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Mazda MAZDA3, Mazda MAZDASPEED MAZDA3, Hatchback, Sedan
#220 of 437 Re: Skyactiv 6MT [backy]
Dec 19, 2011 (1:53 pm)
Thanks for your thoughts on the Mazda3 SKYACTIV 6-speed mtx. We have sold out of our 6-speeds and don't have any more for quite sometime.
I have a subaru dealer in our dealer group and I have had some seat time in the 2012 Impreza and I came away both impressed and disappointed. Lemme explain...
I think the car looks much, much better in person than in print. The interior is put together very, very well. The drive train is every smooth and 5-speed manual was very slick (not as slick as Mazda's). I thought power delivery was decent, but the low end grunt was lacking significantly compared to the previous 2.5L model. Interior space was excellent and rear room, for me, was outstanding. I am 6'3".
As for the handling, I thought it was just OK. Considering Subaru bench marked the Mazda3 as it's target, I feel they came up way short. The interior design is rather uninspiring and dull.
Being that the Subi has AWD, the mileage is impressive. Living in New England, Subaru's are extremely popular, and our Subaru store is one of the nations largest. If I were in the market for a car in this segment (which I am not), the Impreza would be on my short list along with the Mazda3.
Back to the Mazda3....
I believe with the drive train overhaul, first reviews and owner reports, the car should the top of the class for technology, performance and economy.
Styling is still subjective and IMO, not the best, but still looks pretty good for a 3yr old design. The interior is well put together and materials are pretty good, but not class leading. I believe the Focus and Elantra are a notch or two better but the Mazda3 is better than the Cruze, Civic and the rest of the class.
Thanks for your input
#221 of 437 Re: Skyactiv 6MT [aviboy97]
Dec 19, 2011 (4:11 pm)
I kinda like the sheer simplicity of the Impreza's dash. Germanic in a way. I think it will wear well over time. Good to hear the 5 speed is "slick". I don't suppose you noticed the revs on the highway?
My only concerns on the Impreza are: 1) shift quality and revs for the MT; 2) ride quality--ride with 17" wheels was too hard for my taste, I hope the 16-inchers are smoother; 3) rear seat ankle clearance. Maybe the Premium hatch will "sit" differently than the Limited sedan I drove.
If those concerns are resolved, it will be a real tough choice between the Mazda3 and Impreza... with the Focus SE as a dark horse. One thing I do like about the Impreza is the rear seats fold FLAT. Not so on the Mazda3. They don't stick up as much as on some cars, but they don't fold flat.
#222 of 437 Re: Skyactiv 6MT [backy]
Dec 19, 2011 (5:57 pm)
When it comes to the Subaru buyer, simplicity is key. Subaru has an amazing owner loyalty rate, and their customers do not like change.
I have driven both CVT and 5-speed models and sedan and Sport (5-door) variants. IIRC, the revs are around 2,500-2,800 at 70mph. Don't quote me on that, I might be incorrect. I will say, the engine did not have the "wonk, wonk, wonk" sound Subaru's are known for having.
I noticed you mentioned ankle clearance, but I did not look at that when I sat in the rear. I just noticed that there was an abundance of room between my knees and the seat in front of me.
The 5-speed manual was nice. The shifter itself is rather large, but throws are shorter than you would expect, but not nearly as short at the 6-speed Mazda.
I found the Focus hatch to be rather tight. I really like to build quality, solidness (is that even a word?) and materials used. I found the cabin to be very tight. I also do not like the weird geometry used to design the cabin. The exterior is rather dull to me as well. The only part I like is the rear of the sedan, not the hatchback. I also found the power to be underwhelming. I thought 160hp would feel quicker. The Mazda3 might be a hair faster, IMO. We will have to wait and see for a head-to-head from someone (Edmunds, I hope you are listening!!) and see which is quicker.
I believe you mentioned you live in Minnesota? It's hard to pass up AWD when you get snow like we do (Connecticut). That is why I would have the Impreza on my shopping list.
What I am in the market for is a small SUV. It is time to replace my 2005 Mazda6 i 5-door 5-speed manual. I have 2 kids, and the car is not big enough. I have the luxury of having a company car, but my wife drives the 6 now. We will either be buying a Forester or a CX-5 when it comes out. I think it will be the CX-5, but which ever car my wife feels more comfortable in, we will get.
#223 of 437 Subie & Mazda [backy]
Dec 20, 2011 (10:46 am)
Interesting discussion, backy.
What is the approximate price difference between the Mazda3 Skyactiv hatch with MT and Subaru Impreza Premium hatch with MT?
In a somewhat unrelated vein, driving in Canada, which is known for its winters, I can't say that I have ever felt uncomfortable in my Protege5 shod with winter tires. My Mazda3 inspires even more confidence with its added ESC. I have heard the praise of AWD but frankly I wonder about the value proposition. And then there are those off-road vehicles that rarely stray from asphalt, but that deserves a separate post.
#224 of 437 Re: Subie & Mazda [autonomous]
Dec 20, 2011 (11:06 am)
Chicago gets a fair amount of snow as well. I have one(of three) vehicles that is a 4X4 and I have turned on the AWD portion two or three times per winter and I'm sure I could have made it just fine without it even then. Maybe a little more slipping at stop signs or traffic lights but doable.
For city or suburb driving in the snow belt I think front-wheel drive is adequate. It does depend on the condition of the roads you drive on however and maybe I live in an area where the roads are very well plowed and salted. It's the rare storm that people can't get around with front wheel drive just about as well as AWD. My next CUV(CX-5 possibly) will most likely have just front wheel drive for the MPG and less maint/cost up front. If I happen to get stuck once over the life of the vehicle it still wouldn't be worth the extra overall cost IMO.
#225 of 437 Re: Subie & Mazda [m6user]
Dec 20, 2011 (12:06 pm)
For city or suburb driving in the snow belt I think front-wheel drive is adequate. It does depend on the condition of the roads ... It's the rare storm that people can't get around with front wheel drive ... wouldn't be worth the extra overall cost
p.s. Likely I am not alone in finding that the most dangerous aspect of winter driving is other drivers.
#226 of 437 Re: Subie & Mazda [autonomous]
Dec 20, 2011 (12:36 pm)
I live in a hilly area that doesn't always get such loving attention. On the other hand, I can work from home if the roads are that bad, so it's just a matter of not wanting to be stuck somewhere, not a matter of leaving the house in the stuff.
Then again, for a 4 MPG loss by going from a Mazda3 SkyActiv to a Subie Impreza you gain additional handling from the AWD, as well as gobs of rear seat room and auto climate control.
#227 of 437 Re: Subie & Mazda [autonomous]
Dec 20, 2011 (12:49 pm)
I think the difference is only about $300... Impreza being more. There's some difference in features (AWD being the obvious difference, and 5MT vs. 6MT, and Mazda3 has standard leather wheel/shifter) but they are comparable for my purposes. Focus SE will be less, but doesn't have alloys unless I spring for the Sport package, which I don't want as I want the Stone interior.
#228 of 437 Re: Subie & Mazda [bpizzuti]
Dec 20, 2011 (12:56 pm)
.... gobs of rear seat room ...
#229 of 437 Re: Subie & Mazda [bpizzuti]
Dec 20, 2011 (2:05 pm)
Then again, for a 4 MPG loss by going from a Mazda3 SkyActiv to a Subie Impreza you gain additional handling from the AWD
The Subi Sport (5-door) with a manual transmission gets 33mpg highway compared to the Mazda3 5-door gets 38 and averages 32 combined. Thats a pretty big difference.
Does AWD really mean that much for the 90% of the time you don't need it? That's what one needs to evaluate.