Emotion of MotionZoom Zoom. We all know what company the slogan represents, but what does it mean? According to Mazda, “…it means the exhilaration and liberation from experiencing the emotion of motion…”
Zoom Zoom. We all know what company the slogan represents, but what does it mean? According to Mazda, “…it means the exhilaration and liberation from experiencing the emotion of motion…” In line with this review, to me it has always meant that the Mazda3 is a little bit more fun and appealing than the swarms of its Japanese competitors that litter our roads. But times have changed, and the compact car segment has moved forward in leaps and bounds since the introduction of the Mazda3 almost a decade ago. This week we find out if Mazda can still deliver the Zoom Zoom with the 2013 Mazda3 Sport Touring.
The car is still available in 4-door and 5-door (referred to as Sport) variants. The design lines on the car complement a 5-door body style and extra cargo space is always a plus, making the Sport model the obvious choice. I had the 2013 Mazda3 Sport GS-SKY Touring Edition. The GS-SKY is in the middle of the range between the cheaper GX and more expensive GT. The SKY refers to SKYACTIV technology, which in layman terms is the utilization of direct injection along with high compression ratios to achieve extra power (155hp and 148lb-ft) and better fuel efficiency (7.1 City/5.0 H-way L/100km). In fairness to Mazda, there is much more that goes into labeling a car SKYACTIV please visit Mazda’s website to learn more. Our car also came equipped with an automatic transmission and a few option packages that increased the car’s prince by almost $5000 from a Base MSRP of $20695 to our Price as Tested of $25590.
The Mazda3 definitely delivers when it comes to steering accuracy and feel. Though it is not a sports car, the light feel and quick responsiveness definitely make the car fun to drive. The suspension will also not disappoint those customers who are looking for a balanced car; it’s comfortable and still performs well when you want to swing it through the corners. The engine is also exactly where it should be for this segment and price point. While the power will not blow your socks off, it is more than many of its competitors and more than adequate for what this car is designed for. Cargo capacity is great in the Sport model as I found out first hand with a trip to IKEA. The rear seats fold completely flat leaving plentiful space for anything you would want to carry.
However, there are some downsides to the 2013 Mazda3 Sport Touring. The 6-speed automatic transmission in this car is lazy and not as responsive as I would like it to be. Though it does shift quickly, it doesn’t shift at the appropriate time. This was very disappointing as I believe the three ingredients to making a wonderful car are a dynamic suspension, direct steering and great transmission. The car delivers on the first two points, but falls short with the transmission. Luckily though, the car can also be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, which from personal experience I can assure you would transform this car while also leaving $1200 in your wallet.
However, keep in mind that the automatic will deliver slightly better fuel economy. The most disappointing aspect of this car is undoubtedly the interior design. My 11 year old cousin put it best when he sat in car and said, “its so grey!” What he actually meant to say was black, but either way he was correct. The dash is one solid piece of black plastic and even worse is the button layout that looks like it was designed by an individual who has never even heard the word ergonomics. The final negative I experienced was the fuel economy, over the week span I had this vehicle I averaged 7.8L/100km, which is significantly higher than Mazda’s stated figures. In fairness, I am more of a spirited driver than most, but 90% of my driving is still done at a leisurely pace with most other commuters.
Coming back to the original question, does the Mazda3 still deliver the Zoom Zoom? As long as you can live without an automatic transmission, the answer is yes. Moreover, while all the optional equipment (push button start, leather interior, heated seats, BOSE sound system, automatic wipers and headlights etc.) made the car a very nice place to be, I would personally forego the toys and save the money. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this vehicle and even though it isn’t my favourite car in the segment, I would strongly recommend at least a test drive to anyone who is in the market for a compact car.