Bought used at 35,000 miles.
This car is exactly what I was looking for.
My hatchback is a manual transmission, and I love how it takes hills.
Even in cruise control, it doesn't skip a beat.
The steering is responsive.
It's a fun little car to drive!
Drove around the other day with 5 people in the car.
One person 6'2 the rest 5'3 to 5'11.
Everybody was comfortable!!
IF you're any taller than 5'11, the backseat might not work for you with a fully loaded car.
We still had plenty of storage in the hatchback to boot! The engine did not miss a beat.
Slight loss of power out of 1st, but did fine other than that.
For the class of car, this is the best option.
I really like the body design and the quick little motor.
As a matter of fact, this entire car is amazing when compared to the Toyota Matrix, Hyundai Accent, and Nissan Versa... of which I test drove all three in addition to the Mazda3.
I get it, this car is awesome...
And considering the power of the engine compared to others in it's class, it would explain the higher price....
So really I'm just wanting to pay less as a consumer.
This car is totally worth it.
Gas mileage. If Mazda could somehow harness the power of the 168hp motor and get upwards of 35+ highway, that would be perfect!
I recently purchased a Mazda 3 5 Door Sport after leasing a Honda Accord for the past three years. This car is GREAT! I had a couple friends recommend it and after the test drive I knew it was the car for me. It's got great styling, good fuel economy, and is fun to drive. The Sport version is loaded with a ton of standard features that were upgrades on other cars I looked at. The 2.3L engine has plenty of power both off the line as well as to get up and go on the highway. I went for the automatic (for my wife) but the manual shift option performs very similar to a manual transmission, giving you a little more control. All-in-all I am fully satisfied and would recommend this car!!
Tons of storage with fold down seats, 17" Allow Wheels, iPod jack, sporty styling, sport tuned suspension, good fuel economy, great interior styling, FUN TO DRIVE.
Even thought the fuel economy is good, it could use a slightly larger gas tank. I average 325-350 and got just over 400 in my Accord. No other complaints ;)
I put 211,000 miles on my 1993 Protege without a fault. Bought a 2008 Honda Fit Sport 14 months ago and it was totaled. Drove the 2009 Fit Sport, Saturn Astra, and Mazda3 5dr and the game was over. The Mazda is much more car than the Honda and much nicer. The Astra is nice but awkward and the lack of an aux input for the MP3 player just shows a lack of consumer focus. The Honda feels "empty" and lacking when compared to the Mazda. The prices are all very close so it's a good comparison in my book. I'd like the sunroof to be an option by itself.
The clutch is awesome. Buy the 5-speed if at all possible. The Copper Red Mica is beautiful in the sun. The standard wheels are nice and the power outlet next to the aux. MP3 outlet is another great idea.
The car does need tinted windows stock from Mazda. The cigarette lighter and ashtray should be replaced by something more useful for us non-smokers like maybe a coin drawer. It's backwards in my view to make me buy a replacement for the ashtray instead of making the smoker buy a "smoker's package"
Bought the car last week and have put 600 miles on it. The 17" wheels and independent front and rear suspension provide unsurpassed handling for a car in this price range. The 156 hp engine provides adequate power and acceleration. The 5 spd manual gear box is smooth and predictable, seats are firm and supportive while still being very comfortable. Smooth and straight on the highway at 80 mph. The car gets a little sketchy when manuevering through the twistys on uneven pavement. The stock goodyear tires are hard and noisy, but provide adequate grip on dry roads. Braking is superb and this is one super fun car to drive for under $17k.
Hatchback and rear folding seats provide great versatility. Independent rear suspension (only vehicle in it's class with this feature). 4 wheel antilocking disc brakes. This car instills confidence behind the wheel without having too much power to get into trouble.
6 sp gearbox. I sometimes find myself without enough torque in 3rd but too much speed to shift into 2nd. Compressing the gear ratios in 3rd and 4th and adding a 6th gear would make this car absolutely perfect. More insulation from road noise would also be nice, maybe new tires will help this.