The Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, although many are equipped with the optional five-speed automatic. The Mazda’s automatic transmission combines the best of both worlds. It’s known as an “automanual” transmission. This transmission gives you the ability to change gears whenever you please, as an alternative to driving in automatic mode.
Crank the engine. Apply your foot to the brake pedal and move the gear-shift handle from “Park” to “Drive,” and then move it one spot to the left. This mode is labeled “M.” It is your automatic transmission’s manual shift mode.
Release the brake and begin driving. You’ll start out in first gear. Pay attention to the display beneath your odometer. It displays a “1” when you start driving. This display lets you know which gear you are in.
Tap the gear-shift handle down. Notice the “+” symbol on the bottom part of the shift gate. Watch the display as it changes to “2.” You are now in second gear. Pay attention to your engine RPM. When it’s time to shift again, tap the handle down again.
Tap the gear-shift handle up if you want to downshift to a higher gear. This is not required. The Mazda 3 automatically downshifts as your speed lowers. Nevertheless, you can shift into a lower gear at any time.
Make sure the gear-shift knob is in “Neutral” (the center position). Apply your foot to the brake pedal, and then apply your other foot to the clutch. Crank the engine.
Move the gear-shift knob to the left then up. This is first gear. Slowly release the clutch while simultaneously applying pressure to the accelerator pedal.
Release the accelerator pedal. Engage the clutch again. Shift the gear-shift knob straight down to move into second gear. Release the clutch and continue accelerating. Repeat the process each time you want to change gears. Examine the diagram on the shift-knob handle–it lets you know the position of each gear.
Mazda recommends shifting into second gear at approximately 13 mph, third gear at 24 mph, fourth gear at 34 mph, and fifth gear at 49 mph.