It’s gonna sound like I’m picking on the Mazda3, and I am. But NOT because it’s a bad car. Actually – it’s got some pretty slick, well designed features to it. But they’re all whispers. And THAT’S the problem here: The good traits within the Mazda3 are not getting the spotlight they deserve, because the car overall is failing to stand out & catch hearts.
Look – all across the country, crossovers are replacing hatchbacks. Squeezing them out of existence. And the Mazda3 is another car that… gives you absolutely zero reason to want to fight it.
What does the Mazda3 bring to the table?? Where’s the pulse??
Conversely – Ford had a great thing going with the STs, but they walked off the field in the 2nd inning. WTF Ford, WTF. And it’s us, the BUYERS, who often get blamed for these failures in car-buying trends. But as an enthusiast, I’m getting tired of taking the brunt of that blame. I’m tired of manufacturers casually pointing the finger towards consumers for the sporty-car sales decline. ESPECIALLY when a lot of the ‘sporty’ cars being offered frankly aren’t that sporty, seductive, or motivating. Most of them are half-ass lob balls with $25,000+ price tags… in a world of better used-car options. Ford/Chevy’s got no problem selling new Mustangs/Camaros all day long. So maybe the problem isn’t the consumer demand for sporty cars… it’s the product being offered.
In a vast majority of cases, these passive manufacturers are not MARKETING sports cars or hot-hatches with ballsy national ad campaigns. Marketing is a huge part of it! Create the need!! They need to be changing the public’s perceptions on a massive forefront level. That’s the thing – these manufacturers are not creating a LIFESTYLE around their sporty car options anymore, and they’re not creating a mainstream desire/need for the product! Instead, they’re marketing convenience & gimmick sporty features. Basically trying to market ‘sportiness’ where there isn’t any! Trying to make crossovers ‘seem’ sporty… so people feel little less dead for buying one. And then we wonder why the sporty car options are endangered?! It’s because most of the general public doesn’t even know what genuine SPORT is anymore. And why is that?? Because all these manufacturers sold ‘em on the illusion that they could find it in a crossover.
Manufacturers are hyping features that remove drivers from the responsibility & tasks of driving. Hence – laziness is the new resulting automotive trend, and new car buyers just want rolling cell phone chargers that drive themselves to a punched-in destination.
The manufacturers need to own up to some responsibility for these changing car-buying patterns, and the appliancing of modern-day vehicles. Because THAT’S where they’ve set the bar & expectations. I’ll paint a picture: Pretend you’re the parent of a 5-year-old, and you offer your kid the choice between cake, cream-puffs, or a carrot at snack-time. You think they’re gonna take the carrot?! No man! Because you’ve set the expectations at ‘cream-puff’! And that’s what most people out there are driving today… cream-puffs.
It’d be refreshing if some of these manufacturers had a little more backbone… and were a little less accommodating to dumb & childish consumers. Take the damn cake off the table sometimes! I know it sounds off-key… but a lot of buyers out there might actually appreciate/respect it when you STAND FOR SOMETHING as a brand, like Mopar for example. In Mazda’s case, their whole mantra is “Feel Alive”. And before that it was “Driving Matters”. And before that it was “Zoom Zoom”. Well… prove it damnit!
The Mazda3 is a nice enough vehicle. But it has the snooze of a crossover, without the convenience of a crossover. So… what’s the point? It’s got body lines that ‘almost’ start to excite you. But then you’re slapped across the face to the fact that this is NOT a hot hatch. It just kind of looks like it wants to be. So again… what’s the point here? It’s a GTI competitor with all of the price tag and none of the turbocharger.
The interior is engaging. But what’s it supposed to ‘engage’ us to exactly? …when it’s tied to a non-turbo, 4-cylinder, FWD, un-hot hatch. The Mazda3 is not ‘faster’ than the competition. But it’s also not ‘less expensive’. Nor is it ‘bigger’. And it doesn’t have the ‘best MPGs’. Or the ‘best resale value’. Even my positive-minded wife looked over at me confused and said, “This car has no category huh?” Bingo. It seems like the Mazda3’s main purpose for existence… is to push you into a CX-5. Which actually makes a lot of sense.