I bought this car new and have generally enjoyed it for 9 years. Contrary to what the handbook and one of the reviewers say, the supercharged engine runs fine on 87 octane; in fact it got worse mileage on 91 octane. My car currently has 84000 miles on it, and I just drove it in late summer (90+ degrees heat) to the Outer Banks. It ran fine and provided excellent air conditioning the whole way. I followed Mazda's suggestion to replace the timing belt at 65000 miles and also had the water pump replaced (leaking). Oxygen sensors went out and a vacuum line popped off at 45000 and 50000 miles, respectively. Catalytic converter failed at 75000 miles (too early), for which Mazda picked up expense.
Good handling at highway speeds, smooth quiet ride (better than more expensive Mercedes-Benz models-- seriously). Quick response in rpm range of 2500-3500. Good air conditioning and heating. Great design that has 0.28 coefficient of drag. reasonable gas mileage (still averages 21 city/25 highway).
Seating needs lumbar support. Turn radius in tight parking is big. Paint job could be better since it seemed to get "water" spots under the clear coat in the first few years (kept outside). The supercharged engine is nice but don't be fooled about what a great gas saver it is. Clunky transmission.
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