1996 Mazda MX3 GS 1.8 Litre V6 from North America
Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee
First thing is first, this car does not use that much fuel despite what others seem to say? Maybe that's because I never really cruise under 60km/hr and use 5 gear almost always. I routinely get 450-510 km on a tank of Fuel (city driving). I shift at about 3000 rpm and don't really drive it much harder than this commuting daily, Although occasionally I rev it to 7000 just to hear the noise. I also will add that the car can go 100 km once the fuel warning light comes on, for some reason the needle goes down much faster than it should or the reserve is very big? I any case the car should net even the worst drivers 400-420 km per tank even when driven hard. If you can't achieve this than your car needs a tune up, or perhaps this is due to poor driving habit?. I have read many rants from United Kingdom drivers who complain about the poor fuel economy, perhaps there is differences in United Kingdom MX-3's cars compared to Canadian Mx-3's? In any case the car sips fuel if you treat it right so I am not sure why United Kingdom cars use more fuel?
The rest of the car is absolutely a dream, I am impressed with the reliability, refinement, feel, and sound of the car. Nothing else can compare for such a small car, at least not in Canada.
The Mx-3 still looks fresh since it's 1992 debut in North America and it is even a bit rare. The wheels, front and rear spoilers, steeply raked windshield and rear glass section add to the car's aerodynamic sexy form.
The engine is a complete jewel with it's smooth power delivery, quick throttle response, and intoxicating sound that makes one forget all about 4 cylinder engines. As stated fuel economy is actually very good if you don't rev the motor too high and use 5th gear over 60 km/hr.
The Clutch and 5 speed are a joy to use and are very light and accurate. The only flaw is that 1st gear to 2nd seems a bit too tall (if revved to 7000 rpm) the revs drop for a second before the engine really comes on boil. Besides this the engine/transmission work in complete harmony with the driver.
The rest of the car is so unique that you will always get noticed, especially when the rev happy V6 sings it's raspy yet smooth tune. The car is an obvious extrovert and makes you just want to drive with the sunroof open on a sunny day.
I have also owned the "RS" base Mx-3 with a 1.6 Litre DOHC detuned Miata engine (1995) and have many similar things to say about it. However the GS model is the choice for a more serious and refined sports coupe.
The greatest and most unknown trait of the Mx-3 is how much potential there is for engine swapping. There are several engines that can be transplanted into the Mx-3 with little difficulty. In North America the 1993-1997 Mazda Mx-6 and Ford Probe 2.5 Litre V6 can be dropped in with little fuss and offers 162-170 hp. Even better the 2.5 Litre V6 from the Japanese domestic market (JDM) Mazda Mx-6 and Millennia can also fit in with ease. This engine makes 200 hp for the power hungry. Super chargers and turbo chargers designed for the Ford probe and Mx-6 have also been put in mx-3 engine bays (although this is no easy job). In any case the Mx-3 has potential for various engine swaps that undercut the cost of the Honda swaps by thousands of dollars. All the while offering just as much or more horsepower, more torque and all fitting in lighter car than even a Honda Civic. How can you lose?
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th October, 2003
18th Feb 2004, 06:39
I want to buy one of these cars and am searching on fuel economy - as I too have heard they are not that good. Based on this review, getting 450-510 km per tank (280-320 miles say) and a tank size of approx 50 litres: you could get an economy of 25-28 MPG. Let's assume there is still some fuel left in the tank when you get to the station to refuel! So it will only be better than this: if 5L is left in tank, so 45L was used for that distance, we are talking about 28-32 MPG.
This does actually seem low to me, when I have friends who have several other cars, that do a lot better with a larger engine...
E.g. My boss' Audi A8; I think it is a 2.2 or maybe 2.4L engine - average 30 MPG on motorway travel.
My friend has a BMW 5 series, and he gets 40 MPG out of that with a 2.0L engine also...
Just seems Mazda could have managed a bit better to be honest.