Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by psyshack, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    [​IMG] An automobile that by nature wants to take the road less traveled.

    [xfloat=left][/xfloat]Jeff Townsley - CleanMPG - Sept. 6, 2007

    The 2007 Mazda3 S Touring. A performance oriented hypermiler’s dream come true.

    As many members here know, I am a big fan of hybrids. I love the technology, engineering and results of said work. But darn it, they haven't built one for me yet! The manufactures have come close but no cigar.

    My wants and needs in a car are specifically mine. Having an 80 + mile daily grind makes fuel economy and the environmental impact an important aspect. I place even more significance on the handling of the car. When I want it to stop, I want it to be a near painless event. When I want it to corner, I expect it to throw a cup of coffee across the cabin. When I hit the gas and start grabbing gears I darn well expect it to go. Basic creature comforts and pleasant surroundings have some importance also. As I have aged safety is becoming even more important. Not so much raw crash test data, but over all survivability and built in drivability tools. I expect a lot out of my car and I will not be shoe horned into a “One size fits all” if I can help it. Enter the Mazda3 S Touring which fits my needs nicely.

    2007 Mazda Touring S 2.3L w/ MT Pricing: MSRP: $18,425 - Invoice: $17,246 - Destination: $595.

    Options pricing

    Moonroof and 6-CD Package$890$765
    Black Leather Seat Upholstery$590$507
    In-Dash 6-Disc CD Changer$500$400
    SIRIUS Satellite Radio$430$344
    Rear Wing Spoiler$375$300
    Rear Lip Spoiler$325$260
    Compass and Auto-dimming Mirror w/Homelink$275$260
    Pearl Paint Charge$200$172
    Compass and Auto-dimming Mirror$200$160
    Alaska Delivery$120$120
    Pearl Satin Fuel-Filler Door$100$80
    Door Edge Guards$100$80
    All-Weather Floor Mats$78$62
    Moonroof Deflector$60$48
    Wheel Locks$50$40
    Cargo Net$40$32
    Cargo Mat$40$32

    Mazda3 S Touring Spec’s can be viewed in the CleanMPG - New Fuel Efficient Automobile Specifications forum at the following: 2007 Mazda3 4 and 5-door sedan.

    Mazda3 S Touring Safety Features:

    Advanced dual front air bags (SRS) - with crash-zone & driver's seat position/passenger weight sensors (Mazda Advanced Restraint System).
    Dual front side-impact air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS) - front seat-mounted (front coverage).
    Side air curtains - front & rear coverage.
    Collapsible steering column (following air bag deployment).
    "Crushable" brake pedal.
    Whiplash-reducing front seat headrests.
    Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
    Traction Control System (TCS).
    Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
    Power assist; Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) w/ Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD).

    2007 Mazda3 S Touring - NHTSA Crash Test Ratings.


    Mazda3 S Touring - Touring the belly of the beast.

    The Mazda 3 looks like it wants to be driven but there is more to it than its semi sinister good looks. Some thought was put into elements of its design. Let us take a look at some of them. For this tour one only needs to get on the ground.

    An integrated partial engine belly pan.​

    The pan is a half pan and stretches as far as the engine oil drain bolt. It is a well made plastic affair with 10mm bolts and 2 push clips holding it in place. The hole lines up well with the oil filter on a 2.0L but way off for the 2.3L mill. There is simply no reason for it being there.

    Looking just beyond the pan. The bottom of the car has no other aerodynamic enhancements but is surprisingly clean as everything appears to flow together. Surprisingly, there are no tire/wheel air defectors although it should not be a problem to add them. The only thing that seems to hang down and not flow is the rear sway bar and links. Not much of an issue.

    Getting around to the back underside of the car, the airflow appears as if it would be greatly disturbed. The Mazda 3 needs a rear under tray bad! Get to the back side of the rear suspension and nothing is smooth or flows well. The inside edge of the lower rear bumper cover acts like a scoop. This can be fixed rather easy with a DIY rear pan. There are plenty of mounting points and I feel this mod will be a great help at common highway speeds.


    Here is the well built fully independent rear suspension. Also included is a factory sound proof under coating running the entire length of the vehicle underneath.

    Mazda3 S Touring - Moving back to the front of the car and popping the hood.

    Here are a couple of other interesting items of note.


    First off we find a very nicely built battery box and air duct for the battery. This can be a double edge sword but I do have something to work with. As most hypermilers know, battery's do not like us given those of us that FAS tend to be very hard on them. If we are not trying to kill a battery, Mother Nature certainly is! With temperatures running in the high 90's to low 100's in this part of the country during the summer months, I like seeing a battery box with a fresh air duct. There is absolutely no need to roast a 12v if it can be prevented. The down side is the air duct will need to be partially blocked off during the winter months.

    Moving on to the engine. It is really nothing special. A straight forward 2.3L - four valve per cylinder - inline 4 with dual over head cams using Mazda's Variable Valve Timing. There is a balance shaft that keep the engine spinning very smooth. Along with a two stage intake manifold. A drive by wire throttle is also standard equipment.

    The OEM air intake is a mess with regards to modifying/installing a warm air intake this winter. The filter box is tucked down under the battery box duct. The intake tract goes straight down out of the filter box and into a huge resonator system. I may install a small copper coil in the intake tract and let the heating/cooling system preheat the intake this winter. On a high note Mazda did think about preheating intake air with a water passage in the throttle body. I am sure this helps in the winter months but will not be near enough for my taste ;)

    Also under the hood we find a electro-hydraulic power steering system. A small 12V electric motor is used to power a small hydraulic pump. More on this unit later on.

    Another unique item I really like is the cartridge style oil filter. While this engines emissions and fuel economy are not the cleanest EPA wise, it does have an environmental friendly oil filter.


    When replacing the oil filter. All that is replaced is the filter media and two o-rings. No steel can to throw away. The filters outer housing stays with the car. Look for this style of oil filter in even more vehicles as time marches on.

    The ABS, Traction Control, great handling and athletic stopping power all connect to the ground through this wheel and tire setup.


    Unfortunately, this setup is by no means geared for the hypermiler but I feel it was chosen for the normal to spirited driver. This does not mean it will not provide great results for a hypermiler, only that the tire/wheel combo was designed for steering/handling performance at the expense of some FE. This OEM tire and wheel combo in part helps me in my hypermiling effort concerning corners and sport fasing although it does hurt coasting to some extent. It doesn't kill coast distances as we will see later in the review, just hampers them a touch is all.

    Mazda3 S Touring - The Inside Facts.

    The Mazda3 sedan is a very comfortable car and I cannot fault it one bit. I'm going to hang it out here and state in my honest opinion. My Mazda 3 is every bit as comfortable as our 7th generation Accord. Why this car is compared to a Civic or Corolla is over my head. It lacks some elbow room, foot well room and back seat room but not nearly the same sacrifice as the Civic/Corolla contingent. In other words, we have just a slightly smaller Accord/Camry but larger then the Civic/Corolla.

    The drivers seat is heaven sent. It is soft and supportive. This is the only car I have driven that has a lumbar support I can actually use. In fact, not once has it made my bottom hurt or go numb nor do I have to shift myself around to keep these pains or discomforts from occurring.


    The dash and controls are very well laid out although there is nothing earth shattering supplied. The center stack is very wide for a car of this size. Its size alone makes the foot wells a bit on the small side. This in turn puts the foot controls close together. Many have complained about the foot controls being cramped as well as the lack of room for the right leg. I actually prefer it! If one is inclined to do some heel and toe or simple rev matching, the close placement is an advantage, not a hindrance. As for the cramped right leg, I do not feel this to be a problem to date. I can rest my right leg against the center stack and use it as a lock point when load driving there by removing whole leg movement. This lets my brain focus on my foot placement, as you will read in a moment.

    The materials used in the cockpit go from first class to so-so. The steering wheel and shift knob are leather wrapped and have a great feel. The dash is hard plastic, but pleasingly well done. And the glove box is huge! I can put my laptop in it :) The upholstery used on the seats has a very course nylon/synthetic cheap feel however. Surprisingly it seems to breathe well and feels good under a clothed bottom and back. The center armrest and door armrest's have hard and soft plastic surfaces. The headliner is a felt like material. The Sun visors are made out of a very light semi soft plastic with only mirrors in them. The carpet and floor mats are on the cheap side so only time will tell about their longevity. They are easy to vacuum and being black. Vacuuming will happen a lot. Some how Mazda was able to use materials that cross the gambit. They used textures and trim to some how pull together an interior that functions better than it looks or feels. This little fact caught me way off guard. A cockpit one can live in makes driving a lot easier and allows you to focus more on the task at hand. I honestly don't know how they pulled this off!

    Here are some pics of the Mazda's iFCD. It is listed as a feature in Grand Touring Package but can be accessed in the lesser equipped models as well. While the GT trim is a nice upgrade for many, I thought the only thing included worth the price was the low current draw but far better forward lighting HID's. IMHO, Mazda's leather is so bad that they should drop the price if you take it! Anyway in most Mazda3's, the iFCD is a button hack away. Once its activated you get the iFCD where the clock normally displays. Cycle through with the set button, press clock to see the time, touch set again and the iFCD is both active and displayed. From the few tanks I have consumed to date, the i/aFCD appears to read 1.25 to 2.0 mpg low from the actuals.

    Display showing audio and iFCD.-------------------------------Remaining miles.

    Current mpg via segment aFCD.----------------------------------Average Speed.​

    The car has ample sound deadening materials including the coating job underneath the car. Other materials used in the car range from textile materials on the inside of the firewall to heat protecting metals and mat on the engine side of the firewall. Other bits include foam and textile used on the backside of the kick panels and under dash panels. I was impressed at the levels Mazda went to in this area of design. It was quite interesting to see the design while running a power cable to the trunk of the car. There is no wind noise to speak of. With the included 17" wheels and tire combo, one would think it would roar! You do know when you go from one road surface to the next but it is in no way like Honda road noise. It is simply a different car from the 8th gen Civic I drove previously. The ride is firm but not harsh while still communicating to you. The car just seems to glide over potholes that are bone rattlers in our other vehicles.

    Driving the Mazda3 S Touring Sedan.

    Driving this car is a blast. Everybody knows how it handles. It turns in great, takes off great and stops nearly as good as some of the very best cars in the world. I do not think you can purchase a car that stops better for under $35k.

    So lets get into how this car performs when driven for fuel economy. As I stated in the stats, it's not a FE machine but you can change its agenda for the better.

    Mazda3 S Touring - Coast down testing.

    The Mazda3 on HWY 75 in OK. just north of where I live and have done coast down testing in the past. That sign is a mark I hit daily for a FAS on my daily grind.​

    I spent way to much time on this test. I first started out testing at 50 psi. Impressed with what I was seeing I pushed the tire pressure to 60 psi. It didn't help one bit. So the tires went back down to 55 psi in the cool of morning.

    Here is a link to a coasting shoot out I did with the Accord, Civic and Ranger for comparison. Ideas on pushing the Civics mpg farther.

    I hit the FAS point at 60 mph and noted the results. They speak for themselves.

    Run60 to 50 mph distance traveled60 to 30 mph distance traveledTotal FAS distance traveled
    First Run.8 miles1.5 miles1.8 miles
    Second Run.7 miles1.4 miles1.9 miles
    Third Run.8 miles1.4 miles1.8 miles

    Average.76 miles1.43 miles1.83 miles

    WOW was I impressed as I expected far lower numbers. The car does not feel like it coasts all that well but the numbers proved otherwise. Considering the larger wheel and tire combo and the fact that it is wearing a semi sport class tire, I was honestly blown away. Because of the great results initially, I was skeptical so to verify, I performed the coast down tests during the morning, evening and heat of the day. The numbers achieved were consistent with the results above no matter the time of day.

    Now knowing that the Mazda 3 coasts with the best of them, I have a feeling the Cd of .32 that is bantered about the net may be close. The larger and more performance oriented wheel and tire combo is not hurting her abilities either! I would have thought the softer compound was doing some damage over all but the results prove otherwise. Look at the picture of the Mazda3 tires parked on the shoulder of HWY 75. Then look at the picture of the Accord parked in the same place in the link posted above. I can assure you the shoulder on the HWY isn't any dirtier then when the Accord was there but the Goodyear’s on the Mazda, thinks it is dirty.

    As I move on into driving the Mazda3 for fuel economy, let us take a brief look at the dyno curve. It is not a dyno run of my vehicle but should be representative of the Mazda3 2.3L’s no matter the locale.


    The Mazda3’s ICE clearly pulls very well right off idle. All one has to do is get it rolling and pull second. Second gear is just too tall a gear to start out of. So first, second and third are very quick up-shifts. There is no horsepower to speak of in the lower rpm's but there is plenty of torque to make it move. So from idle to 3000 rpm, it is a low rpm cake walk. Shifting gears at 3000 rpm will move the car along at a brisk enough pace. It is all that is needed to get on any freeway with a on ramp of any length at all. Zoom Zoom, and you are there :) I try to keep my shift points between 1200 and 2000 rpm during my daily grind driving activities but 2500 + rpm seems to happen all to often :D

    The clutch is not the best I have driven but is no slouch either. The transmission is one of the better ones I have had the opportunity to drive. Both the transmission and clutch are a little heavy however. It all seems dependent on how you choose to shift. If you are shifting slowly, it feels heavy and a bit disconnected. When shifting quick, it leaves its heavy and sluggish ways behind and moves to a brisk, positive and engaging feel. The change in feel does not seem to be dependent on the rate of forward movement but weighted on just how fast the driver wants to make the shifts. To date I have had no snychro clash or bumps. I have also not found the need to rev match from a FAS. Just drop it into fifth if coming off a high speed FAS (third or fourth if running slower speeds) and bump start. It is hard to get a real smooth bump start. Not bad, just not as smooth as I would like. I feel most of this is due to the Mazda3’s so so motor mounts. The Mazda3 has had motor mount issues in the past but they have moved to a stiffer mount thus increasing the harshness IMHO. Key starts are great as the engine fires right up with no hesitation.

    Mazda3 S Touring - Time for some basic mpg numbers.

    Individual tank logs and overall result for Papa's Evil Dream: [​IMG]

    The Mazda3 comes equipped with a 2.3L in it so she is not known to be a hypermilers dream. The car is nowhere near broken in for max mpg levels yet and I do not expect better mpg until next summer. Knowing what I can do, lets face it. I'm on the hot side of the hypermiler curve :angel: The car is just going to have to come to me. And with that, time will tell.

    So lets look at some numbers. The following pictures are of a run on my 20 mile test loop. This loop is 10 miles to the mid point and 10 miles back. All done on the same roads. The run was made on a stone cold engine. Air temp 90F.

    Half way point from initial launch of the segment.--------Back home in the driveway. Full loop complete.

    Low load steady state low speed.---------------------Low speed coast, ice idle in neutral.​

    While these numbers are not terribly impressive, this is not my normal run given my average speed was 32 mph. My normal average speed is 27 mph. And I did have to pass a haying tractor and truck at one of my FAS marks. I figure the results are low by ~ 3 mpg.

    Next I have a series of pictures on a pulse-bleed cycle. I don't pulse-glide much. I'm more of a FAS and load driver. This series of pictures also replicates load driving for me very well on my daily grind. I kind of take our basic tools and modify them as needed for my style.

    Pulse initiation.------------------------------------------Pulse is complete.

    Pulse complete and in an ICE-On - in gear glide.--------------Exiting the high to low speed bleed off.​

    Next move would be another pulse or back to the load driving technique.

    This is a tank picture two tanks ago. This tank ended up coming in at 42.7 mpg by hand calculations w/ no distance or fuel offsets.​

    My last tank came in at 44.7 mpg by hand calculations. The SG-1 showed 44 mpg and was high 10 miles on the total traveled (vs. the Odometer). If this holds up the next few tanks, I can stop fiddling with the SG1 until colder temps later on in the year. I did make a 1% adjustment on the tank capacity last fill attempting to tighten up the tank mpg number.

    Mazda3 S Touring - Electro Hydraulic Power Steering System.

    This thing is an odd duck to say the least. Steering is very engaging with good feedback but its mode of operation is, well, stupid for a hypermiler. Keep in mind; this car steers great without it. If you cannot steer this car without it, you really need to see a doctor and/or a gym of your choice :D Here is the quirk. If you go into a FAS, you will not get the power steering back until you are back under 20 mph with the ice running or until you come to a full stop and re-start the engine. Let us say your in a coast with engine running and you go to make a turn. You have not bled down to 20 mph or under or stopped and restarted the car since your last FAS so EPS is still out. In the middle of a turn, the power steering suddenly and without warning reappears? If you didn't know this was going to happen and were muscling the car around, you could make a rather ugly U-Turn real quick or flat spin the thing out if you are cornering on a wet or slick road condition. As a result, I spend a lot of time with no power steering yet the car steers very good without it. If I can figure out how to keep the pump on and all the safety HW working, I will keep it. Best case is to keep the pump in a duty cycle, of sorts in its own closed loop unhooked from the steering rack, knock the valving system out of the steering rack, lube it up and go with manual steering if it comes to that. If there is another way to keep the other safety systems working and do away with the power steering system all together, that would be GREAT!

    Mazda3 S Touring - In Closing.​

    This is not the average mpg junkies ride. It is an inexpensive but extremely well designed sports sedan. Nothing more, nothing less. It has the ability to get rather good mpg’s but you are going to work for it! The Mazda3 by nature wants to take the road less traveled. I think Mazda's marketing group has gone over the top with ZOOM ZOOM given it is not going to hang with a Civic Si or a TSX. None the less, it is a lot of car for the $17,849.00 dollars I paid for it OTD. Including destination and dealer doc. fees. TT&L was another $683.00 dollars in Oklahoma.

    I look forward to sport FAS’ing this car, some sinful romps on two lanes and pounding out the daily grind. It looks like it is going to fit me well as of this writing. There are some nice suspension upgrades and basic aerodynamic mods that I am currently considering given the ease of installation. All in, a great vehicle at a great price.

    I would like to thank CleanMPG for allowing me to bring you this review.

    Now go get yourself some, if you think it will fit :)

    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2009
  2. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews a 2007 Mazda3 Sedan

    Excellent review, Jeff! I don't think you would like my car. ;)
  3. johnf514

    johnf514 Zoom? Try Glide!

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    Fantastic review! What an excellent read - it was great to see the 3 talked about so positively! Mazda should look into paying you for advertising! ;)

    Thank you for taking the time to put together such a complete and entertaining article - I am excited to see if some of our new hypermilers look towards the Mazda3 as a choice for their eco-driving needs! :D
  4. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    I have the hatchback. Nothing new to add to the review. Mine has been a great car so far, and the first car I've been "emotionally attached" to in a long time. FE is difficult in the kind of driving I do day in and day out, but it's a great car, and I don't rack up that many miles on an annual basis, <10k

    It's been said before, but the "i" models with the 2.0 engine are the MPG champs. You give up a little smoothness (no balance shafts), and only a slight amount of power, but the FE is a significant jump up. The "i Touring" models in my opinion are the best all-around since you get the FE but don't give up the great handling and the creature comforts and accessories.

    All these other things have been said before:
    - the cramped right foot
    - older models the A/C is weak, but 06+ is apparently better
    - wish I could get the 2.0 in a hatchback, but you can't
    - taller top gear would improve MPG and noise on highway cruises
    - Goodyear RS-A tires in winter are frightening

    If I had known that the 07's would have traction control, ESC, iPod interface, and that AWESOME purple color, I would have waited.

    All in all, it's a very good car, and it's aging well. Odd thing is that in European publications and TV shows, this car seems to be considered a little dull. That goes to show you the significant differences in the market for small cars and the choices available in each market.
  5. R1P

    R1P New Member

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    I was very interested in your article about your Mazda 3. I also drive a Mazda 3 a 2005 model with the 2.0 litre engine. I have found it get excellent mileage with this model. Last year Loaded up heavily on a trip to UP michigan I got 38 MPG with the cruise set at 65mph. I was interested in the iFCD you talked about in your article. i feel this would allow me to develop my driving techniques by giving me feedback. I tried the steps you presented to engage it and nothing happened. do you know if this function was availiable on the 2005 model?
  6. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    Ive heard it works on the 06/07's and maybe some 05's. You can find better detail on enabling it on many Mazda site's. But from what I heard it can be off a lot. Mines always 2 mpg shy.

    The 2.0L is a bit more thrifty gas wise. Thats for sure. But not near as thrifty as a new 1.8L Civic.

    Good luck with your 3.

  7. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    Six Months with the Mazda3

    Yep its been six months.

    The time spent with this car has been interesting.

    First and foremost let me share with you this car drives great. It handles great! It goes, stops and turns with the best of them. Its handles well beyond its price point.

    The car has had a couple of problems.

    First being the loose motor mount on the drivers side. I repaired it myself. Just took a reagliment and retorquing.

    Just recently the car started making a bearing noise. The bearing could be only heard at start up and when cold outside. And sometimes after a good romp on the throttle. Bord one morning I went out and found the noise. It turned out to be the outer alternator bearing. Not wanting to go thru all the warrenty hassle of calling, dropping off the car,,, loaner car or ride to work and all the bla bla bla that goes with such a task. I replaced the bearing myself. Took about a hour or so to do. I had a bearing a lip seal new and unused in my collection. Pulled the pully off and inspected the inner bearing. Relubed every thing with M1 grease and put it back on. End of issue.

    The car also had a very hard miss around Christmas time. But it has since went away.

    Other wise the car has held up very well.

    There are a couple of rock pecks on the leading edge of the hood. A few pecks on the front bumper cover. And some small rock dents in the bumper cover paint. All results of the 80 to 100 miles a day the car gets driven thru the week.

    All the body parts have managed to stay aligned and it hasn't given me any problems like my Hondas. Of note one of my daughters and I went to a OU game last fall. Being a cheap arse I was not willing nor was she to pay and park close to the stadium. So we parked about a mile away. To park the car I had to cross a well mowed smooth ditch. We laughed and called it the grassy knoll. Anyway while traversing the ditch at what I thought was a good angle I rubbed the left very bottom corner of the front bumper cover. No marks of any kind were left because of it. But it did pop out the upper fastening point at the fender. I just popped it back in and moved on. With no damage to the fender or bumper cover.

    The interior of the 3 has held up very well to this point. No squeaks or rattle. The drivers floor mat is showing wear. But not bad. I still find it to be one of the most comfortable cars Ive ever owned. Not once has the drivers seat or position made my back hurt. And it has a lumbar support I can actually use. The comfort level the car gives me. Allows me to focus better at the task at hand. Driving!!! Be it hypermiling or bashing down a twisty two lane. Or looking for a way to escape a traffic jam. Ive not had four adults in the car. Thats what Accord is for. But I have had two adults and or adults and a mixture of grandkids and car seats. Its handled its passenger task very well. The climate control system is up to the task. And has some interesting features. I really like how one can control and mix the airflow and direction. But one has to be careful. In at least three of the settings and maybe more it will run the A/C compressor in stealth mode. This does piss me off! Some how I missed this in the owners manual. and Im not sure if there telling the whole truth to start with concerning operation of the climate control system. And to date Ive not found any button hacks to help with the compressor stealth run issue. So this limits some of the settings for folks that care about mpg. ( wags finger at Mazda ) The A/C has preformed its task well when asked. The heat can be a little over bearing at times. The heater seems to go thru a blast furnace stage. And yes I use the heater. ( I know how some of your are ,,, Wayne ) About 8 to 10 miles into my daily grind it has a blast furnace moment. The required action needed to get thru this is roll down a window or two, cuss, fiddle with the controls. Which always seem to end up back where you started and all is fine. Ive read of others with the same problem. Putting my Basslink Sub. in the trunk completed the audio system. No need for any further work there. My ipod works well with the audio systems simple aux jack. I have no need for a ipod interface. The glove box is huge and filling up fast. And the truck space has been used many times. The driver info system is nice and only a button hack away. But its not near as accurate as my old school SG-1. And not worth buying a GT trim over.

    The tires have worn very even on the car with my pressures varying from 47 to 55 psi. Last check I'd taken 4/32 off them. They only had 9/32 on them new I think it was. I know I was upset with the fact that they should of had 10 or 11/32 depth on them new. I just had to wright it off as OEM shorts as some car guys call them. The alignment has held very well. The car has seen gravel roads. Its had all four of its tires off the ground at speed and landed straight and crossed up. Its been driven very hard twice in rally style driving on gravel, dirt, wash board and heavy plate rock type roads. Its taken me over curbs, down side walks, down freeway embankments and such to get out of traffic jams and wrecks. Its wheels have been swallowed up by pot holes and beaten by expansion joints with no ill affects. Its like you get in the car and the steering wheel looks at you with this " no problem " statement. Grab a hold and lets go.

    As for hypermiling. It doesn't want to do it. It wants to rack the tack and fly. And try its level best to be a super car. But with a little attention to detail it will produce well above epa mpg. Im currently holding at 39 mpg on my life time average. I firmly believe its still breaking in and developing its life long wear patterns. I do expect to see better tanks come spring and summer. And now knowing about it stealth A/C compressor habit mpg should get better despite my over all driving habits. Lets face it. 39 mpg for six months aint bad for a 2.3l want to be super car. Granted its mostly hwy driving. It still blows the cars epa 07/08 hwy numbers out of the water. So there is mpg to be had in the car. Its strongest and weakest quality is the engine. Once moving one can see the SG soar. But move that throttle and its tip in drinks gas. And it can be abrupt concerning the throttle to a hypermiler. Fact is there is no need for this strong of a tip in. Once moving tho its a joy to play with. And the abrupt nature of the throttle melts away. It load drives very well. Bust off into to a FAS and it wont complain at all. The battery hangs with me thru thick and thin without complaint. City driving is where it struggles and I blame most of that on the abrupt slow speed tip in.

    Ive done some minor mods to the car. Nothing earth shattering at all.
    Installed my Basslink
    Removed the side moldings.
    Removed the side badges.
    Removed the 3 on the truck.
    Painted the Flying M's front and back and painted the Mazda badge on the back.
    Ive done the throttle body ground mod.
    Removed the intake resonator.
    Installed a WAI for winter.
    And a partial block to the battery duct for winter.

    Maint. to date has been my normal routine. Early on engine oil flush/change. Same with the transmission. Its on a 10k mile service interval. So its only had one oil change since the break in routine. Its also had its tires rotated once. Ive kept is lathered up in Meg's Gold or NXT.

    At close to 14k miles and 39 mpgl.
    Papa's Evil Dream

    The one very bad thing this car has done to me. Is its got me looking at BMW's. I do plan on owning a CR-Z or possibly a Honda diesel of some sort if done to my taste. I have to always have a FE daily grind machine. But to date there is no law against a week end warrior ride. And a small Series 1 or Z4 Roadster might fit that bill very nice. Im getting sick and tired of driving FWD cars all the time.

    The 3 has brought me back to my youth. And will work with me when Im looking at the gas gauge.

  8. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    "The 3 has brought me back to my youth. And will work with me when Im looking at the gas gauge."

    Sounds like you made a good purchase. May we all be so fortunate.
  9. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    Mine could never be a replacement for my deeply loved and missed 83 Civic, but it's the only car since the 83 that I've developed an attachment to that even remotely compares to my attachment to my 83 Civic.

    A diesel and a 6-speed would be pure perfection and would satisfy the competing demands of my needs, my heart, my brain, my pulse, my bank account, and my conscience.
  10. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    If the Mazda was rear wheel drive. I wouldn't be looking at the baby Beamers at all. ;)
  11. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    Jeff, I still think you should look at a MX-5, or maybe even an RX-8.
  12. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    MX-5 / Miata I can't fit in.
    RX-8 I don't want.
  13. busywithkids

    busywithkids New Member

    Re: Jeff Townsley reviews the 2007 Mazda 3 S Touring for CleanMPG.

    I just bought the Mazda3i touring 4dr. and cannot be happier with it. I'm so happy to read the reviews from people who have owned it longer than my 3 weeks! I cannot wait to go out and drive it. I agree with the comfort of the seats and the overall look of the car. I looked at the Accord before buying the Mazda and am so happy that I chose the Mazda3. Anyone who is thinking about getting one, DO IT. The funny part is that my 16 yr old son knew the car way before I did and loves it also. Little did I know that I was stepping into a "sports car" that would be considered cool by the kids lol. Thanks for all your reviews.
  14. Thank you, this review had me smiling. It was gratifying to hear the the bonding process taking place. The 83 would be happy knowing that you are feeling a nice fit. Drive on.
  15. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    100,000 mile update.

    My MZ3 turned 100k miles last week.

    The high points.

    I have a LTMPG of 39mpg. While not steller, not bad for the car over all.
    It's on a third set of tires. But still has it's OEM brake pads and belts. That should tell you something.
    It's still a freaking blast to drive! It fears no Si.
    I did replace the front struts. Not a Mazda failure. I leaped the car a lot in it's first 80k miles. It has put up with some insane outlaw rally type racing and auto cross, with a few 1/4 mile runs pulled at the local Tulsa drag strip.

    Yeah the car has been punished.

    Last weekend I spent some quality time under the hood. I ran the valves and they were still at spec. For comparison the worthless HCHII valves at 100k miles needed adjustment. They were out .005+". The MZ3 was perfect. Not to mention very easy to work on.

    The bad.

    The doors sound like beer cans getting married when you shut a door. It has got very tinny. The exterior window wiping trim has failed. Yeah know the rubber/plastic strips you take for granted when you need them from time to time that trim out the door to window interface. The floor mats and carpet has failed. The floor pan is very uneven. And seeing I wear work boots Monday through Friday the drivers OEM Mat and carpet has worn right through to the pan in many area's. I do heal and toe, trail brake. My feet do dance around in the foot well. While many road testers find the foot well tight and to far to the right. It reminds me of a fine Italian foot well. So there is good and bad concerning that. The uneven floor pan is about rigidity not driver comfort. The ride is firm and road noise has got worse over the miles. But man does that firm ride turn into good things when you start setting the car up and twisting it in. I had to top off the AC charge this summer. The new Freon's suck bad. All it needed was 4 oz. to to get it back. But given the fact that Mazda's A/C is weak to start with. The narrow ban between working as good as it's going to get and complete failure is very narrow due to the controls/safety's and the over all system capacity.

    I have to say: My 2007 MZ3 has been the best first 100k mile car I've ever owned. It had a few minor glitches that Mazda would have taken care of when the car was new. I took care of them myself. And my dealer logged them with corporate. Try that with Honda. LMFAO! The rear bearing in the alternator was to dry. I broke the alternator down and put a dab of M1 grease in the bearing. Issue solved. It also had a motor mount bolt and setup issue. My local Mazda dealer gave me the new bolts to set the mount up as I saw fit. :) And logged the repair as owner addressed. The local dealer also has fan/driver days at the dealer where they put your car up on the rack and let you work on it with dealer support, With major discounts on parts and mods. All diy. There tools, support and all. Find me a Honda dealer that supports there customers like take. Just one! You wont. Or Yota dealer unless there a heavy off road support dealer. And you own one of there 4x4's.

    I have really enjoyed my MZ3. Is it a uber mpg machine? NO. A techno impact machine? NO. Is it the best fit and finish in class? NO. Is it a drivers basic sport sedan that can beat EPA? Yes. Does it have insane levels of support from the dealer to Mazda? Yes. Will I drive it another 100k miles? You bet. :)
  16. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jeff:

    Thanks for the update!

    Now stay away from the Mazda dealership or you might be purchasing a new 14 Mazda3. ;)

  17. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles


    It's a dead heat between the 3 and 6 with the Sport Accord coming in 2nd. :)
  18. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    The best car I have ever owned! And proud to owned it today. :)
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jeff:

    The 3 5-door hatch with the 2.5L and 6-speed MT in is the drive right now.


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