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I'm still deciding on which car to get for the best MPG's.
I have it down to the Cruze, Mazda 3, and the Jetta TDI.
I have diesel trucks and from knowing about the extra maintenance and hassle of diesel, I'm not going the VW route.
I have driven the Cruze but not the Mazda yet.
Just curious if anyone else has compared the two and what their thoughts and opinions were.
- Dave
 

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Two years ago I sat in the driver's seat of a Mazda 3. I'm not normally claustrophobic, but the Mazda 3 was so small that I couldn't handle it.
 

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I went the same route you did. From comparing everything online, I decided to test drive a Mazda 3 and the Cruze to replace my 2008 pontiac G6. Test drove Mazda first since I had a GM already. It was definitely small. Driving and handling was fine and what I expected, but I travel alot and I'm the one who tends to drive other people. With my seat back (and I'm 5'5-6") there was NO room behind the drivers seat. And my husband's was practically touching the back seats. Trunk space seemed big but compared to the Cruze later that day, I laughed. The whole car was definitely cramped and I was sketchy about the 2/5 stars on its safety rating for the backseat compared to the Cruzes. Plus I couldn't get over that Pixar looking smile from the front end.
Cruze won in my books. The salesman walked up, told him exactly what I wanted and he delivered right away and I fell in love. MPGs, handling, extras, and space! I knew it was my car after that.


Sent from my Autoguide iPhone app
 

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I would say the Cruze. The Mazda reminds me more of the Ford Focus hatchback. I was actually in the works of getting a Focus sedan but after taking it for a test drive and opening the trunk i just laughed and said no way. I couldn't even fit my hockey bag through the opening of it.

So when i test drove the Cruze that was the first thing i checked. Hockey bag no problem, and golf clubs no problem, could probably fit 3 sets in it and didn't have to put the back seats down to fit. Amazingly enough the trunk was the deciding factor on the buy. Heck i can even fit the kids wagon in it.
 

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Another one here that cross shopped those 3 cars. The TDI was eliminated quickly because of the extra maintenance and care. I thought pretty hard about the Mazda 3, but chose the Cruze because it's a bit better bang for your buck, and there are no local Mazda dealers here (within 100 miles).

I'm very happy with my Cruze.
 

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Japanese are not making the same cars they were making in the mid-early 80's and really went to **** in the early 90's when they devaluated the buck. Plus they rob you blind on replacement parts. I did work for Honda for a couple years, here, but just long enough to have my brain picked, then was dumped.

If you check our US Patent office will quickly learn for every US patent we have, they have ten in our office. But next to impossible for a US guy to get a patent in Japan. Very unfair. Never could win a warranty battle with either Toyota or Honda afterwards, do talk to a white guy, but he takes orders from some very racist people in Japan.

For whatever reason, my youngest kid likes Japan, was working for a gaming company, he is fluid in the Japanese language, but working with other white guys, the bottom of the ladder is as high as he can go. These are a very racist people according to my son that is still there. I don't have the slightest reason why.

In our last conversation, telling me that Japanese corporations are far worse for outsourcing to third world countries than we are, letting only 10% of their work force having permanent jobs. Were notorious for cottage type assembly where mom could stay home and watch the kid while assembling parts. Against our IRS regulations to do that here to save a couple of bucks on overhead. But even that has stopped, their own people are struggling to survive.

My opinion, screw the Japanese corporations, just more of our money leaving this country our IRS cannot tax, dumb basterds haven't figured that out yet.

We certainly out shined them during WWII and can do it again. One thing I have in favor of them, do or did give me a couple of extra minutes to do the job right. Never had that option with US based corporations, use to say, never enough time to do the job right the first time, but always time to do it right the second time.

Glad to be retired now, sick and tired whenever I used some toilet paper, was robbing the stockholders blind, I am not kidding on this statement. But at least if the buck stays here, the IRS can tax it to get our country out of debt.

Do hear these Japanese companies bragging about running union free manufacturing plants here, but that is only in right to work states. Another downfall of the USA, have 50 different states with 50 different sets of laws. Walker is trying to change that in Wisconsin. But as a professional, never had to join a union, was salaried, base on a 40 hour work week, they got a **** of a lot more than 40 hours out of us, sometimes was wondering if even earning minimum wage. Would get canned if we even discussed our paychecks with fellow engineers.

Compared myself with a prostitute, they only rent out their bodies, I had to give away, not only my body, but my mind and soul away as well. Did get 22 US patents, all signed over to the company store, that helped to be the last guy to get laid off when times got though. But they didn't like to pay that extra expense either, most of the time would use tricks to make our designs difficult to copy.

The Japanese did give our management incentives to do a better job here, you will find most engineers to be very knowledgeable and concerned, but the first to take the blame if something goes wrong. Feel we are now doing a better job than the Japanese, especially when going back to the early 80's.

All of our vehicles are way overpriced compared to the hard hand assembly, all that chrome, frames, and hand machined parts that was quite common way back then. Did get involved with designing an automated camshaft grinder that would spit out camshafts like a blur that was once a very involved hand operated job. Car prices today even with inflation should be cheaper than they were in the 60's. But you have to blame our government for that.

Ha, sorry for the ranting, ha, like am I am sorry, just telling you the way it is.
 

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I did. The 2011 2.0 Mazda3 felt seriously underpowered, even in manual form. I drove the 2009 and liked it (a friend's car) - handling is amazing, engine power isn't bad. I drove the 2011 and hated it. The 2.5 gets TERRIBLE gas mileage for a small car, so that was out.

The Skyactive engine is supposed to be pretty good, though. I haven't driven one of those yet - but from the spec sheet, it is pretty impressive.

TBH, I drove everything in the small car segment and only really liked the Cruze. My "next best" was the 2012 Camry.
 

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I have been waffling between a Mazda3 S GT and a Cruze 2LT RS for many months now. We have a '03 Protege5 that has never had a mechanical problem. The only maintenance has been oil/filter changes, battery, tires, and brakes. Everything else is original. I also think the 3 is smaller inside and noisier on the road than the Cruze. I also don't care for the large mouth bass front end of the 3. I know I can deal the Mazda to a couple of %s over dealer invoice and I can get the Cruze on a Family & Friends price, so price is not an issue. I am still laboring over service during the warranty period. If the 3 holds true to our Protege5, service is a non-issue. I am hung up on dealer service for the Cruze as the deal breaker. If I could find a competent Chevy service department near me, I'd choose the Cruze as I think it is a better car all round.
 

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I'd have looked hard at a MZ3 with the 2.0 Skyactiv engine and a stick, but it wasn't out yet when I was in the market. I haven't test-driven one, either. I may get the chance when a few family members get rid of their 10-12 year old cars later this year.
 

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I considered the Mazda 3....but only up to the point that I sat down in one. As previously posted, it induced a slight case of clausterphobia in me. It went off the list at that point without even a test drive.
 

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I gave no consideration to the Mazda 3. 15 years of running garages has shown me that Mazda and Nissan are only about par with GM and Ford when it comes to reliability and cost more to repair.
 

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A 2006 Mazda 3i with the 2.0 and 5 speed manual was my previous car. I sold it for a song to my girlfriend when I purchased my Eco last June. She is very happy with it, although a front wheel bearing went out just a month after selling it to her. With only 50k miles, and being gently driven, that shouldn't have happened, but otherwise it's been a reliable car.

The new 2.0 Skyactive 3 with the 6 speed manual looks good on paper, and perhaps if it had been available a year ago, I would have given it a look. OTOH, I really wanted to buy American (the 3 is made in Hiroshima) this time and I am very happy with my Cruze Eco. After almost one year and 13k miles, it's been completely reliable and I average about 40 mpg overall.

A few points I would have to give in favor of the Mazda 3 is the 4 wheel independent suspension, and the standard 4 wheel disc brakes on all trims. Also, the shifter throw on my 3 was shorter than on my Cruze.

In my Cruze's favor, it is quieter on the freeway, roomier, and feels more solid and substantial. More airbags and a better crash test rating are pluses too.
 

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A 2006 Mazda 3i with the 2.0 and 5 speed manual was my previous car. I sold it for a song to my girlfriend when I purchased my Eco last June. She is very happy with it, although a front wheel bearing went out just a month after selling it to her. With only 50k miles, and being gently driven, that shouldn't have happened, but otherwise it's been a reliable car.

The new 2.0 Skyactive 3 with the 6 speed manual looks good on paper, and perhaps if it had been available a year ago, I would have given it a look. OTOH, I really wanted to buy American (the 3 is made in Hiroshima) this time and I am very happy with my Cruze Eco. After almost one year and 13k miles, it's been completely reliable and I average about 40 mpg overall.

A few points I would have to give in favor of the Mazda 3 is the 4 wheel independent suspension, and the standard 4 wheel disc brakes on all trims. Also, the shifter throw on my 3 was shorter than on my Cruze.

In my Cruze's favor, it is quieter on the freeway, roomier, and feels more solid and substantial. More airbags and a better crash test rating are pluses too.
Wheel bearings are common on the 3. And the rear suspension is a negative not a plus. The bushings that hold the trailing arms, control arms etc are prone to tearing and are very expensive to replace.
 
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