I'm a two car guy and passed on one of my cars to my sister and decided I needed a second to go along with my BMW z4. For the past 20 years I've used Subarus as my second car and have loved both of them--a Legacy and then an Impreza. It took me a year or so to decide on the Mazda 3 though it was a front runner all along. I wanted to get another Impreza but it had less horsepower than my 2009 model, and I didn't want the CRT transmission. BMW 3 series was high on my list--but I just couldn't justify the cost against the 3. The driving dynamics are almost as good and there are just so many more features, particularly safety, on the Mazda. It's a lot of fun to drive. Update: I've had the car now for over two years, and have some things to add. It's hot in Texas and I'm amazed at how good the air conditioning functions. The car still handles superbly and is a pleasure to drive. The surround sound music system works very well. People note that it still has that new car smell. Pickup is excellent! The seats are very comfortable on long trips. One oddity is that if the door windows are wet, as from morning dew or rain, and you lower and raise them, the water is not wiped off. Brakes are excellent. I remain amazed at how good this car drives--the handling is lots of fun and I never tire of getting it. Of the features, the ones I especially appreciate are the backup camera, blind-side monitoring, and keyless entry. I will have these features in all future cars. My gas mileage is not great--26 or 27 mpg--but most of my driving is in the city and I tend to have a heavy foot when the light turns green. If I drove like a normal person I'm sure it would be much higher, cause I actually tried it. Also, driving on the highway provides great mileage. One last thing--transmission is first rate--it's so much better than driving a cvt transmission. My other car is a manual--and I probably won't return to a manual if I've got an automatic as good as this one.
I was the owner of a 2013 Mazda 3i Touring, the 2015 S - Grand Touring is a HUGE departure. The interior and feature are that of a much more expensive car. I've owned an Audi, BMW and Lexus, and the fit and finish rivals them, not to mention, the $2200 tech package includes items that would cost 2-3 times as much on a German car. The 2.5L is punchy and has a nice note to it. I am VERY happy with this purchase.
I had a wonderful Honda Fit for 9 years and loved it. However I'm not a kid anymore and wanted something more comfortable. 9 years ago I was looking at the Mazda 3 and the Fit and chose the Fit. Now I choose the Mazda. The larger 16" wheels and wheelbase are more road/bump friendly. It's quieter. The Honda was less comfortable for my aging bones and back. Mazda is a small bit bigger but not a difficult adjustment to park. Design of sheet metal and interior is elegant for a car of this price. Purchased 2015 dealer courtesy car with 5000 miles. Mileage is same as the fit and has a little more storage. Love it.
Owner of i Touring hatchback w/ 6-speed manual for 6+ months. I have had no issues & I enjoy owning this beautiful car. I've averaged 33.1 mpg overall with an assertive driving style. I can say that I do NOT regret choosing the 2.0L engine. It is quick & punchy. The only time I have noticed a lack of power was when I was hauling 3 other adults & their luggage on hilly terrain. What sets this car apart from the competition is its driving dynamics. It is a more fun & engaging drive with excellent steering feel. It is confident in corners & feels very light. I absolutely love this about the 3. Other cars in its class fall short of the 3 here. Its quality exceeds its price tag.
Just turned in my 2012 Mazda 3 GT hatchback which I thought was a great car . . . practical but sporty. My few minor complaints have been addressed by this new model. Better styling, particularly up front. More power , especially when in sport mode. Six speed transmission. Really wanted the manual, but left that to my Miata. Back up camera. Shopped this car against a BMW 4 series Grand Coupe. Almost as much car at half the price!