2012 Mazda Mazda3 i Touring new car reviews

The Mazda's design has aged well.
The rear end looks good, too.
Mazda's SkyActiv philosophy isn't just a new engine. It also preaches strong, lightweight body construction.

Better than: The very happy Mazda3
But not as good as: The Mazdaspeed3
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 70.95

Mazda's ever-popular 3 has been subtly updated for 2012. Most notable is a new engine option—the SkyActiv-G 2-liter engine. This engine promises a sizable increase in fuel mileage over the last Mazda3, and it delivers. The Mazda3 is rated at 40 mpg on the highway.

Along with a new engine, this car also has a revised grille, different headlights, different air intakes, and a slightly different rear valance. This somewhat tones down the love-it-or-hate-it looks of the "smiley face" generation of Mazdas.

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Other staff views

Alan Cesar FartSmeller69
SuperDork

I've driven both the manual and automatic-equipped versions of this car. The automatic makes this car thoroughly boring to drive. Stick with the stickshift.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

Not to be an echo, but this was not an exciting car. Mazda has done a great job with the Marketing of their SkyActiv technology, which leads you to believe that all cars so equipped are visceral and exciting.....not so with this Mazda 3. It is completely pleasant, with nice seats, light steering, and a low friction feel that pours the car down the road. What this 3 doesn't provide is any sort of driving excitement. This isn't a penalty box, but it sure isn't a "hot hatch" either.

I couldn't blame someone for buying a Mazda 3 with the SkyActv tech, but I wouldn't. There are better choices for the enthusiast than this competent, but dull Mazda.

Per Schroeder Per Schroeder
PowerDork

The Mazda3 with the Skyactiv engine deal seems like it's married the grunt of the earlier 2.3-liter engine versions with the light-on-its-feet nature of the 2.0-liter version. It's a nice car that pushes a whole lot of buttons for right around 20k.

But would I buy one? No, probably not. It just doesn't get me the way the Mazda2 does. It's nicer than the 2, but not nearly as fun. It seems like the large portion of its extra size is all in the car's bulbous nose and long dashboard.

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

I liked this car. It felt like a bigger, more refined version of the Fiesta. It shifted nicely, the seats were comfortable, it handled well. The only mark against it is that is isn't a 'speed3, and I'd find the extra money for a turbo.

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Comments

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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Mazda's ever-popular 3 has been subtly updated for 2012. Most notable is a new engine option—the SkyActiv-G 2-liter engine. This engine promises a sizable increase in fuel mileage over the last Mazda3, and it delivers. The Mazda3 is rated at 40 mpg on the highway.

Along with a new engine, this car also has a revised grille, different headlights, different air intakes, and a slightly different rear valance. This somewhat tones down the love-it-or-hate-it looks of the "smiley face" generation of Mazdas.

Like what you read here? You can get a whole magazine full of these types of articles delivered to your home or shop 8 times a year. Subscribe now or visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.
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