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Old 7th March 2008, 03:10   #1
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Default 2004 Mazda 3: 37,000 miles on the odo!

I bought my 2004 Mazda 3s in September 2004,when I moved from Bowling Green (Ohio) to Houston,Texas. I had been contemplating getting a coupe or an SUV. The Hyundai Tiburon & the Toyota RAV4 were my initial considerations. Test drove over 8 cars,and almost signed the papers for the RAV4.After quite a bit of thought,I decided against it.

I decided to head to the Mazda showroom to see what they had to offer.My first car in the US was a 1993 Mazda Protégé,that I bought in 2002 as a student.It served me very well,and the only expenses incurred in 2 years of onnwership being a muffler+ battery change. I was quite impressed with the way Mazda cars handled. 3 of my friends ended up picking up the Mazda 636.
I was quite particular about having a stick shift (manual tranny,i.e). The dealership happened to have a 3s (sport) version, with quite a few options on it. It has a 2.3L DOHC 16-valve engine that puts out 160bhp. Being a FWD,its pretty peppy and takes off without any issues.Test drove the car,and I really liked every bit of it. Next stage of haggling,and a good price came my way. Signed the deal,and off I was with the car.]

Its been over 3 years,and with under 20miles a day,its not had any problems what so ever (touch wood!!). Few long distance trips- Dallas,Starkville,Austin,San Antonio to name a few. The only time I pushed the car to its limits was when I drove back from Starkville (Mississippi),doing 125mph on the freeway. My trustworthy radar-detector worked just fine,and made sure to pick up any radar/laser output from cops. Apart from that,its usually 75-80mph on the freeways.

Some of the stuff on the car:
ABS.
17" alloys, BF Goodrich G-force performance wheels {225/55ZR17}.
6-CD system,with 6 speakers.
All controls on the steering wheel.
Sunroof






And here's something that made me get the car from the dealer- Free oil & Tire changes for life. Thats right, I can get the tires changed any number of times,as long as I have the car. The 1st set of tires lasted 22K miles,and I got these BF Goodrich tires last January. All I paid was $80 for the tire rotation & balancing. Elsewhere,the least I would have paid was $350.

Being a stick shift,I get a decent FE of 24mpg within the city,and 32-33mpg on the freeway.






The interiors..






The 30,000 mile service did wonders to the car. A complete transmission fluid flush,A/C coolant flush,complete oil change,doors & hinges were checked for signs of rattling,interior & exterior cleaning & all other fluids being topped off.


Overall, its been a superb choice. I'm really glad that I got this in place of my initial options. Being a sports sedan,it can be thrown around corners at 70mph,and it won't complain. I plan to take it to the race track sometime soon,and see how it handles. Houston has a race track that lets you bring in your own car for testing. Will be fun to throw the machine around tight curves & laps ( err..those on the track,of course).

I must say that Mazda has come a long way since its 323s, 636s & 929s. The Mazda 3 & Mazda 6 are real fun to drive cars,thanks to all the technological improvements introduced by Mazda. The MazdaSpeed versions have so much power,its incredible. The Speed3 has 260bhp!! I wanted to get my car fitted with the turbo-kit,but that can't be done at a Mazda dealership.Of course,elsewhere I'd have numerous options.

Well,its quite a long report. I hope you all like the pics.

Have a good one!
Nitin

Last edited by Nitin : 7th March 2008 at 03:15.
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Old 7th March 2008, 04:14   #2
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Hey, thats an unexpected / different review to read here.
The car looks very clean and well-kept. Suggest routing the detector cable to achieve a "stealth" look - that'll also avoid it getting in the way.

Thats an awesome deal regarding free oil & tyre changes - should be saving you some cash. What's the maintenance interval like and how's the car holding up so far? Low mileage for a 3+ year old car.

Are you happy with the BFGoodrich tyres?

I'm sure the dealer should be able to hook you up with MazdaSpeed performance enhancements - shouldn't be a big issue - else just get them installed elsewhere. Are you out of warranty, yet?

Last edited by aah78 : 7th March 2008 at 04:18. Reason: Info
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Old 7th March 2008, 04:16   #3
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Hey Nice review Nitin.

My sister has a similar car which I forced her to buy. Its a 05 Charcoal 2.3 auto w/ sport package, leather but no sunroof. BTW, her spoiler looks different from yours. Its an arch type vs your is a lip type.(what gives?) Cost 20.5 OTR...how much was the damage for you.

I drive the car whenever I am in Seattle and I just love it. After BMW, Mazda is my choice for cars that can handle. The steering feel is to die for. I find it odd that center vents are square and side vents are round. Also the wheel design causes scrapes when parallel parking downtown. Ours is scraped couple places.

Only complaint so far is low FE compared to Civics and corollas. 24-25 mpg doesn't cut it nowadays.

The MazSpeed3 is a Direct Injection engine which means different cylinder head. You have to get an after market turbo kit if you want.

Last edited by Mpower : 7th March 2008 at 04:20.
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Old 7th March 2008, 18:58   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aah78 View Post
Hey, thats an unexpected / different review to read here.
The car looks very clean and well-kept. Suggest routing the detector cable to achieve a "stealth" look - that'll also avoid it getting in the way.

Thats an awesome deal regarding free oil & tyre changes - should be saving you some cash. What's the maintenance interval like and how's the car holding up so far? Low mileage for a 3+ year old car.

Are you happy with the BFGoodrich tyres?

I'm sure the dealer should be able to hook you up with MazdaSpeed performance enhancements - shouldn't be a big issue - else just get them installed elsewhere. Are you out of warranty, yet?
Thank you,Sir!
My office is under 10 miles from home,so the maximum I do in a day is 20miles.Very rarely do I need to go out of this area,especially towards downtown. The Houston average miles a year is 15K, I do around 10K.

I am really happy with the BF Goodrich tires. They've got amazing road grip!I do try my best to take care of the car. If not anything else,an extensive cleaning every 1-2 months.

The guy told me that I can't fix the MazdaSpeed kit on my car. Its not offered as an additional fixture,but comes from the factory in the new cars. I might be better off trading my car in for a new one.
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Old 7th March 2008, 19:01   #5
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Hey Nice review Nitin.
The MazSpeed3 is a Direct Injection engine which means different cylinder head. You have to get an after market turbo kit if you want.
Thanks,Mpower.

True,mileage within the city isn't the best,but with 33-34mpg on the freeway its not that bad.All depends on the driving style.
I liked the lip spoiler more than the wing spoiler. My car cost close to $21K,with the package I got.

You are right about the after market kit.No way that I can get the Mazdaspeed kit fixed. I haven't thought about it yet. I'd ideally like to sell my car off once I'm done paying for it. It'll be a beemer next.
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Old 7th March 2008, 23:16   #6
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Good Review Nitin,
I had got a Mazda 3 for a weekend and I absolutely loved it. I liked the fit and finish. The semi automatic gearbox is great as well.
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Old 8th March 2008, 01:20   #7
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Originally Posted by Stratos View Post
Good Review Nitin,
I had got a Mazda 3 for a weekend and I absolutely loved it. I liked the fit and finish. The semi automatic gearbox is great as well.
Totally agree with you,Stratos.
I was quite amazing at the quality of the car,when I first test drove it. I could have hit myself over & over,for not considering a Mazda again. The RAV4 & the Tiburon are good in their own ways,but there was something about the 3 that swept me off my feet.

A friend of mine (just to mention,one top-shot guy who's a VP in an oil Co in Houston) was really impressed with the way the car handled. He used to have an M3,and given that he's always driven cars costing nothing less than $50K,he felt that the Mazda 3 felt more than just another $20K car.
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Old 11th March 2008, 14:59   #8
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The looks great for such an odo read. Something that has 160bhp and giving you 9kmpl is good.

What other coupe options you had? How will you rate the Mazda vs the Hyundai you had in mind? Why didnt you go for the Toyota?

And those Civics?
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