2005 Mazda 3 SP23 Limited 2.3 petrol
Best value for money in the sub $16k range
Had some strange problems with the central locking system unlocking and locking the doors at random.
Removed the driver's side central locking controller (mission), and cleaned and applied carbon electric grease - no problems since.
I am a Toyota person through and through, but TOYOTA does not compare to the Mazda 3. No Corolla has the fun and styling or performance.
Ours is the Limited Edition Leather & Bose edition - If you can get this model, grab it! It's not just a fancy badge on the speakers. Sub woofer under the passenger seat, and a good BOSE amp under the driver's seat, great speakers - great sounds!
I rate these cars; before this, we had the Japanese import equivalent (Axela). The Axela is reported as being quicker due to different cams, but it is nominal.
The NZ model has the curtain air bags, which the Axela does not. The Axela has the rain sensing wipers.
Without a doubt, the best handling front wheel drive car I have ever driven.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th June, 2011