I have had the vehicle for about 2,000 miles now, and am extremely pleased with the gas mileage. The 35 MPG average came from my own log of gas price/quantity/mileage driven. That being said, there are a few areas that need improvement. The seats are very uncomfortable (you'll feel it after about an hour on the road). The car does rev itself on start-up, and remains that way for a good 20 to 30 seconds before calming down. I haven't seen anything adverse to this, but I don't like to drive until it's calmed down. The center consol has a whirring sound - almost like an A/C fan is on, but it's low pitched and usually doesn't bother me. I have a creak in the back during low speeds.
The first gear is compromised, so if you're nice to the pedal it will feel like the car is lagging. Otherwise acceleration is good, and the car does great at high speeds. The road noise is high, and the car hugs the road and will feel every bump, but it's a very engaging driving experience. I came from a Corolla that has no umph and feels disconnected from the road, so it's a fun change. I sorely wished that the car came with DRL's and heated mirrors (not sure if these are options you can add), but it does not.
The black interior dash likes to show every bit of dust, but it looks nice and less plasticy than most competitors. The center consol is not too cluttered.
The MPG display is non-invasive. All it takes is a quick glance to see how well the car is performing, and navigating the menus has proven easy. I would estimate my highway average around 38, which is fantastic (it did hit 40 during a long stretch). In-town looks to be about 28/29, so the EPA estimates are actually on target with this car. I don't feel like I have to compromise my driving in order to get great mileage.
I can't speak for Mazda reliability, as I have only ever owned Toyotas. So far, so good. The Mazda is stylish, fun, and the new engine delivers.
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