By on August 11, 2016

2017 Mazda 3 red

Mazda sales representatives across the United States finally have the golden ticket for all of those eventual Honda Civic buyers who walked out the door before even test driving a Mazda3.

“When the driver maintains a constant steering angle, GVC immediately recovers engine drive torque, transferring load to the rear wheels to enhance vehicle stability,” Bill will tell his next up, quoting Mazda USA’s press release. Says Joe to the young couple expecting their first child: “The extremely subtle amount of deceleration force added by GVC normally amounts to 0.01 G or less.” Tom, with a patronizing over-the-glasses glance at the fixed-income senior citizens across the desk, says, “GVC demonstrates its effect consistently over a wide range of driving situations, regardless of the driver’s level of skill.”

GVC, or G-Vectoring Control, is the next step in Mazda’s Skyactiv-branded technology. G-Vectoring control debuts on the refreshed 2017 versions of the Mazda6, a chronically unpopular midsize sedan, and the increasingly uncommon Mazda3, sales of which have tumbled by nearly a fifth since the car’s 2012 peak.

To be sure, the 2017 Mazda3’s G-Vectoring Control will be yet another step forward for a car that is arguably the best-driving compact car on sale in America already. By claiming greater front-tire grip, quicker and more precise control, and enhanced vehicle responsiveness and stability, Mazda is doubling down on the 3’s areas of expertise despite a large degree of consumer rejection for a car which already excels in those very areas.

In search of success, Mazda doesn’t need the 3 to steer and handle better. But let there be no doubt, Mazda will try to sell you a 2017 Mazda3 which steers and handles better.

2017 Mazda 6 GVC diagram

By emphasizing GVC, I didn’t expect Mazda to also deliver precisely what the 3 needs — a massive dose of refinement made apparent by sharp reductions in noise, vibration, and harshness — in a mid-cycle refresh.

Mazda nevertheless make claims on that front for the 2017 model, but Mazda doesn’t appear to have aimed high. “The 2017 Mazda3 is a substantial 3 dB quieter at 25 mph over rough roads, thanks to tighter body gaps and improved sound insulation,” Mazda says, citing internal studies.

Yes, if you’re going slow and the roads are rough, we have internal studies which suggest the new 3 will be quieter than the old 3, Mazda seems to be saying.

Mazda also notes improved ride comfort from a reduction in “jolt sensations.” Modest interior alterations — new steering wheel, electric parking brake, a better heads-up display — are unlikely to be noticed by the typical buyer who also won’t be able to spot changes to the 2017 Mazda3’s exterior.

But Mazda is most keen on pointing out the merits of G-Vectoring Control, a software control system which Car and Driver initially said, “just feels as if it makes the steering a little heftier.” After more driving, K.C. Colwell clearly came to recognize the benefits, but questioned how Mazda would manage to inform the typical compact car buyer. I would question whether a car that already features a measure of genuine performance credentials (which mainstream buyers are intent on avoiding) should initially reveal itself on a test drive with heftier steering.

2017 Mazda 3 rear

From the standpoint of someone who believes the Mazda3 was the best small car on the market prior to the dawn of G-Vectoring Control — that’d be me — an improved Mazda3 will continue to stand tall as a car I can happily recommend to friends and family. But don’t expect the 2017 Mazda3’s G-Vectoring Control to dramatically alter sales results. Mazda is on track to sell fewer than 100,000 3s and fewer than 45,000 6s in America in 2016, down 8 percent and 25 percent, respectively, year-over-year. (Brand-wide Mazda volume is down 7 percent in 2016.)

G-Vectoring Control isn’t able to instantly change the U.S. Mazda dealer network, about which TTAC’s B&B so vociferously complains. It also won’t instantly flip Mazda’s dreadful 30-percent loyalty rate, just as recommended ratings from Consumer Reports don’t instantly alter the collective consumer’s beliefs regarding Mazda reliability.

G-Vectoring Control does, however, instantly become standard equipment on all 2017 Mazda3s and Mazda6s. Making Mazda USA viable on a larger scale will take time. “It will likely be early in the next decade before all the pieces come together from a product standpoint,” TheDrive reported in July after a conversation with Mazda’s North American CEO, Masahiro Moro.

[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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117 Comments on “2017 Mazda3 Promises a Better Drive, as If That’s What the 3 Needs and Consumers Want...”


  • avatar
    mikedt

    2 cup holders and 2 charging ports per passenger would probably make the 3 more attractive to the average buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      devonair

      Wow, two cup holders per passenger? Haha, how many drinks do you need at one time? I’ve never needed to use any more than the four cup holders that my current ’13 Mazda3 5-door already has (two in front and two in the backseat’s flip-down arm rest). Granted, I don’t have kids so most of my driving is just my girlfriend and I — with the occasional addition of my goofy pit bull. As for charging: a two-port USB adapter that plugs in flush with my cigarette lighter port (or whatever they call those now that the lighter doesn’t come with it) plus the built-in USB port in the front arm rest/storage is actually more than I’ve ever needed. …again, my passenger needs seem to differ from yours, as my dog doesn’t have a cell phone ;)

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        devonair, glad to hear that you are not one of those people who feels the need to spoil his dog, who might feel the need to try to keep up with all the other dawgs!

    • 0 avatar
      Sid SB

      Especially if the cup holders can either heat your beverage or cool your beverage.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …psychacoustics are wonky business, but a three decibel reduction means mazda has *halved* the measured road noise, by power: not something to shrug off…

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      dB is not the whole story, you also need to account for spectral content. which is why a lot of NVH/S&R organizations measure in sones now. a 70 dB whine is going to be a lot more annoying than a 70 dB rumble.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Thank you. Decibels are on a logarithmic scale, so 3 db is significant. I’m guessing the peak difference comes at 25 mph, so they chose that speed for bragging purposes. There’s still noise reduction at higher speeds, but it would probably be, comparatively, a lot less.

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      A lot of it is the types of sounds it makes as well. Hondas are loud but generally make pleasant, mostly unobtrusive noises. Mazdas regularly make cheap, surprisingly intrusive noises.

      Until Mazdas stop giving off whiffs of cheapness over bad roads they will struggle with American consumers.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    “genuine performance credentials (which mainstream buyers are intent on avoiding)”

    Sums it up perfectly.

    But it’s also possible if Mazda went hard in the mainstream direction, they might even sell fewer of them. Right now they are capturing a nice niche of this size vehicle buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I reject the claim that mainstream buyers avoid “genuine performance credentials” (i.e., handling). Rather, they are mostly indifferent or if they they care, it’s low on their list.

      Jim O’Sullivan (former MazdaUSA president) claimed that only 25% of buyers meet Mazda’s demographic character, i.e., if they won every single person their character appealed to, they would only have a quarter of the market.

      That’s bad, but it isn’t “intent on avoiding.”

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Honda is a small company with a small dealer base. There is nothing they could do to make their cars sell like Civics, including building a Civic.

      Many brands – in all industries, not just cars – have thought they could broaden their appeal by diluting what their brand stands for. Yes, Mazda can and should fix their deficiencies in noise and ride. But if they fix them to the point of sacrificing their core identity as an enthusiast’s car, they will lose the enthusiasts without successfully recruiting those consumers who’ll still prefer a Corolla anyway.

      Try to be all things to all people, and you end up being nothing to anyone.

      There’s a certain rancor in this series of reports on Mazda I don’t understand. And about that statistic that Mazda3 sales have dropped 20%: I’d be interested to see the trend in total sales across the Mazda3 and its direct cute-ute counterpart in the Mazda showroom, the CX-3. Remember all sedans are suffering as a category; taking shots at the 3 in isolation for a sales decline is potentially misleading.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Honda is anything but small! Be it car or company. And for those thst really want a modern 1991 Civic hatch, go buy a Fit.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “modern 1991 Civic hatch, go buy a Fit.”

          Having a ’90 Civic Wagon in the family for a decade, and an ’07 first gen Fit (base, 5spd) that replaced it, while the concept is similar, they are vastly different driving cars.

          The Fit is much better on the ride/NVH front relatively speaking, but the EPS is totally lifeless, center of gravity is significantly higher, and visibility is considerably worse. Suspension design is much simpler on the Fit (for better or for worse) and that’s part of the handling issue, but the switch to electric power steering is definitely the biggest problem in terms of losing a ton of steering feel. Oh and the interior materials are cheaper on the Fit, and there is less cargo space with the seats up. The latest (’15+) Fit takes all of the shortcomings and makes them worse IMO, in exchange for a more powerful motor and more rear passenger legroom.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I’m not surprised they’ve simplified the suspension, but I get your point on EPS. After driving the familys Neon I cant stand smaller cars with lifeless steering.

            When I recommend the Fit the 2nd gen always pops into my head, I forget the latest Nike-shoe iteration.

            I know that the wheelbase is very different, old Civic was wide, short, and low (which helped handling), Fits narrow and tall. I find it odd they cant get the old Civics cargo capacity in an age where thats a serious deal maker.

            Did the second gen “sporty” up the Fit at all?

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Cain

        We compare.

        The 3’s U.S. rate of decline is 23% swifter than the rate of decline in the category in which it competes. (http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2016/08/usa-small-car-sales-figures-july-2016-ytd.html)

        6 sales are down 25% in a category that’s down 8% this year. (http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2016/08/usa-midsize-car-sales-figures-july-2016-ytd.html)

        The 3’s pace in 2016 suggests sales will be down 20% since 2012. Civic sales, on the other hand, are about 20% stronger now than then, Corolla about 21% stronger, Sentra sales more than doubled. Some cars buck the trend. Others, not only the 3, do not.

        As for the CX-3/3 comparo, Mazda USA sold 123,361 3s in 2012. Total 3/CX-3 sales are on track for a year-end total of about 119,000 units in 2016.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      What exactly is Mazdas “demographic character”? Someone who doesnt mind a noisy car? Someone who ignores the acres of rusty Protégé?

      • 0 avatar
        a5ehren

        If we judged companies based on the cars they made 20 years ago, no one would buy anything besides beige Camrys.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        ‘What exactly is Mazdas “demographic character”?’

        – People who think “driving matters.” Those who want communicative handling. Those who simply want to have some fun when driving. And they want to do it below a typical luxury price point.

      • 0 avatar
        OhioBobcat

        Since I’ve owned 4 Mazdas, and my garage currently has 3 in it, I guess I’m Mazda’s “demographic character”.

        Firstly, I really don’t mind loud. I started driving in 1980, and everything was loud and crappy then, so I don’t have a lot of expectations there.

        What I do like about the Mazda’s I’ve owned:
        They drive very well, and very consistently. By that, I mean that once you learn how to drive the car, it’s really consistent about how it performs when things go badly. Put another way, it doesn’t surprise me when it loses traction due to bad road surface, or bad weather, or whatever. You turn the wheel, you know where the car is going.

        That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it really is.

        The engines are rock solid. They’ll run and rev forever.

        I can still buy a stick shift for cars that aren’t sports cars. I love a stick, and I’ve driven them for 30 years. People who whine about how hard they are in traffic are missing the point.

        They get great gas mileage, with no hybrid crap.

        The older models did rust, but none of my older cars (2006 and a 2009) have no evidence of rust. The other one is a month old, so I’d be pissed if it had rust.

        The downsides:
        Yes, they’re loud, sometimes. But ask yourself, compared to what?
        To a library?

        Whatever they put on the floor and call “carpet” isn’t carpet, and it doesn’t hold up at all.

        At even the highest trim levels, they’ve got features missing that other cars have.

        My wife wanted a heated steering wheel, but it wasn’t available.

        No seat memory.

        They have no power unless you really rev them up. I don’t mind revving it up, but lots of people think you’re “hurting the car” if you do that.

        Across the board, they really need about 50 more horsepower.

        Yes, it would hurt the mileage. I don’t care. I truly don’t.

        They’d sell a ton of cars if they simply had 50 more horsepower that put out max torque at 3000 RPMs.

        My two cents,
        -john

  • avatar

    Fascinating while most die hard Mazda 3 fans are migrating to the CX3.

    Is Mazda in denial?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      they don’t seem to get that trying to give people more of what they don’t want isn’t going to get them to take it.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …why the CX3?..the CX5 is the 3-based compact crossover; the CX3 is their 2-based crossover, all that remains after mazda abandoned the subcompact hatcback market stateside…

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        They really didn’t really abandon the subcompact segment–they just sell them through Toyota dealerships. The current iA is & the next Yaris will be a rebadged 2.

        The CX-3 is closer in size to a 3 than a CX-5, despite the different platform. Certainly the two models split buyers that used to go just for the 3 hatch. When comparing YoY numbers, a better figure is comparing 2015 3 sales to 2016 3 + CX-3 sales until a full year of CX-3 sales are available.

        The drop in the 6 is a bigger issue for Mazda, IMO, but since that whole market segment is going nowhere, their market share should be considered rather than sales numbers. It’s good to see them add some luxury to it, but I think they should jump all the way to a signature trim like the CX-9 and drop in the 2.5L.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I have a 2nd generation 3 hatch. It drives great already. A Better drive is not what it needs, it needs about 20-25lbs of dynamat installed in the door panels and thicker insulation by the firewall and rear wheel-wells (if there’s any at all?).

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      My ’06 Mazda3 had literally less engine noise than I’d have liked (people kept asking if it was a hybrid because they couldn’t hear or feel the engine at idle), but Jesus it could have used some sound deadening in the roof and, like 90% of cars out there (even cheaper Lincolns), it could have used some for the rear wheel wells big-time. That car was the first mainstream application of a plus-3 wheel and tire setup, so I’ll chalk it up to Mazda honestly not knowing how deafeningly loud rubber-band tires get once they’re half-worn.

  • avatar
    Ben

    I love the drive and the design of the 3. the only thing keeping it off my list for our next car is how low and cramped (feeling) it is. one of the reasons I love my hatchbacks is the utility, but most entrants feel much less practical than in years past. I’m loathe to criticize, since it wasn’t long ago that there were hardly any choices in the compact hatch field.
    my aging back just can’t handle the drop to these seats :-)

    • 0 avatar
      thirty-three

      I couldn’t agree more. I have a 1st gen hatch. It’s massive compared to my old Civic, but it doesn’t feel much more spacious inside. The cargo area is strangely narrow for a car that size. A hatchback should provide more utility that the 3 does.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Mazda- Purveyor of Art Deco Rustbuckets.

    If I Were The Boss section; I’d style them more conservatively, make the car comfortable & feature loaded, ditch the high speed low drag driving tech -useless in these vehicles normal environment of 2mph congestion- and finally make sure the cars don’t turn into an RMS Titanic rust exhibit after five years.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    More power, less rattles, lower MSRP. Speed3 trim to keep pace with GTI/Si.

    I’ve already been burned by Mazda in the past though so it’s too late for me. The Civic Si hatch has me drooling.

    • 0 avatar
      devonair

      Yes to everything in this comment except the Civic part. The handling on my ’13 Mazda3 is already great, but the lack of initial power and torque out of first gear drives me nuts whenever I’m trying to turn onto a busy street from a residential one (timing the gap can get a bit nerve racking when stomping on the pedal results in a second of non-responsive lag).

      But the Civic Si… ugh, performance numbers aside, I just can’t get past the styling. Yuck. I miss the clean, wannabe 3-series lines of my old 2000 Si in Electron Blue Pearl. That was a very pretty Civic =)

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Well the hatch is the only one I would probably fit in comfortably. If I get a coupe it will have to be an Accord. Same probably for the sedan. I’m partial to performance hatchbacks but the only one I favor that’s available right now is the GTI and I cannot trust VW.

        • 0 avatar
          devonair

          Once again: I completely feel you on that VW sentiment. I’ve looked at a GTI a couple of times, but VW’s shady practices make me too nervous to follow through with an actual purchase.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    In both July of 2015 and 2016, I rented Mazda 3s for a few days to travel to Oshkosh from Chicago. The first one (previous generation) was, to be blunt, crude and unimpressive. The new 3, from the drivers seat, seemed little changed. What *was* different was the large improvement in the driving experience. It steered very nicely, power was impressive for such a small engine and the transmission calibration was spot-on. More interior refinement would make a big difference.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    That overly-long front-end schnozz, ongoing NVH issues, a feeling of not using substantial materials, and whispers of lack of durability long-term will haunt the 3 forever among many potential buyers in the compact segment. It seems more and more to be a love-it-or-hate-it vehicle.

  • avatar
    devonair

    Just give me more power. The improved sound insulation is definitely welcome, but I already love the handling on my ’13 Mazda3. It kills me to read the rumors that a Speed3 model has been scrapped for seeming “too immature” for the current Mazda =(

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Not impressed.

    When test driving, the sportiness was decent but…
    Plastic all around, cheap upholstery, lousy ergonomics, Loud as heck and needed more room for someone who’s tall (=>6ft) and wide.

    It got pricey once you started adding the options.

    For enthusiasts, it’s acceptable but not for the average driver looking to keep the vehicle for the long term, esp. when you look at Mazda’s reliability history.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Please – long term. I have my ’11 and will keep it another 4 years minimum. I may give it to my son though and get a CX5 or another 3

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Mazda’s reliability history is quite good.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I beg to differ:
        https://m.reddit.com/r/Justrolledintotheshop/comments/2898u9/incredibly_rusted_and_very_unsafe_2002_mazda/

        http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/mazda/protege/r21374/comments/

        http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/mazda/protege/1999/page-8/#c15429

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Not entire Mazda over the years. Those made in Japan – was good. Mostly Protege and 3

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Some were some weren’t, Im hesitant to cite later 626 models due to their unreliable bit (auto trannys) being from Ford.

          RX-8s are killed due to Mazda trying to sell the rotary to the mass public.

          Cant speak for 3s or 6s but they seem reliable, moreso the 3 if anything.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            I can’t speak for the really old ones, but I’m at 70k in a 2010 3, 2.5AT and the only thing I have had fail was a blown speaker. Other than that, it’s been routine maintenance. I’m even still on the original brakes at all 4 corners, though I’ll probably have to take care of them this fall.

          • 0 avatar
            Chocolatedeath

            I can speak on my CX9 08. It has 170k miles on it and bought it new. The only issue Ive had is that the AC went out twice last year for some reason.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Rotary – bring back the RX-3; that’s what customers want!

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I need to start thinking about next car. And more I think, more I think of next 3. Only this time I’ll get hatch with 2.5. I will not give up Mazda dynamics for an extra inch of space you may find in new Civic or Elantra. I was thinking GTI – it is quicker. But more expensive and less fuel efficient. Plus VW improved reliability still not match to mazda3. Mini Clubman – yea but it is going to be 5-7K more. New Elantra Sport – ahh… Can try but don’t believe it will be anywhere near. Ford? Subaru? oh. I’ll try but every time I try them all, Mazda3 is hands down my car. We’ll see. I also like CX5. Pretty dynamic CUV

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The new 3 2.5L really is great. It has more than enough power and still gets 30 mpg in real-world driving. I have no complaints about roominess, but I gave up a couple inches in the cargo area height. It is definitely noisier than a Focus, but I keep hearing about Mazda addressing it, but I have no direct experience with the latest models.

      The 2.5L does require stepping up trims and the price that comes with it. I didn’t intend to get the (fake) leather & such, but I’m happy with it, and I feel the price is fair for what you get.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    For all the Mazda’s I offered as suggested buys for relatives, a 3 hatch for a boy and a CX5 for his sister…all love their cars.

    These are still, as is the entire Mazda line up, a sure great buy for anybody.

    Ya…a little noise, but please, they will get haters no matter what. More quiet means more weight.

    These are great, everyday fun to drive cars….if ONLY the 6 had a V6. Once the turbo gets into the 6, this to will be the top (everyday fun car) buy.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Exactly. My niece finished college and asked what should she buy. I sent her to buy 3. she drove it for 8 years and liked it so that now she has cx5 and cx9. Although, I told her not to go to cx9

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I will say too that tires make a big difference. My Ford C-Max is already a very quiet and comfortable car, but switching to Pirelli touring tires (P7+ AS) made it quieter and softer-riding still. Not worth it for the loss of initial traction, cornering grip and build quality vs the OE Michelins, as it turns out. But a pretty dramatic demonstration.

      (Can’t really fault the tire shop guy, who recommends that tire for all his hybrid customers, as I’m probably not the typical hybrid driver…I’m a former Mazda3 driver who went with the C-Max this time to get what a 3 would never give me: peace and quiet, cargo room, and a big shove of low-end torque.)

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      They’re an okay buy as long as you don’t live in a salty area, dont mind noise, lack of insulation, cheap interior, but at least theyre fun I guess, for being FWD family cars..

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        @hotPotato

        I wrote below – when Installed Pirelli P4, my 3 became quiet car. Although worth pointing that 3 engine doesn’t sound buzzy, it has this solid low tone growl, which doesn’t bother me vs one time I tried Elantra.

        @Ryoku75

        I have to say that rust concerned me even before. My 98 protege had suspension that was scary to look at. But I drove it for >16 years and never replaced single suspension part. My rear wheel wells rusted @ 13 years. that was the point when every year I drove it – it was a bonus year. I patched it myself using food cans and bando, and spray painted to nearly matching paint :-)

        I already ran into rust issues on ’11 when replacing front brakes. Rotors wouldn’t come off so I had to cut them off. The long exhaust pipe looks fuzzy with rust. Comparing to my older Highlander – same pipe looks only yellow there. Interestingly, on Protege same pipe needed replacement but muffler was original to the last day.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Honestly if rust weren’t an issue I’d own a Mazda right now, the Protégé at least was a very well setup and styled car at its final generation, but in the Midwest I could never find a good one.

          Sure a few nice old lady examples of early 90s models have surfaced, but Im too bulky for auto seatbelts.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Ryoku – I don`t believe you since you listed much more than rust as issues. Incorrectly – the interiors (ion terms of design and materials) are certainly class competitive to class leading. They are class leading for fuel economy, design and driving dynamics. Add in good reliability and it should be a winning package.
            They don`t sell as well because of a limited dealer network and relatively higher prices since several models are built in Japan.

            Mazda are increasing their ATP’s and making a profit so life is certainly not the doom and gloom some of the irrational haters on here seem to think it is.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At Mike:

            Hah! Me EVIL Ryoku, I invented special salt that penetrates Mazda to sabotage their cars! This way my stocks on Toyonda will soar!

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Don`t be stupid. No-one called you evil etc. You are just creating strawmen. All I noted was you seem to like posting (way more than I do) on the alleged faults of Mazda – rust (old news), too focused on sportiness etc. They obviously should hire you so they become a top 3 manufacturer, because isn`t that what every company should aspire too?

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Its called having a sense of humor, admittedly a strange sense of humor.

            “…they become a top 3 manufacturer, because isn`t that what every company should aspire too?”

            I see nothing wrong with Mazda becoming bigger and selling more cars, means lower prices, more people enjoying Mazdas, better reputation and sales for Mazda, heck, we could end up seeing the RX-9 at that rate!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This G-vectoring will be *awesome* while I’m stuck in traffic, trundling along on straight suburban roads, suffering through excessive road noise, and bending my children’s legs in unnatural positions so they can fit in the small backseat. Why isn’t the 3 selling more?

    One thing G-vectoring will hit is Car and Driver’s G Spot. They’re already smoking a cigarette after their recent & rapturous 6, 3, and Accord reviews.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    There were two reasons why we ended up with a 2013 Focus SE instead of a Mazda3. The minor one was the styling. I never liked the grill which reminded me of the Joker’s maniacal grin in Batman. The major reason was NVH which was much better in the Focus. In my opinion, Mazda fixed the styling. I expected that NVH would be improved in the revised design. Apparently not.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      you buy cars based on styling… oh well.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Not sure why that’s a problem…

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        sneering at people who have different priorities makes you look like a snob and a tool.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        truth be told, and it has been stated so here on TTAC numerous times, people do research after research….then end up buying with their hearts.

        Me? I am guilty of this as well. The design “classicness(?) must be there as well as the other priorities. We might disagree with what exactly this is, and only time will tell, but it plays a major role.
        And by the way, I am shallow enough to consider a missing or bad color offering s a reason to back away.

        And I think I am one of the few that applauded Mazda for the smiley years.
        I am sick and tired of the angry, gonna eat you if I catch you look these days.
        Come on, designers…is that all you got?

        Life is so short, enjoy it and lighten up.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          I, too, have no problem with the smiley Mazdas. It’s distinct and memorable, and as the cars age, I suspect those who initially disliked them will mellow.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Back in ye olden days (the late ’70s and early ’80s), I remember reading about Mazda executives saying they were going to listen closely to customers and what they wanted in Mazda cars. I guess they don’t do that anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        they do listen. But they only listen to *Mazda* customers. And there aren’t so many of them.

        • 0 avatar
          Der_Kommissar

          As a customer, soon after buying the car, I got a survey that was basically asking me if identified the car with entry level luxury class cars. My feedback clearly indicated I did not anymore. I did before I bought my 3s- I did not after owning it. It was good enough to get me in the door, but not good enough to keep me due to noise and ride quality. Maybe my e90 had spoiled me that I could have both. Either way, I’m glad Mazda is listening.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Oh come on. You make it sound like they have Lotus levels of sales. They sell 1.3 million vehicles a year. Not bad for an independent company.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      We cross-shopped the Focus and 3 as well. Got the 3 because the Focus’s DCT was horrific in city traffic.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    I’m very glad to see them address ride quality and noise- it really is the Achilles heel of the car. I also think it explains the 30% loyalty rate, as that’s the reason I will not be buying another Mazda. Reliability is great, gas mileage is great, handling and “fun to drive” is outstanding, but when you’re on the highway on a long drive it just feels cheap. If Mazda wants to poke their head into the near lux category with the upper level trims of the 3 and 6, they really have to drive well and be comfortable. It’s not enough to just do one if they want to maintain their customers.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Correct me if Im wrong, but doesn’t Car and Driver run Mazda ads? Looks like they still haven’t learned what rust is either:

    http://forum.mazda6club.com/models-trim/343489-beginnings-rust-my-2014-a.html#/topics/343489?_k=khn8af

    http://www.mazdas247.com/forum/showthread.php?123839339-Cursed-2014-CX-5-has-rust

    It should be easy to see why Mazdas don’t sell, they think they’re above the average Joe. They make cheap cars and disguise them with sporty pretenses, they’re noisy because things like insulation and decent corrosion resistance aren’t “sporty” enough.

    Then theres the Fiata, which isnt too bad if ugly in the butt if you get the Mazda variant. But at least its a real sports car rather than “sporty”.

  • avatar
    Dyl911

    It is all a matter of perspective, I guess. I traded my 2015 STi for a 2016 Mazda3s GT manual. For me it is quiet and comfortable. Wifey and I took it for a two plus hour drive and back in one day. We found the drive relaxing and peaceful. Again, compared to the Suby, the interior quality is great. As others have said, it is fun to drive, gets good mileage, and should be damn cheap to run. No, it isn’t the cheapest way to go, but I love the upscale amenities, particularly those that my $35k STi didn’t have.

    Now if the 2017 Civic Si had been out at the time of my purchase, I would have had a harder decision to make.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I really don’t get people who say that Mazda3 has bad ride quality. I drive 6 hours trips often and I can get in, and 6 hours later come out – no problem. Although I use McKanzie pillow for my lower back. Without it, in 2 hours I get some lower back issues in my 3 – lumbar support could be better.

      Also, I actually learned something. When I installed Pirelli P4 tires, my 3 became quiet. It is the OEM Bridgestones that caused majority of noise. Another thing is tire pressure. Mazda says 32psi – pump 32, don’t pump 35 or 40. Of course that will make it ride badly.

      Generally, I love my 2011 ride quality. It is sporty and not punishing. I remember Civics of 1985-90, those were washing boards. When I bought 98Protege, that is when I realized that car can handle nicely without punishing your butt like the Civic I owned before that.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Depends on ones habits and tires more than anything, 6 hours on a smooth highway will be fine for most cars.

        A broken jaggered city street? Thats the real test.

      • 0 avatar
        trecoolx

        The news about better noise isolation is good. I recently tested a 2016 Mazda3, which I found to be leaps and bounds ahead of the launch 2004 Mazda3 in driving refinement (ride, handling) and interior quality (noise, materials). Granted, this should be expected, but the competition is as good or better regarding NVH (the 2016 VW Golf I tested was whisper quiet regarding isolation).

      • 0 avatar
        Der_Kommissar

        Slavuta- We’re talking about the 3rd gen Mazda 3- you’re talking about the 2nd gen. Its a different car, especially the S models with the 18 inch wheels. Have you driven the car we’re talking about?

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          I have driven 92, 98, 01 Protege, 05, 10, 11 ‘3. I’ve sat in 13,14,15,16.

          But people here don’t say, “Mazda3, 2.5 MT 18”, 14-16… They say, “Mazda3”

          • 0 avatar
            Der_Kommissar

            We’re clearly talking about the current car, given that the article is about the changes to the 2017 model. Everyone is more than welcome to buy me a beer and drive my ’15 S Touring and feel the vibration.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      That pesky extra 150 hp and ridiculous driver-controlled center diff are real bummers in an STi. The experience of the move from an STi to a 3GT must feel similar to that of folks who change from an Mits Evo to a Dodge Dart – very satisfying.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I can’t think of any reasons to buy a Mazda3 over the Civic. I just can’t. Sure, the Mazda looks better, but the Civic is undoubtedly a better car if only for the reasons of reliability and Honda’s robust dealer network.

    Mazda’s marketing could use a boost as well. It’s as if they’re marketing the 3 towards people my age, and I’m 32. There’s no way I’d even consider a Mazda 3, or a Civic for that matter. My cohort is buying crossovers because a lot of us have kids now.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      ” but the Civic is undoubtedly a better car if only for the reasons of reliability and Honda’s robust dealer network.”

      I have 2 Mazda One now almost 12 years old, the 05 3S. Never had one single issue.
      And regardless of the rust speak around here, it spent its first 6 years in Chicago. No rust still.

      The real quality issues are on the 09 6 and likely due to its being built in the same Ford plant in MI as the Mustang.
      This car has things falling off and breaking all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Given the Mazda 6s history, I dont think Mazda had their heart into that model for a long time, at least not after they quit making the 626 turbo hatch.

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          Interesting comparison but let me retort. Disclaimer, I’m not in the US and in our market I believe the Mazda 3 is the #2 car sold in the C segment (the Corolla is #1).

          The new 2017 Mazda 3 given the G vector system is success piled onto success. You can buy the 2.5 litre 4 cyl. Mazda 3 GT for about $27,500… this car is the value buy if you want a bit of performance. Nothing else comes close to the 180hp four besides turbo cars. The torque is class leading. There is no Mpg penalty. The auto is a conventional converter. The motor is Skyactive which is what it is. You can choose the 2.0 four in lesser models but I dont think you’d bother given the 2.5 is pretty well priced.

          The Civic sedan for similar money has a 1.5 litre turbo four with a CVT ONLY. If you want manual, your choice is a 1.8 litre with about 140hp and its 5 spd only… and the motor is SOHC and only runs on premium gasoline. If you dont like that there’s a 2.0 four also 150hp with also with 5 spd conventional auto only.

          On sheer choice of drivelines alone I could never take Honda seriously. Worse still Kia’s Forte/Cerato is better value better warranty and is extremely competitive everywhere.

          I also think the Mazda 3 sedan is one of the most professionally designed cars in any class. The Honda looks like a Honda.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    What WOULD it take for the Mazda 3/6 to sell more? Obviously the 6 needs a roomier interior, and I’m guessing there are some pricing issues… but fundamentally these are good cars no?

    And I home this G-Vectoring thing makes it more communicative than the base Golf I drove. If this is the best driving car in the segment the segment is in trouble for us enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      What will sell more? Price. Mazda simply can’t do what Honda and Toyota do. Selling cars with -25%. Camry is dirt cheap. My brother was even hesitating if he should get one. But Honda dealer offered him great/similar deal so he got his 5th Accord

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The Mazda 3/6 needs a better interior, comfier drive, better value, something to ease peoples concerns of rust. It wouldnt hurt for Mazda to have a “halo” car either. Since their CUV-things sell the most, they could comfy them down to sell more units while making 3/6s “sporty” if they’re serious, and make their CUV-things more spacious.

      Average Joe gets his family cruiser and Sporty Stick Smith gets his super dynamic cheap economy car, win win.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Halo car – this has nothing to do with selling more 3 and 6. Ok?

        Better interior – I think they already have best interiors. When I was buying 2011, I tested civic, Elantra, Corolla… 3 had by far best interior of all. Elantra may had attractive control layout but it was all plastic. and controls – all the knobs and stuff, Mazda had the best. Subaru – worst. 3 has this Germanic feel to it. All high quality. civic I remember was pathetic collection of black, gray, dark gray and light gray plastic with pathetic double dash design. Toyota interior was 1989. At night, if you don’t know you are in Mazda 3, you might think you are in BMW3. I recently sat in 2016 Mazda6 Touring – this is fine built automobile. Although I personally not a fan of leatherette or leather, the interior and the assembly quality are impressive.

        better value – this is it! Like I say, Honda and Toyota now are discount brands when it comes to mid sedan. This is value when you can get something that has long-standing reputation (even that it is not as good), and you can get it with deep discount.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Slavuta – you are correct the 6 is certainly class leading in quality for an interior in a mainstream sedan. The 2017 year adds some extra luxury items (heated seats, steering wheel and nappa leather for those inclined).

          They offer a choice of color in the interior which most others do not. They have padded headliners, cloth A pillars etc which are all a touch upmarket compared to the norm.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          At slav:

          That was 2011, we’re talking about 2016.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            And in the intervening all companies have upgraded their interiors. Including Mazda and by personal experience and multiple reviews it is acknowledged that Mazda interiors are class competitive to leading. The 6, CX3 and CX9 certainly are. I wished the CX3 and CX9 were a little bigger, but then all cars have their faults.

          • 0 avatar
            Der_Kommissar

            Agreed Mike978- it was class leading, until the Civic upped the bar. It’s still a great interior, but cost cutting that is acceptable at the lower end of its price range is not as acceptable in the 24k and up that many of its models exist in. The improvements of this refresh address many of the interior issues, while ignoring others (only one auto open/close window, sunroof is auto open only). I also agree with Slavuta that both the 2nd gen and the 3rd gen give off an air of BMW interior design. But I still think its the NVH that’s holding the car back, and the fact that the hatch cargo space is very small for anyone other than an enthusiast. Too small for a baby stroller without folding the seats down, making the hatch for looks only for the majority of buyers.

  • avatar
    Acd

    There’s nothing wrong with any Mazda that a competitive manufacturer subsidized lease or a larger rebate won’t fix.

  • avatar
    Sid SB

    Sad to say, but not having things like Apple Car Play and Android Auto, lacking ventilated seats, etc. are going to be negative even though the Mazda is great to drive. Heck the skilled Honda sales guy can make lacking a CVT sound like a deal breaker to the unsuspecting compact car buyer.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I’m not sure I’m following this. It changes throttle opening based on steering? What could possibly be the point of that? If the driver needs to tighten his line or apply some weight transfer on corner entry, he can adjust the throttle himself.

    What the car needs for performance driving is a limited slip differential. There’s nothing a driver can do when the inside wheel is spinning except to back off and drive slower, or enjoy the smell of burning rubber in place of acceleration.

    If they really want to improve handling, installing some decent tires would make a huge difference. Performance all-seasons would add 0.1g dry and 0.2g wet over the LRR tires they’re using. Serious summer tires would add 0.2g/0.3g.

  • avatar
    otaku

    Maybe it would help if the stylists could make it not resemble a penis with wheels quite so much.

    Maybe not

  • avatar
    Lithe

    Interesting article to read from Australia. Over here, the 3, 6 and unfortunately CX-5 are strong contenders in their respective segments. Behind the Hyundai i30 and Corolla (mostly hatchback rather than sedan), but extremely common.

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