Monday, June 18, 2018

2017 Mazda3 Speed: Long-Term Test Wrap-Up


Mazda Philippines basically put money where their mouth is by letting us drive a 2017 Mazda3 for a year. They likely knew what they were getting: an honest look into Mazda ownership without any pretenses. Now, four hundred twelve days and 7,510 kilometers later, this is our verdict: Mazda, both as a maker of driver-centric vehicles and as a provider of aftersales service for said vehicles has come a long, long way.

Before current distributor Bermaz Auto Philippines (BAP) took over the brand in 2013, the ownership experience for Mazda was a mixed bag at best. Knowing their less-than-stellar reputation when it came to aftersales service, Mazda acted on it immediately, introducing the industry’s first all-inclusive Yojin-3 package. Aside from offering a 3-year / 100,000-kilometer warranty and roadside assistance, both of which were becoming standard fare at that time, BAP added 3-year free periodic maintenance service (parts and labor) at no extra cost.

Interestingly, purchasing spare parts for the Mazda3 proved to be somewhat difficult, especially if you’re the DIY sort of guy. In our experience, buying anything from the parts department requires you to share your vehicle’s plate number or conduction sticker number. Although this guarantees a proper fit, they’ll also question you as to why you need that particular part. From the looks of it, your vehicle record will be updated too, indicating that you got these parts for your car as well. Telling them that you “need spares” is typically good enough, but it nonetheless caught us off-guard when we’re used to just buying parts without any sort of interrogation.



Perhaps even more surprising is that the Mazda3 doesn’t bode too well for personalization. It’s actually pretty hard to hunt down Mazda genuine accessories locally, and even if you get third-party ones like WeatherTech floor mats, they do require a lengthy wait. We actually had to resort to getting stuff from both Japan and the US; and these are the simple stuff too like a stainless-steel rear bumper guard. Imagine those wanting something a bit more exotic. Oh, and on a side note: don’t get the Machine Gray touch-up paint. Not only is it hard to apply, it doesn’t remotely match the factory color).

On the road, the Mazda3 itself proved to be fun and dependable. It’s a great runabout, consuming half the fuel compared to our compact crossover while returning double the fun when driven long distances. It’s worst economy figure of 7.63 km/L easily matched the best our all-wheel drive crossover could muster in traffic, while its best figure of 15.62 km/L done on the highway, could easily match some diesels. We did runs with both the i-stop on and off, and with the system on, you see gains of 10-12 percent. Translated to peso savings, based on the distance we traveled, we saved P 4,258.24 based on current gas prices (or 316.3 kilometers or 8 trees based on the Mazda3’s fuel economy monitor). And though Mazda recommends Shell Fuel Save Unleaded, we recently discovered that UniOil’s Euro 5 fuel actually made the car run a lot smoother.

There’s also not much to complain about the Mazda3’s fit and finish. Overall, it remains fresh and cutting-edge, a big surprise given that the all-new model is just around the corner. The design is impeccable and together with upscale materials, it does give it a “class-above” vibe. That said, we do see some areas for improvement.



For one, there’s the front fender liner which is prone to warping near the edge. Mazda Philippines attributes this to the Speed’s exclusive side skirts. Apparently, the fender liner rubs against the skirt and because of this, it causes the fragile plastic part to warp after a while. After calling their attention on the matter, they’ve discovered that it’s a common problem with the Mazda3 Speed and they said they’ll be issuing a service bulletin and should have a fix ready by the time the next PMS service is due in October (Mazda3 Speed owners, please don’t forget to thank us).

Second is the less-than-sturdy construction of Mazda’s replacement EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery). Like any other battery manufactured by Motolite, the plastic body is weak and any overtightening of the battery tie down can cause small cracks causing corrosive gases to leak out. This has begun to eat through the Mazda3’s battery tie down. Again, we’ve called the attention of Mazda Philippines, and as such, they’ve begun instructing their service personnel to tighten the tiedown by hand and not using a ratchet wrench (that’s something you Mazda3 owners should be thankful for again). As for our battery and tiedown, we’re still waiting if these will be replaced under warranty. And even if it’s not, we’re actually toying with the idea to have it replaced at our expense for safety reasons, perhaps in October.

Finally, we go to the high-gloss piano black accents. While they look great when new, they’re highly susceptible to hairline scratches, even more so than the material used by Honda or Toyota. We’ve addressed this by adding a clear protective plastic courtesy of Foilacar called Clarita. It’s meant to be used for exterior applications and thus cannot follow the fine contours of the switch bezels too well, but at least the general area’s protected and that’s what’s important. A note to Mazda: please use something that doesn’t scratch easily for your future products, your owners will love you for it.



Surely, ownership of the Mazda3 hasn’t been perfect. It has its fair share of ups and down. Yet, for the most part, it’s provided us a genuine insight at how its distributor, Bermaz Auto Philippines, has managed to turn the ownership experience around. It’s no secret: by and large, Mazda’s dealer group is composed mostly of the same dealer group that handles a mainstream American brand. Yet, complaints about the former aren’t as vocal and numerous as the latter.

The secret, it seems, it down to how Mazda structured its team. Whereas the American brand is more focused on sales and marketing, Mazda Philippines actually has more people dedicated to aftersales and customer support (33 percent of their total manpower count is dedicated to aftersales). Their dedication to improving the ownership experience is pretty much aligned to what Mazda’s doing globally. With Kizuna, Mazda wants to develop an inseparable bond between car and its owner. And with that, we’re willing to take the plunge and put money where our mouth is. This long-term test may have wrapped up for now, but it’s certainly not the end. We’re officially welcoming this 2017 Mazda3 Speed to our garage and hopefully, that great ownership experience continues for the years or decades to come.

2017 Mazda3 Speed Long-Term Test Wrap-Up

Months Since Last Report: 4
Kilometers Covered: 7,510
Kilometers Since Last Report: 1,997
Average Lifetime Fuel Consumption: 9.74 km/L @ 19.57 km/h
Best Fuel Consumption: 15.62 km/L @ 58 km/h
Worst Fuel Consumption: 7.63 km/L @ 13 km/h

Maintenance / Issues / Cost:
  • Front fender warped - WAITING FOR MAZDA SERVICE BULLETIN
  • Battery tie-down corrosion: WAITING FOR MAZDA SERVICE BULLETIN
Out of Pocket Expense:
  • NONE
Past Updates:

62 comments:

  1. Oh so that's why there's none of that fender lining wrapping issue, mine's a hatch R. As for the battery,whatever the casa may say, the amaron highlife battery that costs 5k really does work but don't use the istop all the time because it will drain in 6 months if you use it all the time. As for accessories, you can checkout Mikstore's fb pagex they have tons of exterior and interior accessories for you to choose. Satisfied as well with their aftersales service but insurance is really necessary in case you get into an accident.

    To the skyactiv bashers there, skyactiv is not a gimmick, as shown by the diesel like fuel consumption above and the drive is really the best in class.

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    Replies
    1. I’m sure there are tons of non-official sources around, but if you’re going to rely on Mazda dealers, there’s not much to go by.

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  2. Did mazda gave you that particular unit for free permanently?

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    Replies
    1. They didn’t give it to us. We’re going to be purchasing it from them ๐Ÿ™‚

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    2. Wow, how much will you buy it from them? You said in the past that if you'll spend your hard earned money, you'll buy a toyota altis 1.6 v, what happened? Lol.

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    3. This is the weirdest set up of a car sale I have ever witnessed.

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    4. @7:29 PM Hahaha! Altis is still practical, if a bit bland. But let's just say I'm a convert after having experienced Mazda service first-hand. I was skeptical at first, but they've improved significantly. I can't divulge the price, but all I can say is that it's fair.

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    5. @12:59 AM, they didn't force us to buy the car. They left the decision with us. We decided though that since we like it so much, we'd get it.

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    6. Why not the civic rs?

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    7. Meaning that the Mazda 3 is far superior than the pathetic Civic. He personally drives and reviews a lot of cars. Having reviewed both the Civic and the Mazda 3, he picked the Mazda 3. That means that a highly educated and a guy well versed with cars picked the far superior car, which is the Mazda 3.

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    8. He probably got it already discounted or they had some sort of special agreement as to the sale. No way in hell is the mazda 3 superior over the civic rs.

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    9. Civic's only advantage is 20hp on tap, more interior space, apple carplay, that's it. Compared to the Mazda's superior driving dynamics, GVC, higher quality materials, 6 speed AT over that lame CVT, sunroof, Skyactiv tech(i-stop, i-eloop), organic steering feel, overall premium feel of the vehicle, cheaper maintenance(no turbo), better sound system, heads up display, and that it would age gracefully well over the years, compared to the Civic's childish over styled design.

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    10. I don't think the sporty look and the coupe-like profile of the civic will get old anytime soon. It's quite the opposite actually, the mazda 3 looks outdated, nakakasawa tignan since they've been using the same design language throughout their line up.

      It's true that the mazda feels much more sporty but not that much compared to the civic. And don't forget the civic's torque comes in early in the rev range, that's why you don't have to prod it that much to get the power. I've owned a gasoline turbocharged car and there have been no maintenance problems whatsoever. In fact it's the mazda who has the problem because of that special battery.

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    11. The new civic was launched in 2016, let's see in 2020. The current gen mazda 3 was launched in 2014 and after 4 years, it is still among if not the best looking in the segment. Honda and Toyota are doing the same in terms of design, heck even Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz have the same design language.

      Do you know why the Mazda 3 or any mazda is so much fun to drive? You can rev it hard and it will happily rev hard, compared to others wherein you won't feel the driving enjoyment unless maybe if it is a manual. How old is your turbocharged gasoline car and what car is it? That special battery lasts up to 2 years and owners found a cheaper alternative in Amaron and it works despite what any non owner says.

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    12. We own a Forester XT 2014. No problems with the maintenance. Modern turbo won't break easily as long as you change the oil regularly and let it cool before shutting off the engine.

      I never really liked revving engines to get power. It feels like I'm punishing my car. That's why I'll choose a turbo over an NA anyday.

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    13. NA engines are generally more reliable than Turbocharged engines, however, turbocharged engines are quicker off the line. How's Subaru's maintenance btw? I'm curious and I want a real owner's feedback.

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    14. Subaru's maintenance is normal but parts are somewhat more expensive. I buy or order parts like the air filter, brake pads and cabin filter outside the casa. Fluids are all from casa however but they're not expensive. Change oil every 6 months, charges around 4k only. Changed the battery once. No major repairs so far. Although a friend if mine who owns a Forester XT had
      an issuee with his CVT and required replacing it. That's why I refrain from revving too hard and I will change the CVT fluid every 3 years.

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    15. Anon 6:44PM is living in the 90s. I've read articles that ecoboost engines in the US can reach up to 200,000 miles without problems. How is naturally aspirated engines more reliable than turbo again?

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    16. Obviously, Uly doesn't want to be identified with those teenage riceb0is and he doesn't want to spend 300K on the CVT when it craps out. And that ricey, overstyled design is kakasawa na agad.

      Delete
  3. I will be trying UniOil's gasoline. It's true they recommend the Shell Fuelsave Unleaded because they partnered with Shell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s great value I think especially if you’re an S&R member. You get up to P 3 off per liter!

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    2. Are the products sold in s&r really cheaper than other supermarkets?

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    3. Nope. We found out that some stuff are actually more expensive in S&R. That said, the P 3 off per liter actually makes the membership worthwhile. For us car guys, the tires are reasonable.

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    4. So switching from shell's euro 4 to unioil's euro 5 fuel is better?

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    5. We're going to do extended tests on UniOil starting now...but we just discovered it so it's so far inconclusive. But I just shifted back to Petron Xtra Unleaded...man, the knocking is soooo bad.

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    6. I sticked with shell for the first few months of ownership because that's what my dealer recommend, Either Fuelsave or V-power (I picked V-power mostly). I've also used Petron (XCS) and Caltex (Platinum) at least once or twice and found no difference. I began to gas up at Phoenix (premium) around the start of January and until today I have no issues. Mr. Uly, when do you get to feel knocking with your engine? at idle with Petron Xtra? Thanks!

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  4. I saw this test unit parked in Timog, QC about 2 weeks ago. Soul Red Crystal looks better in person IMO.

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    Replies
    1. Soul Red Crystal does look nice. That wasn’t us near Timog though hehehe. Likely another Machine Gray car. There are a handful of them now.

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    2. The soul red crystal has a better, deeper and even shinier red than the vaunted soul red metallic.

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    3. Agreed. Soul Red Crystal is a deeper, fuller red than Soul Red.

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  5. Currently 9 months of ownership and about 7800km driven, I'm happy with the car. Its not perfect but it's a great car for me and having no issues so far. I love the color and so far I've seen a couple of them around the road, last one I saw was on skyway heading southbound Saturday morning. BTW, you're keeping the car? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we’re indeed keeping the car ๐Ÿ™‚

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    2. Mine's a 2017 2.0 soul red hatch. It's been my daily drive for 18 months(10,400km) now and I've never had an issue. However, seldomly use the istop. Aftersales support is excellent. But parts are really costly from the casa so you'll really need insurance. Overall, very satisfied with the car, as with most mazda 3 owners.

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    3. Btw, I got a 3+2 year yojin from an ANC owned dealership. ;)

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    4. That's cool Mr. Uly, hope to see you around and maybe can have a chat too. I got 3 year Yojin and they gave me a discount which is also worth the extra two years from other Mazda dealerships.

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    5. Nice to hear that Will, and yes! You'll see us around definitely :-)

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  6. Great review by Ulysses. Kudos to Mazda PH for having the balls to let someone write a honest review of your car and post it in public.

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  7. Not sure if FRDMAZ in Paranaque has available parts for skyactiv Mazda 3s.

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  8. Great deal from Mazda? Whereas test drives only lasted for a few hours for regular customers, they gave you a full year to test drive then decide whether you want return or keep it. :D

    Wondering how the PMS will fare compared to a Toyota or Honda after the Yojin-3 expires.

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    Replies
    1. I heard owners are still quoted the price everytime they take the car in for PMS, only they don't pay while Yojin is still on.

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    2. Partly true. You see it in the job order but don’t see it in your customer bill. Will verify that later.

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    3. Yes same here, they bill it in the system but it will be paid by the Yojin 3 program. They also give you receipt and job order like regular service does. I guess they do this for record keeping.

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  9. For the fuel consumption is the data from the onboard computer or manual method of computing the kms and liter of fuel every pump up?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For this one we decided to use the computer throughout the year.

      Delete
  10. Hi Sir

    Thanks for the great article. I drive a Mazda 6 and the engine warning light recently came out. I use Petron Blaze gasoline and the dealer mentioned that the warning came from me using this type of fuel. They suggest that i use regular 91 octane unleaded gas however the gas makes the engine have a knocking noise when accelerating from low revs. Has Mazda advised you not to use high octane gasoline for the skyactiv engine?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stick to 91 octane, they know better. I too was tempted but they say petron's fuel is "dirtier" or has an additive that doesn't go well over the long term with mazda's skyactiv engine. Stick to shell's or unioil's 91 octane.

      Delete
    2. Let's just turn a blind eye on these kind of issues because... FUN TO DRIVE! YOLO!

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    3. As if competitors has no issues.

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    4. Sabi niyo japanese reliability. What happened? LMAO

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    5. Try putting a 91 octane fuel to a subaru brz for example. It's stated that you use a 91 octane fuel, preferably from shell yet you did not listen. How is that a japanese reliability issue?

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    6. My dealer told me I could use either 91 or 95 octane. I've used both and found no issues between them. I think Petron blaze is 100 octane or 97 at least. I've been gassing up at Phoenix for the past 5 months with no issues, previously Shell with no issues as well.

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    7. So far, our Mazda3 hasn't thrown an check engine light from using higher octane fuel (we've tried using Petron XCS). However, I have to agree with the people here and say that Mazda has said that there's is or are additives in the Petron fuel that doesn't jive with Skyactiv. Again, I've used Xtra Unleaded and there's tremendous knocking after switching to UniOil.

      And yes, agreed also that other brands do have some problem with different gasolines. For example, if you're running any Subaru with a DIT (Forester / Levorg), they don't recommend going Blaze. Stick only to XCS or preferably, V-Power.

      Delete
    8. Hi Sir

      Thanks for the reply. After the tank of Xtra unleaded is done ill try to switch up to XCS because the engine knocking during acceleration is really irritating (even though Mazda said just stick with the 91 octane). Much as i want to, I Cant switch to Shell because of fleetcard contract with Petron.

      Thanks again and more power!

      Delete
    9. I know cause all subarus require premium fuel or a minimum of 95 octane.

      Delete
  11. Just clarification There was tremendous knocking with xtra unleaded fill up after using unioil or there was knocking after switching to unioil from xtra unleaded?

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    Replies
    1. There's a slight knock with Xtra Unleaded ever since, although you don't feel it as much. But, it was more pronounced after switching from Unioil to Xtra Unleaded. Could be a bad batch since I refueled Xtra Unleaded from the same Petron station in-between the Unioil fill-ups.

      Delete
  12. Hi Uly,
    Good Day!.

    What can you recommend based on your review for Mazda 3 Sedan and Honda Civic 1.8E..
    I dont know what to choose. Need to buy one.
    Can you help.
    Thanks
    Joe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Uly personally bought a Mazda 3, then that's his choice, no need to ask him any further.

      Delete
    2. Hi Joe,

      It totally depends. How will you use your Civic or Mazda3? Daily driver? coding car? Family car? Are you single or do you have a family? These are the types of questions I need the answers to, to find out what's best suited for you. What I got may not necessarily be good for you too.

      Delete
    3. I went for the Mazda 3 hatch instead of the Civic rs because I like the way it drives. The Civic rs has a lot more room overall and it drives smoother in the city, also has Android auto and Apple car play. A friend of mine drives a Civic 1.8E and its close to the rs just without the more powerful engine but its priced better. Like what Mr. Uly says you'll need to find out what matters most to you with a car.

      Delete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Brilliant long-term review, it sure shut up the teenage ricers. Meanwhile, in the riceb0i brand, they are grappling with steering rack failures, the usual turbo problems, CVT replacements costing 300K out of warranty, limited tuning potential because the stock turbo is already running a very high boost and the rubberband CVT can't handle diesel-level torque numbers, they discover too late that the Red H and Type-R emblems and DOHC VTEC stickers don't add much HP and torque, etc.

    ReplyDelete

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