2007 Mazda 3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A)
This is the second Mazda that I purchased as a new model. The first was a 626 that I put 235,000 miles on before I sold it to a neighbor. It still had the original clutch, and pretty much ran the same as it did the day that I drove it off the lot. I had a long commute for work at the time, so I simply wanted a newer vehicle with less miles. The Mazda 3 five-door hatchback I now own is a dream. The son of a close friend of mine went out and purchased a Mazda 3 after just ONE ride in my car. My current Mazda 3 Hatchback just turned eleven years old and runs like new. I intend to keep it forever.
220,000 miles on it right now, it runs better than pretty much anything else I have driven. I test drove over 20 different cars in this price range before buying my Mazda 3. It is high mileage but the motor is bulletproof, tranny is fantastic, and in true Mazda 3 fashion, it has no power windows, mirrors, or locks. At times it is an inconvenience but I'm young and poor so I'm thankful for one less thing to break. The car is a blast to drive, steering and transmission are great. I have the 2.0 l motor and it is plenty alive, it's not fast but it's not in any way dead. The 2.3 is a good motor as well but gets a bad rep for a simple pcv valve design flaw. The valve gets stuck open sometimes and the motor will burn excessive amounts of oil. It's an easy fix but people just assume it's old and time to move on and get rid of the car. Reliability comparable to that of a Toyota or Honda without having to buy the expensive badge. Comes with great speakers and an aux input from the factory. The back seats aren't exactly spacious but Mazda makes up for that by including the worlds largest glovebox. Seriously, the thing is massive. It is pretty cheap as far as materials go but hey, better than most other compacts. The car is much better looking than most others as well. Safety is admittedly not a large concern of mine however I know that it is just ok by IIHS's standards. As a safe and responsible driver I feel safe behind the wheel because of how nicely the little car maneuvers. I have avoided many near-accidents in the car because it is so responsive. Coming out of a student lot is a scary thing and being in control of a small car with good visibility helps. The actual fuel economy is better than advertised, I have yet to test it. Some people say it can get around 40 mpg hwy at times, which seems reasonable. I can't speak specifically for earlier models but 2007-2009 are very reliable and better equipped. This body style lasted from 2004-2009 and stands the test of time. Overall great car. Pros: great MPG, fun ride, reliable, great audio, seats are extremely comfortable and well bolstered, cheap to fix and care for. Cons: power windows and locks are not standard stiff suspension and tight steering might be uncomfortable for some, safety is meh, prone to rusting so be proactive.