1 2
jikelly Reader
8/12/09 9:26 a.m.

After dealing with the morons at Bankston Mazda in Ft. Worth we called Hiley Mazda Saturday in Arlington and asked if we could drive a Mazda Speed 3. They had one and would let us drive the car practically straight off the truck.

I love the color of the car we drove, something or other blue. Real pretty, but looks aren't everything right?

Jeffery Macias was our sales assistant, and he was great. He was very knowledgeable about the car, professional, friendly, understanding, I just can't say enough about how great he was.

The car was so new it still had the shrink plastic on it. Jeffery took us out around a bend and I was immediately impressed by the car's handling and his skilled driving. He stopped in a lot and let my wife hop in the drivers seat.

Carlene went to take off and the car jerked and stalled out. I expected her to have a little trouble with the the clutch at first, but she failed to get the car moving on her second attempt and I could tell she was flustered. No need for me to worry though. Jeffery calmed her nerves and calmly instructed her on how to work the clutch. Her next attempt was a slightly stuttering success, but she got it down after a few tries in the lot and proceeded out onto the street.

The Mazda dealer was in a great location, surrounded by nice curvy roads with little traffic on them. We started out on a section that was essentially a large oval around an industrial complex. I could tell Carlene liked the car, but she was still a bit unsure about working the stick shift. I was dumb and far too eager to drive. She did a few laps and then stopped to let me drive. I foolishly jumped at the chance.

The MazdaSpeed 3 is very nice. It's got a 2.3L turbo 4 cylinder engine mated to a 6 speed transmission. The engine has like 263hp and the acceleration was more than I expected. The car didn't pull as hard as my brother's old Buick GN, but the way the power came in was very similar. I guess that's due to the way turbos build boost.

I found myself a bit lost when shifting gears though. I'm used to my old mustang and the huge gap between gates. I couldn't tell if I'd gone over far enough to reach first or not. Shifting quickly, I had no problem adjusting to the short throws or finding the gear I wanted. So it really wasn't an issue. The shifter was great, but just not what I was used to.

Handling was good in the car. I could tell the suspension setup was firm, but it wasn't jarring and felt good over the bumps I could find to test it on. Reminded me that I need to go back to the drawing board with my 73 stang's setup.

Cornering was good. Jeffery said the stability control system was on and keeping the rear tires in line with the fronts. Honestly I don't remember noticing the electronic nanny cutting into the fun. I did try to do a very tight turn in a parking lot and got reminded that all that 263hp is transferred through just the two front wheels. Tight turn + power = understeer. I'm sure I could have figured that out, but I didn't want to push it in someone's new baby.

We'd driven an older Mazda 3 back in Lubbock and the 2010 is improved over that car. I really liked the new information center they added to the top of the dash. The Speed 3 comes with a GPS nav system, but the screen for that's a bit small. That same screen was prefect for displaying the other information available from the system though.

So yeah, we got out of the car and I really wanted to take it home. Sadly we didn't.

I think I found a practical 4 door family car I could love. I was stupid though. I should have let Carlene drive the car more. She's decided she doesn't want a car with a manual transmission and that's the only way the speed 3 comes. This universe is conspiring against me again. That's just how it goes I guess.

We also drove a Mazda3 five door with the new 2.5L engine. It's got like 168 HP and comes with an automatic transmission. It's a strong contender for our next car, but I will always wonder what life would have been like with that other 95hp and snazzy interior from the speed.

If you get a chance to drive one go do it. The car is a blast. If you are in the Dallas area definitely go by Hiley Mazda in Arlington and ask Jeffery to take you out for a Speedy test drive.

Do you guys think there is anyway that I can talk my wife into the speed?

If we don't go with that car then the Kia is my pick. With that new Forte you get a lot of cool stuff and 173hp for around 20,000. That's a few thousand less than the almost as cool Mazda3.

We still need to drive a G6/G8, but the Cobalt SS is OUT. We saw one sunday and found the car completely uncomfortable.

aussiesmg Dork
8/12/09 9:46 a.m.

You need to talk to Margie about this, she seems to love JGs MazdaSpeed3

fixed for me

amg_rx7 Reader
8/12/09 10:34 a.m.

You probably won't be able to talk the girl into it. Some girls love it and enjoy the experience. Most don't. They just like their automatics since it makes driving easier and they have one less thing they need to think about in the driving process making it less stressful for them.

I went through something similar when buying our Mini Cooper S. In the end it doesn't matter much since she drives it most of the time.

81gtv6 Reader
8/12/09 10:48 a.m.

You may want to try going at from a financial point of view. When we were shopping for a newer car for my wife she decided that she was ready for an auto. I found something that said autos were harder on brakes, tires, manuals tend to get better mileage and there is the expense of fluid changes. After laying all of that out she went for the stick again. It may be worth a shot.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/12/09 11:01 a.m.
aussiesmg wrote: You need to talk to Margie about this, she seems to love her MazdaSpeed3

Uh, when did I become a woman?

You're off by one office to the east.


therex SuperDork
8/12/09 11:15 a.m.

My wife loves my Mazdaspeed3, but your big mistake was not having your wife knowing how to drive a manual trans BEFORE you went to look at it.

She's stuck in her mind now, you'll need lots of leverage to pry her out.

A manual transmission makes you a better driver. I believe this. You're more involved in the driving process, hell, you're actually driving versus just sort of the aiming you do with an automatic.

You're right on one point, though. "I think I found a practical 4 door family car I could love." You definitely did. Before the Speed3 I was a big coupe man. I loved 240's and RX-7's and Supras and E36 M3. Never again. It's 5 door hatches for me. The rear headroom, the cargo space, the ease of ingress and egress and the overall practicality. It's what a car should be. Sporty, useful, sexy.

There Is No Car But Hatchback, And I Am Its Prophet.

I wish I could help you. But until you convince your wife that a manual transmission is worthwhile, you are SOL for finding any car with any fun in it. Might as well let your wife buy whatever she wants and go get yourself a toy.

jikelly Reader
8/12/09 11:36 a.m.

Oh she knows how to drive a manual car and has driven my 73, and my brother's 86 and 05 mustangs before around town and stuff. All manual transmissions feel a bit different. Clutch play is always unique to the setup.

I guess I have a toy already. My 73 mustang is fun to drive, but she doesn't really like it much. I think it's too performance oriented for her tastes, and, there is no air conditioner. The only reason we are seriously looking to buy a car is because she had to drive it to work one hot summer day while her Camry was in the shop for AC repair.

Buzz Killington
Buzz Killington Reader
8/12/09 1:51 p.m.

if you can't convince her to go with a stick, try the G8. one nice antidote to autotragic lameness is a big helping of torque. and if you need more space than that car gives you, you're in minivan-land. you can probbaly get a G8 GT for close to what you'd pay for a new MS3.

jikelly Reader
8/13/09 10:52 a.m.

We went to the pontiac dealer yesterday after work but didn't drive a G8. They were seriously picked over and of the 10 G8's they had only two were left. Both V6s, neither with the new direct injection engine. The salesman said they won't be getting the 2010 models. Guess we should have looked while we were in Dallas.

My wife did drive a G3. Not a bad little car, nice interior, Carlene reported it drove well, but it is a hair too small to replace the Camry. And there is no power.

fastmiata New Reader
8/13/09 9:34 p.m.

One drive hooked Debbie on the MS6. She likes it even better with the Corksport cold air intake which added some juice plus seemed to smooth out the power too. The shifter is very spring loaded and requires some thought until you are familiar with it

ReverendDexter HalfDork
8/13/09 9:40 p.m.

Why does this feel like a canoe to me?

Strizzo SuperDork
8/13/09 9:49 p.m.

the shifter is a bit wonky for people used to the preciseness of a rear-drive trans. and the engine, while large-ish displacement, idles a bit low which makes starts from a stop a challenge sometimes. a lot of folk (me included) have raised the idle 100 rpm or so via the accessport from COBB. this makes pulling away from lights much more smooth.

also, its not a total loss if you don't convince her on the ms3, the mazda3 is still a very capable hatch, and will get even better mileage. if you were to try and find a GT will all the options that a ms3 comes with, you'd probably be only about 3 grand cheaper than a ms3, which means it should be an easy sell if you can sell her on the stick.

littleturquoiseb Reader
8/13/09 10:44 p.m.

My wife won't drive automatics .... She and didn't like the MS6 transmission, wanted something less racy more plush.... didn't take long to get her into the Subaru 2.5 GT ... AWD like she wanted (we live on a snowy mtn), very nice interior, and the torque monster motor + 5speed was much more relaxing power then the MS6 peeky 6spd.

walterj Dork
8/14/09 12:13 a.m.

Your mistake was bringing the wife at all. If she does not drive a stick then she isn't a "car person" yet. The way to introduce a new car to the family is to pull up in it and announce "I bought a new car".

The ladies in here will all bristle with misplaced sexism (well, at least in this case) I'm sure... but then again, they all row their own gears IIRC.

Brust Reader
8/14/09 7:28 a.m.

I was thinking canoe at first too- this car has been heavily discussed here, and we're gearheads, so no need to relay the specs.

If this is real, just get the car-- say look, it's fundamentally a better vehicle than any of the others. Great quality and great resale value. You'll fall in love with it in time.

Strizzo SuperDork
8/14/09 8:36 a.m.

if it was a canoe, why would he pan one mazda dealer over the other? also his described experience is similar to the one i had with freeman before going to hiley in hurst. i will say i do like the new interior, but the exterior is a bit "polarizing". kinda like the pignose wrx when it came out.

Schmidlap Reader
8/14/09 11:37 a.m.

Being a selfish bastard, I'd go the other way and try to convince her to go for the cheapest automatic Mazda 3 I could find. Mazda's website says you can get a 4-door with the 148hp engine and 5speed automatic for $17,575. The cheapest Mazdaspeed3 you can get is $23,945, a difference of $6370, not including less gas and presumably cheaper insurance. That's 3 Challenge cars! Do you think the MS3 will be more fun than 3 Challenge cars? I think not.


8/14/09 2:51 p.m.

Have you thought about a 2009 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V ???? it seems to be the forgotten car of the sport compact relm... 2.5L, 200hp, 180ft lbs. torque, 6-speed, 4-door...

My wife is not a car person and she cannot drive a manual, this is the only car that we have looked at that she loved, it had way more room than anything else that we test drove, and we test drove a lot of cars... MSRP is around $21k, but I usually find them for about $19k out the door...

Brust Reader
8/14/09 6:39 p.m.

"The MazdaSpeed 3 is very nice. It's got a 2.3L turbo 4 cylinder engine mated to a 6 speed transmission. The engine has like 263hp and the acceleration was more than I expected. "

I guess it sounded like an ad to me. We all know on this board that it's a 2.3 4 cyl turbo. It's been discussed enough that locosts start to look new and interesting compared to a new discussion on the speed 3. I think, with respect to the originator, that the post could have been pared about 2/3 and gotten the same point across, but everybody's different.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow Reader
8/14/09 6:57 p.m.

Fix this:

She's decided she doesn't want a car with a manual transmission

and it will open the door to the mazdaspeed or even some other interesting car.

If you don't fix that, your screwed (even if you decided on a different car)

jikelly Reader
8/19/09 3:44 p.m.

The owner of the dealership sent me an email the other day. He offered to throw in a spa massage with the Speed 3. No dice, wife just giggled. I think I'm hosed.

She want's a Mazda 3 though. It is a nice car. I'll just have to sneak out and find a turbo kit for it.

Dav New Reader
10/22/09 7:12 p.m.

Back from the dead... what did you end up doing? I was in a similar situation. My wife hates automatics and has never owned one. We test drove a few cars including the Mazdaspeed 3 and the Legacy GT. In the end we wound up getting her a White Hot G8 GT with black and red leather, cause as was posted above, a big V8 does a heck of a lot to make an auto easier to accept. Not to mention, it was cheaper than the Legacy and about what the local dealer wanted for a 'Speed 3... . She loves it.

karlt_10 New Reader
10/22/09 8:19 p.m.

After having looked at the standard 3 and Speed3 just today while dropping-off for alignment, the car is uglier in person than it is in print and video. It looks like a clown throwing-up his own tongue. Get rid of that bumper cover and it has chance.

Your wife has good taste if she doesn't like it.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
10/22/09 10:27 p.m.

Our '10 Speed3 press car just left today. I didn't get to spend as much time with it as I had hoped, but I'll share the following reactions.

My car ('08 MS3)—in my opinion—is waaaaay tougher looking. Just looks more muscular and stretched over the wheels instead of the swoopy, spaceship look of the newer one.

Having said that, the new interior is nice. Not better or worse, but very, very nice. The boost gauge, however, is a joke.

The biggest thing I can point to as being an improvement is the taller gearing in 1st and 2nd on the '10. My car is exceptional at turning Yokohamas into black dust with those low gears. The '10 has longer legs, and can use them.

Aside from that, the new car feels about the same from behind the wheel. I certainly don't regret not waiting for gen 1.5.


RexSeven Dork
10/22/09 10:32 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: The boost gauge, however, is a joke. jg

How so? I just got an '07 MS3 and one of the items on my to-do list is a boost gauge.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners