I purchased a base automatic as a commuter car and got a huge surprise! The Mazda3 is an extremely well balanced car. Handling is tight and acceleration from the 2 liter engine above expectation and no "buzziness" as found from other products. Interior is base but well thought out. Power windows but not locks and a radio that while not exceptional is pleasing. Design of the entire car is well thought out both inside and out. Compared to my 2008 Corvette, some of the interior trim work exceeds the nearly $60,000 Vette. As a compact sedan, I would be pressed to have done better having spent $15000 for what I think is a bargain. We intend to pass this one along to our grandchildren!
Styling and engineering are obviously exceptional with the car. The front face is a love/hate with most people. I happen to like it a lot. The car feels as if it's cut from one piece of steel and instills confidence in the driver.
Power door locks please. Even on the base model. Others do it, seems like an obvious must do even for an entry level car of this quality. No other glaring issues. Just an over achiever.