Based on extensive Edmunds.COM research, I decided to purchase an '04 6s Wagon. I considered the Outback Impreza, but at 6'1" and desiring a powerful V6, I went with the Mazda. I love the style of the car and the power of the V6, but have noticed pretty horrendous gas mileage since day 1 (17-22 mpg (max)). There is a ton of cargo space in this car. I can fit a full adult bike, golf clubs, and luggage for 2 for a week with the seats folded down. Long road trips are pretty comfortable, although the low ground clearance makes getting in and out cumbersome. Recently, thick plumes of gray smoke emit upon startup. Dealer is perplexed. 3 weeks in the shop on 3 occasions yielded nothing.
Interior design, storage space, Bose system, Sport-Model molding/trim. V6 is powerful on the highway.
Fuel economy needs to be improved to compete. Over time, little creaks and rattles have become annoying. IPOD jack needed. Fix the smoking issue, it's really nasty.
I bought this car new in 2004 and love the way it drives. Very quick and fun to drive. However, there have been reliability issues including a clutch that just doesn't seem to catch shifting first to second, the starter had to be replaced and finally, the cable that connected my shifter to the engine snapped and I could no longer shift my car into gear. Very puzzling and the dealership had no idea why that would have happened. I really do love my car but wish it was more reliable. Also, it is terrible in the snow with all-season tires.
Speed, interior and exterior design are sharp
Improve reliability and knowledge of some seemingly fundamental defects
Bought this car (2004 S sedan) as a demo, Got it for my wife. great car. have driven it 66,000 miles and have had 0 problems.It needed a new driver seat, but they replaced it under warranty. It still has the factory brakes on it. The interior is a little cramped for bigger folks.
My wife and I bought our '04 used, it had 90,000km on it, We've had it for about 3 weeks now and it's been a dream driving it. We shopped for over 1 year and found this to be the perfect car. We have a 9 month old daughter and needed a car that was big enough for everything we had to lug around, as well as be fun to drive. The 6 hit the mark. With the car seat in the center of the back seat (due to side airbags deployed from front seats) there is still enough room to put the front seats all the way back. The 3L V6 is a little big for what we wanted, but with the 5 speed manual, it's a lot of fun to drive and so far the fuel mileage seems to be good, even in cold winter driving (Canada).
Transmission has a nice feel to it when shifting. Interior/exterior look sharp. 17" wheels and dual chrome exhaust (that's the kid in me).