2008 Mazda 3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
this car is fun to drive, while it may not have the same power as the new 3 or many new small cars now (2015) it still gets up and goes with the 2.3L motor 7.2 seconds to 60 in my test with a stopwatch and a friend with the 5 speed manual. the passenger motor mount is fluid filled and breaks frequently spilling the fluid and causing vibrations that feel like a bent rim but the mount is cheap to buy and easy to replace with a jack and simple tools. gas mileage is simply ok. its not great but not horrible i get about 25.5-28mpg average depending on how much highway i drive and how much fun i decide to have that gas tank, but i did not get it for the mpg but for the fun i have driving it. the seats are comfortable and me being just at 6' tall i have plenty of room to move around. the interior plastics are well made and feel solid and at 7 years old still look new. the a/c is ice cold. the regular non hid lights are still decently bright and when upgraded with brighter bulbs give great beam pattern. I have owned mine for almost a year and put 8500 miles on it and the only issue was the motor mount and a thermostat (but thermostats go out on 99% of all cars) the sunroof motor was also loose and quit functioning but 3 screws fixed that and its worked just fine since then. the car handles great and feels rock solid driving down the road. it does have a minor amount of wind noise but nothing that makes it unbearable, just noticeable (and may just be because its 7 years old)
simply put this car is fun and handles great it seems to be built well and has not given me any major issues. just like all small mazda cars its zippy and fun. test drive one thats been well maintained (as thats what all cars need) and you will be pleasantly surprised at how it handles and the amount of power it has.