I purchased the car new in 1998, have driven it 115,000 miles, and had very few problems. Left front axle has cracked twice, and the coolant reservoir has been replaced twice. Other than that, almost nothing other than regular wear and tear. The 5 speed is very smooth, and the engine has great power, especially above 3000 rpm. Fuel economy has gone a little downhill recently, but it is a high mileage car. Overall very pleased, and can't wait for the MazdaSpeed 6 to come out next year. Would definitely buy another Mazda.
"Swinging" vents, 5-speed transmission, reliability easily matching Toyota or Honda for much less money.
NO MORE BOSE STEREO. Bose is proprietary and difficult to upgrade. Needs sunglass holder and maplight (both added in '99). A little more power would be nice. Add "Swinging" vents to the 6.