"INCREDIBLE DRIVING WITH INCREDIBLE FUEL ECONOMY IS NO LONGER A DREAM. IT'S A MAZDA."
One of the many cars I've test driven while searching for new vehicles is the Mazda 3. This was several years ago, however this, much like the Mazda5, was not really one of my favorites and we bypassed purchasing it. It felt cheaply made and when I compared the price of the vehicle to what I perceived as a lack of quality, it just wasn't adding up in my favor. I recently had the chance to review a new 2013 Mazda3 i Grand Touring. Our family didn't have any big trips planned so we wanted to try out a car that would be great for living in the city, putting around for errands, and commuting into work. Our biggest concern when purchasing a vehicle is almost always the interior size of the vehicle. My daughter is still in a booster seat, and my son still rides in a massive car seat. Plus, I have an 11 year old step-daughter who insists on having a lot of room even if we're just going a mile down the road. A smaller more compact vehicle almost NEVER fits us all comfortably. Of course fuel economy, comfort, and most bang for your buck are also all important qualities we look for as well.
"Quick off the line and aggressive in the curves, in the world of compact cars the Mazda3 is the true driver’s bread and butter. And with up to an EPA-estimated 40 MPG Highway,† the driving excitement goes on and on." ~ Mazda
I have to admit that I've never operated a car that had a keyless ignition. It was really quite pathetic trying to figure it out. The car was telling me to "compress break to start". So I did that. And I did that again. It didn't click for awhile that I needed to HOLD the brake down with my foot and push the ignition button simultaneously. Duh. Okay, once I figured that all we were all set to get this review started. The first thing I noticed was that the brakes weren't quite as sensitive as I normally like them to be. I felt that I had to push the brake pedal down about half way before the car would begin to slow down. After getting used to it though, I think it really was just a personal preference of mine and nothing more. By the time I drove it a couple of times I didn't even notice what I hadn't originally like about the brakes.
When my 6' 2" husband gets into a car, the first thing he does is move the driver's seat ALL the way back as far as it can go. When he did that with the 2013 Mazda3 it went back TOO far. That NEVER happens! He was so beyond impressed. "This is the first car that I can't put the seat all the way back in. I can't reach the pedals if I do." Granted this means that if the seat is all the way back there isn't much room for little legs in the back seat. However, this also means that my 6' 10" Uncle could probably comfortably drive this car.
The back seat was spacious enough for very short trips. We went grocery shopping, and to Home Depot, and since these places weren't more than a couple of miles away, no one complained about lack of room in the back seat. The back seat would definitely work well for 3 kids without car seats, and is probably most comfortable for 2 who are in car seats. The one thing that really made up for a smaller back seat was the massive trunk. This car can hold a LOT of stuff in its caboose. My husband picked up several shelving units amongst some other things and brought it all back home in the trunk of the vehicle with space to spare! Definitely a fantastic car for grocery shopping, or even traveling overnight somewhere with luggage for the entire family. I started imagining all of the trays of plants I could bring home for my sad looking flower bed.... Heck, I think it was big enough to sleep in.
It was suggested that we check out the handling of the vehicle. Basically we were given permission to find some corners and see how well this baby could take them on. Once we were in a parking lot, my husband took over. I guess technically we were speeding for a parking lot, but not by much, and he was whipping us around like we were on the Tea Cup ride at Disney World. (Slight exaggeration.) The 2013 Mazda3 handles SUPER well for the speed we had it at. Unfortunately we didn't end up anywhere that we could test it out on corners above 45 MPH. We did notice however that we weren't super fond of the engine. We noticed that when we started the car the engine ran a lot louder than we would have expected for a 4 cylinder engine. (I think it might have been because we left the radio and AC on when we would turn the car off, and maybe with how hot it was the engine was just working on overtime to get everything running.) The other thing we noticed about the engine was that it wasn't as responsive as we'd have liked it to be. There was often a delay between pushing down on the gas pedal and the car's RPM's increasing. It was significant enough to the point where my husband really complained about it and continued to demonstrate that it wasn't just in his head.
Our final test of the Mazda3 was my husband commuting into work. We live a good 10 miles or so outside of Washington DC where my husband works and DC is notorious for terrible traffic. (This is why he either takes the metro or rides his moped into work.) He said he got about 30 MPG which is probably thanks to the Skyactiv technology. He didn't have any issues with blind spots and that the car navigated through the traffic well. He said it was a great little commuter car. He did come home and say that he was glad he didn't rely on the blind-spot monitoring system because it didn't always work. There would be times that he thought the lights should come on to warn him of vehicles next to him, and they didn't, but other times in the same sort of situation they did.
The 2013 Mazda3 boasts many additional features which were all pretty nifty and instead of listening to describe them all you should definitely check out Mazda online. I do want to say that one of my favorites was the moon roof with one-touch open controls and the two 12v power outlets. The heated mirrors and seats are also a great touch if you live in states that stay cold during the winter. The seats were extremely comfortable, and included child safety seat anchors, including three top anchors in the back seat, and a cross-chest seat belt in the middle seat. The government safety rating on the Mazda3 is also pretty good with an overall 4-Star rating and was named top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
We definitely enjoyed driving this little beauty around. She was snazzy, fuel efficient, had tons of space for the type of car it is, and felt that it would make a good option for a future car purchase!
*I was provided a car for a week from STI & Mazda in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
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