2015 Mazda 3s Grand Touring (Manual Transmission)

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When Mazda redesigned the new Mazda 3 with a new concept idea of Kodo design, I was immediately attracted to the design and turned to invest in this car has widened my eyes. 
I wasn’t a Mazda fan until they redesigned to a car I really love and changed their management into an independent car company away from Ford Motors. All of these applies for me to take a look at this car because I had trouble with my previous car, 2013 Subaru Impreza Sport, that wasn’t over two years old yet but has an issue with engine oil burning consumption. Anyways, the new Mazda 3 that I liked very much is the third generation designed by Koichi Tabata. This particular model that sold in the United States comes from either Hofu, Japan or Salamanca, Mexico. Thankfully my car that I purchased is from Japan. There are proofs to tell where the car is from is by looking at the vehicle identification number with the letter J in the prefix. The other way is by looking at the side interior of the door plate that manufactured from Japan. I am very picky about choosing cars from a specific country because of the higher percentage of quality control is higher than other corresponding manufacturers from a different country. Looking at the vehicles and with many selections are plenty at the dealership, but if you are very detailed and getting a manual and with specific colors, it will take some time to get what you wanted. For me, it took me over two weeks to get a manual car with the color I like. I didn’t get the color I wanted, but it was my second pick as it is Black Metallic Mica with a manual with a 2.5-liter engine in the highest trim. During that time, Mazda has two options for the car, and I wanted to have bright headlights which have high-intensity discharge lamps is only on the Grand Touring trim, which the reason why I got that. When the car arrived at the dealer, and the first time to see my car there with my previous vehicle traded, I was quite excited for the new transition. Although I will miss the all-wheel-drive system Subaru has, and it was an excellent car that has that, but I can deal without it because the most important to drive in the snow is to have right snow tires if needed. December of 2014, my Mazda 3 will be one of the best cars to own and to experience my long-term distance driving.


My Mazda s Grand Touring 4-cylinder engine produces 2488cc,184 horsepower at 185 pounds of torque, which is not bad for the size and power for the car. I tested the car, and it will do zero to sixty in seven seconds in a manual transmission. Top speed I’ve done in this car is at 140 miles per hour. Engine quality and the ride is superb from all the driving experiences I’ve done with the vehicle. I would say this engine is preppy and very fun to drive either in a manual or an automatic transmission. The sound of the engine does give its unique revolutions, and the sound of the engine does provide Skyactiv sound due to the high compression. You will hear engine noise a bit as the car isn’t insulated much in sound dampening. Engine oil it uses is 0w-20 fully synthetic, which Mazda recommends. Changing oil properly will make the engine life longer. Mazda manual said you could change the oil around seven thousand miles, but I usually change my engine oil around five thousand miles. Overall the engine is excellent and driven for over 90 thousand miles, there aren’t any issues. I will give this engine a 5 out of 5 for consistency quality.


One of the first decision to invest in a Mazda 3, for the top trim, is that having the options of a manual transmission available in the United States is a dealbreaker. This option is available to me just before Christmas time of 2014. If I was looking for this earlier for the year, it was only for a lower trim with the smaller engine option. Mazda’s manual transmission is an excellent drivetrain system. For the first time owning a Mazda, the manual transmission is adequate but not smooth like my old 1994 Honda Civic. Mazda 3’s manual transmission gear shifts are a bit stiff, and sometimes it’s hard to put in the specific gear. After two years of owning the car, I was driving to work and during arriving my exit, I was on the on-ramp, and suddenly my manual transmission wouldn’t get into a place where the neutral area is. Good thing that the transmission was set to that level to let my car cruise and I was able to park my car at a nearby parking lot. The problem is that my manual gearbox malfunction where the pin came loose and wasn’t able to put into gear in any direction. So my car can’t be driven until the transmission is fixed. Thankfully my car was under warranty, so my car is fixed with at no charge. It took my car a little over a week to get it to repair with my local Mazda dealership provided me a loaner car with no cost to drive to work while the vehicle is fixing at the shop. After the fix, the transmission works like it’s new, but I would have to second guess with the build quality of its transmission because even though it’s from Japan, this experience gave my ratings for Mazda, not a perfect score. I will provide the drivetrain rating of 3 out of 5 for the experience I had.


Ride quality during the whole experience was outstanding. The suspension is quick and smooth. It handles excellent on uneven pavement and minor potholes. Steering is powered by a motor, which is a new technology to replace hydraulics. I never experience this new technology till owning this car, and the response to electric steering is a bit quicker than older cars. This Mazda 3 ride quality does need some adjustment on road noise because of the lack of sound dampening. It can be stock tires that come with the cars aren’t the best tires that reduce noise but overall. This car isn’t a luxury car like a Mercedes or a Lexus with the ride quality and less noise in the cabin. Overall the ride quality based of my experiences, I would give this car a 3.5 out 5 where it wasn’t the best in areas of noise reduction while driving along the highway, where it does interfere of having a conversation in the car is a bit noisy.


Mazda 3 s Grand Touring is one of the best compact cars out in the market to compete with Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. It does stand out in the competition where Mazda 3s looks more luxurious than the others. In my opinion, the car is one of my personal best favorites, and it’s good to own one. Mazda came a long way to this point to make one of the best cars out there, even though it’s not a large company like Toyota or Honda, I will give this particular model and trim a B- for the overall grading of the car. Would I recommend this car, yes! The third generation design of the car is great, and with newer models for the 2016-2018 models are even better. Mazda redesigns a more unique body design for the 2019 model which I wasn’t fond of the rear design of the car. Although the plus of this new model has a remarkable interior and now has more technologies than before, like Android Auto or Apple Car Play.

Overall grade: B-