I bought this car to replace my Mk6 VW Golf when its lease ended.
The Golf had served me well, but difficulties getting a decent trade in and the poor reputation put me off rolling that dice again.
This time around I wanted low risk, good value and some reasonable prospect of decent resale.
The dealer did not have the colour/trim/transmission combination I wanted (dark blue/cream leather/manual) so I needed to custom order it. This did not affect the deal I got, and the dealer met the delivery deadlines with no dramas during the sale process.
A lot of people are put off by light interiors thinking they are hard to clean. I have not found this to be the case. I'm not particularly diligent about cleaning interiors, but this one still looks good after 6 months. I coated it with a leather protection product as soon as I got it home (rather than accepting the Ming Mole's package) and it has done the job so far.
Performance wise and handling wise, the Mazda is excellent. It goes where it is pointed, has plenty of power for real world use and a confidence inspiring stability and levels of grip that my previous cars lacked.
The seats are very supportive, and it is easy to get comfortable thanks to the power adjustments.
Reliability wise it has been great, except that the iStop feature randomly fails to restart the car now and then. A problem the dealer has not yet been able to reproduce and thus solve. This gets pretty embarrassing at the front of the traffic light queue.
Also the Mazda Connect feature has been unable to connect to my phone via wi-fi, which means I have been unable to use the real time info. This is going to get corrected with new media hardware when the parts arrive at the dealer.
Biggest disappointment for me would have to be the paint quality. Externally it looks good, but peek under the boot mat, or inside the fuel filler cap, and you will see areas where the spray gun missed with the top coat. I don't think this will affect longevity, since the steel is zinc coated underneath the paint, but it doesn't speak well of Mazda's attitude to quality.
Oh and the space saver spare is a joke. It isn't even the same diameter as the main wheels let alone the same width. Definitely emergency use only. I keep an inflation kit in the car since that will be easier and less intrusive for a screw or nail in the tyre.
Overall I like this car. Reliable, comfortable and the 2.5 litre engine is a cracker. At the same time it is pleasant to drive in a way that other Japanese/Korean "whitegoods on wheels" just cant match.