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Old 12-10-09, 05:19 PM   #1
UmneyDurak
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OT: Mazda3 vs Subaru Impreza

So I am debating between these two cars. The Impreza base 2.5 5-door is about the same price as Mazda3 hatchback. Mazda has more goodies, but Impreza has AWD. To get close to amount of goodies I need to move to 2.5 Premium, which will be more expensive then Mazda. Is AWD with Automatic worth it? Can anyone who has experience with these two cars or AWD in general offer their opinions?

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Old 12-10-09, 05:40 PM   #2
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My vote goes to Impreza for the AWD.
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Old 12-10-09, 06:20 PM   #3
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Impreza. I'm had a WRX for 5 years and loved it. Had to downgrade last year, but I wouldn't think twice about owning another Suby sometime in the future. If you spend any time in the mountains during the winter then it's really no contest.
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Old 12-10-09, 06:38 PM   #4
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How useful is AWD with automatic? I heard it is not as good as with manual.
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Old 12-10-09, 07:28 PM   #5
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I'd take the AWD... but a friend has the Mazda3 and loves it as well... yeah, I know.. big help huh?
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Old 12-10-09, 07:47 PM   #6
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While everyone so far is recommending the Subaru, let me ask you this: where do you drive? Do you drive in hilly areas? Do you often drive around slippery areas? I do not see the need for AWD if you just commute around town.
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Old 12-10-09, 07:48 PM   #7
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I'd take the AWD... but a friend has the Mazda3 and loves it as well... yeah, I know.. big help huh?
Hey this is BF. I guess it comes down to goodies of Mazda3 VS AWD of Impreza. I guess Impreza has slightly more volume inside so will be easier to stuff my bike in. Might be the deciding factor. I am bringing tape measure with me this weekend.

P.S. If anyone has any good tips on haggling over the price etc do let me know. So far I just got internet quotes from multiple dealers. For Mazda they are closer to invoice, for Impreza close to MSRP (definitely not paying that).

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Old 12-10-09, 07:51 PM   #8
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Two nephews close in age; one has a Forester, close to the Impreza ; other a Mazda 3 series. Entirely different cars. I rather the Mazda' more lux. carlike ride, even though it's no bigger and gets easily 5 to 8 miles per gallon better mileage. I like the drivers seat better in the Subaru though it's a bit snug on my back, the bottom support is more substantial. I've test ridden the Impreza as well, same as the forester mostly. I'm not huge on test riding, it's important in your case though.
Living where you do, AWD isn't as important. Both cars are unique; different from eachother and different from from other brands, much different. Both are reliable and quiet while driving.
The performance model Impreza is quite different than the reg. model. More fun than any of them. The only reason I didn't buy IT was the seats, though they felt fine, seemed too cockpit like. I would consider either car in my top 5 choices next purchase. You happened to've focused on two great choices.
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Old 12-10-09, 08:26 PM   #9
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I have an Outback with manual trans and AWD. It is WONDERFUL in the snow. Can't be beat. Worth every cent.
On paved on slippery roads I don't think it matters. It does result in lower MPG just because it's more weight and moving stuff. If you ever drive in snow, go AWD.

BTW, the I've read the automatic tranny Subaru uses works really well with their AWD. It is very sophisticated in distributing power based on traction. I'm a manual transmission guy, but the auto doesn't seem to suck, or so I hear.
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Old 12-10-09, 09:23 PM   #10
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My son bought a used Mazda3 a few weeks ago. He likes it and he doesn't have to take a wheel off to fit it in the back.
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Old 12-10-09, 10:18 PM   #11
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My son bought a used Mazda3 a few weeks ago. He likes it and he doesn't have to take a wheel off to fit it in the back.
Really? Is it a road bike, and does he put it on it's side? I was trying to figure out if a road bike can fit inside up right, but with front wheel off.
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Old 12-10-09, 11:00 PM   #12
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FWIW, on August 22 I bought a new 2010 Mazda3 sedan. On September 2 all the witnesses say I ran a red light and was T-boned on the driver side by a MiniCooper with the right of way. The Mazda was totaled, but I walked away with just scratches. (The guy in the MiniCooper was also unhurt.) When the insurance payment came through, I bought another Mazda 3.
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Old 12-11-09, 01:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
Hey this is BF. I guess it comes down to goodies of Mazda3 VS AWD of Impreza. I guess Impreza has slightly more volume inside so will be easier to stuff my bike in. Might be the deciding factor. I am bringing tape measure with me this weekend.

P.S. If anyone has any good tips on haggling over the price etc do let me know. So far I just got internet quotes from multiple dealers. For Mazda they are closer to invoice, for Impreza close to MSRP (definitely not paying that).
Go the www.edmunds.com, find the dealer invoice and offer a few hundred dollars more than that.
Go to another dealer if they don't take that offer.
Don't mention any trade-ins before them accepting the offer.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:57 AM   #14
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Really? Is it a road bike, and does he put it on it's side? I was trying to figure out if a road bike can fit inside up right, but with front wheel off.
If you want to put a bike in upright, you need a van or big suv. My 3 hatch can fit a 54cm road bike on its side with the wheel on. A second bike will fit with a comforter on top with the front wheel off. 2 bikes in the back.
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Old 12-11-09, 07:03 AM   #15
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While everyone so far is recommending the Subaru, let me ask you this: where do you drive? Do you drive in hilly areas? Do you often drive around slippery areas? I do not see the need for AWD if you just commute around town.
If you plan to spend a lot of time in the snow the Subie would be a better bet. There is not a lot of room to put cables on the Mazda's 17" wheels. If not the Mazda is a very good car. Good handling, sporty, better milage, and less things to go wrong. Mine is a 07 Mazda 3 hatch.
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Old 12-11-09, 09:32 AM   #16
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Whenever I buy a new vehichle I never go through a regular salesman. I call up before hand and find out who the fleet manager is. They deal in volume so they generally won't haggle you on the price like a floor guy will. The last 4 vehicles my family has gotten have been through the same dealer in Gilroy. I figure the average is at or just above invoice. When I bought my current truck I got a quote from a floor salesman at the local Dodge dealer. His price was 6 or 7 grand over what I actually paid
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Old 12-11-09, 10:26 AM   #17
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I would read reviews about each car, test drive them, and choose the one that offers the best mileage for your typical driving. Somebody mentioned a 5-8 miles difference per gallon. That's pretty significant. Gas is relatively cheap again but once the economy kicks back you can expect it to go up. China is now, for the first time, the biggest car market in the world. Oil demand is going up, supply not so.
If however you like going in the mountains especially in the winter, the AWD will be a tremendous boost in both safety and accessibility. AWD also offers better clearance, and probably better underside protection, not to be underestimated if you drive on dirt roads.
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Old 12-11-09, 11:31 AM   #18
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If you are a member of IMBA for 6 months, you can get a good price on a Subaru. Haven't tried it yet but plan to when I replace my WRX.

http://www.imba.com/tcc/subaru.html

Of course, you would have to be nice to fat tires after that

I have a 2002 WRX and really like it. With the back seat down, I have no problem getting my road bike in without taking off any wheels. For my mtn bike, the front wheel comes off.
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Old 12-11-09, 11:57 AM   #19
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I like both these cars, but I ended up getting a Honda Fit instead (back in 2007). The Fit was a lot cheaper and seemed to be a better value for the money. My wife also liked the looks a lot more than those of the 3. We now have 40k on ours and have had no problems at all- it is a great car, very practical and still really fun to drive. My 56 cm C'dale fits with both wheels on. It also gets better mileage than either of these choices.

Whatever you get, I think it would get better mileage and be way more fun to drive in a manual transmission (if you know how to drive one or can learn). Small cars with automatics are miserable and feel much more sluggish.
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Old 12-11-09, 01:41 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by mebaxter View Post
Whenever I buy a new vehichle I never go through a regular salesman. I call up before hand and find out who the fleet manager is. They deal in volume so they generally won't haggle you on the price like a floor guy will. The last 4 vehicles my family has gotten have been through the same dealer in Gilroy. I figure the average is at or just above invoice. When I bought my current truck I got a quote from a floor salesman at the local Dodge dealer. His price was 6 or 7 grand over what I actually paid
Hi.
Is it the same as getting the Internet quote? Seems like for Mazda3 I am getting 18600-19000, for Impreza 2.5i base 19k, and premium 20k. I think my current plan is to try to get Impreza premium for 18-19k, if I can't I'll go with Mazda and try to bring it down to 18k. Realistic numbers?
I read, re-read all the reviews and all the specs. What it comes down to is AWD vs more goodies of Mazda. Of course the best option is the premium which has most of the Mazda goodies, at prices I am getting for Mazda. Although I do plan on hitting the slopes, realistically it will only be 3-4 times a season. The majority of my driving will be to road races...
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Old 12-11-09, 01:55 PM   #21
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I have two AWD Volvo's. The V70R is an automatic. The S60R is six-speed. I regularly make a run from Sacramento to Reno and back in the S60 and get 29+mpg average. Not bad for a heavy car with 300hp. If you get AWD, know that if you trash one tire, you will have to replace all of them (unless wear on all four is insignificant). The difference in tire circumference puts a strain on the angle gear. The price to replace on the V70R was $2900. (60k mi).The newer cars may have solved the wheel circumference difference problem.
As others have said, if you drive in snow, there is no question AWD is the way to go. I think if you drive in a lot of wet weather, the same holds true, especially if you are driving on high performance, all-season tires. Just remember that AWD improves handling in inclement conditions. It does NOT help when braking, especially on snow covered roads. Just look at the percentage of idiots that stuff their SUV's into the snowbank because they think AWD will somehow help them overcome their driving incompetence. If you get the Subie, follow Lotus's age old axiom, "drive the car within your limits, not the cars". You should have a blast.

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Old 12-11-09, 03:50 PM   #22
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I usually don't ask for a price beforhand. I just tell him what I want in what color and with what options. He comes back with a price that is just over invoice. I like it because I don't need to drive all over trying to get the best deal. I imagine that's pretty close to doing it online.
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Old 12-11-09, 07:54 PM   #23
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For the Mazda 3 hatch, were you looking at the Sport or Grand Touring trim level? Judging by the price you mentioned (18.6 -19k), I figure it's the Sport. I'm actually a bit surprised you can't get a lower quote for the Impreza Premium hatch. I guess they're not having any problem moving inventory.

With regards to space, I have a '05 Mazda 3 hatch and with the rear seats down, I can fit my 54cm Specialized Tarmac in without removing the front wheel, but I normally take it off anyhow since it isn't much of a hassle. My bike is definitely not going to be able to sit upright in the rear even if took the saddle completely out (front wheel off is a given). I measured it a long time ago when trying to load something else and the max vertical clearance is about 30", but again that's at its max - it is much less at the hatch opening and also decreases as you move forward from the max height.

From what I understand the Impreza hatch has a larger capacity overall with the rear seats down, but I seem to recall that the vertical clearance is slightly less. I do find sitting in the rear seat of a 3 to be more comfortable than in the Impreza, especially when it comes to legroom. I'm not overally tall (6') and the 3 isn't exactly spacious itself, but I feel really cramped in the Impreza.

I think everyone else covered the AWD vs FWD part. I wouldn't be of much help with regards to going to the snow because my 3 is lowered with aftermarket suspension so there's little or no way I'm fitting cables on my tires without ripping apart my wheel wells. Hehe.
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Old 12-11-09, 10:19 PM   #24
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Yeah I am looking for Sport. I double checked with Invoice and it matched what I had for both Impreza Premium and Mazda3 MSRP is 20k, and Invoice 19k. Going to test ride Subaru this weekend, but unless I can get it at Invoice or below I am going with Mazda3. I guess they really want to move those Mazdas, since online quotes are below invoice.
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Old 12-11-09, 11:25 PM   #25
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Also found this: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/...205863,00.html A bit more of an incentive to buy now, and new.

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