This is the 2016 Mazda-3 grand touring 5-door sedan. It is obvious that all cars stand on their own as to how well they perform in ‘class’ or ‘type’. This is a midsize affordable family 5-door sedan that is among my top three in class.
The test vehicle sported a manual transmission and that rules out many buyers if an automatic were not available. That is true especially for younger drivers who have probably never driven a manual transmission. Back 30 or 40 years ago the manual transmission was referred to as a “Standard” transmission. Auto was an option. Well the tables have turned in favor of Automatic.
The reason you see so few cars with manual transmissions these days, simply put, is that the consumer opts for automatic in most cases. But mostly it is because automatics have become so good that there is less reason for a manual shift transmission.
Older drivers will remember how cluggie automatic transmissions were in the early days. History buffs may also remember Oldsmobile’s Hydromatic, or Chevrolet’s Powerglide, or Packard’s Ultramatic or Buick’s Dynaflow? Those are just a few of the early versions of the Automatic transmission. That is why Manual transmissions were and continue to be referred to as “Standard” as it was in those early day designs. Automatic was an option.
General Information: It is assembled in Hofu, Japan; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 95% Engine and transmission – Japan; Classification is Midsize. Cars from Mazda: CX 3, CX 5, CX 9, Mazda 2, Mazda 3, Mazda 5, Mazda 6, MX-5 Miata.
Handling & Performance:
The manual trans adds a few mpg and that is good, but in stop and go traffic you’d rather have an automatic. On the optimistic side it gives you something to do and thus you may even be more awake and alert.
I found that on a mountain course I found you don’t really need to shift all that much. The 184 hp matched with a long third gear pretty much handled slow to intermediate speed of travel.
As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On the practical side Mazda is a solid company with well made cars with a generous supply of standard equipment and comfort built in.
Fit and Finish:
I can always count on Mazda to deliver fit and finish that is consistently very good.
It is competitive with a host of features that put Mazda at the top of my list.
Conveniences and comfort:
I’m impressed with a generous list of stuff that includes the most modern state of the art technology features. Blind Spot and Cross traffic sensing and alert is important to me. Stability and cruise controls are a must for my car as well. I also appreciate the Hill Start, especially with a manual transmission.
I have tested all of these makes and models and I encourage you to test drive all if you can, but the top of my list include this Mazda 3, Ford Focus, Kia Forte and VW Golf.
Mazda 3 $26,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $23,000, Ford Focus $25,000, Kia Forte 5 $23,000, Toyota Prius Hybrid $31,000, Nissan LEAF SL Hybrid $38,000, Volkswagen Golf $26,000.
Good fuel economy, great listing of standard features, comfortable, good power.
For many, the manual transmission will be a drawback, (but you will only sacrifice a few mpg with an automatic if that is your choice).
2.5 liter 184 hp 4-cylinder engine, Skyactive MT 6-speed manual transmission, 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brake system, 18” alloy wheels, rain sensing variable intermittent wipers, heated power mirrors with turn signal lights, 5 passenger seating, fog lights, moon roof, leather trimmed seats, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, dual zone climate control, power windows and locks, keyless entry and push button start, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle, 5 year 60,000 mile warranty, 24-hour roadside assistance, anti-theft engine immobilizer, blind sport and rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitor, electric power assist steering, auto on/off lights, body color rear hatch spoiler, 7” color touch screen, rear view camera, navigation system, Bose 9-speaker audio system, am/fm/cd HD radio, Sirius XM radio, sms text message, Bluetooth hands free phone/audio, cruise control, trip computer, steering wheel mounted controls, paddle shifters, stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, front, front sided front and back side curtain air bags.
$2.65/ Gal avg. October 9, 2016
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26 City and 35 Highway MPG
Mazda 3 – 30 combined mpg, Mitsubishi Lancer – 25 combined mpg, Ford Focus – 25 mpg, Kia Forte 5 24 combined mpg, Prius Hybrid -52 combined mpg (electric), Nissan LEAF – 114 combined mpg (electric), VW Golf – 28 combined mpg.