Wow, the driving performance is amazing. I loved my old cars ('86 Mazda RX-7 and '99 Subaru Impreza Outback wagon), but I really, really love my Mazda 3. I get at least 35 mpg highway. The clutch is so smooth. The steering and handling is that of a fine tuned luxury car. The acceleration, especially at higher speeds, is very impressive for a 2.0L. Many neat interior design features. If you love driving, but want something economical, look no further. If you want a small luxury car, get it fully loaded and enjoy.
Just recently purchased a brand new M3iT, and I must say, I have only one thing that wish was different with the car - a remote trunk release on the fob. Handling is amazing, with the independent rear end, and the variable power assist steering never has it been so fun to make to U-turns! The 2.0 is quick and responsive even when paired with the AT. The auto stick makes normal runs to the store much more enjoyable, and the trunk is very spacious whatever you may have (60/40 rear seat too). The front seats are adjustable in a few ways. The lumbar support, height, reclining, and the telescopic steering wheel makes sure your comfortable in any position.
Very happy and look forward to driving everyday! Great gas mileage. Drove to Yosemite and S.F. (over 1000 miles round trip) and only spent $120 on gas. Tight around curves and very responsive handling. Interior noise is sometimes a bit much, but still very happy overall. The best buy I've made so far in a vehicle.
I bought this car for the available options and the options weren't even available on the Civic. The Civic just looked too boring compared to this car. I also bought the car because of the safety equipment. The real reason I bought this car is the looks for the money. The dynamic stability control I think saved me once when I swerved to miss something on the highway and overreacted. I turned the wheel way too much and then corrected to go straight again. My last car was a Park Avenue and it would have gone out of control for sure, not that I am knocking the Park Avenue.
I have not had my 3 for that long, but I have not found anything to complain about. It's an upgrade from what I had before. The steering and braking are tight. I previously had an 03' Protege so it has similar handling, but the ride is firmer and smoother. It has more power, but I could still use a little more. Living in a big city you need to be able to accelerate fast when traffic pushes you to, and 0-60 in 9 seconds is a little under par for what I expected. All the interior amenities are nice, must of which I had in the Protege, but way more stylish. Also the four wheel ABS brakes, and side impact airbags are a nice comfort.