We bought a 2.0 ES GT with a 5 spd brand new back in 01. The car was the best value in its class (for Japanese makes). Engine has always sounded rattley at start up, though this hasn't caused a real problem yet. The EGR valve needed replacement at about 60,000 kms. Now at 75,000 kms the alternator failed. These two problems don't bother me as much as the corrosion problems I have had with this car. I live in Toronto, and they use road salt heavily, but it is still no excuse for the amount of rust this thing has on it for its age. Every piece of metal attached to this car is rusty , body panels or any mechanical part. Even the horn has failed due to corrosion. Mazda is still behind the rest.
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