Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Instapundit noted a review Mazda3 by Mickey Kaus. The Blogfather drives a Mazda RX8 and his brother drives a Mazda6. I drive a Mazda Protege (the predecessor to the 3) so I suppose I'm in good company.

Mickey makes the point that the 3 isn't the kind of car he would want to own. The model he drove was the 2.3 liter 3s version. It has a sportier suspension and while feels great when you throw it through the turns, more sedate daily driving in the 3 leaves him feeling flat. He suggests that boosting sales could be helped by making it less sporty and more comfy.

For those that don't know, it is difficult to have a car which is both sporty and comfy. Comfy usually involves a suspension setup that won't respond quickly in tight sporty cornering and vice versa. For this reason the Protege came in 3 trim grades, the cheap DX, the more cushy LX, and the sporty ES (which I own). Ok and the Mazdaspeed, but that one is turbo charged and doesn't count.

In comparison the 3 comes in two grades. There is the "i" grade which is cheap, but not that cheap at 15 grand before options. Then there is the "s" which is sporty and even more expensive at 19 grand before options. There is no middle option with the bigger 2.3 engine, but a softer suspension. All are overpriced for the market by at least a grand or two.

That grand gets you a lot though. The interiors on these cars are very very nice. The fit and finish is great and you are getting a car comparable to a BMW 3 series for half the price and twice the reliability. But some people aren't going to care that the car is a bargain, they are going to buy something less that still fits their needs.

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