Sorry to say folks, it is in fact, too good to be true. At least to the way the reviews make it out to be. The car is a true economy performer and the hatchback coupled with Velocity red, shiny 17' wheels TRULY does turn heads and honestly more compliments then I've ever had with anything I've owned before. Unfortunately it comes at a little bit of a cost.
The car seems to be built with quality, but doesn't seem to be built tough. I am a car maniac, my car is spotless and WELL taken care of under the hood. But as I do so I notice where mazda went wrong. Although even so I can understand no car is perfect...
First of all, the doors are paperweight. You can blow at it and they will shut themselves. I'm exaggerating of course, but really, anyone who doesn't understand or appreciate cars, can easily mistake it for their old 87 f-150, the door SLAMS and thus loose parts are born in the doors which results in rattles. All 4 doors!
The carpeting is very cheap, VERY poorly set and the material frays easily, don't let your shop-vac suck straight on...
I'm not mentioning the sunroof so much because I understand it's the first REAL issue I've had with the car, and I can appreciate the overall reliability. But if you're a car detailer, you won't appreciate the easily scratcheable plastic interior, HORRIBLE Ford brake-dust and much more.
It seems my issues are very minor. The car has a LOT of impressive features. First of all, it's by far the best handling Economy I've driven, and I've taken a LOT for a spin before I decided on the 3. The 2.3L engine could have been better polished considering the 2.0 gets 150HP, but the much needed extra torque really livens the car up.
A lot of nifty extras too like projection headlights (bi-xenon if you go for GT), the Automatic transmission comes with sport shift which is a LOT of fun on twisty roads and usually only found in luxury cars. The 5 speed Auto is also uncommon and helps improve gas mileage on highways.
Leather in the car feels a little too fake for my taste, but does the job well. Cleans easy too.
As for gas consumption, I average about 25mpg and I drive a nice combination of highway/freeway/ and city.
Overall I'm impressed with the car. I have MUCH MUCH more compliments for the 3 but anything I say can be found on ANY website or magazine review. They rarely mention the details, and though mine are somewhat petty, I thought it may help for the picky car shopper.
I give it 4 our of 5 stars.