If this car is purchased with the 5-speed manual transmission, This little compact will surely bring smiles. I have the 2.3 liter motor. The car will not win any drag races or any other types of 'crazy' aggressive street driving. But in everyday real life, I greatly appreciate it's balance of USEABLE performance, straight tracking, crisp handling, and it's ability to make normal commutes and boring drives fun and interesting. This car, like most small engine non-turbo cars comes to life around 3k RPM and surges well up to about 60 miles an hour. 2nd Gear for me has been the most fun! The clutch is light and easy to modulate and pickup is predictable and linear. The shifter is smooth but you still feel a tiny little "snick" as you put it in gear. My only complaint, if any, is that there is a little play and vagueness going into 5th gear. (but mind you this is NOT sports car). When going around corners, the car has a surprising willingness to turn and there is little body roll with such a factory setup. At times, I even find myself bracing my body to keep up with the car and often times, the car wins as i feel myself slid out the seat. That's the only indicator that I may be pushing things a little bit much ;) With this car and my somewhat constant aggressive driving, I average 24mpg in mixed commute traffic daily. On the highway cruising in 5th (around 70-75mph) I get about 26-27 depending on hills and traffic conditions. I'm going by my trip computer calculations. My only complaint about this car is that it is soooo quiet at low rpm. I constantly have to monitor the tachometer to see where the engine is, and I really don't hear the motor until I reach 3.5K rpm..but once again, it's just my personal preference. Also, I have noticed a little bit of corrosion on some metal parts around the door hinges and hood latch. I addressed that with some WD-40. Other than that, this car is an excellent purchase and if it is well maintained, will give you smiles well past 100k miles. To have the most fun and use most of the engine's midrange power, I highly recommend shifting for yourself and not letting a fancy hydraulic slush box sap all this motor's power!
I bought my 2007 Mazda 3 in 2008 with 13K now it has 64K miles on it. No problems at all. It is a manual transmission touring model with the safety equipment and options that I want (power windows, door locks, moonroof, spoiler, 6-disc changer, front, side, and curtain airbags. The power is good for the 2.0L engine and hitting 64K on it this year, it has loosen up and has more pick-up and go. I live in Vegas and the only complaint I have is the a/c. Mazda's have week a/c systems and overall the a/c does help cool the car down. I've taken this car on road trips to and from Southern and Northern California and most recently Arizona. The gas mileage is decent for this vehicle, because of the hot summers I get 25MPG combined, which I think is good for its size, and on my road trips I would get 35MPG on the highway. The car handles well and it is predictable. As for issues, of course I have had natural wear and tear of the car and the other issue, besides the a/c being not so good, the brake rotors do warp but are fixable and cheap. This is the second Mazda 3 and I have to say this car is perfect for anyone looking for a great looking, fun-to-drive, good gas mileage, and spot on reliable. I would recommend this car to anyone!
As the driver of an OLD Mazda 626, I knew it was time to upgrade. Given how well my old Mazda ran, I knew I wanted to stick with the Mazda company for my next vehicle. This car has the smoothest ride, neatest dash, and most intuitive placement of buttons and dials. I have not had one problem with reliability. I recently had to drive across the country in sub-zero wind chills and had zero problems. Gas mileage is incredible--I typically get at least the EPA estimated mileage, usually more. Usually runs about 25-28 city and 32-38 highway, depending on the weather, how packed down my car is, etc. I absolutely LOVE my car; it has been even better than I thought it would be. It runs amazingly and looks classy. I would highly recommend this car! To anyone considering purchasing this vehicle, go for it! Zoom zoom.