I needed a compact wagon, Mazda3 seemed to be the best in this class in March 2006. I enjoy driving it, although it aannoyingly falls short of expectations while there seems to be no reason not to make it perfect.
Responsive, powerful and fun to drive. Very stable at high speeds.
Clock occasionally gets behind by 20-30 minutes for no reason. Not enough range in telescopic steering wheel for a short woman. Fuel economy on the highway (~25mpg) is worse than in the mix of highway and city (~28.5 mpg). Foot rest needs rubber plate. Fan on windshield should not always have the AC on.