I purchased this car in Nov 1999 with a $2,250 rebate at $16k. As of July of 2009, it has 200,000 miles. Around 68k (after warranty exp) miles, I replaced the rack & pinion. I have changed the timing belt & water pump twice as part of scheduled maintenance. No transmission problems (problems w/ 4cyl)! The car still drives good. I just purchased a 2000 Lexus GS w/ 124k miles on it and I'm looking forward to getting 400,000 miles out of that. The Mazda will be used as a spare car until it can't run anymore. The parts are a bit expensive though.
The ride is pretty good for this car with the amount of mileage that it has. I think this year(1999) was the last of the real Japanese build.
Engine pick-up! Improve the engine sensor, so the check engine light doesn't go on and off. I fixed it twice and it's still on!