Given that I'm still within the break-in period (600 miles per Mazda), it's easy to feel the cars power at low rpms. My silver MS3 looks better in person than what I could imagine from the photos. The sport seat height and lumbar adjustments, along with the telescoping / tilt steering wheel provide a perfect driving position. Visibility is very good. The exhaust is louder than I expected, but it fits this sports car. If you're into bargain priced speed, 4 doors, practicality and quality, this is it. Competitors? WRX- ugly & fewer features. GTI- poor quality. Civic Si- poor torque & needs high rpms. Accord 6 speed- wait a year for the re-design, but it costs more. Lexus 250- $$ and too slow.
The driving experience: position, sport seat, view, handling, torque, sound and 6 speed shifter. Good looks and unique 18" wheels. Roomy rear seats; very good leg and head room. Bargain price for features & performance. Four doors. Doesn't look like a boys car, e.g. WRX STI and EVO. Built in Japan.
The Bose stereo needs more base. Owner maintenance (i.e. oil changes) should be easier. Sirius radio option is too expensive.