This is the first non-Toyota vehicle I have owned since 1985. I have owned it for about 6 months and it continues to be a pleasure to drive. I considered a few other cars (Mini Cooper S, Nissan 370Z and the Audi TT). The Audi and Nissan were about 10 grand more and the Mini dealer was extremely arrogant). Overall, I chose the Mazda because of the styling, performance and power hard top. The reliability was also a big sell for me.
Styling, power hard top and overall performance.
More interior room (I am 6 ft 2 inches and it is a little small for me). A bit more power would be nice -- with the AC on it is a little sluggish. My biggest complaint is the sun visor -- really, really bad. Overall it is very small, and you can not move it to block the sun on your driver side.