I have 4000 miles now on my Mazda. The suspension or something creaks really bad and my brakes are very noisy. The A/C is very weak for Texas heat; takes forever to cool. It is a fun car but I need all the moans and groans checked out.
I LOVE this car.It's just fast enough, handles maneuvering like a Porsche, possesses features that will make you think you spent more, and looks absolutely commanding on the road. I've owned the winning blue 5 door touring wagon for about a year now and here are just a few things that I didn't hear much about in other reviews: 1) If you live in an area with snow and hills, you WILL have a little trouble in the snow. There were about 3 days last winter when I just spun around. Consider winter tires in Dec/Jan, 2) Replacing the tires with original equipment tires will cost you about $225 PER tire...the cost for performance, handling, and looks. The tires are very wide and thin.
Superior handling, exterior styling is refreshingly strong, interior luxury features are nice, pretty good on gas mileage.
Shifting into 2nd is a little rough on the automatic, muffler sway should be minimized, better cabin insulation would quiet road noise.
I bought a red Mazda3 S sedan for my wife last year. I liked driving it so much that I bought another one (the hatchback) for myself. Storage space, fuel economy, etc. are all excellent as other reviewers have said. Here's the real deal: the sedan is just faster. The weight ratio must be different between the two because the sedan flies. It shifts into second gear like it's trying to win a race regardless of whether you push the accelerator. The hatchback requires just a little more coaxing. I'm pretty sure the rear door weight is the culprit. What you lose in pep you make up for in utility with the hatchback, but there's a little more Zoom-Zoom in the sedan.
Controls on steering wheel, dash styling, tiptronic standard, fold-flat rear seats with tons of space, fog lights, fuel economy.
In a perfect world the hatchback would have the same power as the sedan, but probably needs a bigger engine to achieve this.
2006 Mazda 3 Hatchback s 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
My Mazda3 wagon has completely met all my expectations in terms of driving enjoyment, sporty feel, and style. Everyone who has taken a ride in my car has nothing but praise for the design and performance, as they're usually surprised to encounter such a satisfying experience in a compact vehicle. The Mazda3 corners better than any other car in its class, always maintaining the driver's intended line no matter the sharpness of the turn.
Interior design: gauges, stereo, eye-catching seats. Enormous glove compartment. The rear hatch can be customized into several different uses - I often split it into two compartments to allow for separate storage of sports equipment.
The only flaw I have found thus far is in the paint job. The exterior must be treated carefully to avoid scratching, and rust-proofing is a must for anyone living in an area of high precipitation or salted roads.