I have the very stripped down and base 3 sedan, that means I don't have A/C or any options. Even without A/C and things like that this car is still amazing. No problems with the car since I bought it new. I love the manual transmission, and the build quality of this car. I love my 3 and my next car will be another Mazda.
I purchased my 2005 Mazda the winter of 2004 love everything about the car, the feel of the car on the road, the suspension is tight, it has great get up and go for 2.0 and great gas mileage. It could use better interior lighting i.e. the window controls need more lighting and the my cigarette lighter light went out already? In 2007 I noticed my 2005 mazda 3i was beginning to rust around rear wheel wells and the undercarriage. I have taken my car into numerous Mazda dealerships for rust problem and have been told due to environmental factors they will not fix the corrosion? I highly doubt I will purchase another due to exterior quality it sad everything else is great about this little car.
Great gas mileage, great preformance, seems reliable.
Better lighting controls around window and power locks on the door panels.
I had this car for three years before trading it in for a WRX. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, the WRX is much faster. Now the speed 3 is probably just as fast, but it's only offered in a hatchback, which I just don't like. Second, driving in the snow just plain stinks! From a dead stop I could barely get half way through the intersection before the light would turn red again! Tires make a little bit of difference, but not enough to install confidence while driving in the snow.
Make a turbo version of the sedan! Somehow make it an all season vehicle.
I have owned this Mazda for 3 years. Its a good car. Engine is quite and peppy. Very reliable. Just add gas, change to oil regulary and go. The thing that gets me about it the cheap and tough to clean interrior. In typical Japanese automotive fashion, its cheap and plastic. The cloth on the sests attract any dirt and I always have to use a sweater shaver on them to get rid of the fuzzballs the fabric makes. The fabric trim on the door came loose. (Repaired under warranty) The carpet is difficult to vacuum, hold objects like velcro. The air conditioning could use more power. The horn needs a boost too. The windshield wipers need a intermittent adj. The tires wore out at 30,000 miles.
The car drives very quietly and handles like it is on rails. However a small pothole will knock it out of alignment. The sound system sounds really well. I like the gauge cluster and how everything is within reach.
Louder two-tone horn. Brighter Parking brake light or a reminder chime like my Tribue has so the parking brake is not left on. Better interior components, seat fabrics and carpeting. An iPod hookup would be awesome as well as lighted visor mirrors. An extra speed on the Autmatic Transmission.
After doing a lot of research I bought mine brand new and after 4 years it still puts a smile on my face. I have no plans to sell this car anytime soon. Mechanically the car has been sound. A couple of sensors had to be replaced under warranty, no big deal. Performs well for 4 door sedan and is a blast to drive on the twisties. Interior is fine for a under 20k car and more than one passenger has commented on the lighting and sleek interior design.
Handling and steering responsiveness. Added the phatbox audio system and haven't used a cd in 2 years. Very reliable. If you keep it between 55- 60mph you will get great gas mileage, i got 40 last summer. However, once you go above 65 gas mileage plummets. Still been getting between 24-27 in the city.
AC is a bit weak. Wish the clutch grabbed a bit lower. Rear window visibility is a bit poor. Cant see the trunk so gauging distances is a bit rough. Wish fog lights could be turned on without the headlights on.