By on September 4, 2014

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Our biggest complaint surrounding the 2014 Mazda3 was the lack of a stick shift option in the 2.5L, 184-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. We felt that the 155-horsepower 2.0L engine was just too limp for the car’s otherwise excellent chassis, but the lack of a manual with the big motor was a disappointment. No longer.

A Mazda source tells us that 2015 Mazda3’s will be available with both the big motor and the 6-speed manual. While this is good news for manual fans, there’s one big issue: the Skyactiv 6AT box is really good. I even think it’s the better of the two gearboxes. But I’d still pick the manual for myself, even if it’s not what I’d recommend to everyone else.

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38 Comments on “2015 Mazda3 To Get 2.5L/6-Speed Manual Combination...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    When the 3 came out Mazda said this combination would come later. Glad it has been confirmed.

  • avatar
    alsorl

    I’m sure the 2.5 will be much zippier then the 2.0. But, how much will the 2.5 eat into the mpg? Which is the main reason why people would purchase this type of small car.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      The penalty is only a couple MPGs. Mazda made big efficiency gains with the Skyactiv 2.5 compared to the old MZR.

      • 0 avatar
        Demetri

        Correction: 4mpg penalty according to the EPA. You only lose 2mpg when you step up to the 2.5L on the automatic equipped model. I wonder if they just dropped the 6-speed manual in with the same gear ratios from the 2.5L Mazda6, which has a shorter 1st gear and final drive compared to the 2.0L Mazda3.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Right. Because without max fuel economy, there is no other reason to buy a reasonably sized car. As long as the fuel economy is the similar, we should all buy barges that barely fit in our garages.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Depends on how you drive, and on gearing. 80-85mph, a properly geared 2.5 shouldn’t be much different from a 2.0. Idling in the city, or when raced, or when driven to game EPA tests, the 2.5 will burn more.

  • avatar
    eManual

    If it has a light interior (tan, light gray, etc.) I would consider it. And an exterior color other than Black or Silver is also appreciated! It could replace my former light blue (exterior/interior) Dodge Lancer MT that was fun.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The 2010 with this combination is adequate but certainly not ideal, 188 HP isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, but its alright as long as I don’t have to live with it.
    Fun though if you can find a road with a curve, have to drive a couple hundred miles to find said curve here though.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Can you clarify Hummer? 188hp in a car the size of the 3 is on the high side compared to the rest of the class (high zoot turbo options like the Focus ST not withstanding)

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        It’s great if your the only person, but I’ve never driven a car so badly affected by adding additional people.
        It (obviously) would feel a lot better if they could hit the 200 mark and/or throw the torque down lower in the rpm.

        There’s no way around it, your going to be wringing its neck above 3,800 rpm to get the fun juice.
        Don’t get me wrong, when your up there its a blast, but having to go there every time gets annoying.

        Obviously not a problem if your not used to low end torque, but I’ve been spoiled.

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          Few compacts come with more power… Those that do are turbocharged. The 2.5 has a better torque curve than many similar engines, and is faster in the “real world” (midrange rpm driving) than the 200hp Toyobaru 2.0.

          2.5 in a car like this is equivalent to a much bigger motor in a midsized car. Hell, I’be driven V6s with worse acceleration curves.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Presumably, this would lower the MSRP by a grand or so, which is badly needed in my opinion. Right now you have to spend $26K to get the 2.5.

    • 0 avatar
      Boxofrain

      I noticed this yesterday and did a Build and Price. However, the manual does not cost less. It’s the same price for both the auto and the manual. This won’t help take rates for the manual because you can bet it will affect resale value if you have a manual vs an auto, even though you never got a break when you purchased it new. All other Mazda3 models are cheaper with the manual. Another reason I’ll be looking elsewhere when I buy my next car. The current Mazda3 with the 2.5 is too expensive and has many features I don’t need or want. Why they haven’t offered the 2.5 in a mid level trim is beyond me.

      The article states the auto is the better of the two choices, but in the Mazda6, the 2.5 and auto combination has no real punch. I’ve yet to see a manual Mazda6 on the local dealers lot.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        That’s disappointing from the company of “zoom-zoom”. Bugs me when automakers pair uplevel engines with mandatory option packages. I suppose manuals truly are for those who want them now rather than those who are just trying to save money on purchase.

        I’d still have to go base GTI for that money; less kit but far more zoom-zoom. I’d appreciate the latter more than the former.

      • 0 avatar
        Demetri

        The 2.5L stick will cost $1,000 less than the automatic. There’s no official build calculator for the 2015 yet (it’s still the 2014 model on Mazda’s page), but Edmunds seems to have pricing info for it, and it confirms the price reduction. The manual has always cost a grand less anyway.

        I agree that it would be nice to have a 3s Sport trim for ~$22,000.

        • 0 avatar
          Boxofrain

          There is on the Mazda Canada site. You can click either option and the price doesn’t change.

          http://www.mazda.ca/MciWeb/configEntryPoint.action?buttonAction=continue&vehicleCode=M3H&modelYear=2015&skipZip=0&from=&dealerToolsId=&zip=A1E4E9

          • 0 avatar
            Demetri

            Looks like that may be the case for Canada, which is too bad, it seems like Canadians get screwed on car prices way too often.

            It will definitely be $1,000 cheaper in the US though.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    The Skyactive 6AT box is “the better of the two…I’d still pick the manual for myself, even if it’s not what I’d recommend for everyone else.”

    Wow! So you would pick the inferior gearbox? Why would you do that?

    If you personally prefer the manual trans, why would you reommend the auto?

    Is is because the masses are not as accomplished as you?

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      No, he’s driven the car with both transmissions, as have I.

      Have you?

      The automatic is quicker. Time to read some Car and Driver, or better yet, drive the two versions yourself of the current 2.0.

    • 0 avatar
      michal1980

      inferior gearbox?

      how is it inferior?

    • 0 avatar

      I like rowing my own gears. I find it enjoyable. But the AT is very smooth, keeps the engine in the powerband effectively and feels like it is better matched to the 2.0L engine.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “Is is because the masses are not as accomplished as you?”

      Yeesh, chip on your shoulder?

      Automatic drip coffee, and even the newer Keurig coffee machines, are fast, convenient, and make very good coffee. But I still buy whole coffee beans, grind them, and brew them. It takes more work, but it’s less expensive, and I like the aroma of the beans and the color of the brew.

      Pineapple comes pre-sliced and pre-packaged at the supermarket. They are fast, convenient, and quite tasty. But I still buy whole pineapple and slice it myself. I need to sharpen my knife so it takes more work. But it’s less expensive, and while it ripens, I get to enjoy its aroma.

      The Mazda3 2.5L comes with an automatic. It’s fast, convenient, and a lot of fun. …

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    I wonder if the 2.5 mated to 6 speed manual will ever make its way to the CX-5.

    On the CX-5 – a manual transmission means being relegated to a base, entry model versus a premium package.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Great. Now all ten internet enthusiasts can go buy one.

    Actually, since the 3 is selling about 100k annually, maybe 10k will take this option.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    derek, outside reading be damned. if you state that you think the auto is the better trans than you need to explain in a sentence or two why you think that way. esp if you then go on to state that you would take the manual yourself but recommend the auto to most everyone else.

    i know, it’s all about the clicks but 2 or 3 sentences would have made this a much more informed article – even if it was opinionated.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Whoooooooooooooo sounds like a bit of a sleeper. Big motor, lightweight car.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the 2.5 manual option has been available on non US markets since release

    not a cheap car though but it is pretty at least as the sedan

    pretty much usd$25,000 for the manual 2.5 sedan

    the 1.6 turbo Cruze still dusts it in a straight line for about $2,500 less

  • avatar
    blackcayman

    I drive a 2012 3S GT hatchback with the 2.5 & 6 speed manual. Its a great gearbox and very engaging to drive. Compared to the manual in the civic – which feels like a fork standing up in a bowl of chili.

    My only complaint is that 6th gear is turning 3000 RPM at about 70 MPH; I wish it were a true overdrive for better freeway mileage.

    I also understand that automatic transmissions may be superior in achieving slightly better MPG, may shift faster etc – BUT, and its a big but – I much prefer being fully engaged in the driving experience and will continue to choose the manual.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Finally. I always thought it was ridiculous for the “zoom-zoom” company to not offer a manual with the bigger engine. Too bad it’s probably geared too short for highway cruising, with too much road noise on top of that.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Has Mazda fixed their gearing yet?

    I had a 2004 Mazda 6 GT hatchback (‘s’ trim for you American types), V6 5MT. It was an awesome car, but 2600 rpm at 100 kph in 5th?? The very definition of unacceptable. My best bud’s sister has an I want to say 2012 Mazda 3 hatch, 2.5 6MT. Same deal, way too frantic at highway speed.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Unless whomever makes packaging decisions at Mazda NA has suddenly come to their senses, you will still be stuck with the 18s if you want the 2.5. Instead of more properly sized 16s and sensible tire sidewall.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    This combo is needed in the CX-5!

    Note to Site Administrator: This is an enthusiast site. Please remove all comments focussed solely on fuel economy.


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