I have had this car nearly 14 years and it has been flawless even with 281,000 miles. I still have the original clutch and the engine has never been worked on except for timing belts, tune ups and a new radiator. The car gets 32 mpg, the AC still works with never a recharge and there are no rust problems. I plan to buy a new Mazda 3 and will keep this one for winter driving, I want to get 300,000 out of it!
Very smooth engine and incredible reliability and quality throughout. I question how many cars are this well made and still running as well as mine does.
The radio display is hard to see in daylight. The cupholders are too close to the dash; they have since been moved to the center of the front seats. Improved access to the headlights for replacing them would be a big plus. I have to remove the battery and perform Houdini manners to change the bulbs.
This was my 1st new car and 13 years later I am still happy with my choice. There is a lack of torque below 3500rpm but above that the engine really comes alive. The gearing is bit low so running 70mph in 5th is above 3K rpm. Good for passing acceleration at hwy speeds. Gas mileage is about 33mpg on the hwy. I have not done much preventive maintenance other than oil changes. The car handles pretty well for a front drive. The 4 wheel disk brakes do a good job. The body style still looks good. I have replaced most of the common parts such as CV joints, water pump, exhaust parts and it eats plug wires - I think I'm on my 4th set. The AC still blows ice cold without ever being recharged.
1. The anti-stat button by the door lock. Great feature! 2. 2nd & 3rd gear accelation at high rpm. 3. Fold down rear seats. 4. Still fun to drive and handles ok with original suspension parts. 5. LX features - body color mirrors and bumpers + power options.
1. They did eventually get rid of the auto-seatbelts. They are the worst feature of the car.
This was my starter car--my first big purchase--but has been so ultra- reliable, fun to drive and easy to park in the city that I've never sold it. I put gas in it, change the oil and that's about it--very low maintenance car. In 13 years I have replaced the muffler, radiator and brakes, but am still on the first clutch. It is the most amazing little car and I will hate to have to say goodbye when the time comes. Though my mechanic says it looks good for at least another 60K.
It is the perfect zip around town car-- small, nimble and easy to park (because of its length). But there's still plenty of room for two bikes in the back with the back seat folded down. This is not a flashy car--it has AC and a cassette player and not much else, but that also means less to break.
The PLASTIC radiator blew up three
summers ago (2001); I have had
nothing but problems since then--I've
since replaced the radiator, head
gasket (twice, I think) timing belt
(expected...once... I've had to replace
it twice in less than two years. No one
can figure out why it keeps
shredding/coming off.), water pump,
thermostat, A/C switch and housing,
compressor, etc. I CAN'T WAIT 'til I
can afford to get another NEW car. I
plan to never buy Mazda again, nor an
older used car, even though this one
was only 6.5 years old when I bought
it, with 57K miles. It's now at only