The new car is not so new now. Our Mazda 3 Maxx is about 6 months old and has travelled a surprisingly high 6000 kilometres. A once weekly visit to Mother by R clocks up some kilometres.
The bad first.
Lack of courtesy lights. I find this really annoying. Even the cheapest Corollas at work have a courtesy light in the sun visor mirror. There isn't a glove box light, foot lights, lights on the interior of the doors that display when the doors are open. This is just cheap cost saving.
Visibility is awful, even at times when driving forward when turning a corner and you want to make sure you avoid a raised concrete island. As for reverse parking, it would be barely manageable without the reversing camera.
No reversing audible alert. It could be added as part of a safety upgrade package costing nearly an extra one thousand dollars. It is becoming a pretty basic thing now, and should be available at a reasonable price.
Road noise levels on coarse road surfaces is better than in our 2009 model, but is still wanting.
Gear shift paddles are a wank.
It took some getting used to Istop, where the engine shuts down at traffic lights, but I have become used to the fuel saving feature. You can turn it off, but it defaults to being on the next time you use the car. It is not quite like the car starting from scratch. The engine stops in a prime position to restart and it only takes a flick of the starter motor for the engine to come alive. It happens as you remove your foot from the brake. A light brake application while stationary will stop it coming on. The car battery has to have pretty well full charge for Istop to work, which solved the puzzle for me as for a few days it did not work. The bad is how it interacts with the air conditioning. Obviously the compressor goes off and no more cold is available other than the residual. The fan speed drops down to a lower speed and depending on the speed setting, the car may restart even while stationary. Istop does not work at all when the fan is on full speed. I would design it for the fan speed to stay as it was and disconnect the connection between Istop and the air con. How long are you ever stationary for? A minute or so? Yes, the air being blown will warm slightly but not much.
There is much good about the car though.
The six speed auto transmission is brilliant. While it is not known as a low torque engine, it feels like it has plenty of torque because of the transmission. It is smooth, changes early and changes often to always make sure you are in right gear. If you are travelling down a steep hill and using the brakes, the transmission will change down to give you engine braking too. The transmission is really quite brilliant.
In spite of it being noisy on coarse stoned roads, it is generally very quiet and smooth.
The seats are absolutely delicious. Perfect shape and great fabrics.
The gear shift is inline, with no more nonsense of a gate, moving it sideways as well as back and forth. Hold the button down and just move it forward or backwards, so simple.
Our old Mazda 3 did not seem to have air conditioning any better than the much older Hyundai. I think our new Mazda has had the air con upgraded and seems better to me.
It is very economical. The average fuel consumption began at 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres. For a while when only being used around town, it rose to 6.8 but now with a weekly freeway trip, it is sitting nicely on 6.6.
Here are the government figures for our old Mazda and the new one. Both engines are 2 litre.
Combined, which I think is a mix of highway and city driving. 2009 old Mazda 8.2. 2014 new Mazda 5.7
Urban, Old 11.3. New 7.5
Extra, I really don't know what this is, maybe extra careful. Old 6.3. New 4.7.
Do we like the car? Yes.
Later edit: Note Whiteangels comment where a friend sold on her new Mazda 3 because the car has such poor visibility from the driver's seat.