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  1. #1
    dirt roadie
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    Mazda 3?

    Anybody out there with a Mazda 3 (specifically the hatchback)?

    I'm seriously considering one; I've driven a couple and they seem like really nice, smooth and solid cars. A million times nicer than my crappy Cavalier Also for the level of equipment you get the price is very reasonable.

    How are they for reliability, fuel economy, etc...? Also how is the build quality, ie. does the interior stand up to a mountain biker's abuse, and does the paint and bodywork fare well over a harsh winter?

    Thanks in advance for any info you can spare

  2. #2
    Tulsa
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    I really like mine so far (3 months), my karate monkey fits in back with the front wheel off. I was looking at Yakima roof racks today but still have some research to do there. Fit and finish is very good, feels solid and sturdy on the road, peppy. The fake carbon fiber on the dash is hokey but that's my only criticism, I may upgrade speakers later.

    I'm not getting the gas milage they advertise in town but it does well on the highway, i've still got my previous car, a Civic EX i bought new in 96, the mazda3 hatch is a lot more fun, and i've moved on to an automatic which is sound. My first choice was a Subaru Outback but i cheaped out and with gas going up it was probably a good move

  3. #3
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Have driven a mazda 3 since late 2004.

    They are fun little cars, zippy too. While you won't keep up with a STI they are still great little cars.

    Expect fuel economy to be a little less than advertised. Think the main reason for this is that it is fun to put your foot down a bit with this car. I know that if the wife drives we get better milage for some odd reason.

    Have not had any reliability issues with the car yet to speak of. The Mazda oil filter is annoying in that it you just can't go pick one up from walmart and replace it. (At least in 04,05, and 06 this was true. Not sure if an aftermarket version is available now.) Paint seems to be holding up just fine and it has seen several harsh MN winters and NM sun. Only complaint is that someone keyed the car when new prior to us buying it and the titanium color does not match exactly due to the angle the metallic was shot. That is not Mazda fault.

    Fit and finish has been flawless so far. Everything still works and nothing rattles. Lines match up both interior and exterior. The interior holds up to a bike just fine for most trips. My pedal lands right on a soft spot apparently. After a trip from MN to CO and back noticed a little hole starting to form. Then again this was the weight of the bike and gear placed on top due to the nature of the trip. Throw a scrap blanket down under the bike protecting the interior and collecting all the dirt that will fall off the bike and you will be fine. Makes clean up easier as well. Now both the Jeep and Mazda 3 can share the same hitch rack making it more usable. Even considered replacing the Jeep with a second Mazda 3, but i own both cars. Why would I want another car payment?

    I have been very pleased after putting over 30k on the car and would buy one again. Best addition I made was the hitch rack.

  4. #4
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    I have an 07, with 13k on it. So far, still very happy with purchase. I got a T2 hitch rack install on it. I didn't want a roof rack, since I've had that issue come up with a garage in the past...don't want to elaborate any further. Anyways, mileage is around 24 for me, mixed 50/50. The best tank I got was early on, in the first couple months, got 27 with two bikes, and car loaded to the rim. I was cruising between 65-70 the whole way. I drive pretty conservatively, so that helps.

    I find the paint to be a bit cheap, and have a few good chips in the car. From what I read, that problem is across most manufacturers nowadays, with EPA standards and all, paint is getting weaker and weaker. I can live with that.

    The drive is great for an econo car.

    I always do my own oil changes, and it's a royal PITA. Special cartridge type filter, which you can convert into a regular spin-on but it voids warranty. I might change over after a few years.

    Overall, love the versatility of the hatch, using it for biking and hauling around stuff for the house. I'd buy it again.

  5. #5
    dirt roadie
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    Wow, talk about detailed opinions, thanks everyone
    I'm looking at the Mazda 3 and the Saturn Astra, and I think the Mazda is going to be my choice, because it's actually cheaper, and I think it's better equipped.
    It looks like the general consensus is solid, reliable, and fun to drive, but the fuel economy could be better. Also from what I've heard, the Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires are terrible.
    At least 80% of my driving is on rural highways under 90kph or 55mph, so fuel economy should be pretty good...in all the cars I've owned I've been able to get higher than the posted highway rating (my Cavalier is rated at 28mpg hwy, and I can usually average 30, with a best of 34)

    Thanks again for the help, if everything works out there should be a shiny new Mazda in my driveway next week

  6. #6
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    FWIW, my wife & I have a 2006 Mazda 3 hatchback with about 26K on it. We love it -- it's reliable, fun to drive, and holds an amazing amount of stuff. As other people have mentioned, the fuel economy is less than advertised, but I suspect this is true for most new cars. We use a Thule roof rack for our mountain bikes. No problems.

  7. #7
    dirt roadie
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    Thanks again for your recommendations everyone
    I picked it up my new bike hauler today in the middle of a crazy snowstorm...

  8. #8
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    Nice ride. I like the white.

    I too have a Mazda3 and it has served me well so far. The only problem was a fuel pump - replaced under warranty. The car has held up very well. The interior is solid. It hasn't burned a drop of oil after break-in either. The gas milage isn't the greatest but not bad. Keeping it under 75 mph helps alot.

    If you put your bike in back, you may want to put a tarp or something to cover the back of the seat. The fabric is thin and I wore a hole in mine before I picked up a roof rack.

    The roof rack I have uses the fix point mounts that are under the plastic gutter covers on the roof. Very clean system. Here's a pic of the rack. I have added a fairing as well.

    Hey crux and notenoughtime, does your hitch rack interfere with opening the hatch, assuming you have a hatch? Do you have a picture of your setup. A friend is looking at adding a rack and is torn between the roof rack and the hitch rack.
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  9. #9
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    Kind of off topic,
    I'm looking to get a small car and have checked the 3, 5 door out. in my area there is not a lot of mazda 3's.
    I've found one used for $13,000. w/ 40,000 mile on it. For those that have been driving one for a while, do they hold up well?
    Also how are they with passangers in the back seat?
    Roof Rack, is there a way to get a picture of the roof gutter with out the gutter strip in place? I had a ISUZU Trooper that also had hidden mount holes under it. I actualy made my on mounts for my Yakima rack.

    Thanks

  10. #10
    jrm
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    Consider traveling further..

    Away from your area. Youll find that in most cases there are areas where the cars are cheaper and more plentiful.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheatgerm

    The roof rack I have uses the fix point mounts that are under the plastic gutter covers on the roof. Very clean system. Here's a pic of the rack. I have added a fairing as well.
    Wheat where did you get that rack? I am torn between the 3 and the new Vibe. Being able to get a roof rack on the Vibe is the cause of my indecision. I would so prefer to get a roof rack that does not clip on but bolts on like yours. It appears to be a Thule. I know Rola makes one ($$$) as does Mazda but the Mazda one is not offered for sale in the US.

  12. #12
    More Torque
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    I highly recommend getting a trailer hitch and rack for the 3. I had a Yakima roof rack for about 10 years on my Saturn, and I loved it, but I could not not find a roof mounted solution that I liked for my Speed3. I researched Yakima, Thule, Rola, OEM, fixpoint, gutter-mounted, etc., and none met all of my criteria.

    With the rack removed and a hitch-plug installed, you would likely not even notice that I have a hitch installed, unless I pointed it out to you. The one below is the most low-profile of all the non-custom ones I could find for the 3.

    Here is the hitch and online store I recommend, though they could do a better job of packaging the product for shipment:

    http://www.hitchsource.com/classitra...h-p-27341.html

    See this this thread for more info on the hitch:

    http://www.mazdas247.com/forum/showt...hp?t=123667877

    as well as:

    www.mazdas247.com
    www.mazda3forums.com

    for more info on the 3.

    I love the white paint on your car; when I purchased my '08, white was only available in Canada.
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  13. #13
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheatgerm
    If you put your bike in back, you may want to put a tarp or something to cover the back of the seat. The fabric is thin and I wore a hole in mine before I picked up a roof rack.

    The roof rack I have uses the fix point mounts that are under the plastic gutter covers on the roof. Very clean system. Here's a pic of the rack. I have added a fairing as well.

    Hey crux and notenoughtime, does your hitch rack interfere with opening the hatch, assuming you have a hatch? Do you have a picture of your setup. A friend is looking at adding a rack and is torn between the roof rack and the hitch rack.
    Bet that I having a matching hole in my interior.

    The roof rack is a nice option but did not want to go that route. There is a difference in the US Mazda3 (maybe a regulation or politics over actual mechanical) but they will not sell the OEM roof rack which is suppose to bolt up to some existing mounts under the black little trim piece. Have not pulled mine back to check. The Thule and Yakima racks will place small indentations in the roof if you frequently take the rack on and off. This happened to my friends civic and camery.

    The Thule T2 does not interfere with the hatch opening as long as the crank is in the right position and you fold the rack down. Still a PITA to get back there with a bike loaded on the rack. If the rack is empty then there is no issues getting access to the back hatch.

    Major selling point of the hitch mount is that I can swap it from car A to B to C as time goes on. With a roof rack I would need to buy a new system each time I get a new ride and worry about low bridges / garage doors when the bike is up top.

    Sorry no photos the wife has the car right now.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trailfreak
    Kind of off topic,
    I'm looking to get a small car and have checked the 3, 5 door out. in my area there is not a lot of mazda 3's.
    I've found one used for $13,000. w/ 40,000 mile on it. For those that have been driving one for a while, do they hold up well?
    Also how are they with passangers in the back seat?
    Roof Rack, is there a way to get a picture of the roof gutter with out the gutter strip in place? I had a ISUZU Trooper that also had hidden mount holes under it. I actualy made my on mounts for my Yakima rack.

    Thanks
    I have 60,000 miles on mine with the fuel pump as the only issue. The back seats seem to have plenty of room for a small car. I had an Audi A4 prior to this and the Mazda back seat has much more room.

    Here are pics of the roof with the Canadian roof rail that has the access holes to the mounts. I keep the rack off the car during the winter.

    IThe roof rails came from a Canadian Mazda dealer (Banks Mazda in Ontario). The fixpoint mounts and load bars came from The Gearbox in England (www.roofracks-roofboxes.co.uk). I picked up the trays and fairing in the states. I'm pretty sure the aero loadbars I have are available in the US now. Standard bars work as well. I'm not sure if the fixpoint system is available here.

    The setup was expensive since it came from Europe. Now, I'll bet its even more expensive since the US dollar is in the tank. The websites that Diesel listed have more information on the fixpoint setup.
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  15. #15
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    Great Information about the racks, and great Pic's. Odd that there is only one bolt hole for the roof rack. On my Trooper there were #2 holes to bolt down on.
    I like the hitch mounts but in my case I want to get as much as I can out of this car. Hence being able to load lumber trail tools or furniture on top?
    I'm still iffy about this car, Right now I have a full size truck with lots of room but the gas MPG is killing me. I have a 30 mile drive one way to work.

  16. #16
    Tulsa
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    we have a bolt hole under the black rain gutter strips that are pre threaded for racks

    asians and euro's get that, it's not popular lore here.

    The kits they have require you to remove the black strip, thread your anchors in to the factory holes then replace the old strips with presized new ones that fit around the anchor boltholes.

    I'm looking for specifications as to where the threads are so i can just cut out a bit of plastic and be good to go. Any help ?

  17. #17
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Yep that is the roof rack I would of considered. I just scrolled right past it the first time around. Still happy with the hitch rack though since it is transferable from car to car with the removal of a single bolt.

  18. #18
    Tulsa
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    Overseas, Thule makes a roofrack and Mazda calls it their own. I was looking at mine tonight and I can clearly see where I need to take a dremmel tool to the rails and expose the boltholes. for some reason Mazda doesn't see fit to mention their existance to the American market.

    I learnt all this on the internet, so.....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zedfoto
    Anybody out there with a Mazda 3 (specifically the hatchback)?

    I'm seriously considering one; I've driven a couple and they seem like really nice, smooth and solid cars. A million times nicer than my crappy Cavalier Also for the level of equipment you get the price is very reasonable.

    How are they for reliability, fuel economy, etc...? Also how is the build quality, ie. does the interior stand up to a mountain biker's abuse, and does the paint and bodywork fare well over a harsh winter?

    Thanks in advance for any info you can spare
    I have a 2004 Mazda 3s Sedan and I love it! It has close to 90k miles on it and I have had 0 problems with it. I drive about 70 mile to and from work each day and get about 28 mpg's with the 2.3 engine. The build quality is great for this level of car! It will make the Cavalier build quality look like a joke! On my s model the interior fabric holds up to biking and 2 small kids with no problem! The paint has held up well to all the road salt and snow that we get here in MD, but it does show dings and scratches very easily.

    I would buy another one in a second! I'm actually thinking about buying a new Mazdaspeed 3 in the near future!
    Get it!
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  20. #20
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    For what it's worth, the 3 hatch make our short list when the wife and I were looking for a new car this winter. And we looked at quite a few different things from subaru, honda and toyota. The 3 definitely is a great value and fun to drive. What caused us to pass was lack of AWD and some concern about crash test performance but it's still a great car and I'm sure we wouldn't have been disappointed.
    "The mouth of justice contemplates wisdom."

  21. #21
    M12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheatgerm
    IThe roof rails came from a Canadian Mazda dealer (Banks Mazda in Ontario). The fixpoint mounts and load bars came from The Gearbox in England (www.roofracks-roofboxes.co.uk). I picked up the trays and fairing in the states. I'm pretty sure the aero loadbars I have are available in the US now. Standard bars work as well. I'm not sure if the fixpoint system is available here.

    The setup was expensive since it came from Europe. Now, I'll bet its even more expensive since the US dollar is in the tank. The websites that Diesel listed have more information on the fixpoint setup.

    I got the same setup from the same store. From England to California in less than 5 days.
    When I got mine, the rack was cheaper from England than getting a US thule rack.


  22. #22
    XTR is the shizz-nizz...
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    I love my Mazdaspeed 3... I can't think of anyother car that offers all the benefits as this one does. The is plenty of comfortable room to transport passengers, crap from Lowes, mountain biking gear, and occasional racing gear...including 4 tires/wheels!!!









    With the Mazdaspeed 3, you have to be careful of where the exhaust is directed at. As you can see here, I put a piece of cardboard to protect the rim/tire from carbon soot (Speed3s are famous for this) and ended up melting the tape off!!!!


  23. #23
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    Hey, FL_MTB_Weekend Warrior:

    Quote Originally Posted by FL_MTB_Weekend Warrior
    I love my Mazdaspeed 3... I can't think of anyother car that offers all the benefits as this one does. The is plenty of comfortable room to transport passengers, crap from Lowes, mountain biking gear, and occasional racing gear...including 4 tires/wheels!!!
    ...
    What hitch are you running on your Speed3? Will one that fits a normal 3 fit a 'Speed, too?

  24. #24
    XTR is the shizz-nizz...
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    Quote Originally Posted by eedavis
    What hitch are you running on your Speed3? Will one that fits a normal 3 fit a 'Speed, too?
    I used the Curt #11384; its for the regular Mazda 3, but fits the Mazdaspeed 3 with no problems. There is no trimming or cutting required. The only thing to do is enlarge existing holes in the bumper reinforcement. Then bolt up the hitch... Simple as that!!!!!

    Though, I wouldn't haul anything more than mountain bikes. The hitch is bolted onto the bumper reinforcement which is made out of aluminum and not the frame.
    Seems to hold well so far... The are many other owners that use this hitch for their mountain bikes with no issues...

  25. #25
    mini clyde
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    Thanks, that's awesome... all I want it for is a bike rack, so that hitch looks perfect!

  26. #26
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    Hey zed, nice new ride.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  27. #27
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    The wife drive a 05 Mazda 3 hatch. Been a great car. Have had no problems with it. Gets good mileage (it is a 5 speed though) and has decent power. I put snow tires on it for the winter and it is great in the snow. I don't use it heavily for mountain bike stuff as I have and element for that. But i could get my bike in the back with the seats folded down no problem.

  28. #28
    dirt roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    Hey zed, nice new ride.
    Thanks rkj...the colour doesn't match any of my bikes now though But it is so much easier to shove a bike into the hatch rather than in the trunk of my Cavalier.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaikara
    I put snow tires on it for the winter and it is great in the snow.
    Yeah I have noticed that the Goodyear RS-A's are terrible in the snow. I can't count how many times I got stuck in my driveway (gravel driveway + ice + snow), and I've only owned it for a week. The day after I picked it up, I couldn't even get it to budge, so I gave up and crawled back into my Cavalier (it sits much lower but it's always been able to get out of a mess). Next winter, snow tires definitely. Dry pavement is a different story though

    It is looking like on my work route, I should be able to get 32-35mpg once warmer weather hits. (Mine is also a 5 spd.)
    Last edited by zedfoto; 03-17-2008 at 06:03 PM.

  29. #29
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    Hey guys,

    If you want a roof rack for your 3 maybe this guy can help you. His located in Montreal,Quebec. He can have squarre and aero bar. The rack fit on the hole of our 3. He takes these rack in germany I think. He can have some other accesory for your rack.

    I know the internet web site is in french, but you can contact them, you will have a respond for sure.

    I just bought mine yesterday. Is in the mail box today. but I'm not so far.

    http://www.rack-import.com/
    http://www.mazdarack.com/

    Math

  30. #30
    Praise Bob
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    Those pics look like they were taken at Santos.

    We are there almost every Sunday ...look for the same color Mazda3!

  31. #31
    XTR is the shizz-nizz...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus Rex
    Those pics look like they were taken at Santos.

    We are there almost every Sunday ...look for the same color Mazda3!
    Hell yeah!!!!!
    Santos is awesome!!! The only other place I have found comprable to Santos is this place in Tampa called Wilderness Trails or something like that...? It's like a trail system of 3 individual trails... I was there briefly on Saturday and didn't get to see much, but it seems pretty cool.

    What time are you guys usually at Santos?

  32. #32
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    I just got a Mazda 3 GT (grand touring) hatchback and love it. Regularly get 29.5 mpg with 80% highway driving. Beats the crap out of my 05 Xterrra that got 18 mpg but I do miss my Xterra. The 3 is much more fun to drive though. I am looking at either getting the T2 or the Thelma or the Yakima which is similar to a T2. Am worried about weight. Do you 3 owners with hitch racks notice any issues with two bikes loaded up?

  33. #33
    XTR is the shizz-nizz...
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    Two bikes are fine...no issues to this date (knock on wood).
    I think you'll be OK as long as you install the hitch correctly...

  34. #34
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    I have an 06 hatch 5 speed. I average about 28mpg with probably 50/50 or something around that and I drive pretty conservatively(shift around 2500). Haven't had any reliability problems but recently had my engine light go on. Dealer said it was solenoid, blah, blah I have no idea. He told me I can keep driving my car and it'll be fine so I have been. I guess the part is backordered nation-wide. Oh well, that's what warranties are for(one reason I got the 06 over the 07 is 4 year warranty vs. 3 year).

    Definitely go with a hitch rack. The hitch isn't hard to install and this way the rack is not touching your paint at all. I got roof racks at first but was scared off by stories of the roof rack feet leaving paint in bad shape and the price of the euro thule racks that bolt into the roof holes. Plus hitch you don't have to hold the bike over your car, just a foot or so off the ground.

    Check out www.mazda3forums.com
    Plenty of good info there.

  35. #35
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbcyclist
    I just got a Mazda 3 GT (grand touring) hatchback and love it. Regularly get 29.5 mpg with 80% highway driving. Beats the crap out of my 05 Xterrra that got 18 mpg but I do miss my Xterra. The 3 is much more fun to drive though. I am looking at either getting the T2 or the Thelma or the Yakima which is similar to a T2. Am worried about weight. Do you 3 owners with hitch racks notice any issues with two bikes loaded up?
    Nope none yet and that is with 2 heavier bikes loaded up.

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