Uncle Algis likes to drive fast, really fast! I’ll never forget one white knuckled, harrowing drive around the Dandenongs in the back of his old Toyota Troop Carrier that he was throwing around the corners like a Golf GTI. The only thing that stopped him was the scream of “Algis, Slow down!” from Aunty Nijole. Heaven help us all if he ever got his hands on a hot hatch!
I’ve only ever bought a few brand new cars in my life, a legendary little Suzuki Sierra JX Hardtop (well my parents bought that), a Toyota V6 4Runner (I really should have bought a block of land instead), a first generation Honda Jazz (that thing was like a tardis) and our current second car, a base model 2010 Mazda3 Neo manual. In most cases, the only reason I went against my long-standing rant of “why would you buy new?” and stumped up for a new one was that the newly released model was a game changer and I just couldn’t wait!
The Mazda3 was no exception and after reading glowing reviews and a quick test drive we just couldn’t resist spoiling ourselves on this attractive, sporty little silver hatchback. As always we chose a manual and wow, what a sweet little gearshift with a short throw and a rorty exhaust note! The handling for a base model hatch is quite exceptional, and the 2.0-litre engine loves a good rev - Zoom Zoom, indeed. So much so, it was hard to wipe the smile off Uncle Algis’s face after he borrowed it!
The little Mazda has ample room in the hatch, and this can be extended to a fairly reasonable, almost flat load space by folding down the rear seats. However, let’s face it, the space in a Mazda3 for rear passengers could be better, but for the occasional trip, four adults or three kids can be transported in reasonable comfort. It’s got all the modern necessities like fast glass, electric mirrors and cruise control and we were blown away by the quality of the standard sound system, which still fails to disappoint whether it’s blaring out chemical brothers, Pink Floyd or The Wiggles.
We’ve done just over 125,000km's now and it’s been a remarkably reliable, bulletproof little car that doubles as a surf wagon when the Forrester is on family duties. The only thing we’ve spent money on are a roof rack, tyres and servicing, no issues whatsoever… none, nada, ziltch!
Thank god common sense got the better of me and we didn’t go for the second-hand TDi Golf I was eying off for the same price as this brand new baby! All things considered, this car is well built, sporty to drive, fuel efficient, reliable and still looks good so I couldn’t recommend a Mazda3 high enough. Like Algis found out, it never fails to put a smile on your dial revving it out and zoom zooming around a series of corners.