I have 110K on my car, bought it new and do the req. maint. on time. Only ever had two complaints about this car. The first was the original tires that came with it... TERRIBLE. They were Dunlop tires and 2 of the tires developed bulges in the side walls. They also had terrible traction, especially in the rain. The other is gas mileage. For a small car, with a 2.0L engine (5 speed manual trans.) the best it can do on the highway is 32-35. I had a Honda Civic (5 spd.) that routinely got 40-45 and a Dodge Stratus (5 spd too) that got between 35-40 hwy. Otherwise, I LOVE this car. I drive it everyday. It's reliable, comfortable and fun to drive; handles great with the new Kumho tires
Comfortable ride, very reliable, quiet (with Kumho tires), handles well. Decent power. Versatile with 70/30 folding seats, decent leg room. Intuitive, easy to reach controls. I have 110K miles on this car and have only performed the sugg. maint. and replaced the tires. No mechanical issues at all.
Get rid of the Dunlop tires and equip it with Kumho tires from the factory. Lower the RPMs at highway speeds and increase MPG.
You know, I absolutely loved this car up until about 5k mile ago. I love everything about this car except for the poor design/build quality of the engine and wheel bearings. Had to replace right front wheel bearing at just under 60k, and now the engine is going out on it. My Mazda dealer says its either a wrist pin or rod bearing crapping out at ONLY 64,XXX miles. Other than that, this car would be absolutely perfect! If you plan on buying one of these beauties, be cautious and buy the extended service plan! Better safe than sorry
I bought this car in March of 2003, as of today I have approx. 115,000 miles. I've gone through three sets of tires, new brakes and rotors, new radiator, timing belt, and one tranny flush. This car is awesome. Before this car, I owned the Mazda 626, so I was already hooked on Mazdas. The first year and a half, I would always take my car to the dealership to be serviced, but the cost got so high, I started doing all of the easy maintenance myself. That kept the cost of owning this car really low! All in all this car has held up and I love it till this day!
I love the styling of this car and the fact that I upgraded my head lamps to HIDs the road is so much brighter at night. I upgraded my brakes and rotors, to drilled and slotted. Bought ZR rated tires and new stabilizer bar. My car looks more aggressive especially in yellow.
There are many little things this car could have used that you can now find on the Mazda 3s, so it's pointless to point them out. Just makes me want to go buy the Mazdaspeed 3. I just don't want to give up my sport shifter, for a full manual. I plan to upgrade my stereo to a in-dash dvd navigation
I bought my car brand spanking new on November 12, 2003. I looked at the car without even test driving it and bought it. The color is what reeled me in! It is now August 2008 and I have not had ONE SINGLE PROBLEM out of my car. The only parts that I've replaced on my car are the front headlight bulbs and the tires! Still as the original brakes, clutch, transmission, radiator, etc. It's so much fun to drive and I have absolutely no problems making quick maneuvers in and out of traffic. This is my second Mazda and I'm a customer for life!
Handling, color, easiness in driving, gas mileage is awesome (375 miles per tank) sportiness and size.
Door lock on back rear door. Actuator seemed to go bad early on but got it replaced under warranty.
If you want some fun on a budget try prying one of these away from some one. This is my sixth Mazda (including a '91 Miata) so you may sense a bias. However this car is so easy to drive enthusiastically, my only regret is that I can't drop the top! Corners flat, easy to drive in city traffic. Peppy without the AC going, OK with. Cruises happily at 75 plus, no problem. Fuel consumption is about 30, but can be stretched to 34 with a lighter foot. Still no rattles or squeaks. At 50,000, feels like it's just breaking in. No defects, one minor factory recall. My wife likes to sneak away with it once in a while. What else can I say? Find a good one used and drive it 'til it drops (200,000+)