Monday, July 1, 2013

2012 Mazda 3 GX Review

Since I purchased a 2012 Mazda 3 GX a week ago I thought it would be fitting to write  small sampler review on how the car drives during that small time frame. Keep in mind, I have no idea how reliable long-term this car will be. Only time will tell since I plan on driving this car into the ground - meaning, owning it for at least 8 years or so.

I moved from a big Nissan Altima (2005) which offered alot of creature comforts but not alot of reliability. I ended up selling it cheap locally and haven't missed it since.

This car has a 2.0 L engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The engine isn't very quick, as it puts out only 148 BHP and 130 ft-pounds of torque to the front wheels. But what the car lacks in raw performance it makes up with handling and driving characteristics.

The steering is nimble, not overly boosted like a Toyota Corolla, but very tight. The brakes (4-wheel disc, ABS, EBDF, brake assist) are top notch. The car rides on 16 inch steel wheels and ground clearance is adequate, but be warned, when driving in Calgary you have to take it EASY going up or down steep inclines. Or you'll nail the front chin bumper. I have to enter my driveway on a diagonal, otherwise my front chin will nail the incline easily.

The controls in the car are very intelligently laid out. The seats are very comfortable and almost resemble the ones from my 2007 Subaru Impreza. The car has cold air conditioning, a decent stereo (although it sounds muddled at times), and power windows, door locks, remote keyless entry, power release trunk, folding back seats, and a unique blue-lit interior.

When you start the engine it does a two-chime sound. You can disable it if you want, but I like it because it adds a bit of character.

While driving around town you'll immediately notice the road noise. Mazda didn't put much noise insulation in the cabin. I don't mind it, actually I get a good sense of what the road is like when I can hear the tires rolling. Drivers of luxury cars will find this annoying.

The trick to driving this car is to use the transmission in manu-matic mode when descending or going up hills. Because the transmission is lazy, it will try to shift to 4th as quickly as possible. To prevent shift lag and power delay, simply move the transmission shifter to manually and down shift immediately to 3rd or 2nd gear. I actually prefer this type of driving and used the same method on my old Altima.

Using this driving method the Mazda is very quick. Cross-comparison to the Toyota Corolla steering, which I found to be over-boosted and very electrified, the Mazda has very sharp, precise steering feedback. The air conditioning blows very cold and when you start the car you get a welcome message and chime.

Thankfully, if either you or the driver is stupid enough to drive without seatbelts, the car will warn you with a soft beep. There are no automatic headlights on my car. This is something I'll likely hack in once I find the proper circuitry.

One strangely annoying fact is since I gotten the bright red car, more people seem to be tail gating me. When I drove the Altima, I never really had that much tail gating going on. Now it's every day.

Annoyingly, the engine is covered in a useless plastic shroud. So is the battery. And instead of using a regular anti-freeze cap, there is a high pressure hose leading to a bulbous over-flow tank which has the coolant reservoir.

The blue interior lighting is nice on the eyes. I prefer it to the Altima's red/orange display, which made viewing in the daylight difficult. The car also auto-locks the passenger doors after you go faster than 30 km/hour. I found it amusing.

Since I've only had the car a few weeks, I really can't know how long term it holds up. Checking out the reviews on, there seems to be quite a bit of happy mazda 3 owners out there.

Zoom Zoom!

1 comment:

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