Tee to Green, The Golf Show

with Jay Ritchie & Jerry Butenhoff


D.R.I.V.E. of the Week

D - Drivability: 9

What we liked: This is a car-driver's car. We drove both the 6-speed manual 3i Touring and the automatic 3i Grand Touring and both were a ton of fun with easy handling and a peppy but smooth quiet ride. When you slip into the front seat, you just get a comfortable, confident feeling of power and control. Userfriendly knobs, controls and dash features add to the enjoyable drive. Zoom, Zoom.

What we didn't like: Front cabin ride got a little noisy at high speeds. Good legroom, but not as much headroom.

R - Rideability: 8.5

What we liked: All Mazda3i Tourings come standard with A/C, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, power windows, locks and mirrors, jack for an MP3 player and Bluetooth. The sedan model had one of the biggest trunks, not just in this category, but across all classes.

What we didn't like: It's an old complaint, but cabin space has been an issue since the re-design a few years back. It's not a major issue, but front and back still seem a little tight. Now, we're just being picky.

I - Image: 9

Mazda continues to get it right with it's 3i line-up. The Mazda3 is Mazda's best selling car in the U.S. and it's easy to see why. Both in performance...and looks. Visually, the 2012 models are indistinguishable from their predecessors, except that the front grille doesn’t have quite as big a grin as it did before. A lot of people didn't hated the big Mazda "smile." It makes a great family sedan...or a great sporty "Hey, look at me - I'm single" sedan. It appeals to a wide range of lifestyles and all demographics. It's perfect as a first car, a second vehicle or a commuter car.

V - Value: 8.5

A base Mazda 3i SV four-door sedan, with the 148-horsepower engine and a five-speed manual gearbox, has a starting price of $15,995. The SkyActiv four-door with the stick shift starts at $19,245. We don't know how long Mazda can keep selling it for under 20K, but it's proof that a great vehicle with overall appeal doesn't have to be expensive. Of the two models we tested, the 3i 4 Door Touring stickered out at $19,245 MSRP while the Grand Touring (automatic transmission plus a full option package) topped out at $24,970 MSRP. Add $850 for the automatic transmission and $500 if you prefer the hatchback.

E - Economy: 9.5

An EPA estimated 27 mpg in the city...39 mpg on the highway. We did better than that, putting 300 miles on during a test drive and barely moving the gas gauge needle. The Mazda SkyActiv engine runs on regular gasoline.

2013 Mazda 3i - 4-Door (Grand) Touring

2012 Mazda 3i Grand Touring 4-Door

TOTAL: 44.5 (out of 50)

What it competes against:
The Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Subaru Impreza are other vehicles in this category.

more information on the dealer website

Transportation for Tee To Green's DRIVE of the Week
provided by STI Fleet Services, Denver, CO.

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