia v 3, thanks for that, I'll have a look at some Octavia's then. I did wonder if a 3 might feel too long in comparison to our golf, but a test drive soon will confirm that for us both. Cheers.

The not-so best use of the car's footprint is also a criticism of the Mazda3 I have, especially the 3rd and 4th generation cars, which feel less spacious insude than my gen-1 car, which (comparing saloon gen-1 with Fastbacks) is only slightly smaller overall in terms of outside dimensions. The two later Mazda3s tend to have (in comparison to cars from other makes, especially VAGs) long bonnets and shorter length rear passenger/boot areas.  Still very pretty looking cars though.

The latest, more 'boxy' VAGs aren't to my taste though, the previous generation ones far better looking.  The 2015 - 2021 Skoda Fabia in (3cyl) 1.0TSI (95PS or preferably 110PS - quite nippy indeed) format in SE or SE-L trim might also be an option as it probably makes the best use of space in its class, despite being in the smaller 'Polo' category.  Rather more 'utilitarian' / spartan inertior (harder, 'cheaper' looking pastics, especially on the dash / centre console) than the Octavia in my view, and not quite as stylish overall.  Still, good value for money like the Octavia.

Have a look at the review(s), data and photos on the Honest John website (https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/) - you don't need to join to just look at the reviews.

I'd only choose a VAG car if the local dealer was well regarded for post-sales and I was going for a manual rather than auto (I wouln't touch the dual clutch units with a bargepole on a second-hand car).

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Re: Wise move spending £10k on a Mazda 3 as long term car?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2023, 12:55:50 PM »