TTAC Long Term Update #2: 2015 Mazda 3 Sport

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
ttac long term update 2 2015 mazda 3 sport

This will be the first winter since 2009 when I will not be driving an open top sports car. I can say with confidence that for a daily driver in the Snowbelt, the answer is not necessarily “Miata”.

As much as I adored my Miatas, I had come to the realization that the six months of blissful, open-air motoring in the summer was outweighed by the misery of driving one in the winter.

Traction in the snow was the least of my problems. With a good set of winters and a limited slip-differential, I was never once stuck, spun around or slipping excessively in the snow or on ice.

Things that did suck, in no particular order

  1. The utter lack of insulation, which made the car freezing cold. Not even the hardtop could remedy this.
  2. No ABS. Some of the more cantakerous types will probably be rolling their eyes at this assertion. I know how to threshold brake, but I also know the sheer panic of trying to come to a complete stop on a slick road after a child has just ran into the street to get their ball. Never. Again.
  3. The rather limited cabin space is not conducive to wearing a parka and size 11.5 EE Red Wing snow boots.
  4. Jack’s accident made me think twice about driving a car with a less than modern suite of safety features.

For now, I am enjoying the relative warmth of the all-steel bodyshell, the heated seats, the Bluetooth system, the rear seats and proper trunk. I am sure that, come spring, I’ll be missing my Miata.

The big change for this month was the addition of a set of snow tires. Our friends at TireSpot recommended a set of Hankook Winter i-Pike RS W419s in 205/60/16, and I immediately installed them in preparation for another Polar Vortex. Of course, it’s been a warm winter, with only a light dusting of snow, but this weekend’s winter storm should reveal how they perform in the white stuff. Fuel economy is sitting at 26 mpg, largely in town. On our next tank, we’ll see what kind of effect the snow tires have on fuel economy.

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  • SPPPP SPPPP on Jan 06, 2015

    "... I also know the sheer panic of trying to come to a complete stop on a slick road after a child has just ran into the street to get their ball. Never. Again." Derek, You may have heard this before, but ... beware of ABS + snow. If it's really slippery, ABS often EXTENDS your braking distance by forcing the tires to keep rolling. If they could slide, they would build up a little snow in front and stop sooner. You may have more steering control with ABS, but your braking ability is often diminished in exchange.

    • See 1 previous
    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Jan 06, 2015

      @rpn453 Modern ABS systems really decrease this issue. Winter tires decrease it even more. As I mentioned, with the Geolanders on, which are a far more aggressive tire than you would typically have on a car, my truck will do exactly this on slippery surfaces. Touch the brakes, and the ABS cycles because the tires have no traction. With the Hankook snows on, you can brake HARD before the ABS cycles - like cause significant nose dive hard. But even with that said, I would still love to see an on/off switch for those VERY rare occasions when no ABS is better.

  • Davepod Davepod on Feb 11, 2015

    Glad to see this review. We are thinking of a 15 i touring and really interested to see if there are any other issues out of the plant and to see how it drives and the gas mileage. The mileage really interest us with the capacity of a hatch. BTW living in Pittsburgh no snow tires FWD cars and get around fine but I've had snow tires in the past and they definitely helped.

  • JLGOLDEN In order for this total newcomer to grab and hold attention in the US market, the products MUST be an exceptional value. Not many people will pay name-brand money for the pretty mystery. I can appreciate the ambition of selling $50K+ crossovers, but I think they will go farther with their $30K-$40K offerings.
  • Dukeisduke They're where Tesla was when it started - a complete unknown. I haven't heard anything about a dealer network. How are they going to sell these? Direct like Tesla? Franchises picked up by existing new car dealers?
  • Master Baiter As I approach retirement, and watch my IRA and 401K account balances dwindle, I have less and less interest in $150K vehicles.
  • Azfelix With a name that sounds like a bad Google translation, problems appear to permeate every aspect of the company. I suggest a more aggressive advertising campaign during The Super Terrific Happy Hour show to turn things around.
  • Buickman GoneFast.
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