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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Short story: Honda decided not to offer a manual transmission option for the forthcoming Acura TSX Sport Wagon :shake:, which I really wanted to buy at the end of this year. For various reasons, I would like a vehicle with a hatch, but I refuse to drive an automatic.

I can't decide whether to get a Subaru Forester 2.5X or Mazda3 Sport hatchback.

The Forester 2.5X costs between $700-$3000 more than the Mazda3 depending on whether or not I want the Premium 2.5X or not. However, the Forester has many advantages: AWD, more passenger space, huge cargo area, higher safety ratings in side impact, and more interior storage spaces. I live in the US Northeast, which can have horrible winters, so the Forester is a very practical choice. There are many Forester and Outback owners in my area. My current car is a Honda Accord, which is probably about as reliable a car as one can buy, but it's not great in the snow.

Still, I find that the Mazda3 hatch has a lot of appeal. It is 200-300 lbs lighter than the Forester and lower to the ground. This makes it less prone to rollover (although both cars have ESC standard) and more stable in the twists and turns of the backroads that I enjoy driving on. The Mazda3's maintenance schedule is also less expensive than the Subaru's. The MZR 2.5L is bulletproof reliable and does not need a timing belt change. Fuel economy is also EPA 2 MPG better on both city and highway.

Forester: More practical (storage+interior), safer, better in the snow
Mazda3: More fun, less expensive, lower maintenance

Wish I could buy both, but I can only choose one. I have plenty of time to make a decision.
 

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Welcome,

I know it may not be really appropriate for this board, but given the choice of those 2 options and with your criteria in mind I'd go for the Mazda 3. Why? You nailed the reasons why.

Mazda 3 is a very well set-up car. Forester will not be as "tight", but will offer more room and AWD, and if you need that, Forester will be a great choice. Have you looked at the 5-door Impreza though?

Stan
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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That's a strange pair to cross-shop. Seems like it should be Mazda 3 hatch vs. Impreza 5-door.
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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A bit strange indeed, I'm guessing the O/P ruled out the Impreza for a Forester since it has more room along with AWD. 5-door Impreza would be my choice out of the 3 if you could trade the extra room for better handling.

Stan
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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I would go for the Forester (or Impreza 5-door) over the Mazda. I used to like the Mazda's a lot, even when I bought my Foz. But after owning mine (and almost trading in for a Mazda 3), I decided against it because my Foz had so much more character and was a whole lot more "car" than the Mazda was.

Plus the Mazda was a gutless POS. :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
pleiad7 - it is a strange pair to cross shop, but what it really comes down to is practicality versus fun. The Impreza seems like a decent hatch, but the Forester seems like a whole lot more car for the same fuel economy. I've also always liked the looks of the Forester.

Blue Fox - The Mazda3 Sport hatch has a 2.5L engine (165 HP, 167 lb-ft torque). Slightly less powerful than the Subaru 2.5L, but every review I've read says that it has a lot of power in the low and midrange RPMs. The guy who runs vtec.net drove one and was very impressed with the handling and power.

Wish Subaru offered the Turbo Forester models with a 5 speed manual. Having an overdrive gear would probably help highway fuel economy, and the Turbo 2.5L doesn't really suffer HG problems. I saw an XT Forester yesterday w' sport grille and bike rack on top... very impressive vehicle.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X SE
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My wife drives a mazda6 wagon and that thing is pretty impressive! It handles well and has had no issues in its 94000 miles of life. If her car died tomorrow we would defiantly look at a mazda 3 (i would want the speed3!)

that being said if my 2010 foz were to die tomorrow there is NO WAY IN HECK i would look at the mazda3. we got the foz because we like to go camping and snowboarding and the AWD is phenomenal.

I look at it this way... I love to drive fast and drive on windy roads and frak out my passengers but speeding and street racing is illegal. I also love to go camping and drive down some pretty intense trails... for the most part this is not illegal.

to be honest, out of all of the car manufactures now i really ONLY like mazda and subaru (honda is crap now IMHO and the only nissan that is worth a bit is the maxima) Since i really learned about subaru in 06 ( i have ALWAYS liked the look) i have been a subaru man... even though i did trade my 06 OBS for a silverado :icon_frown: ... but now i am back and i will not stray again.

Unfortunately my wife is not a big fan of subaru (even though she said the foz drives real mice) so that is why mazda is still on the list.

all in all if i were in your situation i would go foz because you can always do engine upgrades and suspension upgrades to get it to feel like the mazda but you cant add AWD and stretch the interior of the Mazda.
 

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How timely... I traded my 2007 Mazda3 GT 5 door last month for my FXT. I loved the Mazda3 and it was rock solid reliable. I bought it new in 2006. However, a string of bad luck (rodents eating the engine wire harness, someone denting the passenger's door and A pillar, cracked windshield and acorns denting the roof and hood all in less than 21k miles) had me looking at other vehicles. Not Mazda's fault, just bad luck.

I can't really compare it to the Forester though. If what you want is a sporty great handling car with some storage utility, it's a great car. On the other hand, the Forester is a great car also with different appeal, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I look at it this way... I love to drive fast and drive on windy roads and frak out my passengers but speeding and street racing is illegal. I also love to go camping and drive down some pretty intense trails... for the most part this is not illegal.

to be honest, out of all of the car manufactures now i really ONLY like mazda and subaru (honda is crap now IMHO and the only nissan that is worth a bit is the maxima)
That's kind of what I'm thinking. As a longtime Honda driver I am not happy with Honda's current product lineup. Honda engines are great and their vehicles extremely reliable, but they just don't have the same flair as they did in the early to mid 2000's. The Civic Si Sedan is pretty much the only Honda I like right now. It's insanely thrilling to drive in the 6000-8000 RPM range, but after test driving one, I wasn't sure if I wanted to listen to the burble of the exhaust all the time.

The Mazda3 hatch is a compromise between a performance vehicle an something utilitarian.

What I like about the forester is that it is Honda-ish in philosophy: relatively light, simple but quality interior, highly functional. If I were completely logical, it would be the obvious choice given the harsh winters here. I'm going to go for some test drives and make a decision in a few months. Not in any particular hurry...
 

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They're very different vehicles. I drive the 09 Forester stick shift. Very fun to drive but not super-punchy like the lighter, performance oriented Mazda may be. Rides higher, bigger, better rear seat room. Depends what you're looking for and what usage you need to get out of it. Test drive em both, that will usually tell you if you like it or not.
 

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the mazda3 are awesome cars. my buddy owns one and he has just about done everything you can to that engine, he has done so much that he always says i wish i would have go the same route as me and gotten an awd vehicle. due to him spinning his tires every time he actually gives it a go. have you thought a subaru car or the forester xt
 

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i just wish mazda got rid of those damn smiley faces...
AGREED !!!! :mob::chair:

The worst thing is driving past a Mazda dealership with a row of those ugly smiley faces. :furious:
[/rant]

Sorry, had to get that out of my system.
 

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Right before I bought my '09 Forester X in April 2008, I had a Mazda Protege5 for 6 months. This was the epitome of a "zoom zoom" car per Mazda's ads and immediate predecessor of the Mazda3. Tons of fun, and the closest chassis tuning to a good German car I could imagine. The seat killed my back, and it just didn't have the room I needed. I was able to flip it for what I paid, and bailed. Mazda had 40 cubic feet inside behind the front seat, Foz has 70 cubic feet.

In comparison to the Mazda (or our BMW's), the Forester (with a 5 speed manual) is "agricultural" in terms of driving dynamics. But it works much better for my needs, which include carrying 2 bikes plus *stuff* inside, piles of musical instruments--it is right now loaded with a bunch of speaker cabinets and amp heads for my Friday night jam band at the bike velodrome in Rochester, Michigan, which I have to access via some rutted trails and mudholes, and the short turning radius is great.

And the Foz ROCKS snowy Michigan winters whereas the Protege5 was pretty lame in the snow. I also got home thru some severe flooding the other week in the Foz--I would have drowned a Mazda.

For my driving jollies, I still have a '91 BMW 318is that I have owned since 1994, so I have that covered. My son is a Cat 2 bike racer as well as a car enthusiast/autocrosser and is driving a '95 BMW 318ti (hatch), which is very close to the Protege/Mazda3 in terms of packaging. His car is chipped and has some big phat 17" Direzza's on it and is a slot car. He can beat his buddy's modded WRX (also with Direzzas) in an autocross with less than half the horsepower (the WRX has run the quarter in the 13's). The Bimmers SUCK in snow, though.

I also have a full size van for when I want to carry 6 or 8 bikes or a dining room set inside.

Drive an Impreza 5 door, maybe, for a compromise. If you want to autocross seriously or if your life is based on rocking twisty roads, go for the Mazda over the Foz. If you like ground clearance and AWD, and can use the extra capacity inside, go for a Foz. It is what it is, and it's working great for me. I love my Foz. And the seats are as good as it gets for my bad back.

George
 

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when in doubt, go take a long test drive in each.. then listen to what your gut tells you. They aren't going to drive the same, especially the Forester, through those twisty roads.. not until you put a proper sway bar on it anyway. I find that Mazda is really putting out some nice cars the last few years. Had I been shopping for a car, the Mazda 3 or 6 would have been at the top of my list.
 

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I test drove the Mazda 3 hatch and liked it a lot. Living in MA however, I did not relish the thought of driving it in a snowstorm. And I have to go to work snow or no snow. Seems you want the Mazda, if you don't have to drive during snowstorms (maybe you're a teacher?) why not buy it?
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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AGREED !!!! :mob::chair:

The worst thing is driving past a Mazda dealership with a row of those ugly smiley faces. :furious:
[/rant]

Sorry, had to get that out of my system.
I totally agree with you, E^vol. Those smiley faces belong on a Halloween mask, not on a car:evilatyou:.
 

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Come on you know you want the Forester... just get one already ! :woohoo:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I test drove the Mazda 3 hatch and liked it a lot. Living in MA however, I did not relish the thought of driving it in a snowstorm. And I have to go to work snow or no snow. Seems you want the Mazda, if you don't have to drive during snowstorms (maybe you're a teacher?) why not buy it?
Steve
09 2.5X AT
I live a bit south of MA, but I have to deal with similarly awful snowstorms during the winter. That's why I'm a bit hesitant to buy the Mazda3. My Honda Accord does ok in light snow, but like most FWD cars, it's dangerous to drive in anything heavy.

The 3 is going to be the car that suits my driving style best, but I have always liked the Forester... every time I see a Forester I want to give it a hug, LOL :biggrin: The design is so nifty and useful... very much like the Honda vehicles I have owned.
 
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