I just picked up the special Canada model 2010 Mazda 3 Sport GX, as my Focus was costing more to maintain than it did to pay for. We have had a great experience with our 06 MPV, and decided we'd roll the dice with Mazda again.
I am not nuts about the grin on the front-end...kinda funny looking with the headlight eyes and the Mazda logo nose. I do like the wider look created by the bulges around the wheels, but I find the lines of the car look a lot like my neighbor's Vibe...I don't like the Vibe...or my neighbor for that matter - to bad we can't review them on here - lol.
The model I have has the 2.0 litre, generating 148hp. I really like the power through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and the car still has surprising pick-up in 5th for passing if it isn't too heavily laden - the transmission is smoothe and clean, with the exception of going to reverse from a stopped position. The handling of this car is...well...Mazda. Very fun, very sporty, very lively. The stearing ratio is great, making the car feel energetic, but it can also be a little disconcerting in snowy conditions, and getting used to the fast stearing response is a must.
The interior is nice - nice quality and pretty good layout of gauges and controls. Baggage space is about what you can expect from a car this size.
This, however, is where the fun ends. This is probably the most uncomfortable car I've ever driven, for a few reasons - I'm sure my broad-shouldered 6'3, 230lb frame doesn't help. The seats are hard as rock - the herniated disc in my lower back really doesn't like them. The leg room in the driver's seat is non-existant...short and narrow. The center console is wide all the way down to the shifter, and my right knee presses against it horribly, as does my left knee against the door. I literally have to lean to my right to drive this thing, or I am shoulder to the door window, and staring at the top-line of the windshield. This leads me to my biggest problem with this car - the vision. Whether to accommodate the side-curtain airbags, or just to show as much of that pretty aluminum paint as possible, the door frames are extremely wide, the windows extremely small. I don't know if it is because of my height combined with the upright posture the car promotes, but my line of sight angling forward of the car is seriously and dangerously reduced. I have 2000km's on this car up to this point, and I have had two close calls already with it. I am making a serious effort to adjust to it, but the extra looking around out front to make sure causes trouble from behind in traffic. Even sight out the back and sides seems very limited. This is definitely a situation where, given the opportunity to try this car out some, I would have passed.
This car is going to become my wife's main commuter once she's back at work, and I will go to the MPV. She hasn't complained about these things as much, so I am assuming my height creates a bad angle in relation to the door/windshield frame, but I don't like sitting with the driver's seat too reclined. I will probably swap it for a 6 in a couple years.
Amount Paid (US$):
NewModel and Options:
GX, 5 speed standard, AC, CD.