I am a commuter and I fell in love with this car at first sight. It had everything I wanted: great gas mileage, bluetooth, and even a great look. The first 80k miles were bliss. I recommended this car to everyone that asked. Then it all went downhill. Be prepared for sensor failures to leave you stranded. I am outside the warranty because of mileage (almost completely highway). The brakes feel shaky. This is NOT a car to buy used beware.
2014 Mazda 3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
The new car smell is long gone, the parking lot dings have all happened (I hope), and the first date is long over. I still love this car and want another (that's why I stopped in). I will tell you what lived up to promise, and what did not, after 3 years and daily 21 mile commutes each way, part of which is twisty mountain road, and part jammed SoCal freeway. The best features are the performance, reliability, looks and trim, storage area for a little car, and the little things like the HUD display and standard blind spot monitoring. I want to drive and this car lets me do it, whether playing F1 on the mountain curves, or shooting into that gap in traffic. Mileage is excellent especially considering that I drive like an adolescent. The car is for drivers. Little things that detract: HUD occasionally fails to stay up in cold (restart car), bluetooth occasionally comes and goes, nav is a bit lame, but I'd rather use my phone anyway (and the voice recognition/search is just ridiculous). I have not had bluetooth nightmares, perhaps it's more traumatic for some, restart usually solves. Dealer is usual POS but that's not brand specific. I still can't believe how much car this was for the money, and the Edmunds review that pointed me to it in the first place was spot on. If only I could find another s Touring model within a 4 hour drive... I think the 2.5l premium is totally worth it, but Grand Touring extras do nothing for me at the price point. The s Touring seems like the sweet spot for an aggressive commutemobile. I have not yet found another vehicle in class that delivers this much value for the $$$.
2014 Mazda 3 i Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
I would rate everything about this car higher than I had hoped, with the exception of road noise. The engine is extremely quiet, but noise from tires and wind reminds me that this is not a luxury car! But the quality and amenities are good, and reliability seems great. Acceleration is impressive, too, even with the 2 L.
2014 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
You can get a Honda Civic, a Toyota Corolla, a Nissan Sentra, or a Hyundai Accent for this price and honestly the design of the Mazda 3 is the best looking and the interior is sleek and great. It is the best bank for your buck and it honestly is a great car.