Bought this car second hand at around 50,000 km for $15k. It is an absolute steal for a car that is extremely well balanced. It’s a comfortable cruiser when you want it to be and a corner carving Hot Hatch the next second. The chassis on this car has the perfect balance between comfort and sportiness.
The driving experience is amazing for a car at this price point. It genuinely makes me want to hop in the car and go for a cruise for no reason because it’s so fun to drive.
The 2.5 engine combined with the 6 speed manual makes this car a bit of a sleeper. Its no drag queen, but the gearing and torque of the motor gets you off line very quick and gives you a satisfying shove into seat. Gear shifts are quick and really accurate.
The best part of this car though is the handling. I have taken this car up to the Yarra valley mountains countless times for blasts through the mountain roads and this car corners like it’s on rails. Mazda has set up the suspension perfectly as it rides firm but comfortably in the city too.
The interior is somewhat bland at a glance, with black and grey plastics over the majority of the cabin but the backlit gauges lift the ambience nicely. Seats are really comfortable and hug you well.
Road noise has been a common problem with Mazda’s of this generation, but I found a fairly good fix. I’ve recently installed some Bridgestone Potenza re003 tyres on this car and it really quietened the cabin down. These tyres are far superior to the stock Toyo’s in terms of grip in any situation too.
The biggest downside to this car is the technology. The Bluetooth is fairly hopeless. Call quality is terrible as the microphone placement is under the centre of the dash. I have to almost yell for the person on the other end of the phone to hear me. It also has trouble pairing more than 1 device to it. The dinky GPS screen is also fairly nasty, the navigation takes you on routes that have a lot of traffic lights and school zones. The warning to turn is also very hard to see on the small screen.