2006 Mazda 3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I've owned the Mazda3 hatch (in the attention commanding Winning Blue, of course) for 6 months and I am VERY impressed. I've never considered vehicles outside of Toyota or Honda and am so glad I took the leap. I've never had better handling. I saw this car on the road and HAD to have it. I spent just a little extra to get the moonroof/6 cd package, rear bumper step plate, moonroof wind deflector, cargo tray, cassette player, and autodim mirror. Coming in at exactly $20k, every option was well worth it and, since I purchased them with the vehicle, they are warrantied for 50k miles too. Only thing to add now is the $700 Phatnoise MP3 system. Mazda is smooth to offer this voice activated system.
Handles so well! I can't convey how thrilled I am with the steering mounted radio and cruise controls. They don't tell you this upfront but it was a nice surprise to see that the seat covers zip off, so you can wipe them up easier. The dash and doors scuff easily but wipe off with a papertowel.
Road noise is equal to a Corolla or Focus above 50 mph. Moonroof has a slight leak when you go through very high-pressure car washes (touch free usually uses the water blasters.) I push up slightly on the moonroof when I go through, so the water doesn't get in. Explorers do this too, unfortunately.