I bought this car a bit over a month ago from its original owner with 72,000km indicated. It's my first car that I bought for $7000 but after 12 months rego and title transfer it came to a bit over $8000. The previous owner had the windows tinted front and rear.
I specifically looked for a Mazda 3 after the year 2010, as a few of the base models from 2009 were not equipped with side or curtain airbags. I religiously searched Gumtree with a specific set of criteria (less than 100,000km, and under $10k) and haggled the seller down from $9000.
First of all, I'm going to reiterate the praises of the car's handling characteristics. This car is a dream to drive. The steering is light and has great feel, compared to the 2013 i30 in which I learned to drive that had remarkably numb steering.
The ride is a little firm, especially compared to Mum's 2007 Ford Falcon that I spent the first three months of my Ps driving, but not especially uncomfortable.
The clutch and shifter action are great too.
Interior accoutrements are plentiful. The dash is a little busy, but the trick LEDs that light up in different directions when you change the volume is a nice touch. Ergonomics are fine, and there's plenty of manual adjustment in the driver's seat. I have no complaints about it missing electric adjustment, just another thing not to worry about breaking, as I plan on keeping this car until after I graduate uni.
Storage is adequate in the front, but there's only one rear seat map pocket and rear door storage is limited to small bottles.
The sound system is surprisingly good for a car of this class, and while there's no Bluetooth, the auxiliary jack is enough for my needs.
The steering wheel also has a plethora of buttons (perhaps a few too many) but it is a nice size and feels good in the hand.
Most of the cabin materials are good, save for a few cheap plastics lower down but I'm not especially concerned about that. Paint quality is good, and there's only one slight bubble on the roof which I'm also not worried about.
I would complain about fuel consumption, but the nature of the car encourages you to drive in a more spirited manner than others. I've averaged about 9.0L/100km with a mix of highway, city and trips on the windy roads out to Mundaring Weir.
Road noise is noticeably higher than in other cars of this class and era, a common complaint of the 3, but I would say it's about on par with mum's Falcon so I'm not terribly fussed.
The engine also doesn't have much in the way of torque, but it's happy to rev and doesn't detract from the Zoom-Zoom nature of the car.
I decided to buy a Mazda 3 after reading and watching countless online reviews and comparisons of small cars from the late 2000s and early 2010s, most of which said the most fun to drive compact cars were the 3, Focus and some even suggested the Golf.
The VW was out of my price range, and while I strongly considered the Focus, Mazda's reputation for reliability won me over despite the short six-month service intervals.
Third-party, fire and theft insurance on this car for me, a 17-year-old male with no criminal convictions and living in a safe area is fair, but comprehensive insurance came to almost a third of the cost of the car!
Overall, I'm very happy with this purchase, and can't wait for my final year of schooling to end to embark on a number of adventures in this car.