The Mazda3 is fun to drive and gets good mileage. I bought it fully loaded with automatic, ABS, and side air bags. I like the car's handling, feel for the road, and the manual mode on the automatic transmission. On the other hand, a nearly fatal flaw is that the speedometer and other gauges are so far recessed into the instrument panel and unlit that they're extremely difficult and tiresome to read on sunny days within 3 hours of sunrise/set or driving in and out of shade. I have to stare at the instrument panel for a second or two to let my eyes adjust to the darkness before I know how fast I'm going. The gauges are fine on cloudy days and fantastic at night.
Great headlights provide a wide and very sharp beam at night. Telescoping/tilting steering wheel. Very comfortable for a 6'4" driver while getting 32+ MPG (few cars can do that!). Enormous glovebox.
The gauges need to be made much, much easier to see during the day going in and out of shade in bright sunlight. I love the car but wouldn't buy it again until this is fixed. Could also use a wireless trunk release, variable interval wipers, and an iPod audio-in jack.
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