Great car - superior quality for its class
When there is lots of snow packed up under the car, I get a low grinding noise when I put the car in reverse with the brake on. This goes away once the car warms up (or the snow falls off).
The car looks great sitting as low as it does, but I find that it's a little too low at times. I really have to be careful when coming in and out of driveways (the bumper likes to rub the road).
In the winter I find that the snow packs up the wheel wells far too quickly. I have to chissel out the snow every morning, and by the time I get to work, it's packed up in there like stone. I have had many other cars, and I have never had one clog up the wheels with snow as bad as this one. Also, because of the narrow clearance between the tires and the inside of the wheel well, when snow gets packed in there, the tires constantly rubb on the snow and make a grinding noise.
I'm not sure where the negative comments are coming from on the interior of the car. When I bought the car in 2004, I test drove Nissan, Toyota, Honda Civic and a few others in the same price range. The Mazda blew all of those cars out of the water in handling, acceleration, comfort and overall luxury aspects. I have the 2.0 version sedan, and I found the interior to be similar in quality to my bosses Mercedes.
I have had the car on long trips over 5000 kms and have had no problems, in fact the ride was great for the whole trip. The engine is very smooth, and at times you can't tell if it is still running (it's so quiet).
I guess if you are used to driving something like a Jag or Benz, then the 3 doesn't compare, but when compared to cars in the same price range, I was blown away by the quality that Mazda put into this car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th March, 2006