Base model. What does that image conjure to mind? Vinyl seats? Tinny AM radio? A low rent penalty box on wheels? A few years ago, you’d be right on the money. Driving misery was available for voluntary purchase at the showrooms of just about every major car maker.
Now, though … it’s tougher to find, but there are entry-level vehicles out there that, in their cheapest guise, won’t make you cringe with each pull of the driver’s door handle. These base models? They’ve aced it. Here’s a good example.
I’m currently driving a 2011 Ford Fusion with 80,000 miles. It’s good, reliable, and utterly boring. I’ll have it completely paid off in a couple of months. Here’s where I’m going to get myself into trouble.
The responsible thing to do would be to keep the Fusion and enjoy a paid-off car. But …
While driving a rental car recently, I remembered how much I enjoy a manual transmission. There are also a couple of times a year when I could use the extra capacity of a hatch. I’m starting to look at the listings for lightly used Ford Focuses and Mazda3s with manual transmissions, thinking, “Wouldn’t it be fun?”
Last week, our own Tim Cain broke down exactly why the Dart was destined for the dustbin. Steph asked in April if the Dart would outlast the Obama administration, a question answered last week with a resounding “no” from Auburn Hills. And before that, I asked you what company could build a replacement for the Dart, while offering up my own guesses. One car kept rising to the top of the suggestion list: the Mazda3.
But, what would a Mazda3-based Dodge Dart replacement look like? We wanted to know. And since none of us at TTAC are particularly gifted when it comes to pixel manipulation, we commissioned a pair of renders from the talented Theophilus Chin of Chris Doane Automotive to find out.
Enthusiast praise for the Mazda3 began before the current-generation compact Mazda arrived in late 2013. Previous iterations benefited from hugely positive reviews. “We’re going to love the 3 once it arrives in America,” Automobile wrote in December 2003. Credit for dynamic excellence was the norm a generation later. “Steering is direct and the suspension is firm enough for spirited driving and equally competent at soaking up bumps,” said AutoGuide in early 2009. I haven’t hesitated to get in on the action, writing in my second review of the latest compact Mazda, “The Mazda3 is still the best compact car you can buy.”
It’s therefore not surprising to see that in a five-way compact car comparison for the magazine’s July edition, Car and Driver named the 2016 Mazda3 i Grand Touring the winner of the test. Car and Driver handed the Mazda 203 points, 44-percent more than the fifth-ranked 2016 Nissan Sentra SL achieved.
Industry observers also won’t be surprised to learn that Car and Driver’s fifth-ranked Nissan Sentra produced 139-percent more first-half sales than the Mazda, while the other three losers all roundly outsold the Mazda, as well. (Read More…)
A diesel version of the Mazda3 is dead in Australia, reports CarAdvice, leaving just the gasoline-powered version of Mazda’s compact on the market.
The removal of the diesel model comes ahead of a mid-cycle refresh that will bring Mazda’s hatchback and sedan inline visually with the refreshed Mazda6 and CX-5, and the new CX-9.
A number of circumstances played into Mazda’s decision to discontinue the compression-ignition option.
Over the past few weeks, TTAC instituted a formula by which the Best & Brightest and TTAC’s editors and contributors would choose 2016’s Ten Best Automobiles Today and 2016’s Ten Worst Automobiles Today.
Earlier this week, the winners and losers were revealed. But does the TTAC Best & Brightest agree with the great American consumer? Are TTAC’s picks in keeping with the choices made by millions of new car buyers?
We’re answering those questions by looking at the market performance of each winner and by providing additional insight from a devil’s advocate. Do the winners deserve to be winners? (Read More…)
I am anticipating that my 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon, with 210,000+ miles on the clock, will need replacing soon. I’m lucky in that my wagon is a five-speed manual with the 2.2-liter EJ motor, so has been fairly bulletproof. In the last 19 years, it has needed only minimal work besides regular maintenance and wear items (brakes, clutch, tires), aside from the occasional axle or other random parts (i.e. alternator). I’ve been looking around at affordable commuter 5-door hatchbacks (Mazda3, Impreza, Focus, etc.) as it must fit multiple kids, sports gear, and I need a daily driver for work (~45 miles round trip).
Here’s my question: I would like something a little sporty as more than half of my commute is on fun twisty back roads. I keep going back and forth on whether or not to go for a naturally aspirated or turbo engine, followed by trying to decide between auto or manual. I feel like my five-speed-manual Subaru skewed my perception to believe a naturally aspirated engine and manual transmission is a much more sturdy, robust and reliable setup that’s less prone to breaking and needing repairs (fewer parts to fail) than a turbo and/or automatic.
Am I wrong?
After three weeks of nominations, votes from our writers, and another round of votes from you, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is TTAC’s Best Automobile Today.
Is that really a surprise?
I am currently in my second year of a 3 1/2 year lease on a 2015 Mazda3 GT — which is probably the most engaging, convenient and efficient vehicle I’ve ever owned. Everything
they say about Mazda nailing the driving dynamics is spot on.
I wasn’t married prior to leasing the vehicle, nor did I have my first child, nor was I expecting another child 14 months after having my first (almost Irish twins). I drove less, hated my job more and didn’t understand the joy a family can bring you. Now I have a 100+ mile total commute daily that I don’t even notice because of my quality of life, job and quite possibly my vehicle.
Yet, I feel the urge to make a vehicle change for 3 reasons:
Mazda stopped selling and delivering 2015 and 2016 Mazda3s built between May 21 and Aug. 24, the automaker announced Tuesday. A faulty fuel shut-off value may lead to fuel being pumped into the charcoal emissions canister, which could lead to leakage, engine stalls and possible fire.
The stop sale and recall affects 14,270 vehicles in the U.S. and 136 vehicles in Puerto Rico.