I test drove other Mazda 3 competitors models (Rabbit, Civic, Cobalt, Focus). None matched the comfort, performance, style or price value of the 3. The cars looks great, has many added features and its not as common as a Civic or Focus. The Mazda provides the best all around package of reliability, easy to find parts, reasonable price, performance and sense of exclusivity. You still don't see that many around.
The cars has a very distinctive and powerful look to them. Its a design that has aged well. It handles and looks like a pricier car and the interior is very comfortable and stylish. The steering audio and cruise controls are very handy and add a touch of luxury. Good storage bins. A great value!!
Better mileage(26 mpg combined). The engine sounds like a household appliance. Road and drivetrain noise are ever present if somewhat muted. Pedal positioning forces your right leg against dashboard tunnel. Paint chips way too easy. Still provides the best bang for your buck!!