By on August 8, 2016

Mazda 3 i Sport

Base model. What does that image conjure to mind? Vinyl seats? Tinny AM radio? A low rent penalty box on wheels? A few years ago, you’d be right on the money. Driving misery was available for voluntary purchase at the showrooms of just about every major car maker.

Now, though … it’s tougher to find, but there are entry-level vehicles out there that, in their cheapest guise, won’t make you cringe with each pull of the driver’s door handle. These base models? They’ve aced it. Here’s a good example.

Third instalments in a series are rarely the best, with the possible exception of Super Mario 3 on NES. The third-gen Mazda3 showed up in 2013 with Mazda’s snazzy KODO design language and a colour palette including hues other than grey, white, and black.

Allow me an aside here. It drives me to arson when manufacturers penalize the thrifty by only offering drab colours on their base models. Or, if we are deemed worthy of a vibrant shade, it often costs a few hundred dollars. At this end of the price spectrum, it adds a Texas-sized percentage to the MSRP. Weighted, a $300 paint option on a $17,485 car is roughly equal to paying $1,200 for paint on a fully loaded F-150 Limited (limited only, of course, to however many they can build). Mazda charges $0 for the Deep Crystal Blue Mica is shown here. Members of the Brown Car Appreciation Society may appreciate the $0 Titanium Flash Mica.

Keyless entry, Bluetooth, tilt and telescopic steering wheel … features once paid for dearly by Mercedes customers are now standard for us proles buying a base-model Mazda3. Air conditioning is along for the ride, as is cruise control and a backup camera.

Two optional equipment packages dot the options list: a $1,000 preferred equipment package brings heated body-color mirrors, electronic driving aids, and 16-inch alloys to the party. Buyers who spring for the $1,300 Appearance Package will find their Mazda3 i Sport adorned with a black front air dam and — what’s this? — a completely superfluous rear diffuser. A rear diffuser is about as necessary on a Mazda3 as condoms in a convent. Mazda’s 3 drives quite well for an economy car, but it ain’t a LaFerrari. Leaving these option packages on the shelf will net a sticker price of $17,845 plus a $835 destination fee.

Sure, Mazda is a sales Hindenburg right now, but that doesn’t mean the 3 is a bad car. As our own Tim Cain points out, popularity contests don’t provide a clear understanding of class leadership.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. And of course, feel free to eviscerate today’s choice.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim — apple pie and bald eagles not included. As always, your dealer may sell for less. In the case of Mazda, they probably will.

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153 Comments on “Ace of Base: Mazda3 i Sport...”


  • avatar
    thegamper

    Not being familiar with the standard equipment lists of too many base model cars, 2 strike me off hand in that I have recently done online builds. Cadillac ATS and Lincoln MKZ. The Cadillac, at base level, particularly now that the 2.5 has been axed in favor of the 2.0 is a pretty solid bargain me thinks as it has everything you need, nothing you don’t. Same with the MKZ. If memory serves, the Lexus IS, Infiniti Q50 (is that what they are calling it now?) also have nice base packages.

    However, all of these entry level luxury cars pile on options so quickly it baffles the mind. Want fog lights on that ATS?…… it will cost you another $6000 in option packages …..something like that. If you can stomach not having all the “look at me” glitz and gizmos that automakers pile in for huge markups, quite a few base models seem like pretty decent buys particularly in the entry lux market in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      With a lot of cars, it’s not that I want fog lamps; its that I don’t want those pathetic-looking plastic inserts.

      But fog lamps a lot of cars are actually plug-and-play.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        How do you feel about the poor people amber lamps on the Escape lower trims?

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          they’re especially egregious on the 2017. Though they’re reserved solely for the “S” trim.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            http://pictures.dealer.com/s/stiversmontgomeryfordfd/0148/ac1b2526f6138c2d08c509c7414f928fx.jpg

            Oh good grief, they made it worse – hadn’t seen one of these yet. “Hello sir, are you delivering parts for NAPA?”

            It’s like the block of amber at the beginning of Jurassic Park. Bet there’s skeeters in there.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            I have an “S” (2014) and honestly hadn’t really even noticed. What does bother me is the plastic wheel covers, but I don’t have the scratch to buy a decent set of rims right now. Heck, I don’t even mind the black door handles.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            that’s basically it; the “S” models are pretty much reserved for customers who buy 5 or more at a time.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Not to mention that Ford still does black plastic skullcaps and door handles on plebeian trims of some of its cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        This guy gets it. The round fog light fillers on modern cars are butt-ugly.

      • 0 avatar
        SirRaoulDuke

        Now I don’t feel so crazy for my same reason for wanting fog lamps.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    And worth noting: the base 3 drives gives you the same driving experience as the more expensive 2.0 equipped models. If you can deal with a car with plastic hubcaps, it’s a steal.

    Similarly, the 2…oops, the Scion iA, is also amazingly well equipped, and it’s a giveaway right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      “If you can deal with a car with plastic hubcaps, it’s a steal.” My only problem with plastic wheelcovers is that too many of them these days violate the “trying to look like something they’re not” rule. It seems like most wheelcovers badly mimic five- or six-spoke alloys, with too much black steelie showing through. Credit to Scion for putting more “honest” wheelcovers on the xB and xD.

      I’d like to see someone improve upon the idea Chevy floated with the Camaro’s “Heritage” steelies: body-colored steel instead of black (as on the Camaro) and with a nicely designed hubcap and beauty ring (probably in a silver color) – basically a more contemporary, more sporty take on what Mercedes did very well in the ’60s and ’70s. I imagine the manufacturers haven’t pursued that because it would be a disincentive to pay more for alloys.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      The automakers get it too, that’s why Cadillac makes you buy $6000 worth of option packages to get rid of the plastic fog light fillers. Personally, I think its one of those things that should just be standard on a $30K plus car, but I guess you have to make your money somewhere.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “popularity contests don’t provide a clear understanding of class leadership.”
    _______________________________________________

    “I don’t care what you cover the seats with as long as you cover them with a$$holes”

    -Eddie Rickenbacker, Eastern Airlines

    Mazda needs more a$$holes who appreciate “class leadership”.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Base Fortes are pretty good deals:

    https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/666312678/overview/

    You can go even cheaper if you get a manual.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Is this an advertorial?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    We’ve come full circle.

    VW (among other companies) offers a vinyl interior as the upscale option over base cloth.

    Also, as Jack has pointed out, even if you get the top of the line of certain models but opt for the stick shift you can only pick from 4 colors – only one of them being an actual color. (edit: I stand corrected, they added blue for 2017!)

    I don’t know if it’s the case anymore, but when I got my Scion tC the only option I got was a lip spoiler. At the time it was outfitted extremely well as base.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, but you’re not getting the V-tex leatherette (even as a standalone option) in any Volkswagen S model, which is VW’s designation for its base trims on its mainstream models, which would be the Jetta, Passat, Golf, Beetle and Tiguan.

      And of course, people celebrate the plaid cloth on the base GTI (but lament the fact that it can’t be found in higher trims).

      Interestingly, since the Passat was redesigned for 2016, even on the S model, there’s a lot that’s standard (like dual-zone climate control and alloy wheels), and you can option it up with a-la-carte options that either weren’t available pre-refresh, or would have been reserved for higher-trim models…things like the LED headlamps and the R-Line package. But Honda does it better with the Accord. The Accord already came with standard dual-zone climate control and alloy wheels, since the ninth-gen debuted in 2013. And you can get Honda Sensing on any trim of the Accord, which is the only upgrade a lot of people ever want.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      In line with Jack’s observations from Honda, I’ve been eyeing the Mazda6 for awhile. I like the Grand Touring, but don’t like that it only comes in automatic transmission. I looked at the Touring trim and broke out the differences in trim levels and option packages available to see what I’d really be missing if I bought a Touring model instead of a GT. Turns out that most of the stuff that I care about I can get in the Tech and the Moonroof packages on the Touring, and that I’d save a couple thousand dollars versus buying an un-optioned GT. So I go to start building my MT Touring and find out…nope…there are no option packages available for the Touring edition with the manual transmission. But you buy the Touring in AT you’ve got plenty of choices.

      WTF?

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        I have Mazda 6 Touring with 6MT. Options: Fog Lights. They were a dealer installed accessory. I would have bought a loaded GT if it came with a manual. Not sure what the logic is here. In Canada (which I am literally looking at right now out my office window) they sell the loaded car with a manual. Why wouldn’t the offer it here???

        Anyway, if you can live without a few creature comforts like LED running lamps, real leather vs fake, no HID headlamps, no moonroof, the Touring is really the sweet spot in terms of value anyway. Saved myself 6 or 7 grand. Don’t think I have ever cursed my car for being devoid of option list add ons.

      • 0 avatar
        DucRam

        Unfortunately, this lack of options for cars with manuals, is an issue with pretty much every manufacturer. For some reason, they believe that the only Americans that buy a manual are cheap/thrifty people. Therefore, they wouldn’t want a moon roof, tech package, actual nice rims, leather, heated seats, etc. As a driver of manual cars this irritates me to no end.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Must be an American-market thing. Just opened the German VW configurator too build a stick shift Golf. Configurator gives me the choice of 37 colors, most of them ACTUAL colors.

      (OK, only one of them doesn’t cost extra… but still)

      Vinyl is unavailable, and there are multiple leather and cloth/leather interior options.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Here we get a choice of 7 colors for the Golf. Two blues, one red, and four monochromes.
        You lose one of the blues if you want a GTI.

        With the SEL trim Golf you get your choice of black v-tex or black and gray v-tex. The SE lets you get tan.
        You lose the option for a manual with the SE and SEL and you have to get it in 4 doors.
        Oh, and if you want any Golf with a sunroof, you lose the option for a manual also (sunroof only available on the 4 door).

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          It’d be nice if you could get an upper-level GTI with the plaid cloth seats. Those are awesome.

        • 0 avatar
          KevinC

          The little woman’s ’15 Golf TDI is a bit of a unicorn. It’s an SE trim level (mid level option between S & SEL), is a 4-door, with sunroof & 6-speed manual, plus lighting package, a VERY desirable (necessary in my mind) option. For ’17, no non-GTI/R Golfs are available with the lighting package, and all pedestrian Golfs other than the ’15 TDI models are 5-speed manuals, where you can get any manual at all. All it needs is the better-for-’16 MIB2 infotainment system, and it would be a damn near perfect car, filthy tailpipe emissions be damned.

          It’s ludicrous that VW is so restrictive in our market. If they can deliver a zillion colors and options in the rest of the world, why can’t we order a car any way we want it here? Mini does quite well with this concept. Lazy-ass VW didn’t even change any of the available (few) colors on the Golf R for ’17. They could have at least shaken up the color offerings a bit, or added something new. Nope.

    • 0 avatar
      trecoolx

      My nitpick with the V-Tex upholstery on all but Launch Edition 2015 Golf — along with smallish touchscreen and no USB — was fixed with the cloth interior for base models. Not a fan of the pattern or bolstering, but I prefer cloth to vinyl. (But I’d love the SEL V-Tex seats. Contradictions!)

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        Is the V-Tex any different in the various models? I’ll grant you that it wears well and is fairly comfortable for 9 months out of the year, but damn those hot summer days. Not only does it not breathe well but it really starts to feel quite rubbery when it’s warm.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Generally, SEL variants have nicer seats in general, but the leatherette itself is the same. Such is the case for my Golf SportWagen SEL

          SE seats: http://image.automotive.com/f/2016_volkswagen_e-golf/154533803/front-seats.jpg

          SEL seats: http://st.motortrend.com/uploads/sites/5/2014/06/2015-Volkswagen-Golf-interior-driver-side.jpg

          On the Passat, I believe the SEL has actual leather, or a leather / faux-suede combo.

          And I don’t think the leatherette you’d get on a Jetta SE is any different than what you’d get on a Touareg costing twice as much. But the Touareg may have more-sculpted seats or vented leatherette, making it look more upscale than said Jetta.

          • 0 avatar
            trecoolx

            I didn’t know that the grade of V-Tex is the same. The SEL’s bolstering and ribbing makes it look like a higher grade.

  • avatar
    ajla

    My favorite “base” models:

    1. Impala LS with 3.6L. It is kind of dull, but real-world pricing this is probably the cheapest 300hp sedan in existence.

    2. Silverado WT. It a truck but it also has a pushrod V6 which sets my nostalgia meter to “Christmas at Grandma’s house” levels.

    3. 4Runner SR5 (with 4×4). It costs $35k new and you’ll be able to sell it for $30K in 6 years.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I find all the Mazda base trims to be reasonably equipped.

    It is their mid grade (touring) trim that always has odd omissions as it it is usually just the sport trim with the popular package and maybe one or two other options with little cost savings. For example you can’t get XM radio on your Mazda3 until it is $23,000.

    • 0 avatar
      Der_Kommissar

      But the Bose upgrade stereo you get with that is fantastic and far better than anything being offered within thousands of the price. Of course, the car needs it to mask the road noise and vibration that makes it possible to offer all that equipment at that price.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Tilt-telescoping wheels have been on mainstream cars for some time.

    However, *power/auto* tilt-telescoping wheels (the first modern iteration of which was in the original Lexus LS) have up to recently been the domain of luxury vehicles. They’d made their way into most European luxury brands by the late nineties. And now, we are seeing them in more-plebeian cars. You can get them in a lot of full-sized sedans, including the Impala, Taurus, 300, Charger, Challenger, (2017) LaCrosse, Maxima…as well as those cars’ SUV counterparts. Possibly the Cadenza and Azera as well. Also, as trucks and BOF SUVs get ever-more luxurious (as they should, for luxury-car base prices), they have them as well. The F-150 has it available, and most Tahoe and Yukon units will be optioned with one. The Sequoia and Tundra have offered one for some time, and I’m sure Nissan will just go ahead and throw one in on the new Patrol-based Armada.

    It won’t be long before Hyundai or somebody puts one in a mid-sized family sedan, and then it’ll trickle down from there…because why not?

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Why is adding more electric motors to burn out with relays to go afoul and lowest-bidder gearing to snap or abrade always seen as an improvement?

      Don’t bother getting up; I’ll get that… Leases.

      What a world of crap used cars are becoming.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The idea of adding electric motors is sound, since they’re pretty reliable. You’re right about the cheap plastic gearing and relays.

        A lot of the power tilt-telescoping wheels, of course, are tied to memory, and move to an exit position when you turn the car off, then move back into place when you turn the car back on. Lexus and some other automakers, by now, may have a setting where you can turn the auto-recall function off and just have the wheel remain in position…but they haven’t historically had that function. Some automakers, like GM and FCA, have the power-adjustable steering wheels, but they aren’t set to auto-recall by default. Jaguar, since the nineties, had been using an adjustment switch that had an OFF position, which presumably would cause the wheel to just stay where it was instead of moving automatically.

        http://ebayapi.loc8apartltd.netdna-cdn.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/CIwAAOSwqBJXV6cU/$_1.JPG

        All this is to say that if it’s really a concern, you could probably turn the auto-recall function off, or just pull the fuse that leads to the motor. If you turned the feature off and only adjusted it as needed, it’d probably last the life of the car.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          My wife’s Santa Fe has a “egress mode” on the front seat which brings it all the way down and back when you stop the car. I made sure we turned that off as soon as I figured out you could. There’s no reason to move the seat twice in every trip the car makes, and just asking for premature breakage of the motor/gears.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Yep. A lot of the cars will have an “exit mode” tied to the memory settings, and if there’s a power-adjustable steering column, it will operate under that system.

            The nice thing about GM cars is that they usually have a proper “easy-exit” button, so that you can turn off the auto-recall and only use the exit function when you need to.

            Last button on the pane here: http://gmauthority.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Memory-seat-buttons-on-Cadillac-ATS.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          I admit it, I want this. I had memory seats in my old Acura and loved it. When my wife drove the car it would recognize the key fob that unlocked the doors and move the seats and mirrors to where she (at 5’2″) wanted it. Then I’d get back in it to go to work and it would move everything back to where I (at 6’1″) want it. I never realized how much I would miss something like that until I tried getting into a car that she has driven and couldn’t even get behind the steering wheel without first moving the seats.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @notwhoithink, I’ve had the same thoughts about getting a car with memory settings.

            I’m 5’10 and my wife is 5’3″. I loathe having her borrow my vehicle because of the adjustments necessary after she’s used it.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Yes, memory settings are great. My 2011 X5 had them.

            Of course, one day when I started up that car, the steering column moved down and out, and then proceeded to drop all the way down until it was practically resting on my thighs. That was the one time (of the 23 times it broke in the four months I had it) that I actually did call the dealership and have them flatbed it to their shop…because it was undriveable in that position.

            But buy something more reliable than a BMW and you shouldn’t have that issue. I’m not sure about the others, but the MDX and RLX both have power-adjustable steering columns that are linked to the memory settings.

        • 0 avatar
          Carfan94

          @ Kyree

          http://ebayapi.loc8apartltd.netdna-cdn.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/CIwAAOSwqBJXV6cU/$_1.JPG

          I hate that JLR still uses that ugly knob, It looks like it was designed by Ford in the late 90’s, and it probably was. Other automakers have much nicer looking steering column switches.

          “That was the one time (of the 23 times it broke in the four months I had it) that I actually did call the dealership and have them flatbed it to their shop…because it was undriveable in that position.” I actually laughed out loud when I read that. I can still drive my car with the steering wheel in the all the way down position (although it would be slightly awkward), But I know that German cars seem to be more extreme when It comes to the range of adjustability for the seats and steering column.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            The Multi-Contour seats in my X5 were great. But it did scare a few guests when the side bolsters would move in and squeeze their thighs. My mother said she felt…violated, haha.

            As for the BMW steering column, it’s no more adjustable than any other car with a power tilt-telescoping unit. But it wasn’t standard on the E70 X5. They’re rare, but base units had a manually-adjustable steering column.

            And the ugly knob is pretty much being phased out. All of the newly-redesigned vehicles have nicer adjustment switches that are moved to the right side of the column. You can kind of see it in the below photo. The only one that still has the legacy switch is the current XJ.

            http://cdn.pinthiscars.com/images/land-rover-range-rover-2014-interior-wallpaper-8.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Hahaha. You want to keep your “luxury” car more than 5 years? That is nearly 3rd owner territory.

        Initial buyer has the 36 month lease. CPO keeps it from years 3-6, then it is off to the poors for the rest of its existence.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Imagine doing the learning curve on all those features in a car full of 5 or 6 years of human detritus and Honey Mustard finger mung coating the touchscreen & buttons.

          Even if the seller tries to “detail” it you’re going to see all that ook smeared into bezel corners & edges as well the sides of anything popping out from a face plate.

          I barf like cat at used cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        The Steering column on my Lexus tilts all the way up, and telescopes all the the forward whenever the key is taken out of the ignition. When the key is inserted back into the ignition, it returns to the position I have it set. After 10 years, and 150,100 miles this feature still works perfect. It does make getting in, and out easier (I have long legs).The motors are pretty quiet too. Although not as quiet as the one in the LS, That one is almost silent.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Yeah, Lexus were the ones that pioneered that, on the original LS. I think Ford may have had a mechanical system that did the same, but Lexus was the one who had Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover and everyone else rushing to copy it.

          • 0 avatar
            Carfan94

            http://cdn.pinthiscars.com/images/land-rover-range-rover-2014-interior-wallpaper-8.jpg

            I would like to see that knob up close. It looks suspiciously close to the old knob they were using.

            This is from a 2017 F type (MSRP 116,608!)

            http://cdn-ds.com/stock/DS5318-SAJWJ6HLXHMK40364-2017-Jaguar-F-Type/sz_38648/w_640/h_480/zc_4:3/SAJWJ6HLXHMK40364-22c.jpg

            Looks like a modified version of the old knob. Still looks better though.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Sure enough. Of all things, it would actually be acceptable to bury memory settings in a menu; one wonders why they have to make a dedicated “off” switch for the tilt wheel, instead of just using a conventional one and making you turn the feature off via the infotainment screen.

    • 0 avatar
      linard76

      Our 1987 Mercedes 420SEL had a memory-linked power telescoping steering column which I thought was the coolest thing when we first got the car. The subsequent W140 S-classes had the memory linked power interior rear view mirrors which were really neat too.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Biggest eye opener for me was the fairly plebian-spec (as it turns out) Passat SE that I was given as a rental was loaded to the gills, with standard moonroof, adaptive cruise control, and heated seats as the stand out features. Now I understand that it isn’t the base ‘S’ I’m talking about here, but holy cow for the $17-18k that I’m seeing these listed for (NEW!), why even consider a compact car?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      gtemnykh,
      I think you need to scratch that itch. I know you’re wary of the leaking seal that seems to be popping up on the 1.8t, but you seem like an imminently handy person and if you know it is coming up you can prepare for it. And then give us TTAC readers a writeup of your experience. If you really like the car, are capable of repairing it, and it’s being offered at eye-popping discount, why not? Give us a nice, thorough comparison with the Camry SE you’re familiar with.

      DO IT!

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Welcome to the McVW. Large cars with lots of features for ‘Mericans.

        Now if only so many “American” car companies weren’t afraid to try building American style cars.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Oh believe me I am mightily tempted. It’d hardly be a cross to bear financially, but I’ve got that frugal bone in my body where for absolutely no necessary reason I insisted on downgrading out of my perfectly nice ’12 Civic into my current beater Maxima. What is most likely to happen is that we’ll upgrade my fiance to some flavor of compact CUV or Outback and I’ll sell the Maxima for a minor profit (hopefully) and inherit her Camry.

        I loved having that Passat as a rental though. It was the perfect fit for having a nice dinner at a nice steak house in downtown K.C. and then settling in for an evening cruise back to the hotel. Looks sharp inside and out, and imparts positive emotions wholly missing from driving the Camry LOL. I’m a Toyota/Honda guy through to the core, but the Passat experience was an eye opener. Hardcore euro guys will laugh, as I was enamored by the supposed bland-mobile American spec car. But I think it retains a lot of characteristics that define German cars: rock solid highway manners and comfort, ergonomic and aesthetically handsome interior design, and a certain ‘serious’ and ‘staid’ exterior styling.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          Exactly, I think that the current Passat should be a winner, especially at the current prices. Though I must admit I’ve never seen an SE advertised at $18k. An S, absolutely, but the cheapest SEs I’ve seen are in the low 20’s (even at current fire sale pricing).

          Too bad getting burnt by my TDI has turned me off the brand.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            The ones I saw a few weeks ago are gone, the cheapest one I see now is $19k:

            http://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/665364979/overview/

            The rear main seal issue is pretty darn prevalent, and sounds like it’s linked to the PCV system. What’s sad is that these are known issues dating back to the 1st gen 1.8T motors. Still not fixed after damn near two decades later!

            forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?7062280-Any-issues-or-flaws-with-the-1-8T-yet/page5

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          I’m on board with you there. VW dealer discounting right now is crazy-low just to move metal, and it makes it hard not to consider it.

          I’d say that the biggest competitor that the Passat has though is the Jetta. Jettas are essentially a quarter to a third size larger than most compacts, particularly in the rear seat and trunk areas where it counts, and run $3-4k cheaper than the Passat for similar feature content. I think the only problem for many people is getting around the idea that they’re driving a “sorority girl’s car.” That and the fact that most people at this point have had or know someone who had a bad VW experience in the last 10 years or so.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            duffman I actually had a rental Jetta SE not one week after the Passat, there are certainly similarities but the Jetta interior feels massively cheaper. The Passat to me felt like a $35k+ lower tier luxury sedan, the Jetta like a really solid-driving $18k compact.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            gtemnykh,

            Trim for trim they’re not identical content-wise, but price-wise you can get an idea of where things fall.

            A Passat SE has leatherette, infotainment, heated seats, and moonroof. For the same in the Jetta, you need a SE with connectivity, or a Jetta Sport if you don’t mind losing the moonroof in favor of the 1.8T and sport suspension.

            The price difference

            I get what you’re saying about the Passat driving more substantially, but I never found the Jetta to feel cheap. At least in my area, there is a $4-5k price delta between a Jetta SE/connectivity or Sport (you can get them around $17.5k via truecar) compared to a Passat SE. In total numbers that’s not huge, but when you’re talking about percentages, it’s almost 25% more money for the up-size, and I never felt like a Passat was 25% more car the way you can option a Jetta now.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I think the biggest issue was the actual feel of the interior, perhaps the Jetta I had was actually an S? Really scratchy cloth seats with bad stitching, the touch points and plastic around the dash and door cards was a big step down from the Passat. Small things perhaps, but to me, when added to the larger size (read: interior width) and better manners of the Passat, the difference felt vast. Not something that can easily be captured by looking at dimensions and spec sheets IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            I test drove a Jetta Sport a couple months ago (wife vetoed the purchase, go figure). The leatherette was at least as nice as the leather in my old Acura RSX-S. The touch points on the door cards, center console, and steering wheel/shifter were superior to my Mazda, and I do have the trim that includes the leather wheel/shift knob.

            I’m thinking you were probably in an S, because the SE is supposed to have an upgraded cloth at a minimum. FWIW the non-base cloth in the Mazda3 is awesome, same material that’s on my Corbeau racing buckets in my S2000.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I sat in my boss’s 2015 Jetta TDI SEL. It’s still pretty cramped compared to a Passat.

        • 0 avatar
          vvk

          You seem to keep buying Japanese, so maybe that is why you liked the rental Passat. I leased a 2012 Passat for three years. Nothing broke, I got up to 38 mpg on long trips, it was super roomy and very good on long trips (we drive across the US like it is nothing.) The interior was well made, the seats were comfy and I liked all the primary controls: clutch, brakes, gearshift, steering.

          Overall, it was probably the WORST car I have ever owned.

          It drove like shit. I hated driving it locally. I cringed every time I drove it out of my driveway. The suspension was terrible for anything other than steady highway driving at 75+. It was great for that kind of long distance driving: quiet, composed and very economical in 5th gear — easily returning 36+ mpg on long trips. But I loathed driving it around town. Never again.

          I have been driving mostly Euro cars in the last 20 years — SAAB, Volvo, Mercedes, BMW — all have been truly superb. The Passat was an extreme disappointment.

          • 0 avatar
            SteveMar

            Bought a 2016 Jetta SEL largely because of the interior upgrades, moonroof, lighting package (A BIG improvement) and standard navigation. Also had nice trim on the dashboard and the upgraded 1.8 engine — which, while not THAT much more powerful than the base 1.4 – still gives a bit more overall oomph. Walked out for a little over $22K – list was over $26K, so discounts to be had at VW.

            We compared the Passat and, frankly, while nice enough, it felt a little too “grandpa car” like. We have two teen sons and needed a big enough back seat. The Jetta has great space for the size with better maneuverability and pick up than the Passat with the same engine. Time will tell if we made the right decision, but so far (after 2600 miles), so good.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Ugh. We’ve reached the point where even base-model cars are over-equipped for my tastes.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’s been far more than “a few” years since vinyl seats and AM radios were standard. Even a $12K Versa will give you Bluetooth and stability control now.

    Most base trims in C-segment and higher vehicles are well-equipped, but that equipment makes the price far from basic. Add that $1000 package to the Mazda to ditch the hubcaps and you are staring at a $20,000 MSRP. Add the automatic like most consumers and shell out another grand. It’s similar for most other compacts, so you’d do well to shop on incentives. The base Ford Focus is similarly equipped to the Mazda and their website currently shows almost $3000 in incentives, bringing the price down to $16.5K. That’s starting to look like a good deal.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Ahem, make that $7,500 Versas!

      http://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/668118762/overview/

      Gosh I feel like I’m shilling for these things (and aforementioned Passats). What can I say I like a good deal!

      But your point is merely reinforced. Adjusted for inflation, it’s insane how good of a deal you get these days in terms of feature content. Compare said Versa to a true econobox Sentra from the late 80s, heck just on safety features alone.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        OK, but what are the incentives here? Are the ones everyone gets, or is it the stuff for college grads, people who got shot in Iraq on a Tuesday, members of the Shriners, etc?

        Seems like a lowball number to me.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Nothing mentioned in the fine print, and judging by other dealers offering similar if only slightly higher prices, I think this is legit.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Interesting. Too bad the car ain’t legit…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Hey for that price, beggars can’t be choosers. I test drove one about a year ago out of curiosity. Felt like my friend’s old Echo. Cheap to the core, but with a surprisingly compliant ride, and an inherent feeling of durability in a 3rd world taxi sort of way. I liked it. Shifter was so-so and the motor is what it is (a sub 110hp 1.6L). Midsize-class trunk (15 cu ft), and massive rear legroom, but a narrow cabin.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        @gtemnykh
        Hey, that’s right up the street from me. Note that there’s a 7.6% processing fee.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Hmm, is that in the ad somewhere or a standard VA thing? That’s a bummer.

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            They add a $587 fee (not required by law) on all cars. There’s no limit to the processing fees here in VA.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            @ Land Ark

            Not sure where you live in VA, but try crossing the border to the People’s Republic of MD. $300 state-limited fee if you’re registering in MD, but the cross-border fees for VA drivers usually aren’t too much worse compared to the dealerships on the south side of the river.

          • 0 avatar
            Carfan94

            “massive rear legroom”
            I remember when Nissan was bragging about how the Versa had “More rear seat legroom than the Mercedes E Class”* They forgot to mention that the headroom is about on par with the CLA Class. Perfect If your rear seat passengers have long legs, but don’t mind having their spines compressed. I’m assuming the hatchback is better in this regard.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Carfan, I don’t recall the Versa being that much of an offender in terms of head room. In fact, it’s very dopy and tall profile probably has very good headroom!

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        @ gtemnykh

        7,500. Dang that’s low! Not bad for a new car with a warranty. Too bad the Versa sedan is absolutely hideous! Anybody know how low the hatchback version can be had? Lowest I can find in my area is 14,000. https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/664942194/overview/

        • 0 avatar
          Carfan94

          @ gtemnykh

          If you look at the side profile of the Versa you will notice the roof line slopes down towards the rear impacting headroom. I sat in the rear of the Versa, and found the headroom awful.

          https://www.netcarshow.com/nissan/2015-versa_sedan/1280×960/wallpaper_04.htm

          Unlike the E class they where comparing it to which has a much more formal roof line. Preserving decent headroom AND legroom

          https://www.netcarshow.com/mercedes-benz/2010-e-class/1280×960/wallpaper_3b.htm

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ Carfan94 – Which Versa, a “C11 Tiida” Versa or an “E12 Note” Versa? A coworker has the older Tiida hatchback, and the rear seat head and legroom both are fantastic. I sat in the newer Note hatchback at an auto show, and it is a downgrade from its predecessor.

      Edit: I see you posted while I had my comment window open. The Versas that people rave about are the older ones. They really are great and blow away most cars on the market, regardless of class, in terms of rear seat head room and legroom.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    In Canada the “sport” model refers to the hatchback, which doesn’t offer a base trim level.

    Mazda’s big thing is offering option packages on their base models that take them over the price of the next trim level. Of course, these are what the dealer has available, the monthly paying being “only a cup of coffee a week” more.

    I had a base Mazda 3 (G level trim in Canada) as a loaner. I remember noticing the things it lacked.
    – Push button start but no cruise control.
    – A/C actually is option on these. It was the only option on our loaner besides the automatic.
    – No tachometer (not that it matters much with an automatic, but the next trim level up has one).
    – A little tiny gas gauge that was really hard to see other than if it was full or empty.

    I would never buy one of those for the above reasons, but given how it drove, I would consider a higher trim model.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      What? No. I am not buying any car that doesn’t have cruise control.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Only car I ever used the cruise on was the S2000. The only place I could find to rest my right foot was… on the gas pedal, so CC ended up being pretty pointless. It was also kinda annoying having to regularly vary speeds by 5-10 mph in traffic with the +/- controls.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Well, generally, you wouldn’t use cruise control in traffic. It’s more for long stretches of road where there’s minimal traffic and no intersections for you to stop on. I take a lot of road trips that involve cruising on the interstate or even just my ride to work on the toll road that’s scarcely populated, but I don’t bother with it in traffic on the city streets.

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        In that case, can I interest you in the $8000 tech package?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I think I’d rather have the Toyo-Scion iMatrix. It will be equal or better in reliability, and have better resale value, and more utility a la the hatchback while you own it. This is important since the cheap car buyer usually has kids, and also only one car for all purposes.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    3 rental I had was a hair up from base…. seemed to be a base car with an upgraded infotainment/convenience package. Really nice.

    One thing that pissed me off though was it had the capacity for navigation but wouldn’t allow it. OEMs need to stop wasting money on onboard GPS modules and tether to the GPS modules of smartphones anyone buying a brand new car is almost certain to have.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    Base models do what they do well, but the biggest problem with them IMO is touch points. I’m generally more than willing to pay extra to step up to a leather wheel and shifter since my hands touch those frequently That said, there is almost a $4k price jump on the Mazda 3 to the next trim that has those and alloy wheels, which is a bit too much for my tastes, though it includes driver aids too.

    As for my opinion on where most base compact sedan models stand:

    Civic – Bluetooth, USB, T/T steering wheel, backup camera. Gets it wrong with no split folding rear seat and a too-high starting price that is generally non-negotiable because Honda.

    Corolla – Bluetooth, USB, T/T steering wheel, split folding rear seat. No backup camera, but not necessary because the corolla still has decent sight lines. Overall opinion – gets it right.

    Jetta – Bluetooth, USB, T/T steering wheel, split folding rear seat. No backup camera, but not necessary because the Jetta still has decent sight lines. Best base interior in class. Overall opinion – gets it right. Devil’s Advocate: VW scandals and slow movin metal mean you can get a significantly higher trim lower priced than most other base models.

    Elantra – USB, T/T steering wheel, split folding rear seat. No bluetooth, no cruise control(!), 15″(!) steelies. Overall opinion – gets it wrong. Devils advocate: $800 extra gets you 16″ alloys, heated mirrors, bluetooth, CarPlay/AA, and cruise. $1300 after that gets you leather touch points, and heated seats, making it probably the cheapest you find those options. Hyundai discounting means you’ll still under base pricing for a Civic or 3.

    Focus – Bluetooth, USB, Camera, T/T wheel, folding rear seats, blind spot monitoring. Hits all the bases and then some. Overall – best in show. Full stop.

    Cruze – Camera, USB, Bluetooth. Can’t tell about T/T wheel or folding rear seat because Chevy’s site is garbage. Verdict: Wild card.

    Forte – USB, Bluetooth, T/T wheel, folding rear seat. No Camera. Verdict: Probably a penalty box based on lowest starting price in segment, but it hits all the notes.

    Sentra: USB, Bluetooth, T/T wheel, folding rear seat, Auto headlights. No camera. Verdict: Probably a penalty box based on lowest starting price in segment, but it hits all the notes.

    I guess the end result of this exercise is that at the most basic level, even the cheapest “Just a car for A to B driving” has a significant level of creature comforts, and way more feature content than would be expected even in many luxury cars a decade ago outside of touch points.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think some of these cars are sort of the “next level” past a base Mazda 3 or a Corolla. The Focus or the Cruze for example.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Everything here is a base model C-segment and they mostly start within $1k of each other. Your Focus and Cruze actually start cheaper than the 3 FWIW.

        I literally pulled up the spec sheets for the lowest trim for each model and looked at the standard equipment, specifically for the options mentioned in the article. I decided to add the folding rear seat because a base model buyer is generally looking for a do-everything car, and the ability to haul a bigger item in a pinch is important for them.

        I also wanted to note the options on the Hyundai, because while yeah – you don’t get Bluetooth standard, your MSRP for higher level feature content is significantly lower as most models require you to step up to a trim in the $23k range to get those better touch points for example.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Forte did just get a facelift, and while I used to think the front fascia was hideous, I quite like the new one.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The SX hatch is downright attractive, and the rumored GT trim they are planning across the brand makes it downright compelling and worthy of investigation IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The Forte is darn nice. Drove one with the leather and nav packages, and it’s like an entry level Lexus, and not just because of the equipment level – it drives quite competently. Not terribly sporty, but it’s hard to argue with $25,000 for all that car, assuming that’s what you’re into.

  • avatar
    darex

    I closely considered the 3, and even test-drove it three times, but the fact is, the overall cheapness in all but the Grand Touring (there are way too many sub-GT trim levels) bummed me out, and I felt manipulated into getting the GT in order to eliminate certain cheapness, and/or to get the options I wanted. Ultimately, the lack of a manual transmission in the 2.5L engine (at that time) was the deal-breaker, but I was extremely put-off by Mazda’s miserly packaging schemes. As such, this car is a BAD example to have chosen for this article. It’s one of the worst offenders!

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    As someone who buys new and keeps for a long time, base models really do nothing for me. If I’m keeping a vehicle 10 years or more, I don’t want to be constantly regretting not getting this or that feature. I’d rather spend a little more money and get something that’s a nice place to spend a decade in.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I have that feeling in my current DD and have regretted it since it became my car when we upgraded my wife to a CUV. We didn’t want to spring for the extra $1500 to move from a Mazda 3 Sport hatch to the GT (sport was the mid-trim at this point). I don’t bemoan the lack of leather, but I hate not having heated seats for 4 months of the year. I’m still holding on to it until my wife’s current vehicle is paid off, but I’m generally hating driving to work December through March as a result.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Exactly! It’s cheaper to buy what you want the first time around.

      Honestly, this is how I ended up trading in a one-year-old Jetta SportWagen for the new Golf SportWagen. The Jetta SportWagen was not even available with a lot of the features I wanted, things like auto headlights, foglamps, HIDs, full powered seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, etc. But I did know the Golf SportWagen would have all that stuff, and I should have just waited.

  • avatar

    How long before Mazda goes the way of Suzuki and Mitsubishi here in the States? Honestly, I see tons of new 3s, 6s, CX5s, and CX9s here in Austin. But we’re also one of the more educated cities int he nation and MAYBE that has something with the average consumer’s ability to research their purchase? Or maybe it’s the stereotypical Austin perspective of consciously not doing what everyone else does, ie buy a CRV? That said, I can’t see them surviving more than 3 more generations if the CX9 sales tank. Seems everything is riding on the success of that model.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You have to understand, though, that Mazda isn’t chasing volume all that much, and it operates on a pretty lean scale. All in all, the company does well for itself. It doesn’t achieve anywhere near Honda or Ford volumes, but it doesn’t attempt to, either.

      Come to think of it, the same is true for Mitsubishi, especially because Mitsubishi Motors does especially well in other regions of the world, like Europe and Asia. And the Mitsubishi conglomerate as a whole is huge. The company really doesn’t *need* to be in the U.S. market.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Fun tangent:

        I remember reading an interview with Dick Yuengling in an airplane seat-pocket magazine. He was quoted saying something along the lines of “We’re never going to have the volume of the Big 3, but frankly we don’t want it or need it. We’re happy serving the segment of the market that we do now.”

        The thing with Mazda, like Yuengling, is they do what they do well. They just have to sell enough of it to be profitable. If you recall, for most of the first 2 years of production they could barely make enough CX-5s to meet demand. Based on the number of 3rd generation 3s I see on the road around me (DC Beltway), I’d guess they’re pretty close on that one too.

        If they’re moving enough product at favorable prices, market share will be what it is, but it really doesn’t matter all that much.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Suzuki and Mitsubishi flopped because they stopped trying. Mazda is still turning out and developing new and competitive products.

          Their biggest issues are lack of awareness and dealer network. A lot of people just don’t know they’re out there. Likewise, the dealerships aren’t as ubiquitous as other brands and tend to be on the small side, limiting choices. Really want a black car with XYZ options? Sorry, we don’t have any in stock, but that big Toyota/Honda/Chevy/Ford dealer does.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    We have a 2013 Nissan Rogue that is a great example of a cheap base model. Cheap crappy plastic and cloth everywhere. Steel wheels with hubcaps. We also have a 2014 Avenger that is a base model with two options. The touring suspension and Pentastar motor. It has soft touch plastic and soft fake leather armrests, tilt and telescoping wheel. BT connectivity and voice commands for the sound system that actually sounds decent. It also has alloy rims and came in Blue Streak Pearlcoat.

    There is a night and day difference in the two and oddly enough the Mopar is an order of magnitude better than the Nissan.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Based on all the fab reviews, I drove a base Maz 3 two years ago and was very unimpressed. Reminded me of a last gen Kia Elantra. Made the Cruze feel like a Lexus.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    Honda has got to be one of the worst offenders for stripper base vehicles… Lack of colour choice, ugly as sin steel wheels (Steel wheels CAN be attractive, but in the case of the CRV, a set of wheel caps would have been an improvement), black mirrors and door handles…. When I was pricing out a 2015 CRV, I was appalled that you needed to go almost up to the Touring model to get a modest array of colour choices. In base form you get Black, White and I think Silver.

    • 0 avatar
      Trucky McTruckface

      The most hateful thing Honda does on base models is make you pay extra for variable intermittent wipers. Even on the new Civic, this simple but highly convenient feature is still not on the volume LX model.

      I imagine it must cost Honda more in manufacturing inefficiencies to offer the cars this way.

      As for the steel wheels, the ones on the CR-V don’t bother me. They look better than atrocious alloys Honda has adopted. And I definitely prefer them to the dorky wheel covers that most competing CUVs have adopted for the poverty specials; Plastic hubcaps on a supposed “utility” vehicle is just embarrassing.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Accord comes well-equipped. Since 2013, alloys have been standard, as has dual-zone climate control. You also get a large color infotainment screen, a backup camera, cloth seating that doesn’t suck, and you can add Honda Sensing and backup sensors as standalone options to even something like an LX with a 6-speed manual. You also get all the same color options you’d have with a nicer trim…even on the manual.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The base 3 also gets a more normal-looking radio that looks a lot less like a cheap Android tablet glued to the top of the dash.

    I’m disappointed that Mazda doesn’t sell a 3 hatchback this basic. If they did, I’d probably be driving one right now.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I would argue that the base Impreza is a far better choice.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      You might be on to something, for a buyer who lives in a place where AWD is a bonus. Mazda is slightly ahead on features, power, and “sportiness”, but if AWD is important, you’re 100% correct on the Impreza.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yeah, I don’t need AWD, and the Impreza’s interior feels cheap and disorganized.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          “…interior feels cheap and disorganized.”

          That’s how you know it’s a Subaru! I’ve no idea what blind person they hired to place their controls between 1995 and today, but they need to fire said person. On the quality front, I’ve only been in one that felt nice. An 02 Outback LL Bean. Everything in there felt quite solid.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    The most confounding thing about the goodness of the base Mazda3 is that it’s so good that as you want more nicities, the car’s value proposition starts taking a massive nosedive. When I was shopping one, the bits I wanted took me all the way up to a Grand Touring at $27k or whatever it was. I couldn’t see how there was $10k more value there with how nice the stripper is, so I spent that 27k on something else. Oh well.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Is Alex gone again?

  • avatar

    When I bought my original Honda Fit, I first priced the base LX model, since it was pretty well equipped (Bluetooth, backup camera, a/c, power windows and mirrors) but ended up getting an EX because of a great deal on a new ’15. The features that came with the EX (moonroof, better stereo, keyless entry / pushbutton start, and a few odds and ends) are nice to have but I could have lived easily without them.

    Putting aside features that come on base entry level cars that weren’t even offered on S Class M-B’s ten years ago, I’m impressed by how many things that were extra cost options when I was growing up are not even listed on the Monroney or the brochures. In the mid 1960s, a heater was optional. There was no such thing as a rear defroster (well, that worked), you paid extra for carpets

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yes, newer cars are so much better than the old ones, and you’re not sacrificing reliability just because you bought an inexpensive, small car (quite the opposite, almost).

      So what have you all decided to do about the Fit’s replacement?

  • avatar
    badreligion702

    I just bought a 2016 GTI S DSG. No options at all, but you wouldn’t know that by sitting in it. 18″ wheels, 6.5″ infotainment with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, a color display with tons of modes in the instrument panel, a lap timer and performance monitors that show things like turbo boost and g forces. Everything feels high quality.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      That’s because VW forces you into a GTI in order to get those things. Try getting those things on a non GTI, and you won’t be able to unless you get the autobahn version

  • avatar
    manu06

    We bought a ’14 Mazda 3 hatch touring in June of 2015. Paid 17.5 window sticker was 23k.
    The fact that it was the 2015 had been out awhile really helped. No problems after 35k miles
    and 40 mpg . Buying new is nice , buying the latest edition isn’t necessary.

  • avatar
    KM From AU

    And yet down here in the other hemisphere Mazda is #2 in sales for the year (see the article below). You can’t head out into the traffic without being accosted by CX3’s and CX5’s, two of the admin team in my office have bought 2’s (that I believe you don’t get unless its in the form of a Scion) this year and my Mazda3 (the old one) has just done 70K and will likley go to 150K before I get rid of it.

    Why – equipment and value and drievability in the main.

    Yes, we all complain about the road noise and servicing costs, but we buy them like hotcakes.

    http://www.carsguide.com.au/car-news/australia-sets-new-car-sales-record-in-june-42973

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Actually, every time I see one of these, I can’t help but think how cheaply put together and generally cut rate they look; ie, absolutely horrific fit and finish (look at those panel gaps!) For true value one’s best options at/near this price range might be a Jetta 1.4t or Verano 1SV

  • avatar
    Sid SB

    Base Mazda 3 Manual vs equivalent Civic 2.0l Manual and Golf Manuals would be a nice comparison to read about. We will see Si vs GTI vs ST comparisons everywhere, but what is the best bargain entry manual? Mazda 3i has a shot.

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