GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mazda3 a charm for entry-level buyers
BY JIM MATEJA
Chicago Tribune

The Mazda3 is the best-selling vehicle in the automaker's lineup.

The Mazda3 is offered in sedan and hatchback versions, with the sedan taking on the likes of the Civic, Corolla, Jetta and Cavalier (soon to become Cobalt), while the hatchback takes on the likes of the Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe and Volkswagen Golf.

Not only does the Mazda3 sport styling similar to that on the larger midsize Mazda6 sedan, it boasts larger dimensions than Protege. Wheelbase grows by an inch to 103.9 inches, overall length by 3 inches to 178.7 inches, width by 2 inches to 69.1 inches and height by 2 inches to 57.7 inches.

The reason for the larger dimensions is that Protege owners pointed out the shortcoming in cabin room and Mazda responded.

The longer wheelbase and length contribute to improved ride and handling and along with the added height and width, a more spacious and comfortable cabin.

The sedan is available in base "i" version with 2-liter, 148-hp 4-cylinder that produces 135 foot-pounds of torque and "s" version with 2.3-liter, 160-hp 4-cylinder that produces 150 foot-pounds of torque. The hatchback is offered in s version only with the 2.3-liter 4.

The sedan was meant for the mature buyer, the hatchback for youth, Mazda says, meaning the sedan is for mom and dad, the hatchback for son and daughter.

We tested the Mazda3 s sedan though admitting hatchback styling is more appealing even if basically a station wagon.

The 2.3-liter 4 is surprisingly lively and does a better-than-average job in delivering sufficient muscle for quick movement away from the light. The test car was equipped with the optional sport package at $490. The package comes with wide profile 17-inch all-season radials that focus more on nimble handling than you get with the standard 16-inch all-season radials on all 2.3-liter 4-cylinder models. And the 17s are mounted on sporty alloy wheels.

The McPherson strut suspension was specially tuned for the Mazda3, with larger pistons and rebound springs to control wheel movement and minimize road shock for flat cornering.

The sport package also adds side-sill extensions and front fog lamps for a sportier appearance to complement the machine's more limber character. The sport package is standard on the hatchback.

Mazda3 tops the Protege in ride, handling, performance and styling. You have to suspect Mazda will encourage Mazda3 owners to move up to the Mazda6 when ages and income levels rise and they want even more room, comfort and performance, and have to suspect it won't be hard to convince Mazda3 owners to make the move.

Noteworthy features include wide, supportive cloth seats, a huge glove box with an inner ledge big enough for laptop computer or purse and cupholders in the center console as well as water-bottle holders in both side doors.

The trunk is spacious. To expand cargo capacity into the cabin, the split rear seat backs fold, though not perfectly flat.

A gripe is that front-seat head, leg, and arm room is more than adequate, but rear-seat room is a tad snug.

The Mazda3 shares the same platform with the Volvo S40 as well as European version of the Ford Focus. There's speculation the next-generation Focus for the U.S. market will adopt the platform as well. Ford admits that it is studying the move.

Barb Samardzich, executive director for small front- and rear-wheel-drive vehicles at Ford, has also hinted that Mazda and Ford may team up on a new car smaller than Focus, a high-mileage, low-priced offering to attract those on a budget.

"When people come in looking for the cheapest car they can buy, it would be nice to have something other than Focus so that Focus can be a higher-margin car," she said, adding that "Leveraging another company," such as Mazda, would be a smart and low-cost way to bring a new small car to market.

Mazda says the new 3 has become its best-selling model because it's a small, fun to drive machine at an affordable price.

Pluses: Zoom Protege didn't have. Room Protege didn't have. Sport looks Protege didn't have. Ride and handling Protege didn't have, which means best of all, it's not a Protege.

Minuses: Rear seat is a tad snug.

Full Article Here



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,703 Posts
I have always said that Pontiac needs a competitor to Battle the Mazda three! Lol I wouldn't bet its coincidental that the cars initials are M3... I'd say bring the Pursuit (Pontiac Cobalt) over from Canada, but that would detract from Cobalt sales and I don't think that Chevrolet wants that. As long the Cobalt is peppy and handles like a downsized Malibu, there won't be any problems taking on the Mazda 3, or the incredibly boring&generic Civic.
Civic :plasma:
Accord :plasma:
Oddesey :plasma:
HONDA-AS-A-WHOLE :plasma:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,389 Posts
Mazda seems to be on a roll. I have seen a bunch of 3's on the road but have seen a lot of 6's. They are getting popular in the mid sized segment. If your really into zoom zoom I figure next year you will see some Mazda - Sport versions of these cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts
I read a while ago that Mazda is selling about equal numbers of 3s in the US and Canada, but since Canada is 1/10 the size that means they're selling x10 as fast here. In fact it's now the best selling car in Canada.

With gas prices shooting up in the US and people warming to smaller cars generally (all Mazda's vehicles are small for their class in the US) how long untill Mazda poses a major threat to Honda and Toyota in the US as well?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
I can remember the Mazda 323, which replaced the Mazda GLC, which was replaced by the Protege (which was replaced by this). It started out as an economy car; a small hatchback with a 1.6L engine, not a lot unlike the Aveo today...although today's Aveo has a more powerful 1.6L engine and looks better than the 323 hatchback. Which leaves the question...what does Mazda have to offer people who are in the market for what this car used to be? With 1.6L engine-based hatchbacks becoming more popular due to the increased price of gas, I think Mazda picked a bad time to abandon that market and upscale their entry-level offering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts
Well they're part of Ford now so you can always buy the cheaper Focus. Plus they plan on bringing a smaller car to North America, either the Mazda2 or more likely a version of the MicroSport concept car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Originally posted by surferdude00711@May 23 2004, 07:53 AM
I'd say bring the Pursuit (Pontiac Cobalt) over from Canada, but that would detract from Cobalt sales and I don't think that Chevrolet wants that.
Yeah, we can't have that. Giving the buyers choices... what non-sense. :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,572 Posts
Yup, the Mazda3 and 6 are a perfect example of what properly allocated resources can do.
I hope GM has learned this leason well with the Cobalt and other world platforms. Technically GM should be wiping the floor with Ford/Mazda based on the resources available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts
The Astra would be a true 3 competitor, not a rebadged Cobalt (which is targeted at the American mainstream). What would a Pontiac-ized Astra look like?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Originally posted by stewacide@May 23 2004, 11:00 PM
Well they're part of Ford now so you can always buy the cheaper Focus. Plus they plan on bringing a smaller car to North America, either the Mazda2 or more likely a version of the MicroSport concept car.
The Ford Focus isn't any cheaper than the Mazda3; they have similar MSRP's. Also, neither the Focus nor the Mazda3 are suitable substitutes for the old 323 hatchback. The Mazda2 might be more suitable, but it'll be coming into a market that's already being dominated by Hyundai and the Aveo and is rather ugly in comparison to the Accent and Aveo.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Originally posted by stewacide@May 24 2004, 01:28 AM
The Astra would be a true 3 competitor, not a rebadged Cobalt (which is targeted at the American mainstream). What would a Pontiac-ized Astra look like?
Too much like a Vibe, and too similarly priced, I fear. (But I'd buy one over the Toyota Vibe)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
708 Posts
Yeah, the Mazda3 and Mazda6 are nice looking cars.
The 6 has to be the best looking small 4-door sedan.
The Focus is such an ugly car, I cannot even think of
why someone would want one over the Mazda3. B)

I cannot wait to see how the Cobalt looks in person.
My GM card is not accepted over at the Mazda dealer!
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top