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Old 07-15-2012, 05:07 PM   #1
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Thumbs up 2012 Focus vs Mazda 3 comparison

My wife just got a new Mazda 3 hatch with the Skyactive engine and auto transmission. I just drove it. Here is how it compares to mine (remember they have the same chassis with evolutionary differences between them):

Engine/power: Smoother at idle than the Focus and very quiet, but very noisy on start up. Power is good, but not as powerful as the Focus. Probably closer to its actual rating where the Focus is underrated.

Transmission: Despite Mazda claiming a sporty feel, it is not as crisp and quick as the DCT, but is smooth. Goes into too high of a gear in town, but usually picks the perfect gear on the open road. DCT=quick and sporty, Skyactiv auto=smooth and non-sporty.

Interior: Roomy, but materials quality and design is not as inviting as the Focus. Instrumentation is lacking. Stereo good and no door rattling from the speakers. A lot more road and wind noise than the Focus. The Mazda lacks the rear inner fender felt, etc. and seems to have less interior insulation to save weight.

Exterior: IMHO, and my wife's, it is not as sharp as the Focus. Fit and finish good and projector lights work great.

Handling: VERY STIFF ride even with its 16" tires. Stiffer than my SEL premium with 2010+ MS3 springs and 17" tires. It must have very stiffly valved dampers.
Body roll is minimal with some under steer. I would rate it between my SEL when stock, and now with the Steeda rear sway bar and MS3 springs.

Fuel mileage: I see no advantage over the Focus yet.



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Old 07-15-2012, 05:13 PM   #2
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Nice comparison! My girlfriend is debating between these two cars and I am more attached to the focus but she seems to be leaning more towards the Mazda. Give me more reasons for her to choose the focus =)!
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zx3matt View Post
Interior: Roomy, but materials quality and design is not as inviting as the Focus. Instrumentation is lacking.

A lot more road and wind noise than the Focus.

Handling: VERY STIFF ride even with its 16" tires?
Thanks for the comparo. These three observations would probably force me back into a Focus if I had to (god-forbid) replace my current one.

Screw those d*cks at whatever rag that was that placed the Focus in 5th and the Mazda3 in first based primarily on the fact that the Focus they were provided with did not happen to have cruise control.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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Screw those d*cks at whatever rag that was that placed the Focus in 5th and the Mazda3 in first based primarily on the fact that the Focus they were provided with did not happen to have cruise control.
Oh I want to see this...
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:13 PM   #5
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The fully loaded Focus Ti is a much better looking car than a fully loaded Mazda 3.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:16 PM   #6
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I agree with the interior treatment and most definitely the noise level! I traded in a 2010 Mazda 3 Sport (6 speed manual with many options). I know the 2012 with Skyactive is a slightly different car, but, the chassis and interiors/exteriors are almost identical. I have never driven a noisier car on the highway than my Mazda.... they really "cheaped" out to save weight (and money) on insulation, basically, there isn't any under the carpets or behind any panels to speak of.... it was really bad on concrete highways... other than that, the car drove really nice and had outstanding handling (even better than my older VW GLI with Bilstien dampers), and in the 2 years I owned it, not a single issue (or clunk or rattle), only the AC compressor clutch was replaced under a TSB....

I think in a "perfect world", I would take my Focus interior (even the MFT, I actually like mine) and Focus motor (with the Mazda 6 speed manual....the Mazda 2.5 absolutely "drank" gas.....uggh) and put it into a Mazda 3 Sport (Hatchback) body..... that would be a desirable car, IMHO.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiciouzSVT View Post
Nice comparison! My girlfriend is debating between these two cars and I am more attached to the focus but she seems to be leaning more towards the Mazda. Give me more reasons for her to choose the focus =)!
Better materials, quality, power, comfort.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:53 PM   #8
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I forgot to mention...

Brakes: Seem to be equal, but A LOT of brake dust on the Mazda.

Steering: Less effort than the Focus and more "on center" feel. Focus is more precise.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:56 PM   #9
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I like both cars, but beyond the media bias against Ford and American manufacturers, I see no reason why the magazines should rate the 3 better. Unless they are comparing it to the cheapest Focus you can get hubcaps and all. A fair comparison would be to an SE Sport minimum.

The Mazda has a slight handling edge at the sacrifice of comfort, and loses in power and quality. The rest is subjective.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pozi240 View Post
I agree with the interior treatment and most definitely the noise level! I traded in a 2010 Mazda 3 Sport (6 speed manual with many options). I know the 2012 with Skyactive is a slightly different car, but, the chassis and interiors/exteriors are almost identical. I have never driven a noisier car on the highway than my Mazda.... they really "cheaped" out to save weight (and money) on insulation, basically, there isn't any under the carpets or behind any panels to speak of.... it was really bad on concrete highways... other than that, the car drove really nice and had outstanding handling (even better than my older VW GLI with Bilstien dampers), and in the 2 years I owned it, not a single issue (or clunk or rattle), only the AC compressor clutch was replaced under a TSB....

I think in a "perfect world", I would take my Focus interior (even the MFT, I actually like mine) and Focus motor (with the Mazda 6 speed manual....the Mazda 2.5 absolutely "drank" gas.....uggh) and put it into a Mazda 3 Sport (Hatchback) body..... that would be a desirable car, IMHO.
Yea, my wife's old 2006 MZ3 and my 2008 MS3 were much quieter and better quality. I even drove a fully optioned 2010 MS3 and it was quieter and even rode better.

Damned EPA...
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