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Mazda MAZDA3, Mitsubishi Lancer
#13 of 18 Just test drove 07/08 Mazda3 and 08 Lancer tonite ...
Jul 19, 2007 (8:29 pm)
We're looking at buying a commuter car for my wife/weekend rider for my son (first car), and it's come down to these two if we buy new. Local dealer just got in a couple of 08 Mazda3 models, so we drove both the 07/08 Mazda 3i Touring (auto/manual respectively), and the 08 Lancer ES/GTS (auto/manual).
In terms of performance, Lancer auto was ok but felt a bit hesitant. Lancer manual was definitely faster and more responsive. Mazda auto was (felt?) a tad bit faster and more responsive than Lancer auto. Again, manual version was noticeably faster.
Fuel consumption favored the Mazda (about 3mpg better in both city/hwy per 08 EPA estimates in the manual versions of both cars).
The Lancer appeared to be a bit roomier than the Mazda (I sat in the back, 6'3" tall) in terms of leg room and width, though head room may have been better in the Mazda.
Fit and finish felt more upscale in the Mazda. It also seemed quieter than the Lancer, and it had a nice engine/exhaust note. BTW, one complaint we've read about from many Mazda3 owners is the AC, and I'm happy to report that this has been addressed in the 08 model. Both the 08 Mazda and the 08 Lancer worked well in that regard, and I would choose an 08 Mazda over an older model for that very reason even if it carried a somewhat higher price tag (we live near Wash DC, hot humid summers).
Cost-wise, the Lancer can be had for less money, and has a longer bumper-to-bumper warranty. It also has lower insurance premiums, at least with our carrier. Some of this price premium may be offset by the Mazda's better fuel economy and possibly better resale value (haven't researched the Lancer in detail, but a used Mazda3 definitely demands a high price tag).
At the end of the day, all three of us preferred the Mazda3, even my 15yo son who initially favored the Lancer GTS because of its looks (the only thing he still likes better in the GTS, but only by a small margin).
In many ways, the Mazda3 very much reminds me of a 3-series BMW, especially in the sedan version (just due to looks, not performance, the hatchback has spades of that).
BTW, my first VCR was a Mitsubishi, my last tube TV was a Mitsubishi (great picture), I've read lots of good things about the Lancer Evo, I've never been too fond of the Mazda RX7 (too small) or the Mazda RX8 (I owned a Nissan 350Z, cleaner looks and better performance imo), and I've always found the Mazda "zoom-zoom-zoom" commercials a bit strange for lack of a better word, so I was certainly not biased in favor of Mazda in any way. And I do find it a bit "arrogant" that they cut the warranty from 4yrs/50k mls down to 3yrs/36k mls.
#14 of 18 Re: Just test drove 07/08 Mazda3 and 08 Lancer tonite ... [fvoelling]
Jul 20, 2007 (8:01 am)
id go with the three, but not because it looks like a bmw, because it really does not! does it perform in the same manner as a 3 series with a good ride/ handling balance? yes. but it looks nothing alike.
#15 of 18 Re: Just test drove 07/08 Mazda3 and 08 Lancer tonite ... [fvoelling]
Jul 20, 2007 (12:28 pm)
We're looking at buying a commuter car for my wife/weekend rider for my son (first car)
Does your wife have a preference for manual/automatic. As a commuter car, an automatic may be less troublesome.
I suppose this is the first car for your "15 yr old" son. Have you considered a used vehicle rather than a brand new one? Have you compared safety options?
#16 of 18 Re: Just test drove 07/08 Mazda3 and 08 Lancer tonite ... [fvoelling]
Jul 21, 2007 (5:13 am)
I have had many cars and also owned a mazda RX8, nice car but the AC was just plain hot, a fact on the mazdas, I do like the 3 but only the hatch, you cant go wrong on the fully loaded GTS lancer, it has many toys that even my new civic with navi did not have....good luck with the 3........the warranty from mitsi, is a nice plus
#17 of 18 Re: Just test drove 07/08 Mazda3 and 08 Lancer tonite ... [fvoelling]
Jul 22, 2007 (6:19 am)
I honestly don't think that you'd go wrong with either car; I just picked up a Mazdaspeed3 and I couldn't be more pleased. I've owned several BMWs and was hoping against hope that BMW NA would bring over the five door 135i. Since the 1er is only being offered as a coupe I decided to try something different.
#18 of 18 Re: Just test drove 07/08 Mazda3 and 08 Lancer tonite ... [roadburner]
Jul 23, 2007 (9:10 am)
not to mention that as cool looking as the 5 door 135i is, the backseat space is pretty much useless.