if you can look at other cars or this one only if it has a V6. As the 4cyl sucks on acceleration and pick-up but for start and go tracfic it fine because your not going to get any where fast. You also must rev it very high to get full advantage of its 168 horse power.
We all know that Mazda got a deal on Black, Gray and Silver paint but that's OK. For the price of Mazda 3 where else can you find a car that's fun to drive, handles better than the competition, has great seats, is relatively quiet inside (windows up) and has a huge trunk. Very important (to me) ... this is not a "Skyactiv" engine but the 2.5 4-cyl averages 30 mpg in mixed driving; with a clutch, you can coast up to traffic lights. Alas, it is not a drag-racer but will keep up with normal traffic. Engine will come on strong over 3K RPM but fuel mileage will suffer. At 10K miles on the clock, no mechanical or electrical issues. A well-built machine. Highly recommended.
Gas mileage, handling, seats, build quality and lack of warranty "issues."
"Improvements" have supposedly been addressed with the 2014 Mazda 6. We'll see.
Honestly I was looking for a 3 but with all the incentives the 6 was a better deal. I like the looks, comfort and driving dynamics. The interior is comfortable and ergonomic. I love the 6M tranny, shifts easily and the clutch is pretty much perfect. My son keeps asking to borrow the keys and take it out (he's learning to drive a stick).
So far so good.