Background: My parents bought the car in 1999 and I got ownership by mid- 2005. The car is still doing well but starting to show its age. Despite being intended as an economical vehicle with great mileage, it looks beautiful in green and has above average handling for its class, making driving a more enjoyable experience. The fun is enhanced by its features such as cruise control. Driving on hilly roads can be a bit of issue due to small engine but it was a needed sacrifice for better mileage. Reliability is rather average as the car needed some costly repairs during these eleven years.
Fuel economy for 1999: I hit around 30- 35 mpg on highways. An enjoyable driving experience. Outstanding external design despite mazda3s being superior in that department.
Road noise is a common Mazda complaint and this car is an example of it: sound insulation is inadequate, but not overly so. Door rubbers are lousy and acceleration can be a problem with the A/C on, especially when going uphill. Seat design is a bit rough for thin people during long trips.