I was in love with this car. Frankly, in many ways I still am. I have the standard tranny and love the handling. The car really is fun to drive. Except when the gear synchro does not function properly from first to second.
I drive 300+ miles a week, and have since I got the car. We live in northern CA and go snowboarding and backpacking often, so this car gets driven a lot. Even so, it is only 2 1/2 years old, and the tranny is clearly going bad. The worst part is that it is an intermittent problem that the dealer has yet to duplicate. I have 5,000 miles left on my warranty so, sadly, I'm trading her in for a CX 5 - which doesn't come with as many features on the manual. Disappointing
Everything but the transmission!
Learn how to build a transmission that doesn't fail at 50k. My car isn't the only one with this problem. It isn't as common on the Mazda3, I've seen it more on the Mazda6, but either way it is ridiculous that a transmission would go bad 2 1/2 years into the car's life and with only 55k on the car.
Coming up on 2000 miles, great car so far. 2.0 l engine is fairly peppy. The larger engine would be nice but I love the mpg. Averaging 32-35. Car is very fun to drive and really "sticks" to the road. Reminds me of a BMW rental I had in Germany. Seats can get a little uncomfortable on trips > 3 hours. All around good car, which is fun to drive.
Lots of features for little cost, bluetooth is great and a must, fairly quick with good MPG, great styling
better floor mats - a little on the cheap side. better seats
Great little car which is fun to drive. Bought it for my wife and serves as our second car. Five speed shifter is one of the best I have used in my more than 50 years of driving. Started with a 1947 Dodge five speed in my younger days. My advice to any reader is be sure to check this one out. On par with anything on the market. We get 30 mpg combined.
I really like my Mazda 3. I traded a 2000 Miata for it, and expected a letdown in the fun-to-drive department when it came time to trade. I didnt have much money to spend, and I needed something economical for my very long daily commute. Those criteria dont usually lend themselves to much fun. Or so I thought. The Mazda 3 is great fun to drive. The 2.0 liter engine revs willingly and the five-speed manual shifts smoothly and positively. It corners flat, the steering is precise, and it brakes confidently. And for an inexpensive car, the 3 doesn't look or feel cheap. Materials and build quality are good. There really is something to the "zoom- zoom" stuff.
Performance: 7/10 is because this car is too underpowered as far as performance goes. I came from a 200hp Jeep and a 300whp turbo integra so this is more or less the slowest car I've owned (although at highway speeds+ the mazda would prob. blow the doors off the Jeep because of aerodynamics and gear ratios). Comfort: Nice interior, only thing I'd improve is move the armrest closer to the shifter. Fuel Economy: Impressive. I average 30MPG, and that's with mostly "city" driving. Fun To Drive: YES! Awe-inspiring handling for a stock car compared to my souped up integra with very aggressive suspension & tires, AND limited slip diff. If the engine note was louder it'd be just about perfect.
Interior Design: NICE! This car has features that my brother's similarly priced 2010 Corolla simply doesn't. You get a lot for your money with the 3. Exterior Design: Best looking under-$20,000 car I looked at BY FAR. The front bumper is the only thing I'd change. I don't mind it, but others do
Build Quality: Ehhh... Manual Transmission is a little questionable, but better as the miles go by. Engine power hesitation for ~1 second after gear shift with A/C blasting. Paint quality questionable, dealership even told me "don't use harsh waxes." Reliability: In Question...SEE ABOVE.