I bought this used 2012 Mazda 3 isport , Automatic 4dr, 2.0 28K miles for my daughter her senior yr in high school to last through college. We compared the used Corolla, Sentra, Elantra, Civic for a max price of $12000 and found the Mazda3 the best value. It has a "Good" rating from the IIHS-which is the highest, 4 wheel disc brakes, ABS, stability control, multiple airbags. Good reliability, Great handling, comfortable, easy to use controls and layout. 60/40 split folding rear seat. We get 35mpg/highway, 14.5 gallon fuel tank makes for 450 miles on a tank!. I do most of the regular service, so the oil, air filter, cabin filter, wipers were fairly easy to change out.
Dash layout, driver seat position and visibility, great handling......some may say stiff ride, but that translates into improved control of the car. Overall a great small car for our needs!
Some material is a bit cheap as the passenger side under the dash molding is only in place by two small clips and a
one post from the firewall...very flimsy.
Small back seat, but that was known.
The cabin air filter should be in an easier access point.
The automatic transmission doesn't behave like other automatics. I learned this at a stop sign on a steep hill. It was frightening to roll backwards uncontrollably. Took it to the dealer and mechanics said they hadn't heard of such a thing. They tested it on a steep ramp and confirmed what I said. They couldn't find any documentation on how to fix this, so they called their helpline and were told that's just what these automatic transmissions do. There's an item in the owner's manual they were pointed to that instructs drivers to slowly accelerate the gas while letting out the brake pedal. I had more control on hills with a standard stick shift.
I bought an automatic transmission assuming it would be safer on hills than my stick shift. Consumers should be told the car rolls backwards on hills before they buy so they can make an informed choice.,
Better yet, Mazda, please figure out a way to fix this for those of us who have already purchased these cars.