By on November 11, 2014

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First it was Jack. Then my Grandma. Now it’s my turn to buy a new car.

The idea of owning a pure, elemental sports car is romantic and enticing. But the reality of living with one as your daily driver in a climate that alternates between stiflingly humid and frigid enough to freeze your bone marrow is another matter. Half the time is spent stuck in traffic with the sun delivering enough UV rays to turn your scalp the same shade as a lobster. The other half is spent shivering in the barely insulated cabin, dodging distracted drivers and all-season shod cars while trying not to panic your passenger with consecutive attempts at threshold braking (hooray, no ABS). It was time for something different. For now. I will revisit things once the ND MX-5 is released.

The Miata went up for sale, and like any clean, rust-free Miata in Toronto, it went for a pretty penny. I promptly took the money, did not pass go or put $2000 down on a nice car. Instead, I socked it away in my retirement account. In line with my new, adult priorities, my criteria for a new car was such:

1) Cheap

2) Reasonably fun to drive

3) Cheap

4) Fuel efficient

5) Cheap

I briefly considered a Volkswagen GTI, but at the time, premium gas was over $6 a gallon, and the only 5-door version in Canada cost a hair under $35,000. I resolved to move on to a Ford Fiesta ST, but by the time I was ready to buy, interest rates went from 1.49 percent to 5.59% for financing and 7.19% for leasing. I had no intention of paying $500 CAD a month over 60 months to own that particular car. Previously, Ford Employee Pricing and favorable rates would have made the car sit in the high end of the “affordable” range for me, but now it sat well outside that bracket.

Earlier in the year, I’d driven a Mazda3 with the 2.0L and 6-speed manual, and came away just as impressed as I was at the launch event. It wasn’t particularly quick, but it felt gutsier than my NB Miata. The handling was as brilliant as I remembered, and the steering reminded me of my beloved 1997 NA, with a custom alignment, minus the darty sneeze-and-you-change-lanes feel that came with having 5 degrees of caster dialed in. More importantly, it was fairly comfortable, had a real trunk and got 35 mpg in mixed driving on regular gas – far better than the premium-swilling NB ever returned.

Somehow, my local dealer, Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda, had a number of manual transmission Mazda3s (and Mazda 6s, and Mazda5s for that matter) on the lot. I was all set on a Crystal Blue Mica sedan when I had a change of heart at the last minute, and took the hatchback model, seen here, in the same deep navy blue. This one was spec’d exactly how I wanted: 6-speed manual, the Convenience Package (with automatic headlamps and the all-important heated seats, among other things). No sunroof. The big, tablet-like screen with the HMI Commander interface. With the various incentives, I paid just a hair above invoice.

Confession time: I actually leased it. With a 60 percent residual, the ability to write part of the car off and no desire to own it out of the 3 year warranty, I opted for the (substantially) lower monthly payments. Many of you will counter that leasing is akin to a long-term rental, and you are correct. But it also ended up being cheaper than getting a Zipcar for two days out of every month.

I’m sure I could have also paid cash for a used car, but I wanted to free myself from trips to the mechanic, repair bills and the hassles associated with all of those factors. And with a interest rate of 0.29% from Mazda, it’s effectively free, meaning there’s better places to park my money.

I plan on detailing my experiences with the car for as long as I am driving it. I’m proud that myself, Jack and other contributors can and do bring you real world impressions of cars that we have paid our own money for. I’m also happen to be driving something akin to a wagon, even if most of you don’t regard it as such.

 

 

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145 Comments on “TTAC Long-Term Review: 2015 Mazda3 Sport...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    You keep saying “cheap”, how cheap?

  • avatar

    I just bought a 2015 Mazda 6 Touring with the 6 speed manual this past weekend and I’m thoroughly impressed. I test drove a lot of cars (Fusion, WRX, Charger, Legacy, Accord, A3/A4) and for the price nothing even comes close to this car. I even considered the 3 but with two kids the slightly bigger back seat was worth it. My wife was resigned to hate the car because it was a stick and keep pushing to teach her how to drive one, but after just a weekend with it she begrudgingly admitted she loves it. If the 3 is even half the car the 6 is then you will have no regrets!

    I was about to buy the Fusion (2014 1.6L SE Sport with manual that a dealer still had on the lot) and it would have been cheaper by a couple grand, but I stopped at the Mazda dealer to check out the new 6 on the way to the Ford dealer and that was the end.

    The WRX was just impractical for what I really needed and the cost was over $30k, the Charger while nicer than before I just didn’t love, and the A3/A4 just seemed way overpriced compared to everything else.

    • 0 avatar
      STRATOS

      Mazda does not sell the touring version (wagon) in North America.Where did you buy it?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Congratulations. I also just bought a Mazda 6 Touring and am loving it. Three kids made the decision easier when comparing to the Mazda3.

      Derek – congratulations on your new car. Hope you enjoy it. I love the look from the front but I must admit I would have preferred the hatch to be more “square” like the current Golf or the old Mazda 3 hatch. It just seems too swoopy.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I wanted the 6, but I require a hatch so I can throw a couple bikes in the back. If they sold the 6 wagon in the US, I would have bought it, but I got a 3 instead.

      As far as competitors to the 6, I was very impressed with the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      If you don’t mind more road noise than an Accord or Camry, a Mazda 6 (especially with manual) is probably the most reliable, best dash/gauge cluster/interior, best steering feel, highest overall quality and nicest looking sedan that can be bought for the money or even 10k more.

      Derek’s 3 has an awesome shade of blue paint.

  • avatar
    mjz

    That was a great choice. Smart to get the hatch instead of the sedan. Attractive color too.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Aesthetically, I think the M.a.z.d.a. 3 (why is it so darned hard to shorten it without stepping over BMW…… 3 sedan is Bimmer, and then M 3 just gets even more Bimmer…) sedan is about the best looking car on the road today. While the Hatch looks too “nosy.” But the practicality advantages of the hatch is hard to ignore.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Congrats, Derek,
    Enjoy your car!

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I was considering a Mazda, but with your statement,

    “… no desire to own it out of the 3 year warranty…”

    makes me think I shouldn’t consider a Mazda for a 10-year ownership, which how long I tend to keep my cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      My dad had 100k on his in 3 years, been pretty reliable.
      Although I’d highly recommend the 2.5, it’s barely adequate with the 6 speed manual, I’d hate to be stuck with anything less in day to day.

      2010 3 now with 160k miles

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      No desire to own past three years is probably more about hoping personal finances and the market are more in line for a shot at something like a FiST, or whatever other sportier ride might be available in three years time.

      Not many car enthusiasts can tolerate the same car for 10 years, no matter how much they loved it at first. Derek is also at an age where his life circumstances can change pretty quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      I have been less than impressed with my 2008 Mazdaspeed3 now that its in its 7th year. I admit that I am not an easy driver, and about 90% of its miles are on unforgiving San Francisco hills (I am on clutch #2). However, The 3 hatch is still a great car and I would totally get the Speed again.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I have 98 Protege with 195K miles – original clutch – no problem. You just not releasing it right. I always said that a clutch can last a lifetime of a vehicle, and I proved it.

        One time I bought Nissan 240 SX with burnt clutch. It had 86K miles on it. I replaced clutch, drove it another 100+K and sold it. And I not just drove it – it was my best pizza-mobil ever. I worked in sub-suburban area where roads were twisty and on some of them two cars would hardly pass each other. I did some good amount of shifting and I went through many tires. But clutch was OK.

        • 0 avatar

          The 2nd gen Protege was an awkward car, but I liked mine anyways. That was the generation that went downmarket, before going back up in the third generation. It looked like a saturn crossed with a neon, and only got about 90 hp from the 1.5L engine. Maybe the stick was a better match than the auto I had. It did have a ton of interior space for its size (slightly more than the externally bigger 3rd gen), and the handling was the most neutral of any fwd car I have driven, the more solid and sportier 3rd gen included.

          • 0 avatar

            I need to add that I prefer the looks of all 3 generations of Protege to the new 3. The baby Benz 1st, the jellybean 2nd gen, and the angular A4 ripoff 3rd.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Many complain about rust issues. I honestly don’t know if they’ve fixed that or not. I do not live in an area that uses salt, so no Mazdas around here have rust issues.

      I had a Protege5 for 13 yrs, and other than repairs due to an accident, the only unexpected maintenance item I remember was a window regulator. Mazda gets high scores for reliability, and my experience matches that. I don’t have a reason to doubt their new cars will be worse, except for the new electronics that have no historical data.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There’s a white paper I’ll cite when I find it – it may be posted on Mazda’s website.

        Essentially, in 2006, Mazda revamped its galvanic bath and electrocharge cathode paint process, and then improved upon it dramatically in 2008, due to NA rust issues, where road salt & corrosive brine is used more so than any other part of the world.

        At this point, Mazda’s corrosion prevention as prescribed from the start at the factory and dunk baths is as comprehensive as any automaker.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          That would explain my rust-free ’09 3. People always talk about these cars being rustbuckets, but maybe that was just the earlier cars (started production in ’04).

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          I get a kick out of manufacturer’s blaming a defect on conditions unique to a certain market, yet most everyone else has solved the same problem. The Germans are fond of blaming North American fuel for everything, and apparently Mazda is using salt and brine as an excuse?

          Am I supposed to believe that BMW and VAG didn’t know the quality of fuel in North America or Mazda didn’t know about salt and brine usage?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Rumor has it that a bunch of Japanese employees – that came in with ? I can’t remember his name but he was a former Porsche engineer of Japanese descent – in Hiroshima were literally specifically fired and shamed because of the rust issues Mazda was having with the Protege, MPV and a complemented models in the early 2000s, and specifically because of the Canadian market (which represents an outsized base of Mazda customers on a population adjusted basis – as does Australia/New Zealand) rust issues.

  • avatar
    make_light

    Love that deep blue color you picked (I’ve seen it on some new 6s lately as well). Absolutely gorgeous. Much prefer it to the bright inky blue on the latest Fords, Toyotas, and Subarus.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Can confirm: the Miata ragtop is cold cold cold in winter, especially on gray days or any night. And summer sun isn’t always so fun.

    Plus, there’s great room in the backseats of the 3. Nice choice, D.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Phenomenal car. One of the things I was most impressed with in regards to the 2.0 was it’s transformation from outright penalty box to an enjoyable drivetrain choice. Mazda being Mazda they decided to forge their own non turbocharged path towards CAFE compliance, and it’s exactly that kind of different approach that has the potential to give them a totally different driving experience, and likely higher reliability scores in the early days of new drivetrain combinations.

    Count me in as very interested in your experiences with the 3.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Nice car dude.

    I am kind of in the same boat but my purchase will probably be ~2 yrs from now. 400 miles to and around work in a 350Z is wearing thin on my patience. Thankfully I have ~20 miles of 2 lane twisties to at least get my 20 MPGs of premium worth.

    I was wondering though… did you look at the Fiesta ST? A little less practical but obv cheaper and supposedly a little more fun to drive. Ever since I rented that Fiat Panda in Italy I have had a growing hankering for a simple, cheap, small fun car

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      >>did you look at the Fiesta ST?

      From article above:
      “I resolved to move on to a Ford Fiesta ST, but by the time I was ready to buy, interest rates went from 1.49 percent to 5.59% for financing and 7.19% for leasing. I had no intention of paying $500 CAD a month over 60 months to own that particular car.”

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I too have been considering a 3 hatch for my next car, then I see a late model Mazda with rusted out rear quarter panels and rockers and drop it off my list. Owning one in Canada is very brave.

    I just can’t trust a car company in the 21st century that still makes cars that rust so badly.

    • 0 avatar
      ap27

      Mazda has recently changed their corrosion warranty terms – it went from 5-year to 8 year on the 2013-2014 models. Hopefully that means they’ve been working on their rusting issues.

  • avatar
    boogieman99

    Welcome to the club!

    Good thing you got those heated seats… the new 3 struggles during a good ol’ Canadian winter

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Nimble and tossable.

    Runs on regular.

    *Six-speed manual*

    Thumbs up.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I’m assuming that it has the 2.0 “Skyactiv” engine, which should work quite well with the 6-spd stick and give you really good MPG – and the lease will save you the worries of corrosion bugaboos 5 years along (as I’ve heard – maybe the new body styles are improved)… more pics? — enjoy and report!

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Commenters in 3 forums are posting very impressive mpg numbers. Several average 40+ in overall driving, with occasional 50+ for long hwy commutes. The 2.0L seems to be the real deal for efficiency.

      I bought a 2.5L. The power in the car that size/weight is great, and I still average 30 mpg.

  • avatar
    Macca

    Nice!

    My daily-driver is an ’08 Mazda3 GT hatch, dark blue – truly a GLC. At just over six years it’s the second-longest I’ve owned a car. It’s just the right size, peppy, and has had no unscheduled maintenance.

    I find the new Mazda3 rather appealing – it just looks amazing – but my concern is that road noise has not been sufficiently suppressed in the new model. Can you speak to that?

    My ’08 is just flat out loud. Like makes-listening-to-music-at-65-MPH-difficult loud. Even with Conti DWS tires, which are very quiet. I’ve soundproofed other cars in the past but just don’t have the desire to go there, especially now that I’ll likely replace my 3 in the next 2 years.

    Part of Mazda’s pursuit of efficiency is of course aided by trimming weight, which I’ve read comes at the expense of refinement on the road. I’d like my next commuter to be mostly hushed. It would be nice if Mazda saw fit to offer greater sound dampening on the ‘lux’ trim levels.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Congrats Derek. I recently bought a new car as well and while looking I test drove almost that exact same car…Mazda3 iSport 6MT in that same color even, but in the US we don’t have that Convenience Package that I can recall. I really liked the drive of it although I didn’t get a chance to take it on the highway. My three kids fit in the back pretty well.

    In the end although I was initially biased toward the Mazda3 I bought an Elantra GT, also blue with 6MT and base model. The kids fit a little better, had more features (satellite radio, radio without a silly tablet/touchscreen) and the salesman made a stupid low initial offer. The Mazda I looked at was only available in a MY15 and all the incentives were only on MY14, but Hyundai put together an offer where tax/tags/fees included etc I was OTD with 0 down for less than sticker on the Mazda3.

    I also found a lot of the autojourno griping about Hyundai’s electric steering a little overblown. While I agree the Mazda had a more natural steering feel the Hyundai wasn’t what I would consider bad (not enough to make it worth more money for something else).

  • avatar
    tall1

    Nice choice, but word to the wise if you purchase a Mazda – RUST. I owned an 06 Mazda5 for six years, bought new, and the rear wheel wells started rusting after about 4-5 years. I took great care of that car and it was garage kept in a suburb of Chicago. Last year I chose to ditch that car prior to the rust getting out of hand. I wanted a sedan and looked at the Mazda6 but instead went with an Optima SX primarily because of the fear of rust with the 6. The Mazda6 was definitely a better driving car but I liked the features and turbo engine offered in the Optima. So far so good. After reviewing a few Mazda owner sites wheel well rusting is a common problem for the Mazda3 and Mazda5 in the midwest.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “I took great care of that car and it was garage kept in a suburb of Chicago.

      Garages encourage rust. If you park it outside, the melt/freeze cycles that encourages rust is less likely to occur.

      “I wanted a sedan and looked at the Mazda6 but instead went with an Optima SX primarily because of the fear of rust with the 6”

      Traditionally, US-built Mazdas (the 626, 6, Tribute and, I think, the CX-9) were essentially rustproof. The internationally-built variants tended not to be.

      That said, Derek lives in Toronto. Since he’s leasing it probably won’t matter, but if you buy, rustproofing is essential in southern Ontario. Salt and inconsistent winter temperatures almost ensure rusting.

      I can’t recommend Krown enough.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Is that an MX-6 for your avatar?

      Nice.

      That (turbo’d and intercooled) and the 323GTX are the Mazda’s I like to remember.

      • 0 avatar
        tall1

        Yep 1990 MX-6 GT 5 speed, my first car! Loved that car even though it had some major quality issues. Who can forget the oscillating vents and 90’s auto seat belts?!

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          I used to date a gal who’s friend had one.

          He said “hey, let me show you this car. It’s turbo’d and intercooled.”

          He showed me that little coupe. Black, IIRC.

          It felt fairly quick. Doing a quick Google research shows it rated @140 horse. Underrated, perhaps?

          Some of them had four-wheel steering. 89, I believe. One year only.

          Neat.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @raresleeper

            Light, dramatic, and noisy. Makes a car seem waaay faster than it is. My Fiat Abarth is the poster child for this. Lots of noise, lots of drama, feels like a rocketship. My serenely quiet BMW will blow its doors off while feeling boringly slow.

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            190+ torque still beats the hell out of the current 2.5.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “I’m sure I could have also paid cash for a used car, but I wanted to free myself from trips to the mechanic, repair bills and the hassles associated with all of those factors.”

    I suppose the only used cars available in Canada are 1995 Alfa Romeo 164’s.

    • 0 avatar
      forzablu

      Sign me up for one of those ’95 164’s..!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      +1

    • 0 avatar

      Not quite, but they are more expensive and in worse condition than the typical American used car.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        IMHO, nearly new used cars are too expensive to bother with, buy new or buy REALLY used. And if you can’t DIY (or don’t have time or place) the maintenance and repairs, then just buy new.

        Smart choice leasing the car, since it is not likely to be what you want in three years anyway. I will almost certainly be leasing my 228i next year for the same reason. I would have leased the Abarth, but the lease deal was no cheaper than to just buy it, for such a cheap car to start with.

        So why no Fiesta ST or Abarth? As a single boy-about-town, do you need the extra space of the Mazda?

        • 0 avatar

          Like I said, FiST lease costs were exorbitant and the Abarth is not what I was looking for. In 3 years, I’ll get something I *really* want, like an MX-5 or 228i…

        • 0 avatar

          >>>IMHO, nearly new used cars are too expensive to bother with, buy new or buy REALLY used. And if you can’t DIY (or don’t have time or place) the maintenance and repairs, then just buy new.

          I bought my ’08 Civic LX (stick) end of January, ’12, 11k, 35k on the odo. I now have about 77k. It’s been great, only repair was to replace a t’stat. But I’m not sure if it falls into either of your categories.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Unlike the US in Canada good used cars are a rare commodity and therefore priced high. A used Corolla or Civic if financed may actually cost more in total payments than a new comparable car with manufacturer zero or low interest loans.

      Currently Hyundai Canada advertising brand new Elantras (manual) for under $12k with zero percent financing.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I must plead ignorance here (never leased a car or purchased from a dealer) – how does interest rate play into leasing? You put your money down and make your monthly payment – where’s the interest? You haven’t borrowed anything from them. What am I missin?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Leasing entails renting a given amount of depreciation at a given rate of interest.

      In the US, the interest rate is called a “money factor.” As is the case with interest rate on a loan, a higher money factor = higher cost.

      There are two basic ways to reduce the cost of a lease: reduce the money factor and reduce the amount of total depreciation, i.e. pay less for the car.

      Unlike a loan, a higher down payment doesn’t help the consumer. The down payment is effectively an accelerated lease payment; it doesn’t reduce the cost of the lease, it just front-loads a portion of the payments.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        A higher down payment reduces the capitalization cost of a lease, which reduces the interest paid, which in turn lowers the total cost of the lease. You don’t rent depreciation. You pay for it. You pay interest on the initial value of the car, since that’s the money the lessor has in the car.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The down payment does not reduce the total amount of depreciation or the interest rate paid for that depreciation.

          The down payment does reduce the overall total cost of the lease, but only because you’re providing some present value benefit to the lessor by making an accelerated early payment.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You don’t pay an interest rate on depreciation. You pay interest on the money that is tied up for the period of the lease. That’s the capitalization cost, which you can reduce at the time of contract with an up front payment or trade in. I apologize for thinking you’d benefit from my explanation, or that at least it would prompt you to do some more research instead of simply firing up your fertilizer spreader and trying to bury this discussion in bullsh!t.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you can’t figure out that the lease is a function of depreciation, then I can’t help you.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      You pay interest on the capitalized cost. That’s the value of the car and any other costs you don’t pay up front. Suppose you lease a $30K car with a $15K res1dual value. Your total cost will be $15K plus the interest on $30K for the duration of the lease.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I hope all this makes leasing crystal clear for you, Corey (roll eyes)

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        LOL! Well, they tried.

        I get that you’re paying interest on the cost of the write-down depreciation each year. So subtract initial down payment from total depreciation expected during the lease, and x interest costs on that, thus determining whether your lease costs are higher or lower.

        That being said, I’m surprised Ford (huge, well capitalized company) has such a high rate, and Mazda (small, rather poor company) is so low.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          “That being said, I’m surprised Ford (huge, well capitalized company) has such a high rate, and Mazda (small, rather poor company) is so low.”

          Mazda is subsidizing the lease.

          My understanding is that if Mazda wants to put $2000 on the hood, it’s better (from a branding perspective) to do that via a subsidized lease or 0% interest vs. offering cash back.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Leasing can be and often is subsidized by the car maker to move the metal. Since leases are a bit obscure, it is a way of discounting without it being obvious and theoretically hurting reputation and resale value. The Germans are of course famous for this. The subsidy can take the forms of lower interest and/or fantasy land residual values. Either of which lowers the monthly cost of the lease.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Leases are often subsidized. You can think of a low money factor as a form of incentive or rebate.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          And you still don’t have anything resembling the picture. You pay the predicted depreciation divided by the number of months of the lease. Each lease payment also contains an interest component. The interest component is determined by the time value of the capitalization cost, which is the full cost of the car less any down payment. They don’t loan you the residual value of the car for 3 or 4 years for free. Congratulations on believing pch101.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “They don’t loan you the residual value of the car for 3 or 4 years for free.”

            My repeated use of the terms “interest rate” and “money factor” made that clear. Except to you, of course.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          And you still don’t have anything resembling the picture. You pay the predicted depreciation divided by the number of months of the lease. Each lease payment also contains an interest component. The interest component is determined by the time value of the capitalization cost, which is the full cost of the car less any down payment. They don’t loan you the res!dual value of the car for 3 or 4 years for free. Congratulations on believing Pch101.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            For someone who goes around constantly insulting people, pch101 regularly displays that he doesn’t actually have the foggiest notion of financial concepts.

            Anyone who talks about interest on depreciation is just babbling away using words he doesn’t understand. Depreciation is an expense you pay for – interest is paid on the value of the asset being financed.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you can’t grasp that a money factor is conceptually similar to an interest rate, then you aren’t very bright and should refrain from comment.

            Oh, look: there’s even a formula for converting one to the other: http://finance.zacks.com/convert-money-factor-interest-rate-2473.html

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            So in addition to your general personality defects, you are also unteachable. Not really a surprise.

            Money factor has nothing to do with depreciation, which in any case is unrelated to the interest rate. But thanks for displaying the depth of your ignorance on these matters.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Automobile leasing is based entirely on the concept that you pay for the amount by which a vehicle’s value depreciates during the time you’re driving it. Depreciation is the difference between a vehicle’s original MSRP value and its value at lease-end (residual value), and is the primary factor that determines the cost of leasing. The smaller the difference, the lower the lease payment, and the better the deal.

            http://www.leaseguide.com/lease07/

            Some of you could use some help. I apologize for the big words, but I didn’t write that.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Again, if you can’t figure out the relationship between leasing and projected depreciation, then you aren’t too swift and I can’t help you.

            It’s a bit tough to claim the money factor and interest rate have nothing to do with each other, when there is a simple arithmetic formula to convert between them. The link that I provided might help, but I can’t click it for you.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            I forgot that among your many personality defects being willfully obtuse is one of them.

            Money factor has nothing to do with depreciation. Interest rate has nothing to do with depreciation.

            That means money factor and/or the interest rate is unrelated to depreciation. I hope those short and simple enough sentences that even you can grasp their plain meaning.

            Which means you don’t pay interest on depreciation.

            But attempting to teach the unteachable is a waste of time and I’ll stop now. Have fun.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I find it fascinating that people like yourself can argue so vehemently about things that you don’t understand.

            “Automobile leasing is based entirely on the concept that you pay for the amount by which a vehicle’s value depreciates during the time you’re driving it.”

            http://www.leaseguide.com/lease07/

            This shouldn’t be tough to grasp, yet it obviously is for some of you.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I wonder if any of the people that cons!der Pch101 an authority on anything are capable of comprehending that interest must be paid on the full unpaid value of the car being leased. What would Jonathan Gruber say?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            That’s a lot of drama just to note that the money factor is also applied to the residual. I don’t recall anyone claiming that it wasn’t.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Another comment eaten by the filter. Fix this goddamned site before I stop coming here, please.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s being worked on. In the mean time, I’m manually approving your comments.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Thanks for the update. My temper flare isn’t directed at you, I know you have no control over this.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Don’t bother approving my comment, I just reposted an edited version below. It’s been two and a half hours since my original disappeared and it still is in limbo. These threads only stay viable for about a waking day, beyond that the conversation is over and there is no point. I’d rather have the commentariat tell me my comment is worthless than the spam filter rendering it so.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >> It’s being worked on. In the mean time, I’m manually approving your comments.

        Oy! This is one case where I’ll take an automatic. :P

        Congrats on the Mazda3. Great choice, one fitting for a editor of a car site. I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Nice find, DK.

    ENJOY

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    A 2 day Zipcar ‘rental’ in the GTA would be a maximum of $240. However with Zipcar that includes gas, insurance and maintenance.

    Still after reading one of Jack’s postings and costing the price of my autos, I am starting to conclude that a 48 month, 24k per year, low interest lease may actually cost me less per klick than owning/buying a car.

    Running a car for a max of approximately 100,000km means no expensive repairs, no worries about rust, and apart from a set of winter tires, no having to purchase tires.

    And no haggling on a trade-in or having to respond to annoying ‘tire kickers’ if posting it on Kijiji, etc.

    Please no responses regarding running ‘beater’s are performing driveway repairs on older cars. Such are no longer options for me or for many others.

    Just like Dereck, something cheap (relatively), reliable, safe and functional. Think that he picked a winner.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Great choice (except for the no-sunroof part. Life’s too short). Congrats!

    • 0 avatar

      After owning a convertible, I’m not big on sunroofs.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Sunroofs are a nice compromise, I wouldn’t own a car without one

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          I like the panoramic deals because the women go “oooooo and ahhhhh” when they look up and see a glass roof.

          Indeed. Life’s too short, gents!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I like them as well. On those rare nice days just push the button and enjoy for a little bit. No other sacrifices really (maybe head room), and if you’re not interested in extra light, just slide the cover.

          Plus it’s nearly impossible to find a fully equipped car MINUS sunroof, assuming you’re not talking about something from the 80s.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Yeah, all my cars over the years had to have them. It’s just SOP for me….whether the first vistages of Spring or Fall or a summer’s night…

          it like a little treat…

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Funny, the first car that we owned with a sunroof ( an ’02 Saab 9-5 wagon), we initially used the sunroof a lot. Then, after the novelty wore off, we never used it.

        The replacement for that car, an ’08 Honda Pilot, also has a sunroof. We never use that either.

        Having owned a roadster for 11 years now, I can testify that a sunroof is not, by any stretch, the equivalent of a rag top — for good or ill.

        But or “meh” response to the sunroof after a year or two pre-dated my ownership of the convertible.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          “we initially used the sunroof a lot. Then, after the novelty wore off, we never used it.”

          That describes my family’s experience as well. There are many things I’ve learned the hard way of thinking I want something and when I get it, I find I don’t really care for it. Fortunately for me, I’ve learned that lesson from relatively inexpensive errors.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            I use the moonroof almost exclusively in the winter (of all things). When I have the defrost blasting it always gets too hot for me in the car. Cracking open the roof to let physics take its course works wonders.

            Summer time, I have all the glass closed and the AC blasting. So I guess I get limited use out of the ting.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I’m a fan of sunroofs. I like being able to get some air without having it blowing in my face. Open sunroof and a slightly lowered rear right window create a nice breeze on those mild days where the sun makes it too hot to close everything, but it isn’t hot enough for AC. In the SF Bay Area (city, coastal, and many parts of the peninsula), that is pretty much every day.

        It drives me crazy that you can’t get the new GTI with the plaid seats and a sunroof.

        I admit they can be a nuisance for headroom though, especially at 6′ with a long waist.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          burgersandbeer has hit on the best feature of the sunroof. Vent the roof, crack a rear window, and enjoy a nice cross breeze that doesn’t buffet.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            That’s exactly what I do in my 3. I use the sunroof more than the actual windows.

            I’m also aggravated about the GTI sunroof issue. I’m not sure I want that giant panoramic roof instead of a more normal opening anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        I, too, am not a fan of holes in my roof. A nice, solid, fixed roof is all that I ask.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Love my sunroofs. Although the big one in our Forester is much more worthwhile than the mail slot in the G8. The Forester’s big glass roof is just the ticket for adding a bit more light to the endless parade of dreary Seattle winter days.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        I’m somewhat annoyed at the big hole in the roof of my beater 240SX. I can hear that dumb thing creaking and popping just from driving around in the yard.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I have the love/hate thing with sunroofs. Would prefer to have one, but hate the loss of headroom as one who is ridiculously short of leg and long of torso. Think tall gorilla, and you will be about right. Any car I am going to autocross simply cannot have one, as I won’t be able to wear my helmet.

      I used to be way more into convertibles that I am now. At one point I owned three of them at the same time. Now I am content to just drive my Spitfire only on the most perfect days for it, and have the climate control keep me warm/cool as needed. Just getting old, I guess.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    It’s perplexing why Mazda doesn’t do better in NA (particularly the US). The vehicles’ reliability is sound, nearly as good as the other top-tier Asians (and certainly better than Nissan), they’re priced competitively, and Mazda products routinely score in the upper part of any comparison tests (and never near the bottom).

    Considering the goofy Joker-grin grill that they’re finally getting away from, maybe it’s just the styling that leaves people cold. Then there’s a rather lackluster marketing (‘Zoom-zoom’ was never that great). It’s a pity because Mazdas otherwise seem like decent buys.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I’m not sure I agree on the reliability. Engines and transmissions are relatively solid, but consumables like suspension parts and brakes wear quickly and are surprisingly expensive for that class of car. The rust problem was real too. Sure, no one ends up on a flatbed due to rust; however, it certainly doesn’t make you feel good about the car. It’s also difficult and expensive to permanently fix, vs other issues where you simply replace the faulty part and move on.

      Mazda’s dealer network doesn’t help their cause either. It’s small and service can be lacking.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Consumer reports and other outlets rate them pretty highly for reliability. Interior quality is also very good for the segment.
        They fixed two issues – poor fuel economy and styling. They should do better.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The initial 3 and initial 6 models were both hits. The second generation flopped hard. This third generation along with the CX-5 seems to be another round of hits. Let’s hope Mazda can build momentum and keep it going because I’m a big fan of what they are currently putting out.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Indeed, they should be more popular.

      I think their problems are:
      – poor dealer network, definitely in size and possibly in quality
      – bad advertising
      – they are still in recovery from ugly styling and advertising vacuum
      – lack of brand recognition/reputation among the majority of car buyers

      I’m sure there are plenty more.

      IMO, if their cars were sold at Ford dealerships and had the blue oval on them, they’d be top sellers.

      • 0 avatar
        mr_min

        The weird thing is that the opposite seems to be occurring in Australia (Ford v Mazda) especially sales..
        My opinion is the Ford dealer network are worse and suffer from almost all of the problem you listed against the Mazda.
        We have no salt on roads, so Mazda’s reliability is up with Toyota in the consumers eyes.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Congratulations. It sounds like you got a great deal.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    chalking this down as a unicorn event: someone recommending a mazda actually buying one.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    “I’m proud that myself, Jack and other contributors can and do bring you real world impressions of cars that we have paid our own money for.”

    You should be. Most reviewers only talk about where they would theoretically spend their money. It’s cool to see opinions backed up with your own money. Congrats on the car!

  • avatar
    mjz

    I really like the overall design/styling of the 3, but I have two nitpicks: 1) To my eye, the bottom edge of the grille is too low and it makes the front look too “heavy”, like the grille is weighing down the whole front of the car. 2) The chrome window surround trim piece stops halfway up the c-pillar. Ford does this too. Either it should surround the entire window, or just make it all black. Other than that, it’s a great looking car, both sedan and hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Agreed.

      The grille & emblem are out of proportion. (Compare to the 6 & CX-5.) They did that to fit license plates, but it still looks wonky. Texas has several legal plate colors/patterns you can buy, and I got an all-black one to go on the black grille. IMO, it really improves the look.

      The lower trims do not have the chrome belt line. IMO, it looks better without the chrome, so I purchased the black moulding and swapped it out.

      One other nitpick I have is the rising belt line. I believe they did it to fit the rear suspension supports, but the whole car would look much better if the quarter panel ‘hips’, beltline, rear window, tail lights, etc., were all a bit lower.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> 2) The chrome window surround trim piece stops halfway up the c-pillar.

      I think you need to follow the chrome line as it originates at the grill, travels as an imaginary along the hood, and then reappears to trim the bottom of the windows. Viewed this way, it works for me.

      Hey Sajeev, where are you? We need some Vellum Venom on this.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Congrats, Derek, it’s a great choice. Those new 3s are really enjoyable to drive and the interior is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous car. I drove a 2.5 with the 6 speed auto and it was fantastic. The 2.0 is a good base powertrain, but it’s a shame the 2.5 is bundled with so many options and therefore so expensive. The 2.5 is a far peppier motor and the estimated fuel economy is so close to the 2.0 that the only reason to pass it up is MSRP.

    I’d personally opt for the Golf because you can get a powerful engine in even the base trims. The VW 1.8TSI and Mazda 2.5 are very gratifying motors, but you really have to pay to get the 2.5.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    Long time Protege5 owner here. I drove one of these over the summer and came away mostly impressed, with a few reservations. Here’s some things I’d love to hear about in your long term updates:

    1. Road noise on highway trips, especially on rough roads. This is THE problem with my Protege5 and was still pretty prominent in the Mazda 3.

    2. The 2.0L power seemed no more than adequate. Curious how it would do with 4 people in the car.

    3. My arm kept slipping off the center armrest because of the gap left for the handbrake (this was on a manual, I don’t think I would have noticed on an auto). I’m assuming the center armrest is still non-adjustable on the 2015 model? Did this bother you at all?

    4. The back seat was a little tight.

    5. I’m mildly concerned about how the entertainment system will age, especially since it is non-replaceable. Will Mazda keep it up to date with software updates? Apple CarPlay will take off soon and I hope this system isn’t left in the dust.

    Otherwise I think it’s a great car. Congrats, and I’m looking forward to the updates.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well done Derek. My best friend and his son both leased new Mazda3s back in May and June. The son went first on my recommendation actually. The his father drove it around, loved it and diched his troublesome 2010 Golf TDI wagon at lease end.

    He does mainly highway driving, long trips each weekend. 9,000 klicks, average 6.2l/100km since new. He feels no pangs whatsoever at no longer driving an FGC.

    Both are 2l 6MT, son’s has some $500 package that gives you leather steering wheel etc. Both are under $300/mo including 15% HST.

    I had an Impreza as a loaner for a week back in June. Amazing how primitive it is compared to the 3, especially the crap steering. The son drove it and couldn’t believe what a load of dross it was. At least when you drive a WRX, you can feel how much Subaru had to change to make the car decent.

    Enjoy your 3.

  • avatar
    Kato

    Brutal. I spent 20 min putting a post together, hit submit and nothing. I won’t bother again till this site is fixed.

  • avatar
    Boff

    Well. I wonder if your experience will be like mine. In 2004, facing a liquidity crisis, I was forced to sell my beloved 944S2 (daily driver). I soon picked up what was then the sportiest hatch around, a 2005 Mazda3, red with the 2.3 L mill and 5-speed stick. It was then then that I discovered the difference between a “sporty car” and a “sports car”. Within a year, the 3 was gone, replaced by an RX-8.

  • avatar
    colin42

    Talking of long term car review what ever happen to Jack’s ex’s c-max?

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/introducing-our-long-term-c-max-yo/

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Congrats!

    Bought my 2 from the same dealer for the same reason, that they had one in stock with the right package and manual. Definitely would not mind the extra gear and 60hp that goes with the 3 though.

  • avatar

    the line between wagon and hatch looks pretty fuzzy.

    Anyway, enjoy the new car!

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Good grief that “kodo” styling looks bizarre on a hatch, nice color though, did any signs rust show up underneath?

    For the record I consider 5-door hatches to be wagon enough so long as the rear hatch isn’t slanted too much. A Mazda 3 is more wagon than a Magnum, imo.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Congrats on your new car. I love that dark blue that Mazda puts out, but it must not be very popular because I rarely see it (and don’t have it on either of my Mazdas).

    I visited a Mazda/VW dealer over the weekend to check out the hatches. They unfortunately put pinstripes on every single 3, and they really looked awful. I couldn’t actually find anyone willing to let me drive a 3. That’s the Mazda dealership network for you.

    But the GTI definitely knocked the Focus ST out of contention.

  • avatar
    tjominy

    Excellent choices all around. Can’t wait to see how ownership unfolds over the next several years.

  • avatar
    Rusty_Ranger

    Where’s the long term review?

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