13.5 years with Samantha, Sam, my manual 5 Saab, left me looking for slick escapes from daring edgework, tires squealing but suspension reliable and hugging seats. Got 'em in the Mazda3: tightest turning at speed, I'm still discovering wide slow sweet sweeps; body's external angles impress, as internal fits tightly to my average sized frame. I love gloving my lats, glutes and knees into the sculpted driver's pit, then telescoping out and laying steering wheel in my lap. But, 3,333 miles in my hands, I prefer my Saab's H handles. Named "Bluey, because it's SO blue!" by my 7 y/o, the Mazda3 performance out-classes the clumsier Mazda6, impresses with pickup, quiet, and rail-like free-wheeling.
Suspension: supportive yet floaty; how does Mazda do that!?! Immediacy: stomp the gas, rocket out of jams; others willfully enter freeze-frame paces, tearing passages across three lanes to exit ramp. Phew! My big Saab wasn't that agile; but I only had 15 inch wheels on it. Colors. Red panel.
More bass in basic audio package. Manual override shifting could learn and adapt more quickly. I'm hoping scheduled tune-ups will sufficiently adjust something. My foot's too heavy or the pedal's too light, but that redline comes up too fast too often. Paint rumpled when dealer sticker removed.