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Discussion Starter #1
Since now there's a Focus that can compete, I've compiled this comparison with the options I want (nice amenities small package). I'm now leaning towards the Mazda 3...

I'm not going to put into account styling since that is so subjective.

Bold is the "winner" in my eyes.

Ford Focus Titanium 401A Hatch (no navigation)
27/37 MPG
MFT Tech (don't know if it actually wins with all the bugs, will have to see after Dec/Jan major update) & Sony Audio including HD Radio
Standard halogen headlights
No adaptive lighting (steering input)
Standard halogen taillights
Blue Candy Metallic ($extra)
LED Interior lighting
Shifting via two rocker buttons
Backup Camera
Self-Park
Parking sensors
$27465 MSRP

Mazda 3 GT Hatch with 2.0L SkyACTIV engine
30/39 MPG
Bose Centerpoint Sound
HIDs
Adaptive front lighting system
LED taillights
Celestial Blue Mica (no extra charge)
Welcome lighting ($extra kit)
Shifting via bump knob (instead of buttons)
No backup camera
No self park
No parking sensors
$27735 MSRP

Now to make a very hard decision.
Maybe somebody can help?

Both cars are so similar, leather, moonroofs, 6-speed autos. Ford has DSG-ish, Mazda has start-stop...
 

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Well take the MFT off your list of wins for the Focus. Too many issues.

Have you driven both? I'm sure that would help make your decision.

You could also make a list of things you want and assign them values (like 1 to 10) and then tally them up to make something you can look at.

As an example, I see that LED interior lights are on your list. However, it is easy to put LED lights into any car, therefore you should consider taking it off your list altogether.

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I was going to, but then I remembered that the Ford has different colors you can change on a whim.

I haven't driven both; my dealer hasn't had any Ti's in stock so the best I've been able to drive is an SEL with everything. The Mazda 3's with SkyACTIV aren't out until later this month.
 

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This is so hard to give opinions on because there are things some may find more important than others.

The major differences to me are:

- MPGs: The Mazda 3 wins but by one 3 MPGs and this number is based on very conservative driving. If you are like me, and not quite go the speed limit, than this number will be very different because the computers of either vehicle will compensate differently.

- HIDs: The Mazda 3 wins here as well. This is a pretty big one for me. I'm a Ford guy...always have...but I am just bewildered ([scratch]) why Ford did not give the HID option on the Titanium. I understand that its going to be standard on the ST...but not even have it as an option on the Titanium...fankly urks me.

- MFT: I have only had limited access to MFT (rentals and test drives). I do not have my Ti yet. I would say that this is a big winner. But this is subjective...I'm an IT guy and tech is my life. I surround myself with tech...this is big for me. I love it and has been very responsive...again...with my limited experience. The software update in December/January sounds more like a major software update rather than fixing a few bugs. I am excited this will fix any remaining issues left after 2.11.

The rest are small peanuts. Yea..the knob rather than buttons may be cool...but I don't mind the buttons...

What is important to you? What's your driving style like? These are what needs to be answered and then you will have your answer. IMHO

(I so wish HIDs were available....)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I like tech as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's just too much.

Let's see.

MPG: driving style, sometimes conservative, sometimes hard. In my current vehicle, I can get over the EPA for highway when I hypermile. Sticker says 27, I can get 30.0.
I agree, HIDs were an oversight by Ford.

I've driven the regular MZ3 and the bump of the knob is so much more fun.
 

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I drove a recent-model Mazda3 regularly for a year (zipcar) before getting my Titanium. Pros with the Mazda: seriously great steering. Cons with the Mazda: uncomfortable seats, poor legroom up front, hard plastic interior, and general cheap, tinny build quality. For example, slam the trunk closed on a Mazda3 sedan. Clang! The new Focus doesn't have the same steering feel, but it is a class above in quality pretty much everywhere. It really feels like an inexpensive premium car.
 

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One thing about the tech in the Focus is the fact a wireless broadband dongle, 3g or 4g, can be used to turn the car into a WiFi router. I have ordered a Kindle Fire and with the access from the car, house, office, smart phone, and WiFi hotspots. Don't think I will miss the direct 3g connection for the Fire.
 

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The mazda is 22/29 not 30/39 as far as i can see

edit
Nevermind, thats the old engine. Honestly get whichever one you like the looks of better because they are basically the same car
Myford Touch doesn't work worth a crap in regards to ipods/other mp3 devices.
 

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- MFT: I have only had limited access to MFT (rentals and test drives). I do not have my Ti yet. I would say that this is a big winner. But this is subjective...I'm an IT guy and tech is my life. I surround myself with tech...this is big for me. I love it and has been very responsive...again...with my limited experience. The software update in December/January sounds more like a major software update rather than fixing a few bugs. I am excited this will fix any remaining issues left after 2.11.
I love tech too. In fact, this played heavily in choosing the Focus over the other cars I was considering. Having said this, the disappointment I've had with MFT has been huge due to the fact of my affinity for technology. I had nothing but problem after problem with MFT when I first got my car. And please note, with cars becoming more and more like computers on four wheels, the issues a car can have with that little screen on the dash isn't limited to that little screen on the dash. Since everything seems to be tied into it (or some little black box behind the screen), when it isn't working properly then nothing works properly (cruise control, radio, navigation, climate control, etc.) Believe me, I've had extensive problems with all these things. After they replaced my APIM (another little black box back there with the other black boxes) things were going fairly well. Then I updated to 2.11 and guess where my car is now? Yep. At the dealership...again. Instead of step forward, it was a step backward.

Even when it's working like it's supposed to, the learning curve is very steep. Personally, I think it's more dangerous than helpful. And I consider myself quite the tech-friendly multi-tasker.

Just food for thought. Maybe in a few years (or less) MFT will be a big hit. But I think in the race for auto manufacturers to come out with the latest and greatest goodies, they skimp on the research and development. Sometimes I ask myself, "Didn't anyone actually drive these cars before they started mass producing them?"

At any rate, Ford went from being in the top 5 for reliability to 22nd (or something like that) after the advent of MFT in 2010 with the Edge.

Tony
 

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I'm completely lost with the Mazda 3 this year. The 2012 is available, but apparently without the skyactiv engine? The mazda website still shows 33/29 fuel economy for the 2.0L engine. I test drove a 2012 last month and it had the lower fuel economy. I didn't think you could get a 2.0L engine in GT either...

At any rate, I just upgraded from a 2005 Mazda 3i sedan to 2012 Focus Ti sedan. While I loved my Mazda 3, I am happy to make the change. Part of it is just the switch (the Mazda 3 hasn't really changed a lot since its release), but what did it for me was:

* Smoother ride. 2012 Mazda 3 GT I drove felt as rough as my 2005 on shocks with 90k miles on them.
* MFT. Despite the problems, it's worth it for me. If you compare the high end Mazda 3 to Focus Ti, you'll be disappointed with the Mazda.
* Parking package / rearview camera

For my perspective on MFT: I am a firmware engineer, so MFT doesn't seem complicated to me at all. The most irritating thing about it is that it can be very sluggish (to me, just 'sluggish' to a normal person, probably), though it has improved dramatically. I had a bluetooth aftermarket stereo in my Mazda 3, and that was nearly impossible to find one that did audio streaming and worked. So I needed at least that in my new car. The nav system sucks like all in-car nav systems. You can compare it to a Garmin or to the real-time traffic on google nav, but it is functional, and the best in-car nav of the others I tested. I have used it a few times to go somewhere entirely via voice commands. I bought the car expecting MFT bugs, and okay with that, but also expecting Ford to fix them. I'm willing to complain :)

If you care more about handling and performance, then the Mazda3 is a clear winner, but if you're a geek, you'll want the Focus Ti. If I were purchasing a Mazda3 today, I wouldn't pay $27k for one. I'd stick with the lower-end models since I don't think the higher-end stuff is worth it on it (I paid $18k for my 2005 Mazda3i).
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the 2.0 Skyactive is not available in the MZ3 hatch, only on the sedan. I own the 2010 MZ3 hatch, and the 2.5 was (luckily) my only option.

Granted, I've only spent a test drive in the Focus, but the 2.5 in my Mazda has quite a bit more low end pep. Fuel mileage was not a major concern when shopping for it.

I guess the point I'm making is that your comparison might want to use the 20/28 mileage, and 168hp/167tq of the 2.5 Mazda engine if you're looking at the hatch.

**edit**
What pil__ said. I guess I hesitated too long on the submit button... heh
**edit**
 

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I really can't complain one way or another, but if you take some of that stuff off like parking package rear view camera off, then the Focus will be cheaper; then again Focus no HID this and that. I'm getting my Titanium for $23,XXX in the end (Dad's A-Plan), so Ford all the way for me![;)]
 

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I've rented the Focus 6 days and really enjoyed it. Yes, styling is subjective and I think it is the best looking car in its class hands down. I think I can wait till the spring for this major MFT update you mention as I would like that and I do want the Titanium. Drove the Mazda once, it was ok. But it's what you like I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
News was just released today of the pricing and availability of the Skyactiv.

It will be available on the hatch.

http://www.insideline.com/mazda/mazda3/2012/2012-mazda-3-with-skyactiv-starts-at-19245.html
The 155-horsepower Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline engine is fitted to the 2012 Mazda 3 i Touring sedan and hatchback. The sedan with Skyactive engine is rated by the EPA at 40 mpg on the highway, while the Skyactiv-equipped hatchback gets 39 mpg.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I really can't complain one way or another, but if you take some of that stuff off like parking package rear view camera off, then the Focus will be cheaper; then again Focus no HID this and that. I'm getting my Titanium for $23,XXX in the end (Dad's A-Plan), so Ford all the way for me![;)]
Well, I want all that stuff like parking package, even though a car this small should be easy to parallel park.
 

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I plan on comparing the skyactive Mazda3 to the Focus too. I have driven neither of them yet (not in a hurry to get a new car). I suspect I will like driving the Mazda better even though I like the content of the Focus better. I also prefer a 6AT over a DSG.
 

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Does the Mazda still have that smilie face front end?
 

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"De gustibus non disputandum" (one must not dispute about tastes) so I am not going to say: "Buy Ford, it is what you need !" or "Buy Mazda, it is the right choice !". But, I will share my experience. Before the final act, I looked after : VW Golf TDi, Mazda 3, Kia Forte 5, and Focus. I test drove all of them and the short list went down to WV Golf TDi and Focus. For me, an important role when chosing a car are the seats. And I have to say, the best are on the cars on my short list. I finally decided for the Focus because of the new HPFP on the TDi models. I am sure VW will address the issue in the near future, but I needed a car now, so here I am, a happy owner of a Focus SEL. So, my advice for you would be only to choose whatever you like but don't rush ! I was looking for a car since june and believe me, I tried to find out everything about every car was on my list.

Best of luck on your chosing !
 
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