New 2010 Mazda3 Reviews Hitting the Web

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
new 2010 mazda3 reviews hitting the web
The night before the LA Auto Show, Mazda had a select group of journalists drive the new Mazda3. We from TTAC were not among them. But digital buff book (buff site?) Edmunds’ InsideLine was, and so were the very graphic-saavy guys at Motive Magazine. Overall they both seem to like the car, though in all honesty the assessment is predictable. Bigger, better MPGs, not as sharp as the original. I’m more troubled that an “economy” car has a 2.5 liter engine. Yes, the 2.0 is still standard, but seriously 2.5? Mazda3? I mistakenly presumed that Japan’s engineers believed there is a replacement for displacement. In any case, check out the reviews if you dare at Edmunds and Motive.
Justin Berkowitz
Justin Berkowitz

Immensely bored law student. I've also got 3 dogs.

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  • GiddyHitch GiddyHitch on Nov 24, 2008

    I can't figure out if the new 3 has the face of a cat or a fish, but it has an underbite for sure. That overhead 3/4 shot next to the headline is the best looking of the bunch. Mazda has followed their Japanese brethren over the aesthetic cliff.

  • Argentla Argentla on Nov 24, 2008

    The best I can say about the new styling is that it doesn't look as hideous as some of the alternatives Mazda was playing with; I was in some consumer clinics a couple of years ago, where they showed us what were obviously development mockups of replacements of the 3. Beyond that...ehh. As a current 3 owner, I feel like the main areas that needed change would be (in no particular order): - Better rear-seat access. The actual rear-seat room is fine, but the rear doors are remarkably narrow, enough to make clambering in and out a challenge. My parents can only manage it with liberal use of the grab handles and a lot of cursing. - Better A/C. The undersized compressor and condenser of the 3 (smaller than the Protege that preceded it) are seriously challenged by 90-degree weather; I would hate to be a Texan. Glass with a modicum of solar control would help a lot -- the glass looks tinted, but bright sun is punishing. - Less chintzy dashboard materials. Unlike Jonny, I don't mind the sunken instrument cluster, but the cheesy silver plastic surround is pure Hyundai, and the fake carbon fiber strip across the dash is tacky. If they wanted to give me a straightforward set of white-on-black instruments like an early-90s Honda or BMW, I would be all for that. - A fuel economy gauge would be handy. - Better aerodynamics. A Cd of 0.33 is not too impressive these days, and a lower CdA would help the so-so highway mileage. - Better gear ratios. The current 5-speed has an absurdly short 1st gear, then falls off a cliff into 2nd, which in slow traffic frequently gives you the unappetizing choice of staying in 1st, with the engine revving madly, or lugging in 2nd, Then 5th is on the short side -- about 22 mph/1000 rpm -- which has the big engine revving at around 3200 rpm at 70 mph, a little unnecessary given its torque. A 6-speed with a taller top gear and more evenly space ratios would help both performance and fuel economy. I'm not thrilled with the sturdiness of the shift linkage or the robustness of the synchros, either; the existing 5-speed is working a lot closer to its torque capacity than makes me happy. - Better steering feel. The steering of the current car is nearly ideal in ratio, lock, and weight, but in really tight maneuvers or steering corrections, it's frustratingly numb. It has too much boost at highway speeds, too, which is not confidence-inspiring at 80+ mph. I would like to see a stoplight fuel-shutoff system. This is not new technology (VW was talking about introducing this to its U.S. cars in the early 80s, but falling fuel prices made them reconsider), but it would benefit real-world city mileage, without the wear and tear on the starter motor of turning on and off the ignition. I like the 3 a lot, and I wish they'd done a better job with its replacement.

  • Changsta Changsta on Nov 24, 2008

    There's a Canadian car review site that I like reading because their reviews are fair and often focus on things that are important to Canadians, like how a car will handle snow. They also have week long tests with cars which often point out the little things about cars that you wouldn't notice immediately. Anyway, they have a first drive review of the 2010 Mazda3 on their site:

  • NulloModo NulloModo on Nov 24, 2008

    I will withold final styling judgement until I see the car in person, but I like just about everything except for the big gaping maw. It seems almost as if it were designed to frame a front license plate (which may be fine for those who live in backwards places that require such nonsense, but sort of sucks for the rest of us). The 2.5 liter engine is smooth and responsive in its duties in the Ford Escape, and is worlds better than the older 2.3, although I am not sure why it makes less hp in the Mazda. In any event a 2.5 is hardly a big engine, even for a four cylinder. Fuel economy numbers aren't bad either in the grand scheme of things, especially as Mazda will likely bring the 2 to our shores. Anything that averages over 20 mpg for both city and highway falls under the 'good' fuel economy heading for most US buyers. As for lack of automatic shutoff at stop, there have been a number of articles that have basically stated that automakers have considered adding it, but after market research they discovered it freaked out many American drivers. For the modest fuel economy savings (and the buyers it will attract) I can only assume manufacturers are unwilling to potentially alienate a large portion of their customer base (and yes, I know hybrids already do this, but anyone buying a hybrid knows what they are getting into, and a lot of people are still unwilling to jump on that bandwagon until it matures anyway).