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JtspellS
JtspellS Dork
10/1/13 8:27 p.m.

Right so owning in order,

06 MZ3i 2.0 (of the lot new with 5sp) 08 MS3 (still miss that mofo) 03 MP5

I loved the 3i for what it was (around 40 MPG highway if you were careful) and did and would suggest over anything else in the base small car segment any day, if you are looking for much more then that well you should upgrade,(had this for about 2.5 years) and I did!

Got the MS3 after lots of pressure from friends and a few test drives and just fell in love with boost (STILL miss it!!!!) and for its size it was silly nimble. With at least 10-14 autocrosses and 2 track days with it I was crazy for it, then a lot happened in my life causing me to get my RX8 that the ex wife "hated being in" and I was head over heals with, had the MS3 for about 3.5-4 years.

Realized with terrible Maryland drivers and MPG in the RX8 I needed a DD, So I fell on my current MP5 witch is amazing for what it is, nimble, responsive and good (not great) MPG. The KLDE engine and the transmission leave me wondering how many people from the boards I can recruit to do a 2-3 week swap of a OBD2 KLD/ZE swap but is great for the rallycrosses I use it for as well as the DD that it is.

The0retical
The0retical HalfDork
10/2/13 4:39 a.m.

If OP is considering an MS3 there's a list of problems with them. Just occurred to me that you didn't specify but that's the only one I know of problems in.

The dead tree GRM had a good write up on what to look for a couple months ago. I'd add a couple things to it so you don't have to go digging through the very rude and petulant Mazdaspeed forums:

1) The rear motor mount is notoriously weak for the car and tends to fail. There's a number of good aftermarket replacements for it.

2) There's been a number of issues dealing with carbon buildup on the valves due to the fact that it's direct injection. There's no fuel washing over the valves so they tend to accumulate quite a bit of buildup by the 70k mark. So you'll want to have the motor compression checked before you buy and possibly use that as a negotiating ploy because you'll have to clean the tops of the valves.

There's two options to solve that:

2a) Install a catch can which is more of a stopgap and just delays the issue but gives you a good number of miles more.
2b) Install an EGR block off plate which solves the issue but bypasses some of the emissions controls and throws the check engine light.

3) There's been reports that the motor leans out a high RPMs causing an excessively lean condition. The cheap solution is to get the cam driven fuel pump internals and convert to a high pressure pump.

4) My 2011 without the tech package pretty much has the worst stereo of any car I've ever bought, including my 1995 GXE Nissan Sentra that was flood damaged when I bought it. It sounds like someone beating two sticks on a DVD case.

There's other issues encountered when upgrading too but that's to be expected when you modify. Stock it's pretty reliable overall.

Edit: As other are mentioning there's a known problem with the AC compressor on most Mazda3s. From what I've read the aftermarket ones fix the issue.

octavious
octavious Reader
10/2/13 8:05 a.m.

My wife has a 2008 Mazda 3, hatchback, 2.3 and a 5 spd, purchased new in 2007, in galaxy gray mica, and just went over 101k miles this past weekend. It has been a great car for us. Maintenance wise it has needed a new A/C compressor (replaced this summer) and a new motor mount (also replaced this summer, and they are liquid filled). Other than that it has needed one set of tires at 65k miles and regular fluid changes. I am planing to do the brakes, plugs, and trans fluid this winter. I am also planning to do the clutch in the next 20k miles. Other than that it has been a great car.

As a hauler it has done pretty good. We recently had to get a roof rack and a cargo back. Car still averaged 25-26 MPG on a 1k+ road trip with the box and two bikes on the roof. Without the box and bikes it still averages 30-33 MPG depending on who is driving.

I personally think the car could use a couple more HP. It goes good don't get me wrong, but it doesn't have throw you in the back of the seat power or anything. It is a fun car to drive though. It is also one of those cars you can drive and have fun on surface streets and no one will bat an eye.

I'm 5'11" and I drive it fine. On long trips my right knee sometimes rest on the center dash so I wish it had just a little more room there but I found sliding my seat back one notch after getting on the interstate takes care of that problem.

Ours has been a good car. My wife refuses to part with it. And I suggest them to people all the time.

I have not driven a Protege, Skyactive, 2.0, 2.5, or automatic Mazda 3. In fact, this is probably the only Mazda3 I have driven. I did drive a MazdaSpeed6 with the manual and was impressed. The one I drove was pretty beat up and it was still fun. It had the power that I think the regular 3 lacks.

EDIT added- No rust on my wife's car. Was in WV for a winter, then Nashville TN for 3 and Knoxville TN since. Also if you do plan on doing your own maintenance it does have a stupid plastic drip shield underneath. You have to remove the shield to do an oil change. Its not hard, but it is about 7 extra bolts, and two plastic doodads to take out just for an oil change.

trigun7469
trigun7469 Reader
10/2/13 10:29 a.m.

The reason why I am looking at the P5, 3, & 6. I need a vehicle that gets excellent MPG, low maintenance, can tow a kart trailer (400-500 pounds), is available in a manual transmission, cheap(comparatively speaking), can fit in my garage, fun to drive, and comes as a hatchback. Any other recommendations for vehicle?

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/2/13 12:06 p.m.

In reply to trigun7469:

Mazda3 is the winner there, man. A Focus SVT might be worth a look. The Mazda6 hatch is not a traditional hatch.

Vigo
Vigo UberDork
10/2/13 11:17 p.m.

Focus SVT is a good idea. They probably get better mpg than 2.3 mazda3s and a nice one is the same price as a cheap/nasty 3.

crazycanadian
crazycanadian Reader
10/3/13 1:37 a.m.
JtspellS said: The KLDE engine and the transmission leave me wondering how many people from the boards I can recruit to do a 2-3 week swap of a OBD2 KLD/ZE swap but is great for the rallycrosses I use it for as well as the DD that it is.

Look into a KLG4 swap instead... Its OBD2 systems properly match up to the same standards as the P5... The OBD2 KLDE/ZE doesn't quite work for emissions testing up here.. A friend of mine tried... KLDE OBD2 computers aren't quite OBD2...

After doing the KLG4 swap in my 323 I believe its possible to fit one in a P5 and make it work like it rolled off the factory floor...

As for the OP... I like both the 3 and the P5... I bought my better half a P5 after her Mx3 was written off... We have loved it... The gas mileage is very reasonable... She averages between 7.2 - 7.6L/100km... Thats in a mix of hwy and stop and go traffic...

The 3 has more pep to it then the P5.. Both are prone to front wheel bearing failures.. Both cars feel about the same.. the 3 might be a little more refined, but I haven't noticed to much of a difference...

Both cars would handle what you need them for well... I have loaded our P5 up a number of times to take the family camping and such.. Like any little 4 cylinder car it could use a little more power but it did good running up and down the mountains..

trigun7469
trigun7469 Reader
10/4/13 7:45 p.m.

Hi what about a 06 vw rabbit?

ditchdigger
ditchdigger SuperDork
10/4/13 9:36 p.m.
trigun7469 wrote: Hi what about a 06 vw rabbit?
trigun7469 wrote: I need a vehicle that gets excellent MPG,

These two statements conflict each other

Wizard_Of_Maz
Wizard_Of_Maz
10/6/13 12:10 p.m.

I own a Mazda6 3.0 auto. Reliable car (minus some known issues with 6-speed autos in 2005-2006). I would highly recommend either the Mazda6 3.0 manual or the Mazda3 2.3 manual. The auto versions of the 6 really lack some pep, and so does the manual 2.3 in the Mazda6. The 3.0 manual is a pretty fast car that handles very well

Knurled
Knurled UberDork
10/6/13 4:13 p.m.
trigun7469 wrote: What should I be looking for?

Miata?

trigun7469
trigun7469 Reader
10/7/13 2:54 p.m.
Knurled wrote:
trigun7469 wrote: What should I be looking for?
Miata?

To small, I need a 4dr hatchback

fidelity101
fidelity101 Dork
10/7/13 3:11 p.m.
ditchdigger wrote:
trigun7469 wrote: Hi what about a 06 vw rabbit?
trigun7469 wrote: I need a vehicle that gets excellent MPG,
These two statements conflict each other

I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!!!!!

(sorry, couldn't resist!)

trigun7469
trigun7469 Reader
10/8/13 8:44 a.m.

I found a Mazda 3 2.3 liter, the engine is blown and will needs to be replaced, which they have a parts car. I don't have the time, mechanical inclination, or room, to do the swap. I am located in Erie, Pa and the car is just west of me in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Anybody local that can do the engine swap?

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