Last post on Jan 04, 2004 at 9:23 AM
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Mazda MAZDA3, Mazda MAZDA6, Hatchback
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Oct 28, 2003 (9:34 am)
I hope the seat material quality is better on the Mazda3 than on the Mazda6. Since it's being built in Japan for worldwide sales (or is it?), I would expect the overall quality to be excellent.
Are they planning on building the Mazda3 anywhere else?
#52 of 56 Not that I know of
Oct 28, 2003 (9:49 am)
all in Japan, which is great!
#53 of 56 Winning Blue ...
Oct 31, 2003 (2:13 pm)
... you have to see it in person. If you've seen an RX-8 in Winning Blue in person, and still don't like it - then my message is pointless.
However, I didn't like the web photos - but I know, if it were available on the 6 and I had seen it beforehand, that's what I would have chosen. The Winning Blue looks absolutely stunning in person - especially while ZoomZooming down the road (or a track!). I followed and watched one recently on my way to work - its just beautiful!
Granted I got the Lapis Blue6, which is gorgeous too! So I'm partial to Blue Mazdas
I have a beautiful night shot which I'll post soon, for everyone's benefit
#54 of 56 Mazda does have nice blues.
Nov 01, 2003 (9:03 am)
And their yellows are very nice too, probably the best yellows I've seen on a car. And that red on the RX-8 is very nice. They've got good people working on their paint colors.
Nov 22, 2003 (7:32 pm)
checked it out at morries today. just a looksy at the interior and stuff, they had a copper hatch in the showroom.
styling...the pictures pretty much convey the look pretty well. it looks good. nothing really to elaborate on other than it looks taller and more substantial than the Protege. Assembly and paint quality looked pretty good. No complaints. Certainly is no Ion in the looks department.
price-the unit was config'ed at 20,500 I believe. It had cloth seats, but no lthr. Didn't really check out the rest. It did have the moonroof.
interior- this is where I have most of my initial impression. It was the black cloth with the colored stripes. I can't remember whether it was the red or blue stripes.
I'll first throw in a barb about the overall design. Good design, but what is immediately apparent, and off-putting. On two counts. First, the interior feels confining. Some may say intimate. It feels tighter than the Protege is what I say. Personal taste aside, the cowl is MUCH higher and so are the side windows. The appeal of the Protege to me was the airy cabin. The 3 cockpit is not airy. Yes, its more intimate. But is it confining now? To me, in width and intrusions it did seem confining. Perhaps I could adjust to it, but I really love the Protege's interior and this feels different. Those accustomed to low cowl heights and large glass area will find this very different. In addition, it feels narrow (maybe partially because of good head room). There actually seems to be less seating space than the Protege. Shoulder room feels like less. Maybe the seat centers are closer together, who knows. Leg room in back was ok. Getting in the back was tight, but I'm 6'1. The rear seats were very supportive and high. Front seats were good also, comfy.
The second count was how I found the 'design' to be good, with appealing lines and such, but I found the interior materials disappointing. The dash plastic is REAL similar to the natty stuff in the CTS. It conveys the same less than nice impression. The electro gauges too didn't seem particularly expensive looking. The console area was pretty nice, though and the door panels aside from the natty stuff were ok. Seat cloth is a little better than the 6 cloth. Things didn't seem to be put together as well as the Protege. Overall impression was that among compacts its good, not great however. Maybe the expectation was too much. Or maybe the black is too drab. Still below Jetta in overall execution. Very close to Corolla. Pretty good, some impressions of cheapness.
Trunk didn't seem terribly big. Certainly not appreciably bigger than a Protege5. in addition its a bit irregular of shape.
then I went and checked out Proteges again. I would say this. Unless the 3 is a significantly better driver than the Pro, I would advise one to put the money on the Pro and take advantage of the super deals right now. There is no space advantage to the 3, and in fact it feels more confining. The material quality is better in the Pro interior.
Compared to the Focus (which I looked at the SVT version right after) the 3 has nicer plastic and a nicer interior design but the Focus definitely has a different, open feel which I like. Assuming the driving experience is close, I would look hard at the benefit to saving money with the Focus SVT or PZEV.
Compared to the 6, the 6 has a way nicer and larger interior. The prices are pretty close in real world. If you need the larger car, than go with the 6. You might think they are close in space but the sitting impression tells me the 6 is considerably more spacious and again is more open feeling.
To sum, I would not buy the 3 on overall package, or looks , or interior alone. I would need the test drive to tell me if the driving experience is that much enhanced to consider it to its most logical alternatives, the Protege, Focus, and Mazda6.
But by all means I don't think negatively about the 3, in comparison to 90% of the other small cars its a very nice package. It just doesn't seem on the surface to be a quantum leap forward. Makes the Protege seem even better to me, aside from the powertrain upgrades.
#56 of 56 Order of preference
Jan 04, 2004 (9:23 am)
Ok, so I've only sat in the 3 hatch and sedan, and not in the 6 hatch and wagon, but from a functionality/performance/price standpoint, here's my practicality driven ranking:
1) 6 wagon (big room, an area behind the rear seats that my big dogs could fit in)
2) 3 hatch (great utility, much better engine than Pro5 it replaces, performance equal to or better than 6 sedan with 3L engine)
3) 6 hatch (a sportier look than 6 sedan, but no big space premium like the wagon. A mazdaspeed version of this car would change my opinion dramatically )
4) 6 sedan (what I own now, smooth but need more room for expanding family)
5) 3 sedan (Ditto).