This is a great car. Love making u turns, awesome handling, braking, steering. Keep good Michelin tires and have them rotated every 3,000 miles or you'll wear tires. So far my Michelin and rotations are keeping it in check. Have 68,000 miles on car.
Love the night time dash display. Great pick up and handling. Huge glove box. Love all the cup holders.
Need more leg room for back seat area. Needs outside temp display. Needs longer/bigger seats for my fat butt. Car goes out of alignment more than anything else I've owned. MP3 player.
This is a great car for budget-minded car enthusiasts. Fun to drive, good performance for the price. It's not a Bimmer or an Audi but it's also not in the same price range. Overall, it's a very good balance between price, performance, comfort and reliability, still convinced after more than 85K miles driving up and down both coasts. I would recommend the 2.3L as it's more zippy even with higher fuel consumption and the manual as it will allow better management of fuel economy for every day commute. If you take good care of it: don't park it outside, all scheduled maintenance, put good rubber on it, it will love you back 1000-fold.
AC on 2004 models is weak, better in subsequent yrs. #1 setting useless. Wish manual had 6th gear for highway cruising: rpm is 3000 at 65mph. Wish fog lights could turn on as daytime running lights. OEM Goodyears are worthless. Michelin Pilot Exalto summer are must have. Perfect complement to car
Factory ordered Jan04; picked Strato Blue out of the book. What a looker! Will never find another paint this beautiful; even Mazda changed it after 2004, probably because it scratches so easily. Still turning heads after 75,000 miles though. Absolute fun to drive on tight back roads, but really tough on tires. Easy to spin even from a stop sign. Gas mileage with aftermarket roof rack is around 23-25 mpg mixed, but 30-33 mpg on long trips using cruise control. Good reliability; only three unscheduled trips to dealer that was the car's fault...dash cracked, CD player fried, and transmission programming issue. Most difficult is thinking of trading it off! Might just have to buy another one!
Take off speed (zoom zoom); comfy/supportive seats; first-version Strato Blue paint is the color of clear sky on a full moon night; twisty roads; on-wheel audio/cruise controls; getting underestimated on merge ramps.
Wish list: variable speed on intermittent wipers; protector on top of back bumper; AC/Heater needs upgrade bad!; standard CD player is crap; would like to see one more gear in the transmission; more scratch resistant paint and durable cloth upholstery; upgrade carpeting; junk the OEM Toyo tires.
I just bought my 2004 Mazda3 s last week, but I've already driven it over 1000 miles on a trip. My first impression of the car was great, it's sleek and drives well. The only issues I've had with it are that the driver seat seems to be made for tall people with long arms. When I push the seat back so that your foot is a good distance from the pedals, I have to hold my arms out straight to hold the wheel. I also bought this car not realizing that the 2.3 L engine didn't get very good gas mileage. I was hoping to improve over my V6 mustang, but the mpg is only slightly better. But I like the way it drives, and I think it will be a great car for me.
Acceleration seems much faster than the 2.0 L engine.
Needs better positioning of the drivers seat in relation to the wheel and pedals, has poor gas mileage for a 4 cyl.
I bought her from private in March 2007 at 36,000 miles. Now - August 2008 she has 53,000 miles. Average 24.31 MPG - 60% city/ 40% highway (I have heavy foot). 32 MPG highway at A/C and 70-85 MPH speed. 250 miles at the city per full tank. One of the best purchases what I did. Fun to drive, good acceleration, excellent handle, short turning circle, very good brakes, finish internal very well and nice outline too - that's what I like. ** CEL appeared after I filled premium fuel, so I use regular. 100% satisfied and highly recommended.