A genuinely handsome car inside and out and possibly the best looking family-sized Japanese saloon ever produced. Great styling details, though on closer inspection some of the internal plastics are a little flimsy.
Very spacious and comfortable for all passengers, with a huge boot and impressively convenient rear seat folding mechanism. At motorway speeds the cabin is not the quietest, but road noise is not obtrusive and is certainly acceptable.
This car is great at everything, but its handling still stands out. It's great fun to drive, with an amazingly well-balanced front drive chassis, taut handling and precise if somewhat light steering. You have to try improbably hard to get it to step out of line. It'll grip even the least skilled driver to the road and endlessly entertain anyone who knows how to ride a symphony of bends. The 2.0 litre responds well once run in, but obviously doesn't set the road ablaze.
Secondary safety has yet to be assessed by Euro NCAP crash testing, but with all the current safety equipment across the whole range it is expected to do well. Its primary safety though, determined by handling and brakes, is superlative.
In TS guise there is a CD, touring computer, climate control, cruise control and steering wheel audio controls. With class-leading driveability, safety, looks, space and Mazda reliability, it surpasses all its real rivals. Only the prestige marques are better, but they are also more expensive to buy and own. With Mazda's competitive pricing in the UK, I really can't understand why anyone in the market for a driveable family-sized saloon or hatchback would even look at anything else (other than for reasons of marque partisanism).