Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Mazda3 Speed: Long Term Test Update # 3


I wish I could say everything is running like clockwork with my long-term test 2017 Mazda3 Speed, I really do. In truth, six months after taking delivery, the overall experience has still been fairly positive, but it’s not without its share of problems.

1,718 kilometers since the last report (3,889 kilometers run in total now), my Mazda3 Speed went in for its prescribed 6-month / 10,000-kilometer PMS. Still covered by Mazda’s Yojin-3 package which covers all Preventive Maintenance Service (PMS) jobs for up to 3 years or 60,000 kilometers (parts and labor), I didn’t have to pay a single cent. And since my “home dealer” is Mazda Makati, having a great Japanese restaurant located inside the premises made the 3-hour wait go by quickly. The people at Mazda Makati are all professional and friendly too—updating my service status every hour or so. All flying colors here.

I also happened to do a little experiment on how much more fuel efficient the Mazda3 is with the i-stop turned off. After driving it for a month, I can say for sure that the Mazda3 equipped with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine is 10-12 percent more fuel efficient with the i-stop engaged.

Sadly, some problems started creeping up with the car itself; some were easy to fix while others necessitated or will necessitate an unscheduled visit to the dealer.


There are a couple of build quality issues surrounding the Mazda3’s “Speed” body kit. After hitting a nasty bump (which also happens to be my office parking entrance), the driver’s side high-gloss side skirt came loose. Upon closer inspection, I’m shocked to know that these skirts were installed with just double-sided tape. Personally, I’d like to have some screws or pins there in case the adhesive wears off. That said, at least it was a very easy to fix since I keep a stock of automotive-grade double-sided tape at home.


Another unique feature of the Speed that’s caused some inconvenience is the blue-colored brake caliper. In this case, it’s started to flake off on the front driver’s side (and to a small degree, the front passenger’s side as well). This one required a quick trip to the dealer to have it touched up. It was done, but some of that blue paint found its way onto the fender. Thankfully, the paint was still fresh enough that it was easy to rub off.


The oddest problem though is how a small spider managed to find its way inside the rear combination lamp. Seeing it during my routine wash, I actually checked the internet for any spider-related recall for the Mazda3 (good news: there are none), before I proceeded to remove it. With a can of compressed air (which I also use to clean the interior), I reached from the back, removed the turn signal bulb, and after a couple of squirts, it’s gone.

All in all though, the most pressing problem still remains the oddly behaving i-stop system.


After the OE Panasonic Enhanced Flooded Battery (EFB) or deep cycle battery was diagnosed as faulty a month (30 days) into this long-term test, it was replaced with a Motolite deep cycle battery. And though it was running smoothly for a time, the same problem started recurring right after the last PMS.

To recall, at least once every drive (whether short or long distance), i-stop would fail to restart the engine after the brake pedal is let go. The Active Driving Display and Mazda Connect would then blare out an ominous warning wanting me to pull over the car safely. Switching off the engine and immediately turning it back on solves the problem. It will recur during the next drive, though.

Now, since this car is hooked up to a CTEK Battery Sense (it measures voltage and temperature) and trickle charged once every two weeks, it most likely has nothing to do with voltage. A friend then suggested that it probably has to do something with the battery’s amps, or more specifically, the cranking amps. He reckons that the battery isn’t pushing out enough amps to re-start the motor. And since the car does take some time to start up when cold (it’s still a one-push affair, though), he may be right. This requires another visit to the dealership to check.


Oh, and on the subject of the Motolite battery, the casing has also developed a crack a few months ago. This has caused corrosive fumes to start eating into the battery tie down. I ended up re-painting the bottom portion of the battery tie down while also applying duct tape on some parts of the battery and the battery tie down from preventing the corrosion from happening again.


Ending this report on a positive note though (well, three positive notes), the squeaking sound from the steering column (reported during the last long-term test) is now gone after some squirts from a can of WD-40. In addition, I found a very nice hard-type key fob case that looks nice and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Finally, I’ve managed to stretch the Mazda3’s legs with a drive up to Baguio. While there’s one minor hiccup: the DSC warning light turned on (it turned itself off after I pulled over at a service station), it’s performed impeccably. It’s averaged 17.54 km/L during that drive. Oh, and that G-Vectoring Control? It’s magic. I arrived after a 4 and a half hour drive still feeling fresh.



Questions or comments about your own Mazda3 experience? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line on Twitter or Instagram.

2017 Mazda3 Speed Long-Term Test Update # 2

Months Since Last Report: 3
Kilometers Covered: 3,889
Kilometers Since Last Report: 1,718
Average Lifetime Fuel Consumption (km/L): 9.45
Best Fuel Consumption (km/L): 12.34
Worst Fuel Consumption (km/L) 7.63

Maintenance / Issues / Cost:
  • Side skirt came loose – FIXED (DIY)
  • Brake caliper paint flaking off – FIXED, FREE (COURTESY OF DEALER)
  • Spider in the rear combination lamp – FIXED (DIY)
  • Faulty i-stop system – STILL TO BE CHECKED
  • 6-month / 10,000-km PMS - FREE
Out of Pocket Expense:
  • NONE
Past Updates

38 comments:

  1. Ito pala yung sinasabi ng mazda fanboys na premium build quality? LOL.

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    1. Much better still than your shitty Civic.

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    2. Yah Mazda better, because its 97 years company car

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  2. Surprised that the kit is just sticked on. Come on Mazda, at least have the decency to drill it since you are asking for more than 130k premium over the regular 2.0R

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    1. The side skirts are stuck on. The front and rear ones though may have pins or screws.

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  3. man that sucks. imagine if you really bought that car and 6mos into it having those kind of problems

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  4. Mine is 11 months now, 2.0 R variant. Total distance is 6000km+ and I never had a problem and I use the istop only in very heavy traffic.

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    1. The trick here is to not always use the istop every minor stop, analyze the flow of traffic and the stoplight. If I analyze that I will stop for about 30 seconds or more, I step on the brakes fully to activate istop, if any less than that, I just lightly step on the brake and not use istop. Or if you are annoyed by the istop, just set the aircon temp to 18 degrees and it won't activate, just lower the fan speed if it is too cold.

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    2. Funny how you mazda owners justify shitty engineering by doing a workaround on an issue. On other cars you don't need that. Pathetic. Premium build quality and fun to drive pa more!

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    3. Funny that you guys have nothing better to do than troll a Mazda review. And actually pretty minor problems (side skirts et al). Re: the I-stop - yup thats what happens when you try to innovate. Honda do that much lately? Dont think so. Honda Bitter pa more! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

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    4. You're bashing the build quality based on side skirts? If you take some time to visit the dealership, sit inside the interior of both a Mazda 3 then a Civic, you'll see the difference in the material quality. Other cars don't have that because they don't have that kind of tech.

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    5. So you're saying the mazda 3 automatically has better build quality because it feels more premium on the inside? Right...

      Innovate? The istop failing is credited to innovation? Are you even from planet Earth? In our planet that's called shitty engineering. They should have done more extensive testing before they even put that s*** in a car, plus the car has been out for quite some time now, they should have fixed the issue by now but NO, it's still a piece of crap. Makes me wonder how their new Skyactiv X will turn out kung ngayon pa lang ganito na sila.

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    6. The istop is originally designed in normal traffic light stops, that's why you don't hear any complaints in 1st world countries whereas in here, the traffic moves very slowly which is unsuitable for the istop. But the istop aside, the car is among the top in thr c segment. It's only flaws are the istop and the tight rearseats.

      So what is your definition of build quality then? A cheap plasticky interior like in the Civic? The RS feels less cheap due to the leather trim but it is clearly overpriced. The Mazda 3 R has better overall value. But, for me, the jetta currently has the best value in the segment, a euro sedan w/ a diesel engine and fully packed with features.

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    7. Just to clear things up, build quality =/= reliability. A car may feel cheap but that doesn't mean its unreliable.

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  5. Mine is 2.5yrs already (2.0R) without any problem.... istop is turned off for stop and go as well...

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  6. The Mazda 3 is not what the fanboys have been bragging about at all. It has its own flaws similar to other brands. So much for build quality advantage blah blah.

    That blue caliper looks RICE. A speed model but has a power and torque of a regular sedan doesn't jive well.

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  7. Hello Mr. Uly

    Really happy to read your update. Seems like you've got issues with your unit and that's unfortunate, specially for the battery. The spider related recall made me laugh but I wonder how that got in there. I picked this model over the Civic RS and I'm very happy, never got any issues since September. the I-stop system works great and I've learned that it will engage when you step hard on the brakes on a full stop or when you switch to neutral. I usually activate it on stop lights with timers and situations where I know I wouldn't need to move the car for a minute (But in heavy traffic I just keep it off). I also do engine braking as it charges up the battery. The body kits made me more cautious when I drive through areas with pot holes and speed bumps. I usually attack steep speed bumps slowly with a diagonal line. As for the DSC, mine flashed once while I was driving through a muddy road on my way home but no wheel spin and it seemed normal. Overall I'm very happy with the car and I love the way it drives. I must say the Civic RS felt more comfortable around the city but the Mazda 3 feels more engaging to drive.

    I hope you could get your issues sorted out specially the battery problem. One question though, how'd you get that key fob case and how much? Will be staying tuned to this site. Thanks!

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    1. I've driven my fair share of Mazda Skyactiv models, so all this came as a surprise. Still, I'm pretty much happy with the general performance of the car despite these minor issues.

      So far, dealership personnel didn't find any data logs that could point out why the i-stop would fail (these high-tech ECUs actually record everything that happens with the car even if you clear the fault codes). They'll do a more thorough test on Monday though.

      As for the key fob cover, I got it on Amazon. They sell the silicone type too, but they just feel too cheap. The one I got makes the key fob itself thicker, so you can't put a keychain around it...no issue for me, since I don't use a keychain. It cost around USD 15. I think you can find cheaper options in Japan if you frequent there--perhaps at Autobacs.

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    2. Thanks for the response Mr. Uly. I hope your dealership gets to find out what's wrong and actually fix it. It would be nice if they could check out the battery and the capacitor if they still send out standard values. Would be nice to know how well your dealership treated you.

      One thing I forgot to ask, have you been able to operate the navigation in your car? I've got the same car but its marked as 2018 version and my dealership can't seem to get the navigation SD card to work, perhaps because they have the 2017 version. They told me they'll contact me once they have an SD card ready for me so haven't been able to test it out. Thanks again!

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    3. That's exactly what's going to happen. They're going to check the battery and capacitor today, so let's see what happens.

      As for the navigation, yes it's working. Take note though that you shouldn't install tints with metallic filaments such as V-Kool. It interferes with the accuracy of the GPS antenna which is located on the center of the dashboard (not the antenna).

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    4. Hey Mr. Uly!

      Hope your dealership diagnosed your battery problem.

      Anyways, thanks for reminding me about the tint! I completely forgot to find out where the GPS antenna is located! Forgot to try to look for GPS related stuff while reading my manual. Anyways, my tint is 3m. I've requested the dealer to put in 3m crystalline with lightest shade available since they said all cars come with 3m tints for free. I know the crystalline is light and does not have any metalic stuff in it. But when I got the car and went to an autosweeprfid outlet,they couldn't put the RFID sticker inside the car because the because the tint seems to be affecting it so they installed it on my headlamp. I'm sure 3m crystalline has no signal issues so it's got to be a different 3m tint then. I wonder maybe that could be a reason why my dealership is having a hard time trying to get the navigation sorted out for my car. Funny when they try to set it up, the car thinks I'm in some part of USA! My dealer told me they'll let me know when a new SD is out as they think the SD card is the problem but Will contact my dealer when I get the chance. Thanks for sharing the info Mr. Uly!

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  8. Kind of problematic in my view... that much issues in that short amount of time. Guess the tech has a lot more maturing to do before widescale viability.

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  9. Where are the mazda fanboys? Bakit sila biglang naging tahimik? I can't wait to see how they'll defend this.

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  10. Mazda fanboys, your silence is deafening. LOL!
    Diba lakas nyo manlait sa Civic?

    Civic > Mazda 3

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    1. I'd want to do a long-term Civic test to see how it compares! Hahaha.

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    2. Yes Sir Uly, that would be good haha. The Civic also had problems with its VSA module that emits a weird sound inside the cabin on its initial batch of units. There's also a consistent feedback of the poor quality stock battery, lots of owners has reported that theirs bogged down in a little less than a year.

      No vehicle is really perfect, all of them has their own flaws.

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    3. Haha, be happy with your Honda, and let them be happy with their Mazda. It seems they can oversee the 'minor' flaws of their Mazda, so why can't you? You seem bitter.

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    4. I've never once felt an ounce of bitterness towards Mazda. These fanboys kept on insulting the Civic for a long time be it here or in other forums with their build quality advantage blah blah. Can't you read what commentors above says?

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    5. Wow - make syou wonder why Honda doesnt have enough confidence to lend a unit for a long term Test Drive. Nuff said.

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    6. Oh my....I smell something roasting....Honda fanboy burned by Uly himself? Hehehe

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    7. If u dont want problem buy toyota. hahaha, i am driving toyota corolla in 7 years i even dont replace any spares til now still intact and working fine, then i buy another toyota again, 2016 rav4. Why should put cockroach in my head to this expesive car? for what...

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    8. I actually drive a midsize Toyota running on 20" wheels but it has become a bit boring for me. I wanna experience having a f*ckboi car before settling down. LOL!

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    9. Want a fuccboi car? Get a 90's civic SIR, then rice the hell out of it.

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  11. You want problems. Try driving a European car (German engendered na yan). New platforms and tech will always have teething problems . Civic also has it's fair share (CVT and Turbo problems) . As cars become more and more high tech we will see more gremlins (Tesla).

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  12. This should just end the myth na "made in japan" mas maganda. All builds kahit sa china pa yan ginawa or sa germany, nagkakaron ng recall or quality assurance oversight. So Sana tigilan niyo na yang pag-samba sa "japan build"qulity na yan. Eh bakal nga dun dinodoktor din.

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    Replies
    1. That's true. Mazda fanboys always like to brag about cars being made in japan and car of the year BS.

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