Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser

"Best Buy" - 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G Sedan with 5-speed shift-selectable 6-speed automatic SkyActiv transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointment package is judged to be an amazing mileage miser that delivers on many surprising levels. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser

A common problem beginning to present itself to many premium sedan owners in this 21st century America is summed up with this question: What Miles Per Gallon (MPG) car can one buy in order to get through a continuing era of increasing fuel prices, increasing number of EPA regulations, and low economic growth expectations - yet retain some of the advantages found in the decade old premium vehicle that is needing replacement?

The overall age of the personal fleet of automobiles careening around the country's roads is the oldest it has been since records have been kept and is reported to be nearly 11 years old. Many of these cars are a proud-but-aging rolling stock of premium sedans that featured rear wheel drive, leather interior, remote keyless entry, electric everything including fully adjustable seats (with heat) for both front bucket riding positions, named manufacturer audio systems with about as many speakers as room would allow, and power to spare from a stout V6 or better (0-60 in under seven seconds or better), at not much better than 20 mpg average, etc.

When one purchased these cars in pre-2001, the selling prices of a new or slightly used vehicle may have begun at around $25,000 and ranged upwards to $40,000 for the most well equipped standard premium quality vehicle with marques of Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, and the like.

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission Grand Touring trim level appointments touchscreen interface.  This 5.8" full color touch-screen controls and informs the driver of navigation w/real time traffic thru Traffic Message Channel, Blind Spot Monitoring System, 265-Watt Bose Centerpoint 10 speaker surround sound audio system, HD Radio, Pandora audio application, audio menu voice-command, E911 automatic emergency notification, Radio Broadcast Data System program information, SMS text message audio delivery and voice reply. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

An owner as described above is faced with a decision. It would be easy to continue investing in the current car especially since a direct replacement would set one back with prices starting at around $35,000 and ranging to $50,000+ for any mid-size or better marques … or better, bite the bullet and decide to invest in the reality of a worsening future picture of fuel prices, regulation, and economic growth opportunities social environment.

With this view in mind, one has several options to consider. First, one has to consider if the path to greater MPG and fuel consumption efficiency will be through the current fuel delivery infrastructure or be aided through the evolving electric-power delivery systems (hybrid or all-electric) which may add cost and disposal issues in maintenance-process of the vehicle.

For buyers seeking to purchase a new car that has as its principle value low fuel consumption and current fuel delivery infrastructure, there appear to be only a couple of options that can promise some of the profile functionality of premium sedans. 

 Rearview - 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointments. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

After careful evaluation and test, one car sticks out as the best premium vehicle replacement choice to get through the next four years and beyond. That car is the 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointments package.

By opting for the Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G ... what one gives up not investing in a new premium vehicle is spending at least $7,000 more for leather seats, V6 engine, rear wheel drive, 0-60 in under 7 seconds, a little more elbow room, a couple of more speakers, fuel consumption that would never exceed 30 mpg, and possibly a little quieter riding passenger cabin.


What one gains through a strategy of settling with a scaled back expectation in favor of high MPG, is an average MPG of about 34 miles per gallon combined city/highway, 0-60 at just under 8 seconds ... enough to not be run over by others getting onto the freeway or being a little shy on power once one enters the freeway lanes at speed, leather interior, a Bose 10 speaker sound system (with Bluetooth wireless, USB, and 3.5 connector Auxiliary port connection capability), push-button and remote keyless entry, with electric everything including a fully adjustable seat (driver's side) - with heat for both front bucket riding positions.

More importantly, one gains a driving experience that is very surprising for a car that competes with a mix of "hyper-mile" mavens that put all of the other vehicle choice options to shame - Fiesta, Focus, Fit, Accord, Altima, Leaf, Corolla, Hyundai and Kia. The car carves through corners with strength and anticipated (even expected) ease. The ride is less stiff or "road bed imperfection sensitive" than heavier entry level premium cars of a couple of years ago ... as in the Infiniti G35, for example. Sadly, the roadways in Southern California are not as well maintained, therefore stiffness of ride must be figured into vehicle purchases going forward.

Downtown Los Angeles and the Christmas Tree atop the Capitol Records building in Hollywood can be seen in the background of this Mulholland Drive Hollywood Bowl Overlook view of a 2013 Mazda3 in Velocity Red Mica. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

As tested on Los Angeles area freeways and surrounding hills including the twisty Mulholland Drive during the day and at night (thanks to a loaner arranged through Galpin Motors in Van Nuys, CA), the 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G Sedan with 5-speed shift-selectable 6-speed automatic SKYACTIV transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointment package is judged to be an amazing mileage miser that delivers on many surprising levels, but mostly it delivers a pleasant driving experience for having a car that is rated at near 40 miles per gallon fuel efficiency (Hwy), especially if one is having to procure new rolling stock, replacing an older premium vehicle that has delivered a long, pleasant, useful ride.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser on Technorati **

No comments: