I've owned this car since new (March 2005) - it's still a head-turner and gives me great appeal whilst driving it.
The cabin has plenty of 'boy's toys' and lots of functional extras. The downside is the tyre noise - after only 13,000 miles I had to replace all four tyres (at £500) due to them being worn and very noisy - I brake softly and don't accelerate hard, so I find this rather irritating.
The new tyres were quiet for first few thousand miles, but then the noise reappeared at 17,500 miles.
It's a great car to drive and there's lots of extra equipment included. It offers great value, and the fuel economy is not too bad - it's just a pity about the excess tyre noise!
When I was deciding to change my Corolla T-Spirit I took a 2.0 Sport for a test drive followed by a Honda Civic 1.8 ES. Both cars cost the same after dealer discounts so it was a one-on-one test.
I found the Mazda felt slower (although in book figures there is not much in it), it was noisier at slow speeds and during heavy acceleration (although I noticed a facelifted version should be out this year which has added noise insulation) and the fuel efficiency combined shows a full 10mpg difference in manufacturers' figures.
My wife liked the Mazda's big boot and also the fact the sunroof (optional) is a proper sunroof, while the Civic only has a 'panoramic glass roof' on the ES (mind you, we have never really used the sunroof on our Corolla, and with climate control why should you?).
Looking at potential resale values and estimated running costs was the clincher - I should save around £3000 with the Honda in three years over the Mazda.
Sorry Mazda - if you were £2000 cheaper, you may have won, but direct comparision with the Honda Civic showed who was the 'also ran'.
My whole family and I love this car. The build quality, exterior looks, interior, engine response and brakes are fabulous.
The low-speed ride is slightly harsh, but at speed it's good, as is the handling. The gear lever is a tad too far to the left, but you soon get used to that.
The fuel economy is not the best in its class, but the performance makes up for it.
Each time that I leave the car, I cannot wait to get back into it. What a brilliant mileage-eater! I am looking forward to trying the new MPS. Well done, Mazda.
After looking around and comparing like for like, the car stands up to any comparison.
Being 6ft 3in, I found it comfortable behind the wheel. It did not cause discomfort over any distance.
The 1.6 diesel was quick and quiet. The amount of equipment included as standard I think is very good.
We were also impressed with the dealership and are in the process of purchasing a 3 TS2 1.6 diesel.
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