LA Auto Show: New Mazda3

Alex L. Dykes
by Alex L. Dykes
la auto show new mazda3

Up till now nobody knew Madza was competing with VW/Audi for the “largest grille” award. For those that don’t believe us, take a gander at the schnoz on the new Mazda 3. Mazda reps assure us this mug is the future of the entire brand (God helps us). Despite the fact that the Mazda 3 looks set to devour smaller cars and motorcyclists on the road it does at least promise more Zoom-Zoom with Ford’s corporate 2.5L I4 engine good for 167HP or the time honoured 2.0L I4 good for 148HP. Sadly Ford’s corporate 6 speed tranny isn’t along for the ride, nor are any of the Volvo P1 turbo engines (the 3’s platform mate across the pond) or Ford’s SYNC. Premium features on this new whip include Xenon headlamps, keyless ignition and the requisite bluetooth and iPod integration. The only question: can the features make up for the wacky front end grin and Mistubishi-grade interior? Mazdaspeed 3 anyone?

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  • Bytor Bytor on Nov 21, 2008

    Count me among these people: I never really thought about it before (because I never saw a real car demonstrate it like this). But Smiley cars are an instant turn off. For me this is styling failure of Aztec proportions. It only makes it worse that it is certainly a very good driving car, in fact this was top spot on my purchase list until I saw the front view. I literally will not buy this car because of the way it looks. Heck I would sooner it actually did look like an Aztec. This is lamest looking front end on a car since Pixar "Cars". It might be all right for a 4 year olds pedal car, but for this middle aged adult forget it. This is not a case of what others think. I owned a Miata (91 SE) and got razzed about having a "chick car" or a "gay car". I didn't care. I thought it was beautiful. This is just a case where I think the styling is downright silly in a really bad way. No wonder the initial images were from the side or back. An almost guaranteed sale lost here Mazda. Deeply polarizing styling is almost never a good thing and in this case. It seems about 80% hate 10% don't care and 10% love it. That is an Epic Failure. In contrast the Mazda 2 looks 10 times more sensible/sporty:

  • Redwood Redwood on Nov 21, 2008

    The new 3 looks great inside & out, including the front end. I can't wait for the Mazdaspeed3, but I'd prefer it in sedan form.

  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.
  • Carlson Fan GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.