I've only had this car a few weeks, but was looking for almost 2 years. Drove a truck. Was perfect when I got it, but now I have wife, kids, dog, and commute. I needed a practical car, but needed to carry the family on occasion, carry the dog, make dump runs, tow, and be comfortable day to day. I'd also like something fun that had a little power, but not a huge engine. I knew I wanted a small luxury type car, but they are almost absent in the USA. Especially in a hatchback (for the dog). But in looking at the Mazda 3, I found out about the Ford C1 platform and the fact that the Mazda, Volvo, and European Ford Focus are built on it. This is the car I was looking for. Nothing else fit
Simple central stack. I love the fact that the controls and display are all integrated. Engine is smooth and predictable. Ride is firm, but not harsh. Appointments are above the level you'd expect in a small car. This isn't a sports car, but rather a luxury car you can have fun with.
I'd love to see a dual manual transmission with this car. I'm sure it will come. I do wish that that I could order a seating surface that isn't white or black. A gray or tan or some other dirt hiding color might be useful. A limited Slip differential would be a nice option for power transfer.