I upgraded from a two-year-old Hyundai i30 to the Mazda 3. I've wanted a cute red Mazda 3 for years, and now I've got one. However, once I finally got it, I was disappointed.
Overall, the car is good, but there are a heap of things you don't really pick up on in the test drive that just detract from the overall experience of the car.
For instance, the visibility out the windscreen is great, but is let down by the rest of it. In my opinion, the side mirrors are set too far back, resulting in really having to work at checking your mirrors. I find that instead of glancing at your side mirrors, you actually have to turn your head a bit and look for a few seconds to get a good feel for the other traffic around you.
There is also a huge blind spot on each side. When looking over my left shoulder, in particular, to make sure there is nothing in my blind spot, I feel there isn't much visibility out the back windows. This is caused by the back part of the rear windows narrowing compared to the front.
Also, while I can Bluetooth my Android phone to the car for phone calls, I can't get my maps up on the screen in the front of the car. Mazda wants me to pay an extra $1000 for that privilege, along with having to pay extra to get the maps updated.
The reversing camera doesn't flip out when the car is put in reverse, so the lens is constantly out and easily becomes dirty or builds up moisture in wet weather. I'm also not a fan of the keyless feature. I find it annoying to have to get my keys from a strange place, like my handbag or the centre console, so I can lock it when I get out. It's so much easier if you take them out of the ignition, then they are already in your hand to press the lock button.
The cruise-control buttons seem a little awkward to use. The car does drive well and the automatic transmission changes smoothly. However, I feel I should have bought the i30.
A Note from the Editor: A stock image has been provided with this review