This is the wife's daily driver and we have about 6500KM's on the clock so far. I have only driven it maybe 10 or so times but I feel like I can give a good review of this vehicle. Over the years I have owned quite a few cars, mainly european sedans but there is a good mix of everything in there so I feel like I can give a good review of this car as I have quite a bit to compare it to.
First of all lets address Mazda's NVH issues, it was claimed that a lot of improvements were made to the later Mazda's and honestly I can say that the car is more then acceptable now in this regard. I personally have a E90 BMW which is very quite and they are not worlds apart anymore in terms of NVH. A 2003 Mazda 6 I had was the worst car I have ever owned in terms of NVH so Mazda has definitely come a long way and I personally believe this is not an issue anymore on there newer cars.
Now, that 2.0L engine in an SUV, how on earth is such a small engine meant to power such a large car, well we drove pretty much all of the cars competitors, some with bigger engines and the Mazda felt right up there with the best of them. Don't get me wrong, overtaking on the highway takes planning and cruse control will kick down gears on the slightest incline, but if you bought this vehicle for highway cruising then you did your shopping wrong. This is a city run about make no mistake about it and it is more then sufficient at that with a trip down to the coast every now and then, you won't be disappointed. You also don't really want to rev this engine past 3000 RPM, it just sounds wrong but I may be spoiled by my inline 6 BMW.
Fuel economy I can only describe as very good, the trip computer is reading 7.7L and we do not baby it, how accurate the computer is though I'm not sure. This fuel figure is also with the stop/start disabled, both me and wife hate it and turn it off every time we get in the car.
I personally find the seats to firm and wouldn't want to be in them for longer then 1-3 hours tops, the wife doesn't mind them though, but when I'm already tired and get in the car I seem to not be able to relax, when I'm in a good mood they are fine for runs around the town, but they are definitely not comfort orientated.
Handling for an SUV is fantastic in fact you can definitely have some fun chucking it around roundabouts but here lies my issues as well, do we really need great handling SUV's? This handling has come at the cost of a firmer suspension setup and personally I would be happy to sacrifice handling for comfort in any SUV, If I wanted a sports sedan I would have bought a sports sedan, but I guess not everyone thinks like I do as these things are everywhere on the road.
Mazda's MZD system is fantastic, simple as that, it has no complex abilities but does what it says it will and is very easy to navigate, however I found myself getting bored of it quickly because it was to easy to use and there was no fun in trying to discover hidden options.
A major complaint I have with the car is the drivers side mirror it is WAY OVER MAGNIFIED and makes it almost impossible to judge how far a car is and has a massive blind spot. I timed it on the highway and a car going maybe 10KPH faster than me disappeared in the mirror for approximately 2-3 seconds which is just crazy. I can't believe no one else has complained or noticed this, a mate at work has a new 3 and also has the same issue. All the other mirrors are fine but the drivers one is really bad. I'm going to bring it up with Mazda at the next service but I doubt they will be able to do anything about it. It also makes the reverse camera mandatory as the drivers mirror is useless it really is that bad.
Least but not last, there are some really stupid penny pinching decisions on this model. You get a proximity key that is used to start the car but not open it. So you have to take it out of your bag/pocket, unlock the car and then have no where to really put it to start the car, this was so cheap of Mazda really boggles the mind. You spent the money on the monitoring technology and then saved a couple of bucks on some door sensors.
There are also no reverse sensors,this would be very helpful as distance is a little tricky to judge on the reverse camera and I don't really trust that you can see everything in it.