Monday, March 02, 2015

Mazda 3 Maxx, A personal review

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. 

23 comments:

  1. Andrew , we also drive our car 1000 km monthly ii is a standard for us. We use them often..

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    1. Gosia, I must recheck that. It seems too high for us.

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  2. Your final sentence contained the important bits. I hope that Mazda does take some of your criticisms on board though.

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    1. EC, I expect they get plenty of feedback from their own sales people who drive the cars. Nothing will be done about the visibility as the car is an international body.

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  3. It's good that you are still happy with it overall. I don't know much about the running of a car, gears, fuel consumption and all that, so as long as the car performs to expectations I'd be happy. But the visibility thing would bother me. I prefer clear vision all around.

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    1. River, our car is not alone in this. Most cars are the same. It is wrong.

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  4. It's pleasing to know that you do like the Mazda. A friend bought one, had it for about 2 weeks, sold it because she couldn't see out of it.
    We have had two Mazda's and liked them both. I gave that last one to youngest son. When all said and done, it gets you from point A to point B.

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    1. WA, wow, what information. I will edit the post to include this. For me, I am not so fussed, as long as the air con works. I happily drive the old 1999 Hyundai to work one day a week and I love that I can see out of it properly and I can throw it around a bit, so to speak.

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  5. New cars seem to have inferior visibility to the rear, especially for parking. I expect the manufacturers want you to buy the rear vision camera if you care about that. And rear windows seem to have been getting smaller in all cars - I'm not sure exactly why.

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    1. Marcellous, even with the camera, which is useful to know exactly how close you can get to something and it has a wide angle view, you can't beat being able to see out of a car properly. Isn't is all about form over function?

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  6. I think that every car has it's strong and weak points Andrew. We spent ages deciding if we thought that we would be happy with the Range Rover Evoque we eventually bought. We knew that we liked the looks. Like you, we do like our purchase, but it's a good job that we don't have a family as the boot isn't very big. Regarding visibility... don't manufacturers hold clinics where real people sit in and drive a prototype before it gets released? Duh.

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    1. Craig, I am sure they do, and when people say they can't see out very well, the designers say, well that is modern styling. We can't do much about that. (Swipe Range Rover Evoque, right click, search google, images. Very nice. Price.....oh, we are talking chalk and cheese).

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  7. Not being very technically minded, I must say two things matter to me above all: a] the average fuel consumption and b] reliable and efficient air conditioning.

    But in my older age, another element is becoming increasingly important, as you note. If visibility is awful, especially when reversing, I become a bit anxious.

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    1. Hels, all my issues too.

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  8. Looks like there are more pros than cons Andrew, always a good thing :) I never reverse park, or parallel park, unless I can go straight in :)

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    1. Grace, I rarely reverse park either now. I just don't go where I might need to.

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  9. Oh well I'll stick with my 15 year old holden astra - have had no major problems with it and gets me from A to B. Was going to buy a new car this year but vet bills put and end to that at moment.

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    1. Allan, if it works well, no need. They are not a car I know a lot about. There was a quite stylish top of the range one a few years ago I liked.

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  10. I'm catching up on your posts. I have a Mazda 3 and overall find it to be reliable and economical.

    However I am annoyed by some aspects. The car is obviously designed for left hand drive and a couple of things have not been adjusted for right hand driving including the position of the hand brake and the direction in which the centre console between driver and passenger opens. Both are badly positioned for right hand drive.

    There are some bad blind spots. The radio has quite weak reception compared with a series of Corollas I previously owned. I used to be good at parking but my skill has deteriorated as I find it difficult to judge distances when seated in this car.

    Despite all that, the car performs very well in the task of getting me from A to B.

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  11. Victor, I think yours is the model in between our old one and our new one. I think the console on the old one opened backwards, as does this new one. You would like the handbrake on the right of the seat?

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    1. My hand brake is right next to the passenger seat so that I cannot avoid hitting any passenger when applying/releasing it. It should still be to the driver's left but be closer to the driver's seat in my opinion.

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  12. The new toyotas have terrible vision out the back, but the new Nissans really take the cake. Unfortunately someone at my work deemed them to be the new work vehicles, I HATE THEM. They're unresponsive and like boats to drive and the vision out of them is awful. They have a rear view camera, that comes up in the actual mirror, that has no markings or anything to give you perspective as to where you are - pointless.

    I'm still liking my little car, though it's not as economical as yours.

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    1. Fen, I've seen those mirror cams. As useful as tits on a bull. I am pretty amazed at the economy of our newish car. While I am an eggshell on the pedal driver, R is not.

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