The car wasn't made to break any sort of land speed records and with that in mind, the little 2L LF-DE engine was just what it needed.
Making 104Kw at 6500rpm it wasn't the fastest car around. But for the punch you got, the fuel economy wasn't too bad either. Using 8.5L/100km in the manual and around 9L/100km in the auto, the Mazda 3 was a nice balance of speed and economy.
And for a cheap car and a great one for a first car owner it was punchy off the line. Now it was never going to beat your V6 Commodores, but it would be a bit of fun and with the lighter weight it got going well.
However, this car being front-wheel drive, it was much better in the corners. The suspension was soft but not to the point where you were flung from side to side with the slightest of movements. But it was grippy and balanced, making it quite difficult to catch through small roundabouts with little to no effort.
Plus, it never fought you through them; it was like gliding through as if there was nothing there at all. With all this driving, stopping is always a priority and again it was damn good. Many times heavy braking was needed and it was rare for the Mazda 3 to lock up and skid. Making it a much safer drive. Over all it makes for a great daily driver and rather cheap for the age of the car.
The inside of the Mazda 3 is nicely designed and rather big. All the buttons are flush and everything has that nicely placed look, nothing seems out of place. The dash cluster is divided and pretty much sealed so only the driver and maybe the back seat can see making it both helpful and a hindrance at times. But definitely, at face value the interior is bang on; nothing looking too over the top and everything has its reasons.
However, it had some unique styling inside that made it difficult to put aftermarket accessories in. My big problem was the stereo. As I wanted to place a double din touch screen to place the original unit I had to source it specifically for the model car as any off the shelf product would not fit without an abundance of the other parts needed. However in the end, it worked out well with the new product fitting straight into place.
Something that helped me choose the Mazda 3 over some of its rivals was its styling; something about it just popped out at me. Whether it was the slick front end, the nice little spoiler or the nice taillights something about it popped and stood out. And to this day, it still looks good in my opinion.
And the paint looks spectacular. However as time goes on and the sun sees more and more of the paint it does begin to fade and unfortunately that is what has happened here.
The first panels affected are the roof, bonnet, spoiler and boot. And if you compare your front quarter panel to the bonnet there is massive difference, even through they are only centimetres away from each other. However if you look after the paint and wash and polish it enough this will be further down the line for you. Keep the beautiful paintwork looking great!
All in all the Mazda 3 is a great little car for families, first car owners and anyone looking for a cheap reliable run around.
Mine's done me well so far and I reckon it still has a long way to go. The style is fantastic and the car's balance is great. Reliability is your friend and as long as you take care of it, it will take care of you for many, many years to come.