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2015 Mazda3 2.5-Liter with stick shift confirmed

Although Mazda didn't issue any formal announcement yet, the new combination is appearing in official places.

Mazda will build the 2015 Mazda3 with the 2.5-liter engine and the 6-speed manual. This has been confirmed a number of ways. Our recent story stirred up a lot of discussion on the subject and we have to credit our sharp-eyed readers for tipping us off to the new model combination that so many have hoped for.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings Posted is an excellent resource we often cite. Mazda has now uploaded its official fuel economy numbers for the 2015 Mazda3 with the 2.5-liter, 184 horsepower 4-cylinder engine. Both the 4-door and the 5-door are shown with the official EPA estimated fuel economy ratings. Mazda would not have submitted this data were it not going to launch the vehicle.

Mazda3's Best Drivetrain Combination For Fun
We also know now for sure why Mazda waited until 2015 to combine its best engine with a manual. The fuel economy suffers. In fact, it drops quite dramatically. The best Mazda3 fuel economy match is the 4-door version with the 2.0-liter engine with the automatic, which earns a 34 MPG combined rating. With the 2.5-liter engine and the stick shift, the combined number drops all the way down to 29 MPG. That is a stunning drop. The stick is responsible for most of that. The Mazda3 2.5 automatic earns a 32 MPG rating. The 5-door numbers are closer, but only because the body style makes the best numbers lower. The 5-door, 2.5-liter with a stick still gets 29 MPG.

Many customers won’t mind the drop one bit. The 2015 Mazda3 is so light that when combined with the 2.5-liter engine and a stick, the fun-factor goes up dramatically. We tested the Mazda3 2.0 and also the Mazda6 2.5 in the past couple months and based on our experiences we predict that the best overall fun 4-door Mazda makes will soon be the Mazda3 2.5 Stick.

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swansong (not verified)    August 8, 2014 - 1:49PM

The 32 combined MPG number for the 2.5/auto is probably with i-ELOOP installed, the big capacitor-powered-by-braking thing. I'm sure the manual isn't available with i-ELOOP, so better to compare it to the 31 combined MPG of the 2.5/auto combo w/o i-ELOOP.

Evan (not verified)    August 9, 2014 - 12:40AM

In reply to by swansong (not verified)

These numbers get a bit confusing because of the slightly different numbers of the 4 and 5 doors. I believe John was referring to the 4 door when he gave the 32 combined figure for the 2.5/auto. That figure is without the i-ELOOP. The 4 door gets 33 combined with the 2.5/auto and i-ELOOP. The government's website gives the details so you don't have to assume that the higher mpg version of the 2.5 auto is with i-ELOOP; just click on the higher mpg version and then click on "specs" on the next screen. They list i-ELOOP under engine descriptor.

John's point that the mpg estimates for the 2.5 manual seem low is very well taken. As one who's been waiting for that engine/tranny combo, I'm disappointed the numbers aren't a couple of mpg higher. In the end, it's Mazda that decides the numbers it assigns to these estimates. It's certainly possible they've chosen to be conservative. The numbers for the 2.5 manual 3 sedan are identical to those of the 6 manual. That's a bit surprising to me.

John Goreham    August 9, 2014 - 11:46AM

In reply to by Evan (not verified)

Thanks Evan. The green highlighted links in the second paragraph saying "4-door" and "5-door" will take readers directly to the page for the 2015 cars on All the options for each body style are on one easy to see page. My brain hurts from keeping it all straight, but the links work good. No searching needed. In my testing of both the 3 and the 6 (summer time AC on) exceeded the EPA estimated MPG for both, but that is typical for me.

Mrc (not verified)    December 22, 2014 - 4:36PM

I'm just thrilled they still make stick shifts. Never owned an automatic, and I never want to either, but I'm afraid it won't be much of a choice a few years from now.
I'm currently still driving my 2001 5-spd Mazda Protege ES. I've been eye-balling the Mazda 3 for a while now. I like the looks of it. I wouldn't say no to the Mazda 6 with a stick either, but the 3 would fit my budget a little better.
Time to schedule a test drive.... ;-)