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Ok ladies and gents, this Sat I made my way to my dealership to get an oil change and some other things done and after sitting around (forced to watch Saturday morning cartoons) I was about to leave my dealership and happened to notice a brand new MS3 sitting in the front of the dealership. I throw my MS6 in park and walk over the the proclaimed "God of FWD vehicles."

Initial impressions of just looking at it:
The differences between the MS3 and the regular 3 hatch are not outlandish but more of a subtle increase in aggressiveness (very similar to the diff between the mazda6 and the MS6)
Wheels: Ugly and too thin nuff said
Wing: didnt bother me as much as I thought it might. It fit the profile of the car.
In all the car looked a little too "bubbly" for my tastes but than again I hate hatches and was not totaly offended by this one so I guess that's a positive.

I went inside and talked to the salesman who sold me my car, he was as cheerful as normal in his skeevy carsalesman kind of way (no offense to the car salesman on this board but us customers are aware when you guys are putting on a front) Anyway after some finagleing I convinced him that I was "interested" in the MS3 and he would allow me to take it for a test drive. (and here's the reason I'm giving this back story instead of headed right into the review) My salesman was busy and had to go to a meeting so he suggested I take it out with one of his coworkers, I had no problem with this...till he showed up. I was excited to drive the MS3 because it has the 'same' engine and tranny as my car in a much lighter vehicle...well the salesman (no lie) that went with me weighed at least 350 lbs.

MS3 weight: 3180 lb
MS3 weight with salesman: 3530
MS6 weight: 3589 lb

Great a differece of 60 lb...since my car had 1/4 tank of gas left when I drove it there, it was probably lighter than the full tanked MS3 with the lardo of a sales guy I was about to ride with oh well I will press on.

Interior:
I WANT THOSE SEATS!!! beautiful, comfortable, leather-bolstered cloth seats with MAZDASPEED lettering on them, they are amazing. If It probably werent cheaper to buy Racaros I would look into getting them in my car.
The rest of the Interior felt more cramped than my MS6, not enough elbow room though plenty of head room (not that head room matters to my 5'6" tiny ass frame). The interior layout was nice with a factory installed Audio input jack and easy to navigate climate controls and stereo. The gauges left something to be desired and were not very well placed IMO not very easy to read. With the exception of the seats and no factory input jack the MS6 interior is much better.

Storage space:
This is probably the least "storable" hatchback I've ever seen. There was a 2' X 3.5' space from the back of the rear seats to the hatch door...WTF? I was expecting a ton of storage space and I was not impressed...the ugliness of this hatch does not justify this space. I was very disapointed by this and I am convinced anything that can fit in the MS3 I can get into my MS6 though I'll have to lower my rear seats. One cool thing the MS3 had was a glove compartment that could fit a small family inside, the thing was HUGE! The sales guy said it could fit a laptop inside it and I agree it definetly could.

The Drive:
Finally what you've all been waiting for. The handling is superb in the MS3, I was so impressed with my MS6's handling till I got into this thing. The MS3 is great with a nice sporty feel. Though it is not as good as the handling of say an STi or EVO, for a small FWD econotype car I was severly imressed this thing would make an SRT-4 cry in the turns (even with a 350lb dude sitting next to me!). However, this lighter version as it's drawbacks...namly the FWD part. A portion of the test drive invloves going onto the highway, and those familiar with rt 15 in CT know of the stop signs at the end of the onramps, forcing you to give it the gas to merge. The perfect oportunity. So I wait till I see a clear spot then I give it a little gas and slide the clutch out then as I start to feel grip I dump it and smash the gas pedal to the floor as I normaly do in my MS6 (an even comparison since the same engine/tranny/etc.) Well as you might expect even the LSD up front couldnt handle this and we had some good old fashioned wheel spin. I let off a little then depress a bit more a I feel grip and get the RPM's going high (same ratios in the MS6 so first flys by like nothing) then I slam it into 2nd and much to my suprise...more wheel spin! This time it tapers off by itself and and I go smoothly up through the rest of the gears. Great excelleration but I was expecting something more, I was expecting to be blown away by the power but it felt much the same as my car. Even when cruising in 6th I expected more of a "oomf" when I floored it but it behaved the exact same as my MS6 does at those speeds. Oh a note on the tranny/clutch it felt exatly like the MS6 with maybe the clutch being a little more forgiving but I drove it the exact same as my MS6 so if youve driven one of those you know what I mean, semi-clunky gears, tempermental on-off sporty clutch, yadda yadda yadda.

Over all
Exterior:

No contest the MS6 gets it the hideous hatch and "bubblyness" of the MS3 do not do it for me

Interior:
MS6 gets this one as well, more refined and better materials/layout win it for the AWD car, but the seats award definetly goes to the MS3

Storage:
I don't know why you yahoos are so cought up with this but since it always seems to come up I'll give it to the MS3 but not nearly as impressive as it should be.

Tranny:
Tie...deadnuts tie

Handling:
As much as it pains me to say it the stiffer sportier suspension of the MS3 wins! I didnt get a really good oportunity to put the MS3 in any conditions that the MS6's AWD would dominate in (other that the launch) so in my limited test drive the MS3 wins this critical section.

Power:
Disappointed here since the lighter MS3 should have blown the MS6 out of the water, but I think this was due to the added load of the guy in the seat next to me. I think I'd need another test drive to get a better feeling of this catagory but from the one drive I took I'd say it's a tie here. (also I just thought of this I have no idea what gas the dealer put in it and I am quite aware if less than 93 octane is put in this engine it does not perform to its fullest, I should have inquired.)

Bottom Line:
Would I ever trade my MS6 in for the MS3? Never.
Would I consider an MS3 as a secondary vehicle? Maybe...buying a new car for a 2nd vehicle is pretty stupid but if I could get my hands on a used one in a few years (when I'm driving some badass BMW or something as my main car) I would definetly consider this.
For those who are cought in a state of "should I get a MS6 or a MS3?" then I say go test drive both of them and make the choice for yourself, if it was me with that same question I would have ended up back in my MS6 without a doubt.
 

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Ok ladies and gents, this Sat I made my way to my dealership to get an oil change and some other things done and after sitting around (forced to watch Saturday morning cartoons) I was about to leave my dealership and happened to notice a brand new MS3 sitting in the front of the dealership. I throw my MS6 in park and walk over the the proclaimed "God of FWD vehicles."

.... My salesman was busy and had to go to a meeting so he suggested I take it out with one of his coworkers, I had no problem with this...till he showed up. I was excited to drive the MS3 because it has the 'same' engine and tranny as my car in a much lighter vehicle...well the salesman (no lie) that went with me weighed at least 350 lbs.

MS3 weight: 3180 lb
MS3 weight with salesman: 3530
MS6 weight: 3589 lb

....

Power:
Disappointed here since the lighter MS3 should have blown the MS6 out of the water, but I think this was due to the added load of the guy in the seat next to me. I think I'd need another test drive to get a better feeling of this catagory but from the one drive I took I'd say it's a tie here. (also I just thought of this I have no idea what gas the dealer put in it and I am quite aware if less than 93 octane is put in this engine it does not perform to its fullest, I should have inquired.)

...
[/b]
Very nice write up. I really enjoyed it, but I have to say if you're not exaggerating about the heft of the salesman (how the hell did he manage to fit in the car!), you're in serious need of another test drive without such a SEVERELY loaded passenger seat. I'm not saying you will be blown away by the power, b/c I think the MS6's AWD does an excellent job of getting power to the ground and compensates a lot for the extra pound each hp has to tote around in the MS6. But you will not be dissappointed, either. But it sounds like you're very happy with the MS6, so not much point. Anyway, nice write-up!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Very nice write up. I really enjoyed it, but I have to say if you're not exaggerating about the heft of the salesman (how the hell did he manage to fit in the car!), you're in serious need of another test drive without such a SEVERELY loaded passenger seat. I'm not saying you will be blown away by the power, b/c I think the MS6's AWD does an excellent job of getting power to the ground and compensates a lot for the extra pound each hp has to tote around in the MS6. But you will not be dissappointed, either. But it sounds like you're very happy with the MS6, so not much point. Anyway, nice write-up!
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Yeah I wasnt realy interested so much as I wanted to compare the 2 and I have a few friends who are interested in the MS3 and wanted to give them my insights on the car.

I do not exagerate on the salesman's size, he was probably 6'2" and 350...he drove the car for about 1/2 mile out of the dealership and there is no way this dude was comfortable...but then again I don't know how comfortable he would be in any car. The steering wheel was all the way up and the seat back...took me like 5 mins adjusting to get my self set right.

As a side note nothing to do with the car itself the salesman was kind of pushy and tried a good amount of sales "tactics" including trying to throw car specs at me which I had to correct for him, then telling me that the MS3 would be his next car even though when I told him I drive a MS6 he wished he owned one... :rolleyes:
 

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Great Writeup as always
 

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Good write up, completely disagree about the interior quality and more so, hatch space. Remove that deck cover and lower the seats and there's definately more usable room in there than the 6 sedan could ever have. I've sat in the ms6 and it's nice but certainly not better quality, at least to me. To each his own I guess.

And yeah, 350 pounds will certainly make a difference power wise. Trading your car for the 3 would be crazy anyway. An STI or EVO, 350z, G35 coupe , RX-8 etc would be the next logical step up imo.
 

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just for kicks:

http://www.caranddriver.com/roadtests/1172...pecs-page4.html

btw, it posted the exact same numbers that c&d got with an acura TL 6spd. the c&d ms6 numbers are 0-60 5.4s, 1/4 13.9s @ 99mph.
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Shows that AWD is a wonderful thing when it comes to efficient acceleration from a stop. Even after launch, it go a long way to compensating for a substantial power-to-weight advantage. If you look at the side-by-side panels in the MT MS3-WRX comparo, the Subie does a great job holding it's own with less power even after the start. It starts off with a 1.9 second advantage in the 0-30 segment. After that it's only accelerating faster during each 10 mph increment when the MS3 changes gears, but in the lower speeds it stays pretty close. As the speed climbs higher the MS3 pulls away more. I'd love to see a similar incremental acceleration comparo for the MS6/3. Here are the incremental acceleration figures from 30-100 mph:

30-40: 1.1 vs. 1.2
40-50: 1.0 vs. 1.2
50-60: 1.7 vs. 1.3
60-70: 1.3 vs. 2.0 (subie shift point, I assume)
70-80: 2.2 vs. 1.9
80-90: 2.0 vs. 2.2
90-100: 3.0 vs. 3.3


Regarding the TL, C&D had a hell of time learning how to launch the MS3. I imagine the learning curve was a lot less steap for the TL since it has 50 ft/lbs less torque than the MS3 and doesn't reach peak torque until 5K rpms.
 

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Good write up, completely disagree about the interior quality and more so, hatch space. Remove that deck cover and lower the seats and there's definately more usable room in there than the 6 sedan could ever have. I've sat in the ms6 and it's nice but certainly not better quality, at least to me. To each his own I guess.

And yeah, 350 pounds will certainly make a difference power wise. Trading your car for the 3 would be crazy anyway. An STI or EVO, 350z, G35 coupe , RX-8 etc would be the next logical step up imo.
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Not crazy at all and I'm not the only one who has done it. The MS6 is a great car, but it's not really a stepping stone to the cars you mention. By and large people who buy the MS6 buy it b/c it's a great daily driver unlike the STi or Evo and b/c it has it has more room and/or doors than all the cars you list. They buy it because they want performance AND a level of comfort/convenience those cars don't have. And in the trade-offs between performance and comfort I found the MS3 to be a better fit for me. I still need a good daily driver and 4 doors, but I can sacrifice a little space for the much sportier overall driving experience that more road feel, lighter weight, and better road visibility provide. Not to mention the sound of the stock exhaust.

Oh, I forgot to mention, they also buy the MS6 over the cars you list b/c they like the more conservative image. It's amazing how many MS6 owners are engineers and other professionals who want to steer way clear of the whole boy-racer thing. That's the other thing I LIKE about the MS3. It goes right up to the edge of the boy- racer line w/o going over. Perfect for someone like me who may be having a mild middle-age crisis but can't do the RX-8 thing b/c I still have two small children to carry around.
 

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I guess I was thinking in terms of performance mostly, not comfort or practicality so you certainly make a good point for switching in your case.
 

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I guess I was thinking in terms of performance mostly, not comfort or practicality so you certainly make a good point for switching in your case.
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Sure, but even in terms of MS6 owners upgrading, I think the MS6 really is the "gentleman's STi/Evo". Does a gentleman really move on to one of those vehicles or maybe Audi/BMW instead?
 

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Sure, but even in terms of MS6 owners upgrading, I think the MS6 really is the "gentleman's STi/Evo". Does a gentleman really move on to one of those vehicles or maybe Audi/BMW instead?
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Yeah, but not everyone that buys an MS6 is a 'gentleman'. They may be after cheap performance (more so now that the price have fallen drastically). In that case they may forgoe the semi-luxurious amenities or space for something more performance oriented for only a little more or the same price in some cases. Even you have to admit the MS6 is porky and isn't the best in terms of handling. And the AWD isn't full time like in the other cars. Even the peformance can't be really considered to be in the same league as the STI or EVO (stock for stock of course). Sure, an Audi/BMW would be a step up and in terms of power and luxury but they're aren't affordable for most.
 

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Heres a carsdirect compared cars of 2007 MazdaSpeed6 Sport vs. 2007 MazdaSpeed3 Grand Touring. here
 

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Heres a carsdirect compared cars of 2007 MazdaSpeed6 Sport vs. 2007 MazdaSpeed3 Grand Touring. here
[/b]

Ahh, nice post, as you can see, what the ms3 gives up in passenger space (which isn't a whole lot), it makes up for in cargo volume(12.4 vs 16.5 cubic feet).
 

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Excellent write-up! I agree with every one of your comparisms.

Dispite your heavy passenger, the power numbers between these 2 cars is close enough to saw off.

The handling is a no brainer - the MS3 is in the "toss around" class and will definately out perform the larger / heavier mid size AWD MS6 in the twisties.

As for storage, the econo hatch / station wagon design usually wins over the sedan as a carter of groceries (or even furniture) - the compromise is on the Look / styling of the hatch vs sedan (at least in this viewers eyes).

Interior - no brainer again, only the MS6 gets the check

Exterior - this one's based completely on the eyes of the beholder. Mature, sedan type or hatch, boy racer type. And I only say boy racer rather than econo hatch grocery getter because Mazda made the necessary changes in tranforming this car (and believe me, that is exactly the crowd they are aiming at).

To be honest, I'd like to see the 2.3 turbo dropped into the Miata (if it isn't too heavy) - you would then have a "Sports Car" with this great power plant rather than a hatch / wagon. Then we could really talk handling and styling without the need for AWD on a light platform. The issue for many would be price - I think the econo crowd would miss out on this one.

Again, nice post - thanks. :yesnod:
 

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Yeah, but not everyone that buys an MS6 is a 'gentleman'. ....
[/b]
That is certainly true, with some people come immediately to mind. And I'm sure that even some of the gentlemen aspire to STi/Evo. But the interesting thing to me is that a number of STi/Evo drivers have moved to the MS6 'cause they're tired of being on the leading edge of performance and want a nice daily driver. With some kick and pretty good handling.

As far as the MS6's AWD being inferior, I haven't driven the Subies/Evos, but I think the MS6 AWD does a great job in getting power to the ground, as is shown by it's 0-60 and 1/4 miles times. In the corners I think someone who really knows how to drive AWD really fast could use it effectively. There's a great video on the Mazda Japan MS6 site of a Japanese racecar driver hauling some serious butt. But at the speeds I can drive at, I personally don't derive as much benefit from the MS6's AWD as I derive from the MS3's lighter weight and better road feel.
 

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Yeah, but not everyone that buys an MS6 is a 'gentleman'. They may be after cheap performance (more so now that the price have fallen drastically). [/b]
I think you'll find the "cheap" performance customer is now shopping the MS3 rather than the 6. There may have been a few that bought the 6 on that premise (especially after prices started falling), however, I think that group is now looking at the the MS3. I also think you would have to admit, the MS6 was not built as cheap performance (or Mazda would have priced, designed and built it that way at the start).
 

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Great review...
Although I may be biaised, but I think the MZ3 hatch looks awesome, great lines, nice hatch style (sporty angles, sleek design), and yes practical (like You slide in the car what you carry, instead of lowering them down the trunk. It also carry bigger things when the seats are down.
But I guess in the first case beauty lies in the eye of the beholder!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Good write up, completely disagree about the interior quality and more so, hatch space. Remove that deck cover and lower the seats and there's definately more usable room in there than the 6 sedan could ever have. I've sat in the ms6 and it's nice but certainly not better quality, at least to me. To each his own I guess.

And yeah, 350 pounds will certainly make a difference power wise. Trading your car for the 3 would be crazy anyway. An STI or EVO, 350z, G35 coupe , RX-8 etc would be the next logical step up imo.
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STi, EVO - ugly as hell couldnt be seen driving one everyday...performance out the wazoo though
350z - no ugly and I'm not impressed with its numbers, plus RWD is not so hot in CT winters
G35 - definetly considered it...totaly out of the $26K i spent om ny MS6 though, it couldnt match that price
RX-8 - youve got to be kidding me, the car is gorgious but slow and impractical

Oh, I forgot to mention, they also buy the MS6 over the cars you list b/c they like the more conservative image. It's amazing how many MS6 owners are engineers and other professionals who want to steer way clear of the whole boy-racer thing. That's the other thing I LIKE about the MS3. It goes right up to the edge of the boy- racer line w/o going over. Perfect for someone like me who may be having a mild middle-age crisis but can't do the RX-8 thing b/c I still have two small children to carry around.
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bingo dead nuts!

My last word on this topic, since I'm selling my MS6 today. I'm taking my econobox hatch and leaving the playground. You won't have SeanW to kick around anymore! :p :

http://forum.mazda6club.com/index.php?show...mp;#entry841842
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Sorry to see you go sean, hopefully youll come back everynow and then and share some of your MS3 wisdom with the rest of us :wavey:

Here's my stance on my drive. The MS3 is a nice car, superfast, with storage space, and some nice extras. But the bottom line is it is not my kind of car, as narcicistic as it is I want a car that LOOKS good, and I do not think the MS3 does. However I love the look of the MS6, plus the AWD is a huge bonus.
 
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