By on April 20, 2016

2014 Mazda 3 5-door

Through the first-quarter of 2016, U.S. auto sales volume grew 3 percent compared with the same period in record-setting 2015.

Mazda’s U.S. sales have fallen 17 percent, a meaningful decline of 13,399 sales over the course of only three months.

Something isn’t clicking for Mazda.

Mazda’s shrinking passenger car lineup is down 23 percent, a loss largely incurred by the declining Mazda3 and Mazda6. Mazda’s “light-truck” division, however, is suffering from the near disappearance of the Mazda5 minivan, a CX-9 replacement phase, and a minor slide in sales of Mazda’s best seller, the CX-5.

Three months in, there’s plenty of time for Mazda to turn 2016 around and improve upon 2015, when Mazda USA sales climbed to a 21-year high. Yet even during that banner year, Mazda was hardly a consequential automaker in the United States, earning just 1.8% market share. That’s measurably less than Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and BMW. Mazda Canada’s market share is more than double what Mazda USA achieves, yet Mazda is losing Canadian market share every year.

Something is clearly not clicking.

2016 Mazda6, Image: Mazda USA

Car reviewers gleefully toss a Mazda3 through a series of bends, enamoured by its interactivity, only to discover that real consumers prefer eight other compact cars. Industry insiders look at the flowing lines of a Mazda6 and are left to wonder at the 10 other midsize cars that sell more often. Mazda is soaring up Consumer Reports’ ratings, too, and all Mazdas receive CR recommendations.

Mazda’s characteristically superior on-road behaviour obviously means little to the typical consumer, regardless of the insistent auto writers who would rather see consumers rowing their own in a Mazda3 than enduring a CVT-equipped Corolla.

Why aren’t they buying more Mazdas? We have a few good guesses, so I’m answering that question for every Mazda by taking the place of a consumer, not the car reviewer. Let’s be clear: I could do this for almost every automaker. Mazda’s case is pertinent now because of Mazda’s currently weak sales.

What would stop me from buying a Mazda? Here’s one chief reason for each Mazda vehicle, leaving the CX-9 be until we’ve had more exposure.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Red

MAZDA CX-3

The CX-3’s snug rear seat and tiny cargo compartment wouldn’t deter me if I was seeking an all-wheel-drive subcompact crossover. And while 146-horsepower sounds like very little, the CX-3 is sufficiently powerful in daily driving.

But the CX-3 is way too low.

If you’re going to indirectly replace a subcompact car with a subcompact crossover, isn’t a key part of the switchover ride height? Sitting in a CX-3, I feel like I’m perfectly positioned to study a pickup truck’s nether regions. There are only six inches of ground clearance, and no amount of black cladding can make up for that. Of course it handles well for an SUV — it’s as low as a freaking car. At least the Jeep Renegade, which is just as chock full of faults as every subcompact utility, has an aura of SUV authenticity because of its loftier perch.

MAZDA3

On my strong recommendation, my best friend leased a new Mazda3 hatchback at the end of March, flying in the face of a trend that has seen U.S. and Canadian sales fall 21 percent so far this year. But even he couldn’t accept his base model Mazda3 as is. Kenny removed the Mazda3’s covered 16-inch wheels (to use as winters) and replaced them with the 17-inch alloys off his dead first-gen Mazda6. It looks amazing. But 17-inchers on a new Mazda3?

17s on a 3 are odd, indeed. But to escape the empty wheelarch/tippy-toe look of most Mazda3s, Mazda required Kenny to spend an extra $7,000 CAD to get 18-inch rims (and plenty of other stuff). Forget any 17-inch mid-way option.

Should crippling, undersized wheels have been a deal-breaker for Kenny? (They almost were until he remembered he still technically owned the Mazda6.) Perhaps not, but his experience speaks to the way Mazda allows even mid-grade versions of the very handsome Mazda3 to look very cheap. Midst discussion of Mazda’s premium-ness in early 2013, Mazda’s CEO said that he needed consumers to, “appreciate the value of the product.” Mazda might find more appreciation when they get rid of 16-inch wheel covers on a $20,415 USD Mazda3 i Sport 5-Door.

MAZDA 6

I love a good-looking midsize sedan as much as the next minivan owner. If that handsome exterior is paired with a willing chassis, consider me excited. But I don’t grasp the point of stepping up from a fun and comfortable car like the Mazda3 if the Mazda6 isn’t going to be more comfortable for more people.

The Mazda6’s swoopy roofline eats into rear headroom. The center hump would make five-aboard trips a pain. These aren’t problems in an almost-flat-floor, not exactly swoopy roofed Toyota Camry.

2016 Mazda CX-5 red

MAZDA CX-5

A criticism levelled against most Mazdas relates to noise, vibration, and harshness. But up against refined, perennial best-selling Honda CR-V, the CX-5’s wind noise and engine clatter are irritating. Its tire hum is, say it with me, tiresome.

The CX-5 is surrounded by rivals which don’t steer, handle, shift, or brake with any joy, but the Mazda CX-5’s dynamic appeal will be lost on many buyers who just want a quiet family hauler.

MAZDA MX-5 MIATA

If I had the money and driveway space for an ND MX-5, I believe I’d pull the trigger in an instant.

Or would I? The last time I spent a week with a Miata, my friends all made fun of me. Kenny even called me Grandpa.

I’m my own man, of course, and I back that up in vehicular terms by being happy with minivan ownership. But minivan ownership makes me look precisely my age; minivan ownership suggests absolutely truthful notions to those who see me driving a Honda Odyssey.

2016 Mazda MX-5 White

MX-5 ownership, however, is another matter. Aside from seemingly every second young auto writer in North America, MX-5s seem to be driven only by the most hoary-headed among us. Perhaps that’s just my locale, but then again, that is where I would be driving my MX-5.

“Not wanting to look like I’m 72,” seems like a justifiable reason to avoid dressing a certain way, a fair argument for not dining out at a certain time, and proper logic for playing tennis instead of pickleball. But I hope I don’t give in to such logic if I save the money and buy the garage.

I may sneer at small-wheeled Mazda3s, literally look down upon CX-3 drivers, never see any humans in the rear seat of a Mazda6, and wonder if every CX-5 I drive is wearing winter tires. But I really want a Miata.

[Images: Mazda]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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286 Comments on “Why Aren’t Americans Buying Mazdas?...”


  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Mazda will have to bring the refinement level of its lineup at least up to par with the competition if it’s going to make any serious headway in gaining market share.

    Tire roar, wind and engine noise are a thing of the past for most manufacturers, but they’re still “standard equipment” on all Mazdas….

    • 0 avatar
      Ltd1983

      This. The Mazda6 is a gorgeous piece of midsize practicality, but it sounds 20 years older than all the competitors inside.

      Americans want big, comfortable, powerful, and quiet.

      Mazda trades on being lighter, less powerful, but more raw and engaging than their competition.

      Noble goals for an enthusiast, to be sure, but not really what mainstream America buying a CUV or midsized sedan wants.

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      Yep. I’ll be replacing my 2008 Mazda3 GT in the next year or two. It has 68k miles from new and has been a wonderful car. I’d replace it with a new 3 GT in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the road noise – I think Mazda has one of the best looking lineups going.

      I already have one purposefully loud car in my stable – I’d like my daily driver to have a modicum of refinement and unfortunately Mazda doesn’t really offer that. If I’m going to plunk down ~$30k on a loaded 3 I’d expect reduced road noise – otherwise it’s not hard to find something priced similarly that does.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I’m in the same boat with a 2010 3s hatch. I’ve already looked at a Jetta and thought it was a strong contender, particularly in rear seat space, trunk space, and NVH while being at least as fun to drive.

        I’d only really be torn between the 1.4T S with connectivity or the 1.8T Sport, the question being between the ugly 2-tone interior and more power vs. a normal looking interior and a sunroof that I won’t use. Pricing is nearly identical between the 2.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The universal solution to worrying about the level of supposed road noise in any new car, is to not “plunk down” for the most overloaded, anesthetized and anodyne version in the lineup, and instead get a lightly equipped one with a manual. The Elise has road noise and is low. Mazdas don’t and aren’t, any more than Michael Jordan was a “little guy”, just because some others on court were even taller.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Exactly. NVH is unacceptable and they have been told that for years. They are arrogant.

      Also a completely non competitive optional engine. Mazda says “no torque” and we must love that. Don’t talk to us, we talk at you! Mazda says no Mazdaspeed 3 too.

      Arrogant, out of touch. Lie in the bed you made. And don’t offend us with hypocritical Zoom Zoom image advertising unless you are prepared to come to the plate.

      • 0 avatar
        devonair

        I love my ’13 Mazda3. My only complaint is lack of grunt in 1st gear. I had been hearing the rumors of a new MPS version coming in 2017, but the recent of reports of no-MPS-in-the-near-future has me disheartened. Mazdas are still so much more fun to drive at their price range (hell, even my girlfriend’s little Mazda2 is more fun than every similar mini-hatch I’ve ever driven) — but I’d still like some actual “zoom zoom” with my car’s tossability.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        No they are not arrogant. Some facts to back that up. When the 2014 Mazda 6 came out there were two complaints (because people had to complain about something) – screen size and perceived NVH. Both were addressed in the 2016 model. So within 2 years they tried to solve those two – that is not at MO of an arrogant company. Second the new CX9 has a lot of extra sound insulation added because they know this is a concern for some people.

        I agree with some other people on here that the reasons for limited sales are :
        Limited dealer network,
        Large % of Japanese manufacture – so rebates are limited
        A lot of people not considering or test driving them

        Also Mazda wants to stay as being driver focused – some might call that dedication arrogant. Focussing on driving dynamics will always be a niche market, as long as it is profitable (which they are currently) then they don`t need massive market share increases. Of course they would like that, but it isn`t necessary.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        I had a 2010 MAZDASPEED3, and it was more comfortable for long trips that I thought it would be. Mazda’s problem is that most/all of their development seems to be done through the prism of motorsports, where NVH isn’t a factor.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          If you go dealer to dealer, and drive a Mazda back to back with the likes of GTIs, 3 Series, Toyotas and the newest Hondas, they may fall a smidgen short in NVH. But it’s no longer annoying to the point where you’d even think of it, were you not specifically comparing. No mainstream car really is.

          My DD is an A8, about as quiet as cars get. But when I took a friend’s FiST on a 2000 mile back and forth from Cali to Montana, within 20 miles, the last thing on my mind was how “poor” the NVH was. Even babbling on the bluetooth phone at 115-120 indicated (as fast as that FiST would go most places), the noise wasn’t to the level where I even thought about it. And a Mazda 3 or 6, is less noisy than that little Ford. When I first get into a quiet car from a “noisy” one, it’s tomb like and impressive. While small, “noisy” cars feel cheap and tinny. But no new car is bad enough in that respect that it matters anymore, to anyone not determined to make it matter.

          Of course, if you couldn’t care at all about dynamics, to the point where you find no meaningful difference between a Miata and a diesel 1 ton with a 3000lb camper in the bed, why not buy the slightly “better” Toyota? But for anyone with an ounce of “enthusiast” blood, Mazda’s NVH “problems” are truly a non issue in practical terms.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            I agree. While not class leading, Mazda NVH are at acceptable levels to me.

            And rust issues seem to have been reduced but not enough time has passed to say iMazda has solved it. Mazda’s best hope and best form of advertising is if people still see old Mazdas running and it good shape.

            Back in 2010, I was the only Mazda in my neighborhood. Now I see 4 or 5 other (new) Mazdas, and one occasional visitor is a Gen-1 Mazda3 in good shape.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        How are they arrogant? Please explain. It took Honda until the current Accord and Civic to quiet its NVH for those and folks have complained about them for 20 years up til now.

    • 0 avatar
      AK

      Can agree with this.

      The 2.5 skyactiv is loud, coarse and just adequately powerful in most applications.

      Solve that one problem and I absolutely will buy a Mazda. Love everything else about them. Handling, transmissions, styling and even the way they package options. All great.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1. The road noise on the Mazda3 2.5 was a deal killer for me.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed on this. I see three issues for Mazda:

      1) Refinement as you noted

      2) Packaging – how they package options and price them was the primary reason I didn’t buy a Mazda6 back in 2005 – Mazda hasn’t changed on this approach

      3) Styling – the MX-5 and Mazda6 aside, both are gorgeous, there just seems something a bit off. We’re not talking Juke, Spark, Cube, Crosstour eye searing bad, just this last 10%

      Mazda for me is much like Acura. I drive their products and I love driving them, but a few things keep me from putting one in my driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Mazda doesnt offer Acura, Lexus, Infiniti for halo cars either.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Not sure a premium / luxury division is the way to go nowadays. It can easily become an albatross. Mazda just needs to keep plugging away, and offer a top trim model that’s as good as any premium model offered by other manufacturers.

        The MX-5 Miata can be considered their halo car.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Was thinking the same thing. Miata is as halo as halo gets, for a Zoom-Zoom branded brand. By virtue of focus, almost more so, than the 911 is for Porsche and 3 for BMW. Wrangler may be up there with it, but that’s got to be about it.

    • 0 avatar
      richmich7

      Mazda just doesn’t get it. Honda gets premium prices because they limit production to what sells to consumers and by being premium enough over there competitors. They may have had some issues, but they listen to consumers and have improved their products. Toyota sells because of their reliability that is better than any other company. Second tier is really Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, and FCA. Mazda needs to figure it out. Zoom Zoom and high prices isn’t working. I would hate to see them become second tier, because they probably wouldn’t even be profitable doing that. Nissan has quickly learned French reliability. Mazda should give Honda or BMW a call.

  • avatar
    NoID

    The easy answer to your Miata image problem is to instead purchase a Fiat 124 Spider. It looks better anyways.

  • avatar
    Rob

    I think one of the big issues is Americans aren’t even test driving Mazdas. You’re assessments are valid, but Americans buy cars with larger issues.

    Surely, you recognize when people ask you for recommendations, just how many never had a Mazda on their radar?

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I seriously think this is 90% of the problem. I made my wife test drive a CX-5 when she was looking for a CUV; she absolutely loved it, we bought it, we’ve never looked back. But she literally didn’t know what it was before we went to the dealership, and when her family saw the car – which they all loved – the universal reaction was, “Oh, is that like a RAV-4?”

      Americans buy cars they know about. Usually that means a Honda, a Toyota or a Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      This is most likely a real problem. Until I drove some Mazdas, I didn’t realize how good they are compared to other cars. I test drove both the CX-5 and the Volvo XC60 and I chose to buy the CX-5. Other small SUVs with which I have recent (within past 10 years) driving experience (ownership; not just test drives or extended test drives) include: Chevy Equinox, BMW X3, Subaru Outback and Forester. Based on my experience I would choose the CX-5 over any of these (but not if I hadn’t test driven the Mazda, of course, in the first place). Every time I drive the CX-5 , I am reminded how much I enjoy diving it.

      I test drove two Mazda 6s (a manual Touring and an auto GT) and I drove, for a day, an auto Touring. If Mazda offered a GT with a manual, I’d already own one. For the formerly mentioned reason as well as the following reasons, I have not yet bought a Mazda 6: a) I was waiting until I had some experiences with the local dealership service department, b) I was waiting to see whether my opinion of the CX-5 would change (for the worse) as time passed. I am happy on both counts and I will most likely purchase a 2017 Mazda 6 as soon as the 2017s are available. Other example sedans with which I have recent (within past 10 years) a good amount of driving experience include (not a complete list): Volvo S60, BMW 525xi, Ford 500 and Taurus.

      I can offer only my experience as a single data point. But, I am willing to bet that more people would choose Mazdas is more people chose to test drive Mazdas.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Author of this is picking something from each model but all of them don’t sell well (or well enough for what they are) therefore this is invalid approach. Sound like the problem is more systematic.

      1. Lack of advertising

      2. see #1 – you drive and, day in- day out you see RAV and CRV, RAV/CRV, RAV/CRV, many times a day. You are so used to them, they look nice to you. Just selling thousands of these in fact is form of advertising. I bet ya, someone looking at CX-5 and thinks, “oh, nice Toyota”

      3. Past experiences. Once you own 1999 Mazda 626, it is hard to make you buy another one.

      4. see #3. For those in “snowy states”, or “moist states”, Mazda still is not rust-proof enough.

      5. My bro said, “I wouldn’t even look at Mazda because I don’t have dealer anywhere near” (and he lives in Boston area!, not Idaho)

      6. Parts are expensive

      Remember what Mazda CEO said – “Customer retention is the issue”. See #3, #4, #6. I believe – this is culprit. And not noise. Noise you can hear on a test drive. But you still buy it and not returning for more…

      After all, picking on each model doesn’t make much sense. I can pick on each of the better-than-Mazda-selling models.

      • 0 avatar
        lightbulb

        Really I find that hard to believe. I live in the Boston metro area and Mazdas are popular here. Looking on their website it shows 15 Mazda dealers within 50 miles of downtown Boston. Granted there are probably 30 Honda and 30 Toyota dealers in the same area. Mazdas no longer have the rust issues. I have two friends that have 2014 and 2013 Mazdas with no rust.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          “Mazdas no longer have the rust issues”

          Every time I hear this, I feel of these

          – people don’t know what they talking about but yapping anyways
          – people are ignorant
          – people deliberately spread lies

          I owned 3 Mazdas last year and now have 2. And I don’t live in the worst climate. When you go under your car, and especially if you park same-aged Toyota next to it, the rust will be right in your face. Clear and obvious.

          I even postulate that 15 years ago rust problems were less then now. Hardware is worse now vs then. For example, hose clamps that didn’t rust before, now are rusty. Bolts that hold your door latches were like new after 16 years on old Mazda and now they rusted after 3 years. And the list can go on. Ha! OEM brake rotors are so bad, rust goes over into braking surface on inner part. I had to change at 63K, on old Mazda – 80K+.

          “I live in the Boston metro”

          so is my bro. I looked at the map – there are 6 Mazda dealers within limits of I95. And this is a huge radius. And nearest one is 10 miles away. Honda has 5 dealers closer to downtown and one of them 2 miles away.
          But the point is SERVICE. He does service only at the Honda dealer.

          My nearest Mazda dealer is 17 miles away. But I do all the work myself, so I don’t care.

      • 0 avatar
        bayss

        3. Past experiences. Once you own 1999 Mazda 626, it is hard to make you buy another one.

        Can you please give more detail?

        I owned a 96 626, a different gen, 2.0 manual. I thought that car was fantastic. Now have a Speed6

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Yea, sure. without going into many details… A transmission that could last only 45K miles (MAX). So, in 100K miles – 2 transmissions. Yea – you had manual…

          • 0 avatar
            bayss

            I can agree with your opinion then. Before I bought it used I went online and heard that as the main complaint. When getting gas went from $20 to $40-$60 I went after this car, didn’t know how to drive manual, but mpg on manual is fantastic and saw the issues with the automatic

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Yeah, that Ford CD4E transmission was terrible. My ex-girlfriend still drives a ’93 MX-6 2.0L automatic. It’s a rare combination for that generation these days, as they only used the Mazda GF4A-EL automatic that first year before Ford decided to do all the preliminary durability testing on their own new transmission by sticking it in the 626 and MX-6 for the North American market. The rest of the world got the more reliable Mazda unit.

            I think that transmission is one of the reasons that Mazda is so much more popular in Canada. Since we buy more manuals, a lot of Mazda owners have good experiences with those cars. Anybody who bought one with an automatic probably never bought another Mazda.

            The funny thing about her transmission is that I thought it was on its way out when I first started dating her. It shifted so hard that, under hard acceleration, it would chirp the tires going into second. This, on a car that has trouble getting wheelspin on a brake-torque launch. But I think it was due to the Mazda dealer using Mercon V when they did a fluid change. Ford should have used a different name for that. Even a lot of Ford and Mazda dealers didn’t know that it’s not a replacement for Mercon. Anyway, I figured I’d try changing the fluid about ten years ago and it has shifted fine ever since. Since it has a drain plug, I’m able to easily replace 2L of ATF at every oil change.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I feel compelled to jump in here and say that I owned both a used 626 and a used 929 for the transportation needs of my sons through High School and 4 years of long-distance College commuting.

            Never had any problem with either car and both cars served my kids well into their Marine Corps days when they were able to buy a brand new ride with their own money.

            Never had either automatic transmission go bad. Both the 626 and the 929 were eventually traded for new Mazda vehicles in San Diego, CA.

            And both were sold by the Mazda dealership to illegal aliens who drove off happy campers.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            What year was the 626? I think they had the CD4E sorted out by the end of the model run. It was then used in the Escape from 2001 to 2008.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It was an 80’s something. In fact both were. But I don’t remember the model year.

            I’ve bought over 40 used cars and trucks over the decades, mostly from GIs at the local Lemon Lot, and as late as Jan 2011 still had more than 11 of them in running condition, parked on my property.

            My wife made me sell all of those after I bought my 2011 Tundra.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Ah, I see. I forgot about those earlier 626s. The bad transmission ones were from 1994 to 2002, or shortly before 2002 if they had the issues corrected before the end of the model run.

            I’ve never heard of any other Mazda automatics being particularly bad units.

      • 0 avatar
        Jason Lombard

        This. I bought their flagship (at the time) Mazdaspeed 6 and the dealer experience was AWFUL all the way around. While I enjoyed the car, parts were VERY difficult to get. The control arm bushings failed at 32k and were denied warranty replacement as they’re considered a “wear” item. It took a week to get the replacements (which I paid dearly for). The car was never autocrossed or tracked—and was fastidiously serviced. I still wonder if Mazda denied the warranty claim or if the dealer just didn’t want to deal with it and never filed the claim. I used two different dealers—the closest of which was 45 minutes away. After the last service, the second dealer left the underbody tray off so I had to drive an hour each way a second time to fetch it. No apology, no coupons for future service, just “oops.”

        I really like the look of the new 6, love the fact that I can get a 4-door sedan with a manual tranny. But as a former customer, I just can’t do that again. I completely believe that “customer retention is the issue.” It was (and is) for me.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I convinced a friend to test drive several CUVs, including the Mazda CX-5. I noticed she seemed more confident and comfortable in it compared to her test drive in the Toyota RAV4. But in the end, she went with the 2014 RAV4 (arg!) because a family friend knew how to fix Toyotas and said Toyota parts were readily available and cheaper.

      Another friend, coming from a 15 year old Lexus SUV, was considering a top of the line RAV4 instead of a luxury nameplate. He test drove the Mazda CX-5 but didn’t like the driving dynamics nor the looks. He was accustomed to the Lexus vibe, so he went for the 2016 RAV4 (arg!).

      Yet another briefly considered alternatives to the Corolla. The Honda dealer was nearby, but Mazda wasn’t. She went with a new 2016 Corolla (arg!).

      Lastly, a family I know rented the Mazda5 mini-van on a vacation. They turned around and changed it for a Toyota Sienna (arg!). They just didn’t like the ride.

      I’ve been driving a 2010 Mazda3 and am very happy in it. I am glad they don’t copy Toyota. Instead, as others have pointed out, VW’s stumble may be an opportunity for Mazda to pick up some former VW customers.

      • 0 avatar
        RacerZ

        Ive managed to convince two people in the past year to buy Mazdas..lol..Ive even went on several test drives with them. One of them wanted a Juke..lmao..They are glad they went w the Cx5 though. My friend is in the market for a new car. Or maybe a a CPO car. Though he has been saying this now for 3 years and cant seen pull the trigger. Ive been gravitating hi towards a Cx5 but now he is saying since our other friend has a Cx5 he doesnt want to. Some people like him just have the sheep her mentality and they are going to go with what they know unfortunately. Though its just a excuse really. So i just let that one go.

    • 0 avatar
      Najee12

      Mazda has a confusing brand message, which I feel contributes to its sales numbers. The company’s marketing communications strategy appears that it wants to position itself with the Infiniti/Acura/Lexus line when it’s more in the Nissan/Honda/Toyota space (and costs less than those brands). So its message doesn’t resonate with midsize cars-as-utilities buyers.

      I bought a new 2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring three months ago for $22,000 because the dealership wanted to move it as fast as possible. There is nothing wrong with the vehicle (it was a dealer car with less than 10,000 miles), but the salesperson said it had been on the lot for several months and no one was interested in it.

      The salesperson said that people are very brand loyal to the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima (all of which are in the same segment as the Mazda 6 and are among the top-selling vehicles in the country). And while the few people who drove the car thought it was better than what they expected, they thought it must have had mechanical issues to be priced so low.

      The numbers tend to bear out what the salesperson said. According to websites I researched that report car sales, the Mazda 6 sold only 43,000 units in 2016. In comparison, the Camry sold 388,000 units (including 33,000 just in December), the Accord sold 307,000 units (including nearly 34,000 in December) and the Altima sold 307,000 units (including 24,000 in December).

      Some other factors contribute to Mazda’s situation in the United States, in my opinion. It doesn’t seem like Mazda has a strong dealer network. I live near Charlotte, N.C., and there are only five dealerships within a 100-mile radius of where I live. I wanted a red Mazda 6, and the one I purchased was the only red Mazda 6 on their collective lots.

      Four of the Mazda dealerships were packaged together with another line of vehicles and had fewer choices on the lot compared to the other lines. The standalone Mazda dealership (ironically, which is where I bought my vehicle) was more than one hour from my house. Needless to say, it was very out of the way for me to look at a Mazda when a Honda, Nissan or Toyota dealership was much more accessible.

      Mazda also doesn’t use incentives or fleets to push sales, which also give the appearance that Mazda vehicles are more on the premium side. So the brand seems to be in a quandary — it comes across as a poor luxury brand to some people and as a scare mass production line to others.

      • 0 avatar
        RacerZ

        Very good points. Mazda is trying to position themselves somewhere between those brands. Near luxury. This is a relatively new strategy for them. Americans have a tendency to follow the herd and keep up with the Joneses. It is very hard to break through this mentality. Theyve cut down fleet sales every year for the past few years. Fleet sales are low profits or in some cases overstock. Neither which would benefit Mazda much. The one downside its a way to gain some brand awareness. Yes Mazda is a 1/5th the size of those other car makers so as i expected their dealer network is small. The dealer i purchased my Mazda was a small dealer. They probably had 25 cars on the lot. I live in a larger Metro than Charlotte. According the dealer locator there are 13 dealers in my area. (50 Mile Radius) They do occasionally offer incentives. However, they dont move enough cars to make up for the incentives. Its a catch 22 for them. The big boys are able to take more off the hood because they make up for it in volume. What we can do is try to get the word out. Try and convince friends and coworkers to try a Mazda. Just last year i convinced two people to purchase Mazda. Im trying to convince my new GF of the same who will be in the market for a new car soon. Get the word out. The numbers i show that Mazda sold just over 45,000 6s. They need that breakthrough car and they have it in the CX5. That has been a hit for them. I just dont know if its enough. It seems like they have moved away from trying to fit a niches. Like they did with the Mazda 5. Another thing is that although havent mentioned the Cx3 hasnt sold in the #s they wanted. ITs a fantastic car but i think they missed the boat by making it too small and too much like a hatchback.

  • avatar

    1) Abhorrent road noise in passenger cars
    2) Build quality issues
    3) Smaller Dealer Network
    4) Pricing
    5) Aaron Paul’s stupid voice on Mazda commercials

    • 0 avatar
      ldl20

      1. Maybe a little bit….
      2. My Protege5 and 6 wagon were put together just fine, and no rust
      3. Not an issue in northern NJ (Bergen County)
      4. Competitive for what you get
      5. AGREED!!!!! I can’t stand the smugness….though I always thought it was Jeremy Piven.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I knew a bunch of people that bought Mazdas when the first generation Mazda 3 was new. The cars didn’t age gracefully and their former owners are unlikely to try another Mazda any time soon. I also know someone that ditched his CX5 after its virtually unavailable 19 inch tires ruined an important trip. That’s on him for buying a car without applying any critical thinking, but apparently Mazda is educating its buyers; one at a time. They’re the Japanese VW.

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      I dunno, I have a late first-gen 3 (2008) that has aged extremely well. I bet you’d be shocked you’re in an 8 year old car. Perhaps I’m just that meticulous with upkeep, but of the few 3’s from that era that I’ve been able to sample, I haven’t seen any that have deteriorated like a VW, especially with regard to the interior.

      For one, the interior is pretty much all rock hard plastic – the switchgear is simple and the leather is extremely tough (pleather?). I know the first-gens had some A/C compressor gremlins, but otherwise they seem reasonably solid.

      I know rust still seems to haunt recent Mazdas worse than other marques, but the only thing keeping me from getting another 3 is the lack of sound deadening.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Short lived factory suspension components like struts, rear wheel lip rust in a locale where rust is not a common issue, constant CEL issues, cooling issues, and an engine failure spoiled Mazda 3 ownership for my friends. All of the cars were 2.3/automatics driven by women. None hit six figure mileages before being sold in defeat, the last one in 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      19″ wheels are a killer. There is no reason for a mass market passenger car or compact CUV to have 19″s. Sure they look nice, but they increase unsprung weight, hurt ride comfort, and most importantly add prohibitive cost and availability for tire replacement.

      18″s are everywhere, and 20″s are even easier to find as well because of the glut of large SUVs wearing them. There is no reason they couldn’t have cone with one of those instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      I have to agree with this… I have a 2007 3 hatch which I has been kind of fiddly with reliability. Stuff breaks and it still works, but you have to replace it anyways. Engine mounts, struts, thermostat, purge solenoid, transmission plug, another purge solenoid… It’s usually small easy to do things, but I shouldn’t have to do them. Plus the inside rattles and creaks a lot and if I don’t have super fresh tires, the wind and road noise is pretty terrible. It’s also slow which they seem to refuse to address so i will look elsewhere for my next car…

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      235/55R19 is the ideal replacement tire size for the CX-5 GT. They’re common, relatively inexpensive, provide better ride and curb/pothole protection, and fill out the wheel wells better than the silly stock 225/55R19 size.

      But yeah, it’s unfortunate that Mazda makes you jump from 16″ to 18″, or 17″ to 19″, on their vehicles, with nothing in-between. The large sizes on the Mazdas are impractical for most drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      RacerZ

      First gen Mazda 3 here. 122K miles..Only replaced a water pump, and a relay for the window..THATS IT..( besides brakes, battery, tires)

  • avatar

    #1 They are boring
    #2 They are ugly
    #3 They are too small
    #4 Hyundai’s cars look better and feel better.
    #5 Toyota
    #6 Nissan

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I’ve owned three Mazdas, two 626’s, and an NC Miata (still own). They may not have the refinement of the comparable Honda or Toyota, but they have been incredible reliable and cheap to maintain. The sales experience has been very pleasant as well. Perhaps the dealers simply have to work harder.

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      Hondas and Toyotas are also incredibly reliable and cheap to maintain. For those that don’t enjoy driving (the majority) what does Mazda have to offer them?

      • 0 avatar
        Waterview

        No disagreement regarding reliability and maintenance on Hondas and Toyotas. I guess I’ve just always had a better experience with Mazda dealers. I think the price point for a comparable Mazda is slightly lower (or was). I’ve always viewed the 626/Mazda 6 as a “poor man’s Accord”.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          That’s certainly a problem for Mazda, since it looks like they are trying to position (and price) their cars closer to the Acura/Buick segment. I think less expensive Acura is closer to their goal than poor man’s Accord.

  • avatar
    S197GT

    the decrepit roads in my area make me want to trade-in our cx-9 grand touring. we have the 20″ wheels and along with that better handling (than it should) comes a stiffer suspension and bushings which transmit the sound and impact harshness to the cabin.

    it didn’t bother me the first 36k or so miles of ownership but it has slowly worn on me. i’d probably go for something with a softer ride or at least less impact harshness.

    kind of like when i bought a then new 2002 mazda protege5. the handling was great but after 30k miles I was ready for something more comfortable. the head toss on highways was annoying.

    i also convinced my friend to buy a new 2003 protege5 but she eventually sold it and didn’t buy another mazda.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I doubt that most prospective new car buyers even bother to consider Mazdas.

    The larger brands are simply safer, easier, more convenient choices. More places to buy those other cars, more places to get them serviced and repaired, more people who will be interested in buying your used car when it’s time to get rid of it. Compared to buying a Honda, Toyota or possibly Nissan, going out of ones way to buy a Mazda doesn’t make much sense for most people.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Compared to buying a Honda, Toyota or possibly Nissan, going out of ones way to buy a Mazda doesn’t make much sense for most people.”

      Exactly. If you are going to take the “risk” of buying something out of the mainstream, you probably want some prestige to go with it. What’s the upside for someone to chose Mazda over Toyota/Honda/Ford? Sexier sheet metal to the extent they care, less of a known quantity, maybe less reliability, and it’s more fun to drive for people who don’t care?

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Maybe Mazda should look across the Sea of Japan to Korea. Hyundai had a terrible reputation which they’ve turned around.

      Mazda’s rep is not any where near as dire but they still can’t sale in numbers that the company feels they should. If it wouldn’t put undue stress on the company perhaps Mazda could think about extending their warranty as a way to acquire new customers.

      They’ve tried to duplicate Toyota and Honda. That didn’t work. They’ve gone the own way with zoom-zoom. That’s not working. They look at Subaru, which was in a similar position market share wise but their vehicles are flying off the lots.

      Maybe Mazda should make all their vehicles with a sky-active, all wheel drive train. In fact, the more I think about it, I’m convinced that this is the answer and will provide the salvation that Mazda seeks.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        They’re already underpowered, adding AWD and the associated friction and weight isn’t going to help.

        • 0 avatar
          blppt

          Why not? The Imprezas (not WRX/STI) are underpowered and AWD, and they sell pretty well.

          Heck, the Legacy/Forester base 4 cylinder is pretty darn slow too. I dont see the Mazdas being any slower than them. IIRC, the CX-3 was rather fleet of foot when it was in that comparison with the Crosstrek.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I can’t imagine that the US market is demanding a second mainstream brand with an AWD passenger car focus.

        At this point, Mazda has become a square peg in a round hole of a market. It seems to me that it could use a new relationship to replace the one that it once had with Ford. I don’t know if it would be a good fit culturally, but the product lines could work well alongside BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        My daughter was looking at the 3 but ended up with an Impreza. AWD, decent interior, & quiet, comfortable ride sold her. She doesn’t care about zoom, and clearly she’s not alone. Which makes me a little sad.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Poor dealerships. Run down, old, and not so trustworthy ownership of those dealer’s. At least in Florida Mazda dealer’s run the slimiest ads for sales. Many have multiple lawsuits pending for there sales practices. Mazda also has poor resale value when compared to Honda, Subaru, and Toyota.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Superfluous brand and product save MX-5, they wouldn’t be missed by many.

    • 0 avatar

      Bah.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m happy you enjoy yours but why does this brand need to continue? Same product as everyone else without the cachet, dealer network, resale, and quality/materials of most of its rivals. I wasn’t a fan but I respected RX8. A friend has a Mazda5, also not a big fan but I respect it for being an actual “mini” van. Why am I going to Mazda to buy the same product I can buy elsewhere?

        • 0 avatar

          Think about it. Is the average Mazda3 the same thing as a Civolla, or the 6 the same animal as a Camcord? Mazda isn’t making the “exact same product” as everyone else, hence why this article exists. They’re trying to be something different, and that’s going to bring challenges. I can’t think of another Japanese make marketing to the masses, where the engineers seem to still be in charge, and all the vehicles are slanted toward the driving experience.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            But the percent that values those differences from the CamCord Civrolla are in the 5% or less. Would enthusiasts on a budget miss Mazda? Probably. Would mainstream America? No.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “Would enthusiasts on a budget miss Mazda? Probably.”

            I think with Mazda’s current line up, the only car most enthusiasts would miss is the Miata.

            The 3, 6, and CX-3/5 are good but I know they wouldn’t be my first choice and going by the numbers the same is true for many people.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            exactly.

            A great car company driven by a philosophy worthy of our support.
            I support them and their cars.

            I own 3.
            My family owns several…some given to other family members.

            Yes…they have road noise.But this is a comlan I read in many, many other competing cars. It should NOT be leveled against only Mazda. Especially in the 3, a lower end model.

            The Skyactiv engines are a wonderful attempt at staying clear of the turbo. And now combining the Skyactiv WITH turbo for the MazdaSpeeds and CX9 is an awesome design. Similar to what the Volvo company is doing with Supercharging/turbo engines.

            Lack of dealers is killing Mazda. I think they have less than Subaru, really.
            Not sure how Subaru continues to build sales since they force everybody into AWD when there is absolutely no need for 90 percent of the USA buyers to have.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Is the average Mazda3 the same thing as a Civolla”

            Yes, a FWD C-segment sedan equipped with a gas I4.

            “6 the same animal as a Camcord”

            Yes, a FWD D-segment sedan equipped with a gas I4

            If the company is trying to do something different, its going to have to be cheap enough to do and within the bounds of those specifications. The problem is larger and better managed brands also offer product within those specifications who can also afford to undercut Mazda on price even if Mazda was superior. Stiffer suspension, a slightly longer hood (which is a nice touch), and other little details are not enough to get me into a showroom, not to mention the posts on NVH and materials issues given by others (mazda rust, panel fit issues).

            “I can’t think of another Japanese make marketing to the masses, where the engineers seem to still be in charge”

            I don’t really know whats going on in Hiroshima but this sounds like you sipped some kool-aid. Mazda seems to have the talent to bring about some interesting product, but it bombs. Then they rely on bread and butter models to keep the lights on and its not panning out for the reasons cited in these posts. If the engineers were truly in charge, than the engineers should find a way to take their most unique product, MX-5, and do more with it. If they could build something unique which sold well to the masses, then they might have something.

            Disclaimer: No experience with any Mazda product as a driver since about MY02 and as a passenger since an MY09.

    • 0 avatar

      [“6 the same animal as a Camcord”

      Yes, a FWD D-segment sedan equipped with a gas I4″]

      Your analysis is right depending on how the buyer approaches the purchasing decision. Not all buyers evaluate vehicles solely on the basis of their raw specifications. Many of us are driving vehicles we’d describe as possessing attributes like varying degrees of “feel”, “beauty”, etc. There *are* those out there that can approach the decision of what’s in their garage without much emotional stake in the decision, granted (they tend to buy white Corollas and beige Camrys), but that’s not all of us, and even if it were most of us your analysis is a bit too reductionist.

      “If the company is trying to do something different, its going to have to be cheap enough to do and within the bounds of those specifications. The problem is larger and better managed brands also offer product within those specifications who can also afford to undercut Mazda on price even if Mazda was superior. Stiffer suspension, a slightly longer hood (which is a nice touch), and other little details are not enough to get me into a showroom, not to mention the posts on NVH and materials issues given by others (mazda rust, panel fit issues).”

      I think I agree with you more here, at least for the perspective of many buyers.

      “I don’t really know whats going on in Hiroshima but this sounds like you sipped some kool-aid. Mazda seems to have the talent to bring about some interesting product, but it bombs. Then they rely on bread and butter models to keep the lights on and its not panning out for the reasons cited in these posts. If the engineers were truly in charge, than the engineers should find a way to take their most unique product, MX-5, and do more with it. If they could build something unique which sold well to the masses, then they might have something.”

      Bear in mind we just saw yet another version of the MX-5 preview to much ballyhoo just a few weeks ago.

      The skyactive engine was a non-turbo i4 designed basically by getting the left hand to communicate with the right inside the factory. Go out there and research its development process. It’s fascinating. Then you have the company’s “horse and rider” philosophy which produces vehicles that place handling first. That obsession with handling–the kind of thing an engineer cares about, but a brand selling family cars to the masses doesn’t usually bother themselves with–is what is making them unique and different from everything else out there. If they weren’t something unique, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, nor would we have this article in the first place (or maybe we would, because Mazda would have gone and died trying to make more Camry and Accord fighters). Also, this company seems determined to make a rotary engine eventually work. After how many troublesome attempts?

      I mean, there’s an inherent irony in this entire thread. Mazda is clearly different. Why is that up for debate? If this were a company determined to produce say, a 6 that is just another Accord/Camry clone, then maybe they wouldn’t be having these problems. But it isn’t a company run solely by bean counters.

      “Disclaimer: No experience with any Mazda product as a driver since about MY02 and as a passenger since an MY09.”

      Disclaimer: I’m fully aware this brand has problems. No brand is perfect, for that matter. You’ll note I’ve outlined my reasons why I think Mazda isn’t perfect, either. I am not drinking the kool-aid but I do respect that they’re focused on the driving experience as a philosophy.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    A few months ago, when I was shopping for a used car to abuse, it dawned on me that I had never owned a Mazda. In the past I’ve flirted with the idea of buying a Madzdaspeed 6 or even a RX-8, but I ended up with a Scion xB since the reliability – perceived or not – was high on my priority list.

    Of course the xB was a dreadful box to drive – but hey, reliability!

  • avatar
    ajla

    I would shop the Mazda6 if it offered a V6.

    I doubt that would cause sales to skyrocket though.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Sentence #2: Correct.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        But sentence #1 is a position of mine.

        I own the 09 Mazda6 S and LOVE that engine.
        Not happy with the MPG…but no 6 did have good MPGs in 09.

        I drove the new 6 several times and cannot imagine this car without the stick. No matter how wonderful that auto is…in traffic stop n go on the freeways of Los Angeles were madness.

        Perhaps the next 6 will offer a Skyactiv turbo along with the CX9.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ajla, actually, the Mazda6 with the manual tranny is a blast to drive, reminiscent of the Maxima of the early nineties.

      My best friend got a wild hair one day and thought he’d buy a Light Blue 2016 manual ‘6 locally and retire his 1989 Camry V6, but the dealership would not discount, would not deal, and offered him a manual Accord instead for a discount. No deal to be found.

      So he bought an Avalon instead, and I bought his 1989 Camry V6 for $100.

      All’s well that ends well.

      The ‘6 is a blast to drive but it is noisy inside, and there is a lot of feedback through the steering wheel. Still, a lot of fun if you want a Sport Sedan, albeit with a peppy 4-banger instead of a torquey V6.

  • avatar

    This was really hard to read because my current car, an 07′ Mazda3s, is the best vehicle I’ve ever owned, full stop.

    But I have to admit this article raises several excellent points. I guess my only beef with its premise is that if 2015 was a record year for Mazda, then clearly these “issues” across the entire lineup didn’t suddenly become relevant overnight, unless the author is suggesting that Mazda has hit some kind of ceiling of support.

    I want to add some problems I think the article misses.

    1) It’s inexcusable that a car targeting “drivers looking for sporting performance in a family vehicle”, like the Mazda6, isn’t available with a beefier power train. Mazda has teased their turbo diesel solution to its known audience forever. These buyers are left with either settling for a 6 with only 184 horsepower or holding out for an engine that may never come. Mazda, for unfathomable reasons, hasn’t put a turbo 4 or even turbo 6 into the powertrain options to address this problem. It’s crazy.

    2) The CX-9, for a while at least, has had what is a basically unusable third row the moment you slap a rear-facing car seat in the second. I hope they’ve fixed it.

    3) The NVH issues are real, yes, but based on those from the frozen north commenting here, I’d say a major concern for at least some folks is the make’s apparently road salt/snow issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Even with Mazda’s surge in 2015, sales remained dreadfully low for a mainstream brand in America.

      1) I also believe it’s a strange message for the 6. But is it an issue for me or most buyers? The 6 wouldn’t become a hot seller if it offered an upgrade engine that most buyers wouldn’t choose.

      2) These CX-9 issues are common to many of its competitors, so it’s hard to pick on it for that reason. #minivan

      3) There is a rust perception in my area, for sure. But to what degree that would hinder me? I’m not sure, but remember, these are my reasons. Improved reliability ratings and my desire to have a new vehicle before such issues would kick in may make it a moot point. For me.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        It must mean something adding the V6 or turbo to somebody since Ford is adding the new Fusion next year.
        Is it the more powerful 2.3? I believe it s and not a V6.
        So the missing power must mean something.
        It does/did to me.

        Honda and Nissan still sell their V6…even if to round up a few buyers.

        And I see hundreds of CX5s everywhere.

        Its a wonder the numbers here are what they are.
        I see them everywhere.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Ford is adding the 2.7TT V6 to the Fusion this Summer/Fall. Ford can do this because they sell a ton of Fusions and have enough people willing to buy a 325 HP Fusion. They’ve also created a nice niche with their Sport models. The Explorer, Edge, and eventually Fusion Sports all sell well and at $40K transaction prices.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      The turbo diesel engine wouldn’t have provided any salve for a 6 buyer looking for more power. Sure, it had more torque, but it’s slower than the gas powered car.

      I don’t know why they don’t put a version of the 2.5t that’s in the CX-9 into the 6 and 3. I guess they don’t think they’ll recoup the investment.

      It’s odd for a performance brand, whose tag line is zoom-zoom, to not have any car with an engine over 190 hp and to have only one vehicle, a crossover at that, to breach 200 hp.

      • 0 avatar

        “It’s odd for a performance brand, whose tag line is zoom-zoom, to not have any car with an engine over 190 hp and to have only one vehicle, a crossover at that, to breach 200 hp.”

        This. This right here, Mazda. Are you paying attention?

        • 0 avatar
          DevilsRotary86

          I agree. Mr Cain is dismissive of a high power engine, but it’s why I can’t consider the Mazda 6 no matter how much I like it otherwise. Either a V6 or a Turbo 4, I don’t care which.

          My current car is a 6s 0-60 car with about a 15s 1/4 mile. I don’t see myself stepping down from that.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          The problem with looking for solutions here is that more or less everyone here is an enthusiast. Car enthusiasts are probably the nichiest (sp?) of niche markets. We simply don’t buy enough cars to matter. THAT is Mazda’s issue. It is also why manual transmissions are an endangered species.

          • 0 avatar
            Powerlurker

            Enthusiasts also tend to be cheapskates. Whenever a company builds a car targeted towards them, they don’t sell because everyone interested is waiting to buy them used in three years.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            That and mazda isnt successfully catering to that niche market. Mazda markets themselves as the “driver’s” choice, yet they have no answers for the FoST, FiST, WRX, or GTI. Nothing to compete with V6 Camries, Accords, and Altimas. Not even a turbo 4 to compete with the Kia Optima and Ford Fusion.

            Enthusiasts just might be a big enough slice of pie to make a small but viable company, but Mazda isn’t doing enough to differentiate themselves in the niche they are targeting. Do enthusiasts really have a compelling reason to take a 6 over an Accord?

            I say they switch everything to rwd and be the poor man’s BMW. Probably a ridiculous plan, but given their current market share I’m not sure what they have to lose by trying.

          • 0 avatar
            RacerZ

            Fair assetment. The problem is mazda is a niche manuf that relies heavily on enthusiast. They are also trying to appeal to the mainstream on some level. They need to bring in more mainstream buyers. These guys here are probably not enthusiast since they are nitpicking on some minor wind noise. One guy even commented on feedback. DUH.. Also so called enthusiast as you mentioned are mostly talk and dont buy cars. Sure they can go on here and nitpick. If the manuf addresses the issues theyll just find something else to nitpick on. Really they aint buying anything anyways.

      • 0 avatar
        64andahalf

        Totally agree with hubcap that lack of high HP engines is an issue. I’m in the market for a car and looked at the Mazda site, but nothing was impressive (I need to seat 4, so no mx5). I am currently leaning towards S3 / Golf R / Focus RS.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      Unless you have twins, it shouldn’t be a huge issue. Baby in 2nd row, older kids in 3rd row with boosters. Sadly, the 3rd row had neither LATCH nor top tether anchors. I lived with a CX-9 through several years of baby with older siblings. It’s not easy and I would recommend that anyone who values convenience buy themselves a minivan (I wish I had).
      Crossovers just don’t make sense for little ones. Kids 3 and up who might be able to get themselves into a minivan cannot do so with a CUV; they can’t reach the doorhandles and even if they can, they’ll likely bash the giant doors on the car parked next to it (my poor Maxima had serious acne on the rear quarter just for this reason). Once the door is opened and the car next to you is thoroughly dented, most kids can’t fold/slide the seats as they’re big, heavy and cumbersome. It really is a poor choice for little kids. I know minvans are ugly and boring, but they serve such a wonderful purpose.
      Mazda specific, my CX9 didn’t hold up well; the transfer case broke, the remote starter turned the car into a zombie and left me stranded several times. It got middling mileage, had no cargo room when the 3rd row was up and didn’t do anything particularly well. It also developed rust on the tailgate and at that point I gave up. It had 120k miles when I dumped it.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I feel you bro. I feel your pain. As an owner of an 08 CX9 that I love I will be in the market in about 2 years for another car and Mazda has made it hard for me.
      1 Yes there is some noise however people seem to have forgiven Honda for ignoring NVH for until the current generation of cars and CUVs they are selling now.

      2 The third row if the CX9 believe it or now is about par for the course. Its bigger than an Highlander and smaller than say a Pilot or GM triplets. And most dont offer than weird sliding seat that Nissan does.

      3 I to desire for the 6 to have more power and feel like 280hp should have been it for them to go after.

      4 The 6 is smaller on the inside head room wise than the Honda and Yota but its leg room is just fine as I am at average height of 6 ft even but above average weight of 257lbs. You can fit four of me in the car. Besides most dont sit five in a car like these anyways. If you need this go get an Impala.

      5 I bought it new with 11 miles on it and to date have had only one issue. The AC system has gone out twice in the last two years. DOnt know why maybe its the FL heat.

      6. This article made me cry a little. I am somewhat a Mazda fan and to read the comments is sorta getting to me. HOwever I do realize that buying anything is a personal choice and I have been very happy with my purchase and will buy another CX9 if Ford stops making the Flex…Yet another car that noone likes but I love.

      Stay strong..

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    I have driven a couple of M’s, the 6 (best Buick on the road) and x5, both smooth and roomy and under preforming engine wise. I am afraid that Mazda is just too small to develop a competing product these days. The new Miata (yeah, I know, not Miata) looks great but that is about all I can say good about Mazda styling. Look at what Kia did in hiring a stylist. Consumers can and should expect a lot these days.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    The MX5 leads it class hell it may be it’s class but it is a very small class , most folks can not do not want a 2 seat vert and it has very little competition at it’s price point, the rest of Mazda’s lineup has competition and very good competition. Mazda dealers are on par with Subies but rubies sell and mazda do not, their interiors are not great and like VW their trim levels do not make sense, and they have a history of rusting in most of the country, not sure if they fixed that and I am a car guy so if they did I would suggest a big old warranty on rust. Say what you want about VW but they do not rust. Maybe mazda needs to be where others are not , a small pickup maybe?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I guess I need some help figuring what other vehicle fits in the Miata class: I.E 4 mil two seat drop top. I don’t consider the new Buick Cascadia to be similar as I believe it has four seat belts.

      Mazda can’t survive selling a niche product, with other ‘stuff’ in the showroom that may interest a sub prime buyer once the cash on the hood gets advertised.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        Besides the Fiat 124, there are no other two seat roadsters in the Miata’s class.

        You’d have to step up to a Z4, SLC, Bosxter, or Corvette.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          True, but someone actually interested in a sports car would likely be willing to look at the used market as well, and there are a plethora of creampuff $30k Corvettes, Boxsters, Z4s, etc etc etc from which to chose.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            Yep. That’s the rub. On the same day that I test drove a new Miata, I also drove a CPO Z4.

            To make a long story short, I liked the Miata but the Z4 put a huge smile on my face. All I can say is, for me, the Miata needs more power.

            As long as other, more powerful options exist, I don’t think I’d purchase one.

          • 0 avatar
            slap

            Of course, if you are looking in the used market you can find a plethora of creampuff $15K-$20K Miatas.

            And running costs on the Miata will be alot less than those other cars.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            The biggest problem that the Miata has is it’s competition isn’t a different vehicle, it’s all of the less expensive , cream puff used Miatas.

  • avatar

    By the way–more about my 3s. 2007 model, purchased used with 47k on the clock. Currently 115k. Zero issues of any kind. I still look forward to driving it every day. I can’t say that about any other vehicle I’ve ever owned.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      I am honestly shocked you haven’t had a passenger side motor mount blow up on you…

      • 0 avatar

        Everything’s been fine. My sole complaint is that I had to replace one of the headlight bulb adapters (and went ahead and did both, they were cheap enough). This in a vehicle I drive rather fast through mountain roads and in unforgiving ATL rush-hour traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        Demetri

        Is that a 2.3l issue? My 2.0l has been completely trouble-free. Best car I’ve owned.

      • 0 avatar
        Powerlurker

        If he bought it with 47k, it may well already be on its second mount. Just went through the second one on my ’06 3 (as well as the other two motor/transmission mounts thanks to Dallas’ crappy roads shaking the car to bits).

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          The side (transmission) mount is so flimsy that it stresses the front (passenger side) mount. After my front mount was replaced under warranty, I installed a solid rubber CP-E mount and the engine no longer rocks, or bangs under hard shifts and launches. It also helped with wheel hop. I actually like that I can feel the engine more when I’m accelerating hard, so I’m in tune with it without resorting to a noisy exhaust or intake.

          It does cause some vibrations at idle with the A/C on, but that’s irrelevant to me as I prefer window-down driving in the city on warm days. Before the CP-E mount became available, I tried a polyurethane mount and couldn’t tolerate the harshness of it for more than a couple days. Soft, solid rubber is best.

          I bought my Mazda3 new in the spring of ’04 and I almost forgot that I was considering selling this car within the first couple years of purchase because of how it hopped and banged under hard launches and shifts. I also replaced the liquid-filled control arm bushings with solid rubber bushings. It took those upgrades, plus a drop in tire pressure to 30 psi, to made the car driveable. It’s all a distant memory now. We have a good relationship after all these years.

          The only other repairs it has needed are rear trailing arm bushings and a MAP sensor.

  • avatar
    Notadude

    I used to own a Mazda 5 microvan. It was great for hauling kids and less boring to drive than a real minivan, but the driver’s seat was effing torture. That’s when I traded the Mazda for a TDI Golf. NOW, I am planning to test drive the Mazda 3 hatchback to see if it will make a good substitute for the Golf. We have three Mazda dealerships where I live, so you do see plenty of them on the road.

  • avatar
    Boff

    In addition to some of the points raised above, Mazda’s are simply too slow. Skyactiv might have sounded good at $4/gallon gas, but it now represents dead-end technology in a turbocharged world. Even for an enthusiast like myself, the slow-revving, dull-sounding engines hardly set my pulse racing, no matter how willingly their torque converters lock up.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      If being “too slow” is the problem, why do Subarus sell?

      No, I reject the idea that the US market is driven by performance anywhere near as much as the interwebs would think.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    After owning 4 Mazdas, I can tell you why I don’t buy them….THEY RUST.

    When every other car company made huge improvements in anti-corrosion, Mazda didn’t.

    The last Mazdas I had, a 2003 Mazda6 and a 2006 Mazda3, were about as rust proof as a 1978 Honda.

    Cars made in the 21st century shouldn’t have that problem.

    If I lived in California or something, sure, I’d buy another Mazda in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I wonder the same thing about the Chrysler 200. Their problems are the same- they need conquest sales, which are pretty much impossible to pull from someone who buys a Civic or Corolla or even Elantra at this point. If, like 85% of the driving public you don’t care about driving fun, why get a Mazda over the competition? There are roomier, better equipped, more efficient cars for less money. That’s what matters to people.

    And I think Mazda’s “dynamic champ” chops are way overrated. I rented a 3 and a Golf TSI recently. They drove almost identically. Same completely inert but somewhat quick steering. Same understeery, nose heavy, no rear wheel slip whatsoever chassis balance. Same “no point in manual mode” autos. My manual Civic EX felt like an E30 M3 by comparison. Either the journalists are lying or the state of dynamics for compact cars is terrible. In any case I think their strongest point is interior design. Beyond that I think there are better choices elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      True, the 3 and the Golf are the best cars in their class dynamically. I’d also say the Golf is the better car on paper (I wouldn’t buy any VW at this point, but I give them props for this vehicle – it’s brilliant). The Golf is also quicker, but the 3 is sharper, and it’s also less expensive.

      But either is dramatically better than the competition when it comes to the drive. The Focus comes closest (and believe it or not, the Dart is darn nice when you put the right engine and transmission in it). The Corolla is atrocious and the last-gen Civic is only marginally better (haven’t driven the new one yet).

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I have an 8th gen Civic (minivan face) which the 9th gen was based on. Most of the suspension parts swap over. I find this surprising. I can see the auto transmission being bad, but dynamically I love my Civic. It’s very light on its feet, gives a ton of feedback through all the controls and the seat, and the rear end has just enough freedom to straddle the line between fun and safe. My gen still had hydraulic power steering, which the 9th didn’t and could be the big difference. Still though if the 3 and Golf are the peak of driving dynamics in the segment…. looks like I’m doubling down on the Civic for the long haul.

        I’m still hot on the idea of a current gen GTI though. You know the VW dealers would make it more than worth your while.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I haven’t driven the new Civic, but the ’15 I drove had the worst powertrain in the class by a wide margin…buzzy engine with no torque and an awful CVT.

          I’m sure that with a manual, it’d be vastly improved, but they don’t offer it on the model I drove (EX). Shame, because I really liked the Civic otherwise.

          And, yeah, I’d love a GTI. Would I love OWNING one? Something tells me that’d be a different story. Plus, God only knows what VW did to get that one into compliance – would you have to de-tune it a year down the road to get it pass emissions too? I just don’t trust VW.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            The no manual in the EX is a bummer. I wanted rear disc brakes and any interior but the beige/brown combo, so I kind of got hosed on price and had to drive ~100 miles for mine. But it was worth it. Honda automatics have always been awful. But the NVH almost makes sense with the manual in the context of an engaging drive. For long trips we take my wife’s car but for the daily grind the Civic is great.

            If I got a GTI I would probably lease it. Only problem now is residuals are probably in the garbage now, so unless they really subsidize the hell out of their leases that’s probably a pipe dream. Jetta GLI would probably be a lot cheaper but you get what you pay for and out of principle I would like to have the lighter, sub 3000lb version. Used ’15s are coming up though…

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “… 3 and the Golf are the best cars in their class dynamically.”

        Is sounds as if you’re sleeping on the WRX. That will cost you five demerits and 10 Hail Marys.

        The Golf (regular or GTI) nor the 3 hold not a candle to the WRX dynamically.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I haven’t driven a WRX, but we’re talking about the base Golf or Mazda 3. A WRX or GTI is a whole different class of car, y’know?

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            You and Sporty are correct. I got a little ahead of myself. The base Impreza dukes it out with the Golf and Mazda 3.

            5 demerits for me and no soup!

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          WRX is not a 3/Golf competitor. Base Impreza is basura dynamically, and one of the many reasons I moved out of the Northeast was so I would never have to buy an AWD car again.

  • avatar
    bsolof

    I’m thinking a few things are at work.

    Many of Mazda’s cars were branded 2016’s in 2015. This year they are still selling the 2016’s and haven’t even moved to the 2016.5 models. If you follow Mazda you’re either going to buy the current 2016 at a steep discount or wait for the 2016.5 models.

    Mazda’s infotainment system got a lot better in the 6 and the CX-5 in 2016 but the market now demands Apple and Android interfaces. It means nothing to me but I’m not their target buyer. It’s a deal breaker for smart phone addicts.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    I have a 2012 Mazda6 Touring, one of the oft-overlooked/maligned second-gen cars. Except for the lack of a manual transmission, I love almost everything about it. It is roomy, quick enough, economical enough, good-looking (I think) and trouble-free. In eastern Mass at least, there are plenty of dealers, if you’re into that kind of thing.

    I think the primary issue of the 6 vs. the competition is refinement. I like how my car drives – ride, handling and steering are Euro-perfect. But, the car is loud (hoping new tires improve things a bit) and rides firmly, whereas the Fusion, Camry and others are quieter and feel heavier. Most buyers in this segment probably prefer that mix.

    When I start looking in a year or so, I’d just about guarantee that I’ll buy a new 6, refinement be damned. Next one will be a manual, and I’ll delight in (still) having the only one in my ‘hood.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Personally, I didn’t find the road noise and refinement in the Mazda6 any worse than the 4-cylinder Camry I also drove. I found the Mazda seats a lot more supportive and the interior design a lot more pleasant, though. I also thought the CX-5 GT I drove was very quiet and comfortable.

    Personally, I don’t like over-sized wheels and tires. They cost more to replace and tend to ruin the ride of every car. This isn’t a Mazda-specific issue. So, I don’t personally think it’s a product issue.

    In my experience, their dealer network may have a lot to do with their sales issues. When my wife and I bought our first Mazda5 about 10 years ago we almost gave up entirely because the dealer was so condescending. If she didn’t really want the minivan with a stick (oh yeah) I wouldn’t have driven 30 miles to the next available dealer who had one so we could buy it there. Of course, my opinion is based on an old experience so perhaps they’ve fixed a few things?

    They certainly don’t have the geographic coverage of many competitors and seem like tacked-on afterthoughts with Ford dealers or other in shared showrooms in many places like where I live now.

    Also, I haven’t shopped recently, but at least from what I’ve seen, their “deals” aren’t as aggressive as their competitors’. Rebates and finance deals seem to dictate sales volume and showroom traffic. Mazdas don’t have the high-value advantage of the Korean brands or the aggressive sales and advertising of their Japanese competitors.

    I had a couple of friends looking for cars in the past year. One wanted a sedan and the other a small SUV. Neither even had Mazda on their shopping lists. Based on my suggestion, both of them ended up driving and falling in love with the CX-5 and one also really liked the Mazda6. They had that “Just right” size, comfort, and ease of driving that they liked. They both also commented that in design and comfort they seemed a class above their competitors. However, neither ended up buying one. The local dealer wouldn’t budge a bit on price. One ended up buying a CPO Lincoln MKZ AWD and the other got a new Subaru Forester.

    Look, I appreciate their product design and would dearly love to get a Mazda6 Touring with a manual transmission, but I don’t need a new car. As has been said many times, however, there simply isn’t a “bad” car out there any more. Even the best products quickly become discounted commodities in this market. Mazda is just out-gunned by competitors with deeper pockets. They have great products for people who appreciate them but few others know of them.

    When I was a kid, the “big three” meant Camry, Accord, and 626. These were the universal Japanese sedans. Mazda dropped off that list for a long time and by the time their products came back there was a lot more competition.

    I say this as a big Mazda fan. I’ve owned two Mazda5s, a Protege5, an NA Miata for 13 years, and have recommended them continuously. I would go out of my way to buy another Mazda if I were in the market but would feel like I was paying extra and working harder to do so.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Hey Mazda!

    -12 year corrosion warranty like VW used to do

    -Sound deadening

    -Available 250+ horsepower engine for Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-5

    These aren’t unreasonable requests Mazda.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    What about that ridiculous tablet-like touch screen plunked on top of the dash? Ugly and awkward to use is often a deal breaker for consumers.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I disagree. From the interior, it doesn’t look out of place, and it’s a far better system than a lot of others on the market. “Awkward” doesn’t describe it at all.

    • 0 avatar
      pbxtech

      My son skipped the 3 over the display on the dash, he waited a year and bought the 6. He would have bumped up to the touring, but the small sidewall tires are rough riding, noisy and expensive.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    1: UGLY UGLY UGLY
    2: tiny dealer network
    3: the cx5 and 6 are too small compared to teh competition. the 6 is too close in size to the 3.
    4: black interior only? no thanks
    5: they claim all their cars are fun to drive but they’re not. Maybe they were 10 years ago but my experience has been the opposite. I found the 6 loud at all speeds, weak on power, ride choppy and uncomfortable, steering darty but lacking feedback…this is a car designed to be “fun to drive” in a simulator then in the real world it’s a dissapointment. the fusion is better in every way.
    6: hubris. They say they’re about performance while offering no performance options for any of their cars while ford offers the fiesta st, focus st, focus RS, theres subaru with teh wrx and wrx sti, theres the golf gti…meanwhile mazda can’t hack it and when asked why they’re not going to bring back the speed3 they say it’s because it’s childish.

    mazda is the next mitsubishi

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Concur, about the Fusion being the big obstacle to the 6 (and to the 200). If you want Not A Camcordima and the Koreans don’t do it for you, you’re looking at Ford, FCA, Mazda … And the Fusion has all the style of the 6 and 200 with fewer compromises to practicality.

      Meanwhile, if you do value practicality above packaging, do you even know the 6 exists? My wife’s cousin drove up in one to a big family event recently, and her uncles said, “Nice-looking car, what is it?”

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      With the greatest of respect but you are talking crap.

      1. Pretty universal praise for the Mazda 6, including being a finalist for design of the year against a Jaguar and a Aston Martin
      2. Agree
      3. No they are not small – the 6 is comparable to the Fusion and others in size. I as a 6’2″ owner can fit myself and family into the car. The 3 is bigger than the Focus inside.
      4. Mazda 6 has white and black interiors. Maybe you are thinking of the Accord that only has black interior for LX and Sport models.
      5. Again your opinion, but the generally held opinion is that they are some of the best cars in their class for driving
      6. Mazda does a lot better than Mitsubishi ever did in many markets. Mazda sells at comparable levels to Honda and Toyota in Europe – not exactly bad.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Sounds like he was just talking with nothing to say. THe 6 and the 3 are not even close to being the same size.

        • 0 avatar

          May be he is talking about original Mazda6 which was essentially a compact car. It is so called European midsize or C class. Europeans have intermediate car size between American midsize and compact, like in Corolla-Avensis(tC)-Camry. But it still was not even close to ugly. The fine example of ugly car is Altima. Even Camry and Accord are not ugly cars – just boring one.

          Mazda is simply serving niche market. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a small company unable to compete with big players. Someone has to offer this kind of car – some people like it. I do not see why Mazda should not exist and what is wrong with having more choices than less. B&B always want to kill brands for no good reason.

    • 0 avatar

      I also shopped Mazda6 against Ford Fusion. Actually I did not even consider Camcords and Altimalibus. I test drove both several times in different dealerships and last time dealerships were located across the street so it was a direct comparison: Mazda6GT vs Fusion Titanium. Mazda6 was just too unrefined, slow, noisy, and with outdated interior and steering was too light for my taste. I could not believe Mazda6 GT MSRP is almost the same as Fusion Titanium’s, it just felt like $20K car. Fusion had Teutonic quality to it. It was similar to comparing Audi A4 vs Acura TSX (original European Accord, not current one). I bought Fusion simply because it felt more luxurious and more solid and still had sport sedan qualities and superb steering and handling, like Audi. TSX was a light car and fun to drive but nowhere as solid and good as Audi.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I had always owned VWs since my first car in 1984 (don’t laugh, I never had a problem with them) and then I bought a 2006 Miata because I had never owned a convertible and figured I needed to cross that off my bucket list. Owning that Miata made me quite favorable to the brand so at trade in I bought a CX5. Love it and have no problem with the supposed NVH nor the supposed lack of power. And I like plain, purposeful interiors. But as somebody pointed out the other brands are a “safer” choice. With even a mainstream car costing more than 25 grand people don’t want any risk, therefore Toyota or Honda. Also, as has been pointed out in countless TTAC posts, fun, exciting cars don’t sell. Deadly dull cars do. There’s a reason Honda and Toyota don’t sell anything even remotely exciting anymore. Exciting nowadays is a Corolla with an air damn.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Toyota sells excitement, it’s just under the Lexus badge. Honda has the new Civic which reports say is better than the old SI and the new R and the SI are inbound.

      For a company that sees themselves in a performance light, Mazda is not offering much.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    Tim,

    This is a solid assessment of Mazda’s failures. There are other larger ones though. The first is pricing. While the big 3, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are more than willing to put cash on the hood to move cars, and dealers are more than happy to go under invoice, Mazda pricing tends higher as their rebates and financing incentives just aren’t as good, even if the sticker is similar. TrueCar will back me up on this.

    Next is the dealer network. I live in the DC/Baltimore area so we have good dealership availability, but I still have 1 Mazda dealer for every 3-4 each for Honda or Toyota around me. On top of that, the dealerships are generally not updated, don’t offer a premium experience, and look like a sketchy 80s-90s car lot from a movie. Every other dealership around save for the Chrysler and Mitsubishi ones feel like they’ve been updated and had their customer service experience overhauled in under the last 10 years.

    You touched on options packaging, which is definitely a big one, and I’m not referring to wheels. There are a few that stick out to me – the first is advanced driving aids (ADA), and the second is heated seats (HS) for those of us who have winter. Honda has it right with the $1k option package for the ADA on any trim rather than locking you out at the low levels like Mazda does. Heated seats should be available at the mid-level trims as well, even with cloth seats like the Jetta and Civic offer.

    Most notably, NVH is generally poor compared to class competitors. I own a 3 hatch currently, and the NVH on the highway grates on me. I have an S2000 for fun driving, so I don’t need another compromised vehicle to commute in. I recently checked out a Jetta as a replacement because I figured I could take advantage of lagging sales for a good price. The Jetta is bank vault quiet compared to my 3, and the comparison extends up most of the model lineups. When I’m spending 45 minutes on the beltway twice a day I’m getting none of the fun to drive and all of the crappy NVH. People buying these to commute in (read: most of them) take note of this.

    I like Mazda a lot, and can overlook a crappy dealership experience or even the pricing compared to competitors if the product is there, but until they opt for more intelligent trim/option pairing and take care of the NVH issues, I can’t see myself buying another Mazda for my next vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Actually, there are some updated Mazda dealerships, like this one.

      http://www.mcdonaldmazda.com/dealership/about.htm

      It appears to be a corporate thing, as there are more like this one around. But, yeah, others are kind of second rate. Maybe the company should do some more dealer support so the facilities can be upgraded.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Here’s an article addressing some of that.
        http://www.autonews.com/article/20160418/RETAIL07/304189987/mazda-trains-dealers-to-lift-customer-loyalty

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Mazda’s are more expensive because they are largely made in Japan.
          When I was shopping an Accord Sport was $21K, the 6 Touring was $24K. Both had MSRP’s of $25.5K. One is made in Ohio and one is made in Japan.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Possibly, but don’t forget Honda is in a better position to push cash on the hood than Mazda.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            More importantly, I think Honda is being very disingenuous listing the Accord Sport at that price. The Sport is a stripper Accord with bigger wheels and dual exhaust tips.

            The 6 Touring is a far better equipped car. You have to move up to the EX-L to get the same fake leather, and Mazda still gives you the option to move up to the next level for the real stuff.

            So really, Mazda is trying to sell you a $25K car for $25K. Honda is trying to sell you a $21K car for $25K.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Options is a big part of what sold me on a 2011 tC instead of a 3 hatch. Sunroof, big stereo, 2.5L engine? The tC was $21k otd and a similar 3 would have been well north of $26k. That’s real money in that bracket.

    • 0 avatar
      Der_Kommissar

      Word. Totally agree. I’d go buy the Jetta today if I was not honoring my sunk cost.

  • avatar
    Jason

    Mazda: A Fun Car to Borrow.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “Why Aren’t Americans Buying Mazdas?”

    the answer to that question is a question:

    “What does Mazda do to stand out from its competition in a way that appeals to American consumers?”

    I’d say “nothing.”

  • avatar
    adame24

    I was very excited for the new Mazda3 Hatchback with the upgraded engine. But I felt the price was way to high for a compact car with questionable resale value and reliability. The reviews were great but a moderately equipped GT was well over 25K. I could get a well equipped Accord Sport for less than that (I know no hatchback) but its a better all around car and value.
    Maybe Mazda is willing to deal but I went to a big dealership in NJ, was the only person on the lot, walked around for 5-10 min and no one came out to talk to me. So…
    About 10 years ago I went to look at a bare bones Mazda3 to use as commuter car at a local dealer. I was dressed down but had a fairly nice car. While waiting for the salesperson to get plates I stood next to my “nice” car and was asked which car was mine when the salesperson came out. I said the yellow one (only yellow car on the lot), they looked around with a blank look. I said the only yellow car on the lot, and the one I’m standing next to. I left with out test driving. This was the final straw, I was initially asked more than once if I even had a drivers license because I was not in a rush to take the car out.

  • avatar
    Petra

    You can’t get a good deal on a Mazda.

    Mazda needs to get conquest sales from other brands. Compared to a Toyota Camry, a Mazda6 is about a thousand dollars more expensive when comparably equipped (in Canada). And Mazda- being a smaller company- can’t offer the low interest rates on financing or leases that Toyota can. Sure, it works out to a difference of only $5/month or so. But, if you’re shopping just on price and you were already a Camry kind of buyer, the Mazda6 might as well be invisible.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Our 08 Mazda 5 has been a decent ride, but the corrosion issue will haunt my further Mazda purchases. Not like it’s rotting through, I think. But it’s a bit too rusty for my liking for the miles and care I’ve given it. Except a Miata, I’ll gladly take a Miata, but I’d probably go Fiat 124 at this point.

    I had a chance to drive my new Cruze Limited LT (old body style) and the Mazda on the exact trip from Pittsburgh to DC. Not quite apples to apples, since the Mazda is 8 years old with 50k and the Chevy had 1500 miles on it.

    Some of my thoughts:

    – The Mazda is infinitely more fun to drive. The 5 has electric power steering, the Chevy has it too. The Mazda has decent feel and weight for what it is and what its job is as a family hauler( still a bit light though). The Chevy has no feel and the dead spot is annoyingly large. A couple of the turns on I-68 surprised me with how the Cruze responded and not in a good way. The Mazda has never surprised me in a bad way, it’s very honest in its responses.

    – NVH is a toss up in some regards. The Mazda is noisy. 90’s Honda noisy. Road noise and wind noise are the main culprits. There’s little soundproofing in the Mazda. The Chevy has very little road noise and hardly any wind noise.

    The 2.3 in the Mazda is much smoother and more responsive than the 1.4T in the Chevy.The small turbo in the Cruze means nothing but noise above 3500 rpm and not good noises. But the extra gear in the Chevy pays dividends. Left in manual mode, it won’t shift itself. So I left it in manual mode, 6th gear and it was much more pleasant. 80 mph up and down the hills of 68 and only once did I have to downshift for speed.

    The Mazda works hard in those hills, even in manual mode you must use 4th many times for that pace.

    The Mazda averaged 26 mpg (on winter tires) and the Chevy about 31. Considering the Mazda is rated at 27 highway and the Chevy 36, I was surprised the Chevy didn’t do better, but since it was on the turbo more climbing those hills, maybe I shouldn’t have been. In the relatively flat lands of Virginia, the Cruze trip computer was at 40 mpg for a bit.

    Now, I’ve not experienced a new Mazda. They seem like they’ve been improving a lot, but Mazda will never be GM. And GM knows what most Americans want. Inexpensive, smooth and quiet but looks like it costs more than it does. And with little driver involvement. Mazda gives you driver involvement, but at the cost of refinement. Not many American folks buy cars like that.

    To me, the only company that offers decent refinement and driver involvement for the price is Volkswagen.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    It appears that Mazda – vehicles that offer a more sporty ride – has limited appeal.

    For a mainstream car – MX5 excepted – as miserable as commuting is for most people, the sportiness after a time gets old and tiring when what you really want but refuse to admit it, is something with a very comfy, quiet ride.

    Guilty as charged.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Seconded. I knew I was out of my twenties for real on a recent road trip when I kept thinking, god, I could do with some more sidewall and softer springs.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    Their decline is really puzzling. I like Mazdas a lot and really enjoyed the previous Gen Mazda 3 until it was wrecked. I guess the nice lightweight feeling comes at the expense of sound insulation, but is that the only reason Americans don’t like them?

    Probably (sadly) they are not big or ugly enough to sell.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    We have had an ’08 Mazda 3 since 2009. It was even the #1 suggestion from TTAC readers at the time.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/08/ask-the-best-and-brightest-newish-sedan-under-15k/

    It’s been very unreliable in that period but otherwise decent.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    FWIW, the ’16 (or was it ’15?) CX-5 came equipped with better sound-deadening.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      As the owner of a 2016 CX-5 GT and having extensively test driven 3 Mazda 6s, I am having trouble understanding the complaints about road, engine, and wind noise.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Interesting perspectives.

    In our market, Mazda and Subaru are successful due to clever marketing leading to ‘premium japanese’ over other ‘lesser’ japanese brands.

    The Mazda 2/3/6 and the CX3/5 have been runaway hits.

    The Mazda 3 SP25 has been a winner due to the fact that pricing is keen, the 2.5 four has obvious power and torque advantages over the 1.8 or 2.0 competition for little loss in mpg.

    It helps they all look better than everyone else. Our climate is dry and it doesnt snow so rust isnt an issue.

    People take the increase in NVH for driveability.

    It seems to me the American market doesnt really care for dynamics in this class.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      In our market, “premium Japanese” means Lexus, Infiniti, or Acura. Subaru has long been exclusive because of its universal AWD offerings. That leaves Mazda with nowhere to go, except back to the pack of “regular Japanese” cars – Honda, Toyota, Nissan.

      Though I have seen Mazda with some dominance in smaller markets, like Thailand. Where are you?

  • avatar
    whynot

    I looked at the Mazda3 hatch when shopping around about a year and a half ago.
    While I liked it I didn’t end up buying one because:

    1) They are loud (as in lots of road noise loud, not cool engine note loud). It is obvious where most of the weight savings in this car came from.
    2) They handle nice, but base engines are slightly under powered compared to most of the competition.
    3) Ride was just a little too firm. Great for slinging around corners, not so great for everyday use especially as commute involves crossing 2 RR tracks each way.
    4) Visibility, even by modern standards, in the hatch was just awful.
    5) Interior was meh
    6) They get pricey quickly with questionable value for money.
    7) I had concerns about reliability (but I ended up getting a VW so take that for what its worth).

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    All Mazdas have the same ugly front end. It looks like the front of the car was chopped off in a guillotine.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    Having owned two Miatas (a 92 and 02), I can attest that Mazda dealers are among the very worst in the industry with their strong-arm sales tactics and indifference toward service after the sale. To complicate that, Mazda is often a second or third point at a two or three point dealer, and are treated by the sales staff as afterthoughts. I recently traded my 02 Miata for another brand and slightly larger car because I needed just a bit more luggage space (not more passenger space), but I wanted something (significantly) faster too. Since Mazda didn’t sell either a MazdaSpeed2 (what I would have preferred) or a MazdaSpeed3 (too large for me), I went to another make. I would have also considered a CX-3, but with no manual transmission option, it and the CX-5 (no manual transmission with 4WD) was/were not considered (CUVs aren’t CUVs without 4WD in my opinion). While being good choices for other people, Mazda’s other offerings are just too large for my tastes. I would love to have another Miata someday, but $34K equipped as I would like is simply too much (that’s what was wrong with the Honda S2K), so I will likely buy a used one.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think the answer is easy: in the mainstream compact and midsize sedan market, boring sells, and Mazdas aren’t boring. Mazdas aren’t designed to appeal to everyone. Some people will be turned off by them, unfortunately. Their loss, far as I’m concerned.

    Plus, they were engineered for fuel economy, which isn’t as much of a selling point as it used to be with gas now selling for half of what it did not so long ago.

    I also think the styling, particularly on the 3, is a problem – it’s unique, but polarizing. You either dig it or really dislike it. Personally, I’m in the first camp but I can see where some wouldn’t be.

    Worth noting that VW filled the same basic niche as Mazda, so I’ll be interested to see if they can capitalize on VW’s loss.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I actually think their last generation design language (“Nagere” which undoubtedly translates to “insane clown fish”) damaged the brand. The new design language is much better, but they still have a lot of ground to make up. The 3, especially the hatch, is the awkward adolescent in their line-up.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        The new 3 hatch is awkward looking. It looks great with the optional appearance package, but I’ve only actually seen one of those on the road. Something as simple as a spoiler and side skirts do wonders for that car.

        Funny thing is, the first two generations of the hatch had that as standard, until the SkyActiv came along and removed it from later cars. Most 3 hatches sold in the world without the appearance package, and they look a bit naked without it, in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      “Biring sells, and Mazdas aren’t boring.” Speaking truth.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The Ford Focus and Fusion are not boring. They sell. The Accord is apparently awesome to drive. It sells. The outgoing Hyundai Sonata and Elantra didn’t look boring inside or out. They sold. There’s more to it than this.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Co worker of mine had a `13 Grand Touring. It didn’t ride all that well, the 6 speed auto seemed jerky and it felt under powered. I liked the color and the interior trim, but parts of it didn’t wear that well at all. The rotors were starting to warp once she dumped it. No visits to the shop in the 85K she put on it though.

  • avatar
    readallover

    My 2004 Mazda 6 is approaching 170,000 miles without any rust and the only non-maintenance items I have paid for in 12 years are a motor mount and a pcv hose. It is still tight without any squeaks or rattles. My next car will be one. But even a fanboy like me knows the problems:
    1) Road noise, Road noise, road noise (Accord can get away with it, Mazda cannot)
    2) Little or no money on the hood (some people just won`t buy unless the get it)
    3) Inventory – Honda has rows of Accords, Toyota has plenty of Camrys, but Mazda dealers have had but a handful of 6`s since the day the model was introduced

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    I bought one! At least, five years ago I did.

    Soon to have UNIVRS plates too.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    I like Mazda however they have a few issues. Overall quality is not on par with Toyota or Honda. Kia and Hyundai offer more for less or more/betetr for the same price. Mazda has a small dealership network so it’s much easier to find the other brands.

    Lastly they make fun to drive cars. Fun to drive appeals to enthusiasts but yet they have no powerful cars.

    The Miata is fine the way it is but that doesn’t preclude a 300-400hp AWD Mazda 6 in sedan coupe and convertible format.

    No speed 3, speed 6 or MX 6, 7, 8 instead of wasting time with the RX.

  • avatar
    gwwyjjliu

    Mazda being not a mainstream brand hasn’t really found a niche or compelling reason for the vast majority of Americans to even place it on their consideration list. Sure, they’re trying to cultivate a performance/fun to drive image but it’s obviously not resonating especially in the mainstream compact and midsize car segments. An interesting contrast is Subaru, a similar size manufacturer who has carefully nurtured its eco-friendly/outdoors/AWD/dogs & kids image to wildly successful sales, but their products don’t force compromises on the consumer like NVH and pricing like Mazda does.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Subarus have plenty of compromises. Blown head gaskets, near-universal CVT adoption, and unreliable flat-4 engines. But their cars are tall and come with AWD, so people put up with the rest of it.

  • avatar
    vwgolf420

    If I were to sell my VW Golf right now–and I won’t at the moment because it’s paid off–I’d almost certainly buy a Mazda. I’d probably buy a 3 hatchback, but would definitely be open to a 6. I had a 2003 Protégé5 and loved it. I mean LOVED IT. And then a mouth breathing kid in his mother’s Buick ran a red light and t-boned me. Also had a 1997 Protégé, which was a pretty nice compact for its time–I selected it over that year’s Civic (granted Hondas don’t resonate with me) without a second thought.
    I learned to drive in my mother’s 1989 323, and my dad had an 1985 626, a 1990 MX6, and a 1993 MX6 that he drove until about five years ago. My mother also had an 2003 Mazda 6 that she drove from new until 2013. My step dad drives a CX7 and had an MX6 in the 1990s and had a beater B2200 for hauling stuff around, so I have a lot of experience with Mazdas. I’ve enjoyed every single one of these cars. In my price range, it’s Volkswagen or Mazda and almost no one else. I’ve owned a Hyundai and a Toyota too, and they were solid cars and I’d recommend without hesitation, but they did nothing for me.

  • avatar
    Pricha33

    Four letter word here in Southern Ontario — RUST !!!! I can’t count the # of Mazda 3 ‘s I see where the rear wheel arches are completely shot on a car less than 10 years old. I even see bubbles and rust bleed on ones less than two years old.

    Was at local Mazda dealer, and a late model used 3 they actually put body coloured tape around the wheel lip to make is saleable. A joke if you ask me , when I brought it to the salesman’s attention he played dumb.

    Yes we have poor conditions here in Canada , but my 12 year old VW is holding up very well and while the TDI scandal is front and centre, VW actually honours their rust warranty and when I had a small blemish on front fenders both were replaced and repainted for free. The car was 9 years old at the time with almost 300K on the clock.

    Mazda needs better metallurgy or something !!!!

    Pat

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    I’d put it down to one reason: Residual value.

    I’ve never owned a Mazda, although a number of their products are attractive to me. But from what I’ve read, the bodies rust faster than competitors’ offerings; the drivelines aren’t as durable; and there’s the niggling little matter of Mazda’s future, post-Ford.

    We live in times where people are driven by fear. Fear of the future. Fear of the unknown.

    The appliance-like Corolla, boring, numb to drive, is proven to last and hold value.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      I agree here. My wife and I were almost ready to buy a Mazda 3 hatch to replace her ’07 Honda Fit base in blue. We really loved the car, but we just couldn’t get over the resale value. So we kept looking. I still can’t believe what we ended up with:

      2016 Honda Fit in blue. This time EX-L w/ Nav instead of a base model.

      So we skipped the Mazda 3 for two main reasons:
      1) Resale value
      2) My wife likes her Honda Fits.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If residuals were the issue, then the lease deals on Mazdas would be no good. If you check their website against, say, Honda, you’ll find the deals are quite similar.

      In this segment, boring sells. Consumers want an easy, no-brainer choice, and they’ll just chuck in their old Corollas, Civics, Camrys and Accords on new ones via a lease. That accounts for a lot of their “superiority” in this segment.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        Right now Mazda’s need is to get the product moving off lots.

        Residual value is a consideration in pricing leases; but more important is just MOVING it. Any way they can.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Three and a half years ago, the Mazda3 was a close second to the Focus SE we bought. The Focus was noticeably more refined than the Mazda. That ranking would probably be reversed today because the Mazda3 has been revised since then. Unfortunately for Mazda, our Focus is running fine and it will be many years before we need to replace it. They missed their chance.

    The Miata is a fantastic sports car at an affordable price. But it’s no longer the car I want. Instead, I bought an Infiniti G37S coupe which I expect to keep for many more years.

    If we buy anything in the near future, it will be an all wheel drive van to replace our 18 year old Subaru wagon. That means a Toyota Sienna rather than a Mazda.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Mazda was outed for charging almost double the industry standard for collision replacement parts more than twenty years ago and that has always stayed with me.

  • avatar
    redav

    The complaint about the Mazda3 wheels is dumb. First, the trend to big wheels needs to stop. Second, if you want special wheels so badly that you’d spend thousands more on a higher trim, just go to TireRack or similar and buy wheels. I downsized my 18s to 16s for under a grand (USD). (And if your friend really wants the Mazda 18s, mine have under 150 mi on them.)

    One of the things holding Mazda sales back is that they aren’t sold in Ford dealerships or wear Toyota badges. Per Jim O’Sullivan, only 25% of US buyers are potential Mazda customers. With such a low potential pool of customers, they would have to dominate to increase their market share. Their footprint of dealers, poor advertising, lack of appealing identity, etc., have to change to increase the number of potential customers.

    When analyzing numbers, I would combine CX-3 & 3 sales. No, they don’t share a platform, but they appear so similar in size & price, that I think the CX-3 cannibalizes 3 sales. Through March, Mazda3 + CX-3 = 27,049 in 2016, compared to 27,304 in 2015.

    The CX-5 is getting old, and I think that’s slowing sales. Mazda’s goal was to to have quicker product updates, and they need an updated CX-5 to maintain growth. The next gen SkyActiv is supposed to arrive by 2020, but IMO they can’t wait that long.

    The drop in 6 sales is definitely a problem–about half their 2016 decline is due to the 6. I think stagnation hurts the 6, too. It has less name appeal than the CX-5, so it needs something unique to compete against the Camcords. The diesel was to do that, but it’s not happening. I’d add the new 2.5T from the CX-9. I’d also consider bringing the wagon here, perhaps in a slightly lifted + AWD, Subaru-fighting package.

    The other half of their losses come from the 5 and the CX-9. The new CX-9 looks like a winner, and it sounds like they finally addressed noise. Dropping the 5 probably makes sense, but I think they would have had a compelling product using the new 3 platform & engines.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’d cajole the dealer into switching the bigger wheels that were factory-installed on my car with smaller ones from another car on the lot, and give me a discount for doing so. I wish I’d done that on my Golf SportWagen, which is the SEL and has ridiculous 18-inchers.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Tried that. I even offered to pay a small ‘fee’ and let them keep the profits for upselling the larger wheels to someone else. They weren’t comfortable with it for whatever reason.

  • avatar

    What if Hyundai and Mazda entered into a strategic alliance? Mazda could teach Hyundai how to produce cars with better dynamics, and Hyundai could bring some greater mass-market choices to Mazda’s lineup through lessons on interior packaging and cash discounts :)

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The new CX-9 easily looks like the most-upscale crossover in its class, probably a good substitute for a BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class or even Volkswagen Touareg if you want to save some money and don’t care about which wheels are driven. It should definitely bring some traffic back into the Mazda showroom.

    Speaking of which, I will say that one thing that kept me from buying a Mazda—at the time—was how sleazy the dealers were. The dealerships sell premium product, but they operate like 80s crack houses.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “…but they operate like 80s crack houses.”

      So, I’m guessin’ the woman are naked as they go about their work. In this case measuring the correct amount of Mazda fluids into various containers and the birdman/lookout on the roof alerts the sales staff when a potential customer (dupe) is inbound.

      Then they give you a little drive in the Mazda, knowing you’ll be back for more

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The cx-9 does look beautiful. But that new engine technology of cooling exhaust gases could be a nightmare down the road. The unproven Mazda technology could hinder sales to people that look past the pretty looking shell of the cx-9.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Yuge fan, on my 4th Mazda. We would have had a 5th in the family, but they missed out on what would have been one of a dozen wagon sales in the US.

    The new MX5 color choices leave me flat. I also want the 1.5 that the rest of the world gets.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Recently test drove a 2016 Miata and for the most part I liked it but there were a few things that would keep me form buying.

    The Good
    – Though not in love with the design , I still think it’s a good looking car. The interior is well laid out except the screen stuck in the middle of the dash.

    The top is easy to lower and raise and for the size of the car the trunk space is adequate. I drove a manual transmission car and the shifter action and feel were good.

    The Bad
    – The car was loud. Lots of tire roar and wind noise. The car didn’t seem as fast as magazine tests indicate. Granted, I didn’t do any clutch drops but according to my butt gyro it needs more power.

    For a car such as this, I could live with the noise, but the power thing would bother me whenever I drove it, so I wouldn’t purchase.

    As a comparison, on the same day I drove a CPO Z4 with a manual transmission. I know it’s a different class of car. It’s heavier and more powerful but ultimately it put a bigger smile on my face.

    The car was yellow, and to me it looks better car than the Miata and it looks great whether the top is down or up.

    The Z4, with the top down, was quieter on the interstate than the Miata with the top up. As for power, I’d wind the Miata up, then glance at the speedo as it passes 40. Do the same in the Z4 and you’re close to 80.

    The Miata doesn’t need Z4 power but I’d like to see around 220 h.p and a equal increase in torque. Absent a power increase, it’s not the car for me.

    But, I might be adding an atacama yellow Z4 to my garage.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think I’d be happier with a CPO Z4 than a Miata, too…especially since my best friend cannot physically fit into a Miata, which makes it a lot less fun since we do everything together.

      Then again, that X5 was dreadful. I’m not sure I’ve recovered enough to chance another Bimmer.

      If I wanted a more-livable performance car…GTI.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        It sounds like you have discovered: one must be of the correct “mindset” to own and drive a BMW. As long as, up-front, expectations are understood (and accepted), it can be a pleasant experience. I’d recommend purchasing only from a dealership and only after a candid conversation with the sales manager and/or, possibly, another BMW owner.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Personally I think its a matter of being on a consumer’s radar ….and Mazda….just isn’t. There are a lot of solid choices that consumers already know, like, and are comfortable with. Its an uphill battle to steal market share from companies doing a decent job retaining customers with product that fits their needs.

    Lets face it, Mazda has looks but that isn’t a determining factor for too many people buying an appliance to get them to work. Mazda has driving dynamics, ditto. It doesn’t sell appliances.

    I have owned 3 Mazda’s, enjoyed them all immensely. I will readily admit to the NVH complaints. Even my current 2014 Mazda6 has those issues. Still, I May plunk down for a CX-9 after I drive it.

    I think the reality is, Mazda is selling sporty and sexy to a very pragmatic demographic. A demographic that just might not care so much. I don’t think the lack of engine options is hurting too badly. Not many people buy the top engine option and Mazdaspeed cars were never hot sellers.

    Marketing….is the only answer I can come up with, and the need for more of it.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    I bought a 2015 Mazda 6 for about $5k under the MSRP last spring. I’m also seriously considering trading it in this summer. A few thoughts after living with it:

    -The ride just never quite settles with 19″ wheels. On anything but the smoothest of roads there is always a noticeable underlying jittery feeling.

    -The infotainment (which was replaced the following year) is a joke. It’s borderline un-useable at times, something Mazda should be embarrassed about.

    -The engine, while powerful enough, is built and geared for economy. Throttle response isn’t great and it really doesn’t sound very good when pushed. It also sounds terrible on startup, something having to do with emissions. I think the models with the “sport” button fixed the throttle response, but I don’t have it.

    -Road noise is much better than my old Protege5, but it’s still noticeably worse than competitors. It makes the car feel cheap, like Mazda is all style with no substance. I’m guessing this is an impression that is left on test drivers that are cross-shopping.

    -There are small interior squeaks and rattles that started to happen almost immediately after I bought it. I haven’t been motivated enough to start taking the dash apart to fix them. Inquiries at multiple dealerships have been dead ends: “operating as designed” has been used multiple times.

    In short, the attempts to make it “sporty” have given it too many small annoyances that affect day-to-day usability. It’s trying to walk a very fine line and is close to doing so, but it’s not quite there. It reminds me of the Microsoft Surface lineup…too many compromises.

    My $400-month car payment for this vehicle doesn’t feel “worth it” to me anymore. I will most likely be looking at a GTI or something similar, depending on how things shake out with VW.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      GTI is nice. Give the WRX a try also.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I agree regarding both Mazda6 throttle response and the 19 inch wheels. It would be a much better daily driver if the engine and transmission weren’t programmed to achieve high numbers on the EPA fuel economy test. The Mazda6 looks better with large wheels, but offering 18 inch wheels would be an obvious improvement over the too small looking 17 inch vs. too harsh riding 19 inch options.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The problem is not really the product, although the interior space issues of the 6 and CX-3 in particular do hurt a bit.

    The problems are 1) dealer network and 2) pricing.

    Mazda just doesn’t offer deals like Toyota, Ford, GM, and (lately) Honda. MSRP is high, and you are paying close to MSRP on most Mazdas. When the real-world price difference between similarly equipped 3s and Corollas is $3000, in a price-sensitive segment, the 3 is going to struggle.

    And then there’s the dealer network. There are few dealers, and even fewer really good dealers. Lots and lots of places have a monopoly Mazda dealer that has little incentive to compete head-on with the giant Toyota or Chevy stores. Service and product availability both tend to be lousy, and local-market advertising is poor — you’re never going to see a local-market TV ad offering you a 3 at $16,000 (after seven mostly mutually exclusive incentives, of course).

    If Mazda had the dealer network of Toyota and could price straight across from Toyota, they’d sell like Toyota.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The new cx9 is a hell of a good vehicle with real wood trim and a new 2.5L turbo sith diesel like torque.

    If those upgrades trickle down to the 3 and 6, I will go test drive the 6 against the mustang ecoboost I am currently considering. I would rather have a sedan vs thr stang anyways, buy I dont want to fork over bmw money for something FUN to drive.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I hate to say it, because I love Mazda and what it does for motorsports, but I think Mazda needs to take a page from the Subaru play book and dial back (if not completely eliminate) its motorsports involvements. Too much marketing money is being spent on things that touch too few people. Subaru used to do this will all their rally and X-Games participation, but as soon as they went all “Love. What Makes a Subaru a Subaru”, and embraced things like the Puppy Bowl… It was like a light switch was turned on.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It’s not just the audience, but also the content. Mazda has been terrible at advertising for years. They’ve done a good job getting “Skyactiv” out there, but they haven’t persuaded enough people to consider buying it.

      If they don’t fix the message, it doesn’t matter how much they spend.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    On the west coast, there’s a tremendous rise in KIA’s, seems like every 5th or 6th new car. So I wondered who they were displacing. Must be Mazda.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Because if you want a reliable Japanese car that doesn’t rust, you buy a Honda or Toyota.

    If you need AWD, you buy a Subaru.

    If you want a bit more prestige, you buy a Lexus.

    Average consumers don’t care for driver involvement. NVH, value and reliability are the top features consumers want. I don’t see where Mazda fits in this.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “Average consumers don’t care for driver involvement. NVH, value and reliability are the top features consumers want. I don’t see where Mazda fits in this.”

      Which is good, because the Mazda6 lets in a lot of noise versus its closest competitors from a performance standpoint: the Accord, Fusion and Legacy.

  • avatar
    ElAntonius

    By and large my opinion is that the American car market does not generally reward sporty dynamics in non-sport segments.

    Hell, it doesn’t even reward raw sportiness in sport segments, if those sporty dynamics come at the expense of livability or price (see: Camaro vs Mustang…I’d contend that the current Mustang is a success because it offers good performance, is easy to live with, and is a lot cheaper than the current Camaro, whereas the new Camaro offers outrageous performance, but is more expensive and difficult to see out of/harder to live with as a DD)

    Mazda’s big proposition for most of their lineup is that they make “sporty-normal cars”. Frankly, I don’t think the average compact or CUV buyer prioritizes sportiness at all, and once you remove that from the equation, what does Mazda bring to the table that isn’t available from a more widely known manufacturer?

  • avatar
    George B

    The Mazda6 was my 2nd choice in 2014, but I ended up buying a Honda Accord EX-L instead. I preferred the larger and more open interior of the Accord and Honda threw enough money at their dealers to make the EX-L trim level fit my budget. I wonder how many times Mazda gets close to making the sale, but falls short.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    This is easy. No V6’s. Road noise. Sparse dealer network. Honestly Mazda has some really nice vehicles, but for me, the factors noted outweigh the positives.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    Had a 2008 Mazda3 S Touring hatchback from August 2009 to October 2015. Drove it 60,000 miles with no real issues. No rust, either (and yeah, I drove it all winter – it was fantastic in the snow). Replaced it this past October with a 2016 Mazda6 i Touring, which is a fantastic vehicle as well. Good looking, fun to drive, comfortable, spacious, economical, and affordable. I have ferried my friends around a lot and they all complimented the rear seat room (especially compared to my old 3). It also has a huge trunk. I don’t regret my decision one bit.

    My wife has a 2013 Mazda CX-5 that we bought new in December 2012. It now has 34,000 miles and has literally never visited the dealer except for a tire rotations and oil changes (and one PCM update due to a recall). My wife loves it and said if anything happened to it, she’d immediately want another one.

    I don’t understand the number one complaint of road noise. I don’t notice any prevalent noise from either of our Mazdas. No more than other cars I have ridden in (including a CR-V and a Camry). Maybe we are just oblivious. My old 3 was really loud, but I had lowered it with Eibach springs and put a MazdaSpeed 3 exhaust on it, so the noise was 100% my fault.

    I love Mazda as a brand – obviously, since I’ve had 3 of them. They’re fun, good looking, reliable, affordable, safe cars. I think their #1 problem is brand recognition. They just don’t have the presence Toyota and Honda do. Everyone in the world has heard of the Camry and the Corolla, not so much the 6 and the 3.

    I don’t see Mazda pulling out of the U.S. market, though. If anything, they’ll pick up another partner like they had with Ford. And that new partner will most likely be Toyota (see the iA and the fact that it’s already outselling the Yaris and the rest of the Scion line – and was doing so before the announcement of the death of Scion).

  • avatar
    mchan1

    The turnoffs of the Mazda3 hatchback and the Mazda6 sedan when I was looking for a new replacement car last year:

    1. Lack of room
    – I’m tall with an athletic build and both cars were Not roomy compared to those from Honda/Toyota/Nissan
    – Cramp is an understatement!

    2. It’s overpriced!
    – Hardly any rebates or anything
    – The better trims had the features that I wanted but that increased the price!

    3. Disliked the interior of the layout!
    – Still lots of Hard Plastic everywhere and didn’t like the overall design of the layout esp. the dashboard

    4. Noisy as heck!
    – Where’s the noise insulation for the NVH?
    – I though Honda was bad with its renowned Noisiness but Mazda is just as bad!!

    5. The Skyactive engines were relatively new, forgot which year, as Not all models/trim had them as STANDARD. The older engines were lively but sucked up gas!!

    6. What good is Zoom-Zoom when one is stuck in commute traffic every work day and there’s almost NO room to go Zoom-Zoom?!
    – Being an auto enthusiast is one thing, having a decent, comfortable car is another for daily commuting which most of us “NEED”.
    – Not everyone has the money to buy luxury or sports cars when a daily driver is “needed”!

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Wait til next year.

    Here comes the Skyactiv with turbo.

    Mazda has finished the next gen Skyactiv and will begin adding it along with the Skyactiv turbo as the second (or higher end) engine in I hope will be all models from the 3 up.
    The Miata, 3, 6 and CX 9 with the combo will be a wonderful completion of the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It would make sense to add the 2.5T as the upgrade engine for the 6, but if they don’t do a Speed3, I doubt it will show up anywhere else.

      SkyActiv 2 engines, which uses HCCI, probably won’t be here so soon. Initially I heard it was targeted for 2018, but I think it will be closer to model year 2020.

      I heard a rumor that they would reveal some significant updates at the Beijing show next week, but I doubt it. I expect it will just be the CX-4. But it is getting to be time that they update platforms. They stated a goal to drop weight 100 kg with each revision, and even if they don’t introduce new engines until 2020, it would give them a boost.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Mazdas are drivers cars, and like Timothy points out, NVH is not Mazda’s strong suit. At least that’s the perception.

    My theory: With increasing traffic problems, cellphone users, and growing urban sprawl, driving just isn’t as fun anymore. Buying a fun-to-drive car (for most people, not me) is less important than having a floaty metal cocoon to get them from A to B in a cheap and flashy manner.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    I bought a ’15 Mazda 3S Touring on the strength of one test drive. On that drive, it felt like the reincarnation of my old e90 328 automatic. Six months later I regret it because of the NVH. Car is great around town and below 50 mph. Above that? It feels like an econobox. The lightness and nimbleness that serves it so well at lower speeds turns the car into a jiggly box kite at 80. I thought I was buying a near-lux bargain, and in some ways it is. But it’s not suited to american highways and has cost cutting in places that wear on you. I won’t be buying another one, and frankly, if I thought it would not end my marriage, I’d be already looking to replace it. I honestly feel that the car press has oversold a car that none of them have actually lived with.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    I *love* my 2016 Mazda6 GT. I loved my RX8 before it.

    What I’ve generally found is that people are surprised when they get into the car the first time. They were not expecting the level of interior styling of the 2016my. Mazda has worked hard in the refinement department for 2016, and I think it’s going to take time for that reality to sink into the masses.

  • avatar
    Lex

    The issue is pretty simple, actually. Their dealer network is small, often keeps odd proportions of certain trims and is not exactly jumping for sales unlike every other company out there. The fact that I pass one (of three) brightly colored dealerships in Indy everyday and never once stepped in before I pulled the trigger on my current Mazda sight unseen, completely online is testament to this.

    I now have two, a 2008 and 2010 6s GT, one in black and the other in red–the latter of which just clocked 120k with no (Zero) issues outside recall. It does eat brakes and has the occasional odd noises but I would reload on another one in a heartbeat. In fact, I plan on getting the new CX-9 next year, no questions asked. But the point is had I not taken that leap of faith, Mazda would’ve been 2, maybe 3 sales short. Now extrapolate to the population and you see how easy it is for them to stagnate

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Why?

    Because they aren’t notoriously cockroach-reliable like their cousins Honda and Toyota.

    Same could be said about Subaru (from a reliability standpoint). Except Subaru actually *has* a following. Lol

    When your Mazda 6 racks up the 200k+ miles with the same relative ease that a Camry or an Accord can, then I’ll throw some money at Mazda. Why not. Rust be dammed. :)

    Commence hateful replies from Mazda Fanbois in 3…. 2….

    An old friend of mine’s dad had a late 80’s Mazda B2000. Just a rusty, sh*t-kickin’ little workhorse that you could beat the Hell out of and it just kept on going. It never wanted to quit.

    THAT’S the Mazda I remember. And miss.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoomfan

      My friend Tiffany has a 2004 Mazda6i with the 2.3 four and the 5-speed manual. Just passed 350,000 miles on the original engine and transmission. Repairs she’s had to make aside from normal maintenance: clutch. Literally. That’s all. Everything else has been a wear and tire item. She drives the car year round, too. And it has zero rust.

      Mazda can and does make good cars. People just don’t know it.

  • avatar
    pbxtech

    My wife had a 2014 Mazda 6 that was broadsided and then repaired poorly and for that reason it had to go. Because we are older and she got whacked around a bit in the accident, she wanted a CUV for ease of entry.

    Here is why we did not by the CX3:

    There was not enough passenger room in it, and it was styled inside like a clown car. We are adults and our styling choices reflect that. CX3 would be like a mom and daughter that share clothes, a bit creepy.

    Here is why we did not by the CX5:

    The CX5 was a little too large and the door sill was a little hard for her to get in. It felt too minivan like for us too. We have had several mini vans while we were raising our kids and loved them. I recommend them to those that need them, but she was looking for something a little more fun. She may have even budged bit if they had better colors. White, gray, darker gray, black and silver. The soul red is fun, but the 2014 Mazda 6 was that color. Remote start is a big clunky, expensive add on. The 2016.5 is way better from an equipment standpoint. There was just no compelling reason for us to pick it over the competition and we really liked the local dealer and salesman and wanted to find a reason to stay within the Mazda family (the PBXTECH family has purchased 3 Mazdas in the last five years.)

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I did my part and bought a red Mazda3s Grand Touring 6MT. It is loud on rough surfaces, but only on rough surfaces so you might not notice on a test drive (note: it doesn’t bother me, my previous car was a Miata). The back seats are a little tight. The car feels light, which I like but I think most people don’t.

    I think the high-trim models do well against other equivalents, but the lower-trim Mazda3 is a little sad and still not very inexpensive.

    Oddly enough, high-trim manual transmission Mazda3s sell very quickly. Not in large numbers, but Mazda doesn’t make enough to meet the small demand that exists. There aren’t many dealers to begin with, and they’re apparently not producing the right mix. Also, most of the colors are ugly. They must have the worst dark blue and dark gray available right now. Even the black isn’t a good black.

    • 0 avatar
      Lex

      ” Even the black isn’t a good black.”

      Ouch

    • 0 avatar
      Der_Kommissar

      I think most of the S models sell quickly, automatic included. I agree on the colors. I have the dark blue, but its easily mistaken for black most of the time. White and Red are good, but are both up charges on a non-lux vehicle, which is odd. I think the brown is the best free color, but there is no diesel option to sell it.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The upcharge on the red makes sense due to the layered process they use. Their new machine silver will have the same process.

        I don’t know what the deal is with the white, though.

  • avatar

    I test drove the 3 before buying a Jetta.
    It was loud, underpowered, and the user interface was infuriating. Plus it was thousands more expensive similarly equipped.

    Also – $33,000 for a Miata with the equipment you actually want?

  • avatar
    Promit

    Mazdas? We have three, as a family. Let’s talk about Mazdas.

    08 Mazda 3 – my personal car, the entry point. It’s being sold this week, with a sigh, at 94k. First gen refresh car, 2.3L hatch, and a solid example of the breed. But the suspension is messed up (even after new shocks/struts/mounts), the brakes are messed up (after new rotors/pads/fluid), the engine is messed up (leaking oil from pan, timing cover, intermittent CEL, sensor issues), the underbody is rusting which is leading to more road damage… this was my first car and I love this car. But I’m glad to be out of it. I already bought a 13 WRX hatch.

    11 Mazda 2 – my wife’s car, and she loves it despite the dismal NVH and comical lack of interior options. Ford got the memo that people looking for small cars don’t need bargain basement cabins. Mazda did not. But that’s not the big thing. No, the big, day to day hassle is the complete lack of oomph out of the engine or its 4 speed auto in this day and age. This thing has NO TORQUE. Dare to put more than two people and light cargo in it and acceleration times degrade from “adequate” to “eventually”. Yes, I know car reviewers driving a manual alone thought it was usable, but here in the real world…

    13 Mazda CX-5 – my sister in law’s car. She’s a timid, calm, slow driver who slams the engine to WOT and redline multiple times daily because WHERE IS THE DAMNED TORQUE. For the love of god people, crossovers are purchased to be filled with people and stuff, and a CX-5 goes like molasses when you actually try to use it as a crossover rather than a fashion statement. There are no problems with the car at its current age, but I’m fully expecting this one to blow up its desperately overworked 2.0L well ahead of time. And no,, the newer 2.5L is not a big enough motor either to be the largest choice.

    And then the final piece of the puzzle – why did I buy a used WRX instead of a new Mazda? Not the NVH or interior quality, obviously. Let’s see what my Mazda options are…
    1) A 3, which starts 26k+ for the 184 hp FWD. Is it nice enough mechanically or inside to justify that? Is it really? Be honest. You can buy a Focus Titanium for that money. You can buy a reasonably appointed Focus ST or GTI for less.
    2) A CX-3, which gets the AWD drivetrain but the 150 hp motor. Slightly cheaper, worse interior, meh cargo space, underpowered … no thanks.
    3) Where the hell is the Mazdaspeed 3? And would a new one also be a torque steering tire shredding psychopath?

    As a commenter above said, it’s insane that a company with the tag line “zoom zoom” is offering these anemic engined cars at these price points. More like huff huff. I sacrificed NVH in the WRX because it’s fast. Why would I want a car that is both slow and loud? Yes, Mazda gets steering and chassis incredibly right. Too bad about the rest of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      The price point of the 3 with the 2.5L engine is just unrealistic. Not only is that GTI/Focus ST money, but the exact same engine can be had in the 6 for $5K less.

      It’s being priced as the powerful sport engine. Frankly, it’s not.

      • 0 avatar
        Demetri

        I’m hoping they offer a less expensive point of entry for the 2.5l when the 2017 MMC refresh comes out later this year. It sounds like it won’t get a turbo engine for at least a couple more years, so the least they can do is offer the 2.5L + stick combo at closer to 20K. Honda is doing it with the 1.5t, and VW is selling GTIs for 23K. I think part of the problem may be that the Mexico plant isn’t set up to produce the 2.5l; all the Mazda3s equipped with the 2.5 come from Japan, so they want to limit it to high dollar trims.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The price isn’t for the engine, it’s for all the interior upgrades. You can’t get the 2.5L without the fake leather, tech packages, etc.

        Right or wrong, Mazda used the same price/package structure even before the current generation.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          I find it odd that plastic seats are part of the “Luxury Package” on the CX-3. Plastic seats don’t seem more luxurious than cloth to me, especially at -40C!

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Great answers, every one. However, they’re all enthusiast answers, and are negated by the basic fact that no one thinks of Mazda, so no one is aware of these shortcomings. If you’re so far down on the decision list that your name is answered with a question, you’ve got bigger problems than NVH and rust.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    I can pick apart any brand or individual product if I think on it. But I have a newfound affection for Mazdas. Two co workers bought new Maxda6s last year, and they report all smiles with their hard-working family haulers. The Mother in Law bought a 2016 CX-5 about 6 months ago. 18000 trouble free miles. I borrowed the CX-5 for a long-distance camping trip, and I was very pleased with the outward visibility, comfort and driving dynamics, especially compared to her previous roly-poly 2011 Chevy Equinox. The CX-5 just looks right, too. Even in metallic brown (Titanium Flash).

  • avatar
    Chan

    I don’t think it’s the cars.

    This is probably what happens when a typical American family needs a new car. A typical daily driver, bought and kept for the long term.

    They go down to their local auto mall.

    The dealership row is most likely to have: Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevy.

    Specifically looking to buy a reliable car? They go to the Japanese-branded dealer.

    Specifically looking for an American brand? Bargain used car? Military discount? Ford or Chevy dealer.

    I really doubt most families are going to ask themselves, “What other brands haven’t we considered?” let alone “Is it worth the drive?”

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Good points. I would add most Mazda dealer’s are outdated and have old school selling practices. And horrible resale values.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      There’s some truth to that in flyover country but we’re hardly talking about Suzuki here. There are in the order of 700 Mazda lots in the country, virtually every metropolitan area has one and most of them have a couple.

      A 1% of the market sized dealer network in the 00s didn’t prevent Subaru from nearly tripling their market share at the same time that Mazda has flatlined.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Aside from a smaller dealer network and a smaller advertising presence – basically following the old VW formula (before VW cheapened many of its US offerings).

    More enthusiast oriented vehicles with more premium interiors than the other mainstream offerings, but at a higher price-point usually for less passenger space.

    Not a great formula for the US market.

    Otoh, Mazda does much better in Canada and extremely well in Australia (#2 after fleet and truck heavy Toyota).

    • 0 avatar
      sutherland555

      Im Canadian and bought a 2013 Mazda3, which I really do enjoy driving. Coming from a 99 Civic, the NVH doesn’t really bother me. It is a bit cramped and the suspension is a bit harsh (which I’m fine with but it’s not for everyone). Cabin interior materials and design aren’t the best but it’s been reliable and fun to drive.

      Their dealer network is strong with nice and updated dealerships where I live in southern Ontario which negates that factor that affects them in the US.

      I also think the cheap gas down there doesn’t help either. Gas here is roughly $5 a gallon (after conversion if I’ve done math right) and Mazda does small, fun & fuel efficient cars well. That’s why they do well in countries with high(er) gas prices but i don’t think that formula helps them in the US.

      I also don’t think many people realize how small the company actually is. They sold about 1.5 million vehicles total in 2015 compared to Honda with 4.4 million in 2014 or Ford with 6.65 million in 2015. They are a very small time player in the worldwide car market. They’re making class competitive cars on a shoestring budget. They can’t offer the same discounts larger automakers do. Frankly, they’re in a tough spot but I’m also amazed at what they have accomplished in such a short time after Ford broke up the partnership (All new platforms and engines). I am concerned about their long term future but I do like to root for the underdog.

  • avatar
    crossx5

    I also always wondered, I would say there are some good points here. Let me add some more from a CX-5 owner’s perspective who also considered Mazda3 and Mazda5.

    First CX-5, I hate some points and would have loved Mazda to fix those:
    – Noise (everywhere)
    – Dated interior which was fixed in 2016 after my purchase :(, also why not Paddle Shifters like 3
    – Better trim configuration, there should be a trim or option to get all safety tech & leather without opting for dated navigation and sunroof.

    Mazda3, second choice (hatchback) after CX-5 and my personal reason:
    – smaller trunk space for my small family
    – Noise specially on the highest trim.
    Would have loved slightly quieter mazda3 wagon like the upcoming CX-4. If only Mazda can bring some goodness from a VW Golf here, they have a winner with them.

    Mazda6 – doesn’t have first hand experience.

    Miata – love the new one except that it is not practical for me.

    CX-3 – don’t understand the positioning of this car. Slightly higher hatchback doesn’t make a cut against a superb mazda3.

    Mazda5 — loved that car as a family car for its flexibility and would have loved it with latest upgrades from safety/tech. Just relaunch it on SkyActive. I now numerous people who love their Mazda5 here in CA-US.

    CX-4 — bring it sooner and it has potential to regain CX-5 losses if it addresses just the noise issue. I would readily exchange my car for that.

    Limited dealer network can be fixed some innovation around direct sale or direct sale via a not-so-neighborhood dealer.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    1. Sissified styling. Too feminine.

    2. Too many Americans sit in traffic all day, rarely go over 45 mph, and couldn’t care less about handling.

    3. Too many Americans think “soft” = “luxury’.

    4. Skinny tires for their class.

  • avatar
    daviel

    What Bruno said,and: Mr. Cain said “Car reviewers gleefully toss a Mazda3 through a series of bends, enamoured by its interactivity, only to discover that real consumers prefer eight other compact cars.” Almost every car reviewers’ love in a “track” sense have never worked out for me. Thus I never buy cars based on a reviewer’s likes.

  • avatar
    MilwaukeeMike

    I’m on my second Mazda…went from a 6 to a CX-9 and they’ve both been every bit as reliable as our Honda, with the added benefit of being fun to drive. Like a lot of people have mentioned I think they just can’t get people to the dealerships to drive them, and I think it’s because they’ve yet to land on a marketing strategy that resonates with the American public.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Two of the most fun tossable cars I’ve driven (not owned) are a 323 GTX and a Protege5. One other thing I’ve noticed on both of these: rust. Most of those Protege5’s have rotted MUCH MORE than my tired old Subaru Legacy.

    For where I am today, my wants are a manual gearbox, not a sedan, ground clearance, winter traction (AWD nice, a REAL LSD would suffice, electronic nannies get confused on my road five months of the year, you need to attack the hills in the snow) and the ability to tow a small utility trailer.

    I look at that line and say 3 is too low, CX3 is too low, CX5 is too truck-like and not truck-like enough simultaneously, the 6 is meh, and the Miata is not an option for a daily driver.

    But I am the sort of moron who thinks he can cross-shop a Fiesta ST, a Crosstrek, and a Tacoma.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I have known many folks in my short 64 years who have purchased Mazda’s. The majority loved ’em and swore by ’em as the best things on four wheels. After 6 to 9 months, most (but not all) come to the reality that the love was fading and the swearing at ’em started for all the reasons listed in the comments on this post: NVH, rust, crappy and sparse stealerships, silly stuff breaking et al. The reality of low residual value comes when trying to unload them. Ford helped to keep Mazda above water for awhile with some marketing synergy but once that was over they are struggling again. Rather reminds me of Renault and their foray into the US in the ’60’s and ’70’s where they were fairly popular due to price and economy but lousy for rust, broken stuff and resale. Hooking up with AMC and Chrysler worked for a time to keep them afloat but then they pulled the plug and gave up the US market. Mazda is another marque that doesn’t understand the market in the US and doesn’t seem to want to understand similar to our old friends at VAG.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’ve considered Mazdas twice. The first was a new 3 hatchback in 2010. It lost to a Jetta Sportwagen because the backseat was pathetic. I didn’t want midsize accommodations, but the Jetta could fit a childseat behind the driver and the 3 couldn’t.

    The second was a 2012 Mazda6. The road noise was incredible when compared to the competition, especially since it was tested immediately after the quiet and almost as good to drive 2012 Altima that we eventually purchased. I liked the way both of those Mazdas drove, but there were practical problems large enough to send me to the competition.

    I hope the brand survives and can grow, but as so many commenters above have mentioned, there are some pervasive and difficult challenges for the brand beyond NVH.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …i read perennial assessments of mazda’s marginal market share, but they always strike contrary to my personal experiences here in san antonio, where mazdas are *very* common on the ground: possibly a demographic artifact of a military town with a young, healthy middle class…

    …that may well be the key to mazda’s marginalisation elsewhere in the country: they’re a populist marque, but a *premium* populist marque, and why pay extra if you’re pinching pennies or settle for populist if you’re looking for a premium car?..feature-for-dollar, most manufacturers offer a better value metric and class-leading driving experiences resonate only with a small subset of the general population…

    …in whatever case, we have at least three large-volume mazda dealerships serving a mid-sized city before considering alternative dealers in the ex-urban periphery, and it seems that fifteen percent of cars at every stoplight and parking lot wear a mazda badge…i’d be curious to read tangible sales data backing up san antonio’s apparent regional anomaly…

  • avatar
    Dan

    Timely topic. Elderly acquaintance just recently set out to replace her mid 00s VW GTI. How about that for an old lady car? Anyhow, she liked that VW right up until it lived up to its badge by eating the transmission (DSG) at 5x,000 miles. She wanted another small wagon or hatch. She wasn’t dumb enough to buy a Volkswagen twice. She ruled out the Focus for its poor reliability rating in Consumer Reports. Nothing like a $7,000+ repair quote to make you look closely at the black circle next to “major transmission problems.” That should have been money in the bank for Mazda, no?

    No. The 3 with 2.0 was slow, loud, harsh, and generally felt cheap. The 2.5 engine fixes a lot of that but the trim package to get it is another $5,000 which put the car out of her budget.

    At the end of the day she bought an Impreza. Also slow but at least it’s quiet and rides decently.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Why? Don’t overthink it. $4 gas forced a lot of buyers to settle for the car classes that Mazda competes in and at $2 they’re not settling.

    Mazda’s only product that isn’t cramped and chintzy is the CX-9 which is a decade old and fails the safety tests invented in the interim.

  • avatar
    jeffthechef

    Bring the Mazda6 diesel wagon (with 6-speed!) over here, and I’ll buy 2 of them.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2013/02/21/2014-mazda6-skyactiv-d-wagon/

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I test-drove a 3i hatch. The one thing that made me immediately say “no” was that the “ICE” such as it is, look like someone glued a $59 Android tablet to the top of the dash. It looked cheap, it looked flimsy, and it looked like it would not be tolerant of 150+ degree Fahrenheit interior temps in Las Vegas.

    Nope. I prefer my radio IN my dash, not ON it.

  • avatar
    buzzyrpm

    A big problem is that the Mazda3, which should be their top volume seller, is the least attractive car on their lot. Their Kodo design language simply doesn’t work on this car. Sweeping lines seem to end abruptly, and the overall look, if you ignore the nice detailing, has a rather dated look to it. It’s telling that the new CX3 looks much more agressive and sporty. They need to shave 5 inches off the bottom of the CX3 and call it a Mazda3.

    Another big problem Mazda has is a lack of dealer foot traffic. If they can get more people in the door to test drive their cars and SUVs the quality of the product should do the rest. With that in mind though Mazda does still need to fix the road noise problem with their cars. I own a 2010 Mazda3 and on some roads its shocking just how loud the tire noise can get. The new Mazda3 that I test drove seemed to be much improved though.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Small interiors

    Odd-looking noses

    Poor value, low resale

    Not available nearby, usually

    Terrible and confusing naming convention

    Fiat-like legacy: rotary engine, rust

    No hybrids, stubbornly

    And I’ll say it again: Mazda’s foolish, undying commitment to the rotary means they aren’t applying their limited resources to solving their other problems.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I don’t like their busy lines, myself.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I don’t get the noise complaints, either. We test drove the 2015 Escape, Rogue, CR-V and CX-5. The quietest of them all was the Rogue. The Escape had terrible wind noise even at 40 mph. The CR-V’s engine was quieter than the CX-5 only during cruising. The CVT made the engine louder than it needed to be though. The CR-V was as loud as the CX-5 going 75mph on the freeway.

    And getting to the rear seat. The CR-V and Rogue had more legroom in the back seat with the front seats all the way back. BUT, at 6’2, I couldn’t drive either comfortably and the passenger seat was also tight even with the seat back. The CX-5 was much more comfortable and had more legroom up front, but that pushes the front seat back farther toward the back.

  • avatar
    Bondomobile

    Have a 2013 CX-5 2.0 MT, with 48,000 miles. It gets 30+ mpg all day long, and will get 34-35 at 80+ mph on the interstate–as far as I can tell, there’s nothing else that size with that kind of real world economy. I will be interested to see whether the Skyactive engines make it to 200k; part of the noise is due to the high compression, but to date has required nothing more than oil changes and a cabin air filter. The stock Yokohamas wore out at 40k, the replacement Michelin Defenders cut the road noise quite a bit. It’s a pretty tall car that drives smaller and sportier than it should, and because it has the 6-speed, I don’t feel like I have to turn in my man card to Mr. Baruth. I think most of the complaints about the 2.0 are from AT users–it does just fine with the 6-speed.

  • avatar
    09box

    I own a stick shift 08 Mazda 5 currently and had a 91 Protege LX before. I have had no major issues with the 5 besides rear struts, tires, front brakes, cd player stop working and bending a wheel or two. I commute 60 miles a day and no complaints with road noise at all (111k miles currently). I find it to be a comfortable cruiser on the highway and get a solid 27-29 mpg tank after tank. Highest I have ever gotten was about 33 mpg. I’ve carried 6 passengers no problem while going out with friends to eat and also everything under the sun from bicycles to an entire outdoor table and chair set plus 12 cases of soda and 10-12 grocery bags (all at one time) plus myself and my wife. I have taken naps sitting in the second row reclined back while waiting for the wife at the airport. I think Mazda made a big mistake dropping the 5 from the lineup and not putting the Skyactiv in it. Unfortunately, I think it was too much of an oddball (stick shift available minivan) for the American public who want generic vanilla transportation. At the place where I get my car serviced, I am the guy with the stick shift minivan.

    I think Mazda has good cars in their lineup but people are afraid to try out a vehicle that is fun to drive and different and they end up going with something safe ala Toyota or Honda instead.

    One gripe I do have is Mazda dropping the Mazda Speed 3 from their future lineup since it doesn’t meet the ‘mature’ image. I think the Mazda Speed line is something that sets them apart from the rest of the pack.

    Also, Mazda does something that not many makes do anymore. Offer most of their lineup available with a manual transmission. I don’t have any complaints that the CX-5 only has the manual available with 2wd. The easy solution is snow tires. All wheel drive just adds more parts to worry about anyway. If my Mazda 5 ever bites the dust, my next vehicle will most likely be either a 12-14 Mazda 5 w/6 speed manual or manual trans CX-5.

  • avatar
    buzzyrpm

    Interesting thing to note is that the Mazda2 is Toyota’s best selling subcompact. That tells you, given a different nameplate and a better distribution channel, that there is nothing really wrong with the actual Mazda product.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/03/toyotas-best-selling-subcompact-scion-badged-mazda-naturally/

    • 0 avatar
      crossx5

      Really interesting fact! in that Mazda should do it more and get badges for their cars from other Japs (Toyota/Honda) and I am sure these cars can make great sellers. Honda CX-5 or Honda m3 will definitely please buyers and tempting to the Mazda sales head.

      • 0 avatar
        buzzyrpm

        It just shows that Mazda needs to work on their dealers and brand promotion/perception. They have a great product in general. Mazda sells very well in Canada, it’s a smaller market and it was thus probably easier for Mazda to crack in regards to brand perception and dealer service.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I am 4 months in to my lease on my Mazda3 GX (base Canadian trim) hatchback. I agree that the wheels are tiny and the tires are too skinny, and the wheel covers look cheap. I only use them for my snow tires and bought a set of black 16″ rims for my all seasons. I would’ve moved up to 17″ but the price jump was too big to be worth it, and I kind of like the small wheel big sidewalk look with black rims, and the ride is great. I don’t think the ride is harsh at all, not as smooth as a Golf, but compared to a Corolla the 3 feels 25 years newer. Road and wind noise is not something that even enters my radar when it comes to car shopping, and I physically can’t hear it at all, it must be a frequency I deafened myself to. The 2.0 engine is quiet and has plenty of power for most people’s needs, I’ve never found it slow or underpowered, and I have an automatic. The OEM Bridgestone ecopias are absolute garbage in the grip/braking department, and don’t inspire confidence whatsoever in any weather, and I look forward to replacing them at the first opportunity.

    I agree that the styling of the Kodo Mazdas is very feminine and a bit too busy, but compared to nissan and Toyota it’s positively under styled. I love the shape of the 3 hatchback but not the details, I mostly chose it based on price and handling, and it was a good compromise over the golf, which I preferred, but I didn’t like VWs reputation, expected service costs, or life choices. It was cheaper than a similarly equipped forte5, which was a bit sterile feeling for me. The base model has pretty much all the equipment I want, not much I don’t (Bluetooth and cruise control are two things I never use/can live without), but automatic headlights would be nice and seem to be available on all compacts at all trim levels nowadays.

  • avatar
    RacerZ

    I wonder how many of these comments are the paid Hyundai/Kia trolls that are known on YouTube. Spreading lies and exaggerations. Cant believe a car manuf would stoop so low as the Koreans have been doing. SMH!…

  • avatar
    chaparral

    They have two really, really simple problems. Mazda can easily thrive in their niche as long as they own it completely and don’t bleed away sales by leaving customers dissatisfied and broke.

    1) They rust. Mazda needs to offer a 15-year anticorrosion warranty; that will force them to move on from the 1980s anticorrosion strategies. Enthusiasts like to keep their cars a long time and take care of them. Nothing ruins the experience of keeping an old car around than having to get out the hacksaw and the die grinder.

    2) They do not have a reliable powertrain over 184 horsepower. The Renesis rotaries wore out before 125,000 miles. The DISI-Turbo 2.3 bent rods, stretched timing chains, and blew turbochargers, all at random intervals from brand new to 200,000 miles; meanwhile the AWD system bolted to them broke both itself and the gearbox and clutch that it overloaded. If the new turbo 2.5 is to prove out any better, they need to give owners an incentive to keep the cars stock and maintain them. It should have a 10/150 powertrain warranty.

    If the cars are seen as high quality, they can split the difference between the Toyota/Honda price bracket and the BMW/Merc price bracket.

    • 0 avatar
      RacerZ

      Whoa really 15 years is a bit too long. I know VW has a 12 year warranty but they will fight you tooth and nail to honor it. The powertrain warranty length and mileage you quote is excessive. Toyota also has a major rust issue with its Tacoma that they tried to quietly sweep away. It also affected the Sienna. They reimbursed some of the owners but i heard you have to fight them to. They switched steel suppliers and apparently had a problem w late 90s and early 00s models. The rotary issues is some owners abused the cars and dont follow directions when dealing with Rotary engines. However, they went back and extended the warranty on these cars. I think if you are buying a sports cars like the Rx7/8 they tend to be more finnicky than your average commuter car. By the way the Honda Pilot also has a bit of rust issue in itself.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toyota-settlement-idUSKBN1370PE

      http://www.autonews.com/article/20140522/OEM11/140529942/toyota-recalls-466000-vehicles-to-fix-rust-corrosion-brake-pedal

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