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On Friday I bid farewell to Emma after almost seven years of trusty service. I've been flying the H flag for nearly fourteen years now and was desperate for something different. My requirements were simple: it had to get good mileage, be reliable, practical, decently fun to drive and available with a manual transmission in something other than loss-leader poverty spec. That's a pretty short list and eventually I had it narrowed down to three cars. The Civic EX-T was out based on styling. While I liked it a lot when I drove it and think it's a great car, I really don't think the looks are going to age well. Plus a friend has a 17 Si and I don't want to play copycat. Next to get scratched off the list was the VW GTI. While I love the looks, hatchback practicality and those amazing plaid seats, the $31,000 sticker price nearly gave me a hernia. And so it finally came down to the Mazda 3 hatchback. I drove one a few weeks ago and fell in love with it. I did a bit more research and on Friday, I went out to Ron Tonkin Mazda in Portland and signed on a brand new white 3 Grand Touring hatchback with the premium package and a manual transmission.

I managed to get $5200 for Emma and though I could have gotten more privately, I didn't feel like dealing with scammers and Craigslist flakes. So far I've put about 150 miles on the Mazda and am head over heels in love with it. This thing is so much better than Emma was from the quality of the suspension tuning to the tightess of the body and quality of the materials. I didn't realize just how subpar the MD generation is for suspension and body strength until I drove this...it feels like something made by another species. It's heading back to the dealer on Friday for 3M clear bra and splash guards and then some time soon I'll get the windows tinted and re-install my dash cam.


It's been a fun 14 years but for now I see myself flying the flag for Mazda. I'll hang around and do my best to answer questions and technical issues before they vanish from my memory.



2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring Hatchback by Andrew, on Flickr


2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring Hatchback Interior by Andrew, on Flickr


Mazda 3 Grand Touring Gauges by Andrew, on Flickr


2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring Hatchback by Andrew, on Flickr
 

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Congrats on your new car! All of the research I've done on the segment for both my car and my son's mentioned that the Mazda 3 was a blast to drive.

It's also good to know that I'm not the only one that names my cars. :grin2:
 

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Really like the looks of the newer Mazda cars. My missus drives a Mazda 2 and I agree with you about the quality of the ride. The Mazda is much smoother than my Hyundai Getz, although I'm not too keen on the feel of the electric power steering. I'm also not too impressed with the interior of the Mazda. It looks great but has developed all sorts of annoying buzzing and rattling noises that my much older (and cheaper) Hyundai didn't have. Even my Nissan van with all my tools & equipment in the back doesn't rattle like the Mazda.
 

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Congratulations on the new car! I might be making a switch, sometime next year. I'd love to hear more about your experiences. Maybe start a discussion in the "other cars" section.
 

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I like it. But dislike the dash.

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Way to go! I was gonna ditch my 16 Elantra for another brand but ended up with an 18 Sport


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Now the big question...will you still moderate here? :confused:
 
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Congratulations! May you have thousand miles of pure joy and excitement.
 

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Good choice. Mazda is producing pretty good cars at the moment. We have just got a Mazda 2 with the 115 PS engine. Can't complain so far. Fun to drive and uses so little petrol compared to the other cars we have. No rattles yet but it is only 1000 miles old. However, the 2016 Tucson also feels as well made.

The new i30N is interesting though, but was too big/powerful/thirsty for what we wanted ...
 

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Good choice. Mazda is producing pretty good cars at the moment. We have just got a Mazda 2 with the 115 PS engine. Can't complain so far. Fun to drive and uses so little petrol compared to the other cars we have. No rattles yet but it is only 1000 miles old. However, the 2016 Tucson also feels as well made.



The new i30N is interesting though, but was too big/powerful/thirsty for what we wanted ...


My buddy auto crosses his Mazda 2 and it’s a ton of fun. Car handles really well


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Okay...this car is utterly remarkable. I got gas for the first time since the dealer filled it at the time of sale and even though the trip computer said 30.9 MPG average, I was expecting a hand calculation a bit lower than that. Nope. My calculations showed an average of 32.3 MPG and folks on the Mazda forums say that the trip computer is pessimistic! So this 32.3 is actually accurate. Keep in mind this is all in-town driving, maybe 25-30 miles of freeway out of 300 with Portland's epic hills to contend with. Now to see if the trend continues.
 

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Okay...this car is utterly remarkable. I got gas for the first time since the dealer filled it at the time of sale and even though the trip computer said 30.9 MPG average, I was expecting a hand calculation a bit lower than that. Nope. My calculations showed an average of 32.3 MPG and folks on the Mazda forums say that the trip computer is pessimistic! So this 32.3 is actually accurate. Keep in mind this is all in-town driving, maybe 25-30 miles of freeway out of 300 with Portland's epic hills to contend with. Now to see if the trend continues.
The trip computer in my Nissan van is like that too. The trip was saying 46MPG the last time I filled it but my manual calculation worked out to 49.

Great to hear your enjoying the new car.
 

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I have the manual Sonata, last year they made it, 2012. The newer close ratio 6 speeds have sucked the joy out of driving manual. I feel like it just so many more shifts than I used to make with the 5 speeds. Plus I do 35-45 minutes twice a day in soul crushing traffic. I'm going automatic next time. They are much more reliable than they used to be.

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I suspect the OP is no longer here, but nice mazda. I wonder if you were doing it over if you would look at an elantra GT (N line or not)?
 

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Manual... I would never get that again. fun when I was young and no kids. But now its just annoying.
Hatchback...would never get that either. I value my privacy..and prefer a trunk always
I still prefer the overlook look of the MD..and have zero issues with the current suspension.

But..I only buy what is good at the moment. I have zero alliance to any make or model. I do not not like the newer Hyundai's so if they dont change up again by time my MD breaks, most likely I will be venturing off to a different make..but maybe same make but different model. Have to go by model (not just make)..
 
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