I did months of research before deciding to buy this car. It came down to the 2007 VW Rabbit and The Mazda3 Sedan. Brand new these cars would have been a similar price. Both had a solid drive and nice handling for the price point. However I decided that buying brand new was out of my price range (15 percent sales taxes in Ontario, Canada as well as high freight costs). I found an excellent deal on this car which was bought new as a company car, but due to complications became available for sale 5 months later. It only had 7,500 kms on it, but was already 'used' so priced accordingly.
I am very happy with my purchase for the following reasons:
This car drives very well. There is adequate acceleration and good handling for all kinds of driving. I was not in the market for a racing car, but I do enjoy a little speed and nimble handling, both of which this car delivers.
For the price, it has a very comfortable interior. The dash is tastefully laid out and everything is functionally placed. There is a convenient aux input and 12v power outlet in the center console. Lots of cupholders. Comfortable seats, although I don't know if they would be as good if you have a bigger frame. Audio quality is not exceptional with the 4 speakers, but satisfactory. Manual climate controls are easy to operate and work efficiently and quietly. Headroom is good, rear legroom is average. Trunk space is generous, and seats fold down for added space.
Nightime ambience in this car is awesome, the instrument cluster has lots of bright lit up displays and the entire dash lights up a bright orange. All the lights are dimmable. I think this makes the car look neat.
The base GX trim (which I own) comes standard with ABS and driver/passenger airbags and side-curtains.
The exterior styling is appealing to me and I feel it will age well. (I hope to drive this car for 4 or 5 years.)
Finally in this age of brutal gas prices, this car has pleasing fuel efficiency. Your gas savings won't make you rich, but they will add up to something.
Now for some quirks:
Rear visibility is below average, you can't usually see your rear end when backing-up, although with time you will get a good feel for how much space you have.
Blind spots seem to be bigger than average to me. Can anyone confirm this?
With the manual transmission, acceleration is low in first, high in second, low in third and high in fourth. My car loves second and fourth. It almost never asks for fifth unless you're on the highway.
The seats seem to be wearing really fast, and the interior materials are taking a similar route. With the black interior, scratches on the steering wheel or dash are very noticeable.
My car is still fairly new so not much has gone wrong with it. I have been to the dealer, they seem nice, but they have only done maintenance so far, no repairs.
I will keep this review up to date and post any new findings or problems with the car. In all, so far I am very satisfied and feel that I got a lot of car for my money.