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.