Overall, this car feels much more expensive than it is. It offers driving excitement in every run. With a manual transmission, the power delivery is sufficient for everyday drive. It really shines in corning ability. By braking early, you could really accelerate through the turn quickly without a hint of loss of grip. It also rides very well on various road surfaces although it's on the firm side. Mazda did a great job tuning this car. One more thing to mention is the quality of the dealer work. After installing accessory or repair work, I couldn't tell any sign of R&R even by careful examine of the relevant areas. The same cannot be said to Toyota or VW, at least to my experience.
Driving experience and design (enough has been said). Steering wheel volume control and factory MP3 player is a good combination. Speed sensitive volume adjustment shows its value all the time.
Major (must-have): It definitely should have retained accessory power for window operation after engine shut-off. I like to see variable intermittent wiper. Minor (nice-to-have): Gear shifter can be less springy. Rear center arm rest with cup holder is called for occasionally. Eight speakers please.