An Alfa for the US without the Heartache
By Molson on
2004 Mazda 3 s 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
1st, now have a company car, so the M3 is asleep during the week. It's so much fun that I decided to keep until end of lease (unless someone wants to buy). Super fine suspension tune (firm, not harsh, well dampened, great balance). Awesome feature content (tilt/tele S/W with audio controls just the beginning). Head-turning looks (doesn't look like an econocar at all, even though it's priced like one). Zippy 4-cylinder, though could use a bit more top-end. Still, more than just a grocery getter. Negatives: 2 recalls for airbag sensor, dealer dent in roof (dropped tool, apparently). Needs advanced traction controls(TCS, at least, if not ESP). Tires are junk (why Goodyear still has good rep is beyond me.
Style, solid build, handling/ride, interior room (seats fit me at 6'4"/235), feature content, shifter CAN'T be cable-actuated (can it be?), fun-loving car that doesn't require any special treatment. Totally guilt-less and regret-free. This is what a SAAB 99 would be in 2005.
1st, those parking lot dings are driving me nuts. 2nd, though interior is nice, 2005 Spectra5 (company car) has better materials (though color coordination leaves a lot to be desired). 3rd, TCS & ESP (and BETTER TIRES) would help in wet. Halfshafts seem kinda fragile; 1 set under warranty.